Missing Person Policy

Reviewed: February 2022

A person going missing is one of our most dreaded possibilities as an organisation and a person going missing would mean significant risk from a safeguarding point of view and to the person who has gone missing. It would be counterintuitive to the very essence of A Hill Sport LTD and the values we hold dearest. A missing person is one of the most serious immediate threats we could face as an organisation and this policy sets out the processes and expectations involved in dealing with a missing person. We want to be able to locate the missing person promptly and protect them from harm, this may include contacting the police to assist us in locating the person and ensuring their safety.

Scope and Purpose

The aim of this policy is to protect the safeguarding of children at all times and outlines the adopted procedure in case of a missing child or vulnerable person. Unfortunately, we recognise that from time to time, people do go missing and the best way to ensure this does not happen is to ensure robust processes are in place to reduce the risk of a person going missing. Children are particularly vulnerable in the event they go missing and consideration should be made also for vulnerable adults too.

By implementing this policy, we aim to prevent anybody from going missing whilst under our supervision, during our sessions or events. For the purposes of this policy, we will refer to participants and consumers of our services, sessions and events as being under our “supervision” going forward.

Whilst it is highly unlikely that we would ever need to use this process, it is important to have this process in place for obvious reasons. This process is published for the sake of transparency and is to be implemented by staff working for A Hill Sport LTD.

Lost Person Process

When a person goes missing, it is crucial that rapid action is taken to locate them and to bring them back under supervision to ensure that they are adequately safeguarded. Upon doing so, a full investigation must take place to understand why and how the person went missing in the first place. In the event the person cannot be located in a timely manner, the police must be called immediately.

Prevention is better than resolution and therefore, it is important that a process of signing in and exiting entrance procedures are followed correctly. At all times, the session lead will record who is present and the events of the session. This may include but is not limited to video and audio recording, taking a register of attendance, monitoring who is leaving the premises for any reason and with whom as well as ensuring that children and vulnerable adults are leaving with persons who are known to ourselves and authorised to do so.

Should a child or vulnerable person leave the venue, it is important that all staff remain calm so as to not cause panic amongst other attendees of the session. A member of staff must first inform the session lead immediately and the safeguarding lead as soon as possible.

It is critical that action is taken in a timely manner to locate the missing person but first, it is crucial to ensure that the rest of the attendees are present and safe and, most importantly, accounted for. A register should be taken immediately so as to confirm which person is missing if the missing person is currently unknown. All spare staff must then go and find the missing person. The lead coach or safeguarding lead will decide who will go where.

If there is only one member of staff leading the session, it is important that all exits remain visible at all times, this includes fire exits. If there is more than one entrance to the premises, one of these entrances should remain locked provided there are adequate fire escapes available in the event of an emergency. If a person goes missing with only one member of staff present during the session, the police must be called immediately on 999.

The responsible person, this may be the parents or carers of the missing person, should be notified immediately as they may have a means of communication with the missing person. If the missing person cannot be located within 5 minutes or it is reasonable to suggest that the person has left the premises, the police must be called immediately.

Once the person is found, they must be brought back onto site immediately until the responsible person arrives, at which point they must be removed and will not be allowed to return to any future sessions.

An investigation must take place, starting with an incident report must then be completed including the following details:

  • Date and time the report was written
  • The time the incident took place
  • Who the report concerns, in this case, the missing person’s name, address and contact details
  • When they were last seen prior to going missing
  • How long they were missing for
  • A statement of events, including what happened and what action was taken
  • Written statements from all staff involved
  • What steps will be taken in future to prevent the same from happening again

Once the investigation is complete, a disciplinary process may be invoked where negligence is found to be a contributing factor to a person going missing. The police, local authority and HSE may be involved.

Summary Process

For reference, the following steps outlined above are summarised below should a person under our supervision go missing.

  1. Ensure adequate “checking in” and “checking out” processes are implemented including taking a register of attendance, this can be done on paper or by the use of voice or video recording appliances. It is also prudent to confirm who will be attending the session prior to their arrival, this will make identifying any missing persons easier. Ensure attendees leave with an authorised person.
  2. If a person goes missing, remain calm. Inform the session lead immediately.
  3. Identify the missing person.
  4. Search for the missing person. If the missing person cannot be found within 5 minutes or if it is reasonable to suggest that they have left the premises, call the police immediately on 999 and notify the responsible person, this may be their parents or carers. Do not leave any other attendees unattended, if it is not possible to search for the missing person without leaving other attendees unattended, call 999 immediately.
  5. When the child is found, wait for the responsible person to collect them and advise them that they must not allow the person to return.
  6. Complete an investigation as described above.