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Missing Persons (40A/21)

Request

Please could you break down the below information (Q1-6) per month (1st to the 31st) between the following periods: 1 January and 31 December 2018; 1 January and 31 December 2019; 1 January and 31 December 2020.

1) How many reports of “missing people” did your force record over this period?

2) How many of these reports concerned people aged below 18 at the time of their disappearance?

3) How many of these reports concerned people aged 66 or over at the time of their disappearance?

4) In how many recorded missing persons cases over this period was the missing person found ‘safe and well’ by police or voluntarily returned home/ to their place of care?

5) How many individuals were recorded to be “long-term missing” (after going missing for more than 28 days) over this period?

6) How many individuals who were recorded as missing over this period were found dead /reported dead over this period?

Please could you break down the below information (Q7-8) per year between the following periods: 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2020.

7) How many people who were classed as “long-term missing” between these years eventually were found alive or returned home at any point? For people who were classed as “long-term missing” more than once over this period, please could you state how many times they were recorded as such over this entire period and how many times they were found by police or returned home voluntarily (if that is the case).

8) How many people who were classed as “long-term missing” over these years were found dead/ reported dead?

Response

Unfortunately our data are not organised in such a way as to allow us to provide all of this information within the appropriate (cost) limit of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act (see ‘Reason for Decision’ below).

However, although excess cost removes the force’s obligations under the Freedom of Information Act, as a gesture of goodwill I have supplied information, relative to your request, retrieved before it was realised that the fees limit would be exceeded (see attached file 40A_21_attachment.pdf). I trust this is helpful, but it does not affect our legal right to rely on the fees regulations for the remainder of the request.

REASON FOR DECISION

Although it has been possible to extract the majority of the information for this request using electronic searches, it not possible to retrieve information with regard to questions 4, 7 and 8 without manually reviewing every missing person case. This however would involve a trawl of approximately 30,000 cases and such search would exceed the appropriate limit (FOIA, s.12).

This means that the cost of compliance with the whole of your request is above the amount to which we are legally required to respond, i.e. the cost of locating and retrieving the information would exceed the appropriate costs limit under section 12(1) of the FOI Act 2000. For West Midlands Police, the appropriate limit is set at £450, as prescribed by the Freedom of Information and Data Protection (Appropriate Limit and Fees) Regulations 2004, S.I. 3244.

Further information on section 12 of FOI is available here:

https://www.app.college.police.uk/app-content/information-management/freedom-of-information/#fees-and-charges

Attachments

40A_21_attachment