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Petition An public inquiry into the causes surrounding missing Black people

The government needs to conduct a public inquiry to investigate why missing person cases are disproportionately impacting Black communities, who is responsible for the resource allocation on cases, and what can be done to reduce rates within Black/African/Caribbean/Black British communities.

More details

According to the recent data from the National Crime Agency, Black people were 14 percent of all missing people in England and Wales between 2019 and 2020. With Black Men missing more frequently (14%) than Black Women (10%). This is over 4 times the relative population even though Black/African/Caribbean/Black British groups are 3% of the total population. In London, during 2019 and 2020, Black people accounted for 36 percent of missing people. An investigation needs to be done to learn why.

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Government responded

This response was given on 22 June 2021

The Government is focused on improving support for missing people from all backgrounds and to addressing racial and ethnic disparities, wherever these exist. It has no plans for a public inquiry.

Read the response in full

Children and adults going missing is a tragedy for all those involved. The Government wants every missing person and those at risk of going missing, and their families, to receive the best possible protection and support from the police and all those who work with them.

The Government acknowledges that the recently published National Crime Agency data indicates that Black people are disproportionately affected by missing incidents. The Government is deeply concerned about racial disparities and remains fully committed to building a fairer Britain and taking the action needed to address disparities wherever they exist.

That is why the Prime Minister commissioned the independent Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities to review inequality in the UK, with a particular focus on education, health, employment, and criminal justice. Its report was published in March and made several recommendations for Government action aimed at crime and policing including:

• Bridging divides and creating partnerships between the police and communities.
• Equipping the police service to serve the needs of their local communities.
• Improving safety and support for children at risk.

Whilst the Commission’s report acknowledges that there have been improvements to racial and ethnic disparity in service provision and other areas, it is clear there is more still to do. The Government is now considering the independent report in detail and assessing the next steps for future government policy.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council is leading work with police forces across England and Wales, the charity ‘Missing People’ and the NCA Missing Persons Unit on the issue of racial disparity in relation to missing people. They are looking at local force data to identify any possible racial disparity issues and what action is needed to address these.

The Government is determined to improve how the police work with all vulnerable people. That is why it funds the College of Policing’s training for senior officers and staff within police forces who work on public protection and safeguarding issues, including missing people. The training helps leaders understand the complexity, sensitivity and risk involved in this area of work.

The Government is also working with the police, National Crime Agency and other experts to improve our response to missing people. The Law Enforcement Data Service will explore improving data quality which will help both current and historic case data. If implemented, this will mean in future they will be able to see whether a missing person has gone missing on previous occasions, which could help locate them more quickly and/or put measures in place to prevent them going missing again.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council, working with Local Authorities and the Local Government Association has developed a new missing children's framework. This guidance will help the police, local authorities and other agencies deal with incidents of missing children, but there will be a read-across to supporting a better response to missing people more widely. This guidance is currently out for consultation and it is expected to be published shortly.

The Government also funds the Missing People’s SafeCall Service, which provides specialist, confidential advice and support to young people and their families who are affected by such difficult circumstances. Last year we provided £254,000 to the charity, Missing People, to enable it to continue providing vital support to missing children during the COVID-19 pandemic, including through their 24/7 helpline and publicity appeals.

Home Office

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