Safe and well? Assessing police attitudes to Return Interviews in repeat cases of missing people

Research Institution / Organisation

University of Portsmouth

Principal Researcher

Michael Harris

Level of Research


Project Start Date

September 2014

Research Context

​The Association of Chief Police Officers defines a missing person as anyone whose whereabouts cannot be established, where the context presents risk. If there is no risk, they are ‘absent’ (2013). ‘Repeats’ are those missing three times or more. A Return Interview seeks to find out where they went and why. Previous research shows people who go missing repeatedly are at particular risk, but tends to focus on missing people themselves. Little is known about police use of Return Interviews, and views by police on them are unknown. This study is unique because it assesses police culture around a specific area of risk and the author is an ‘insider’ within the English force being researched. The study seeks to make recommendations about best practice with Return Interviews, to improve interventions.

Research Methodology

​A mixed methods survey of police constables (n50) began in March 2014, to explore attitudes to Return Interviews for repeatedly missing people, by using quantitative and open qualitative questions (n30). It is hoped to repeat the survey at a twin-site. IBM SPSS will be used to analyse quantitative data, whilst MS Word will facilitate qualitative data analysis.

Interim reports and publications

​Not available

Date due for completion

February 2020
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