POLICE are taking the opportunity this year with Missing Persons Week to remind the public to "take the time to let someone know", a message they hope will help prevent unnecessary concern for family and friends.
With almost 6000 people reported missing each year, and an average of 15 people reported missing each day across the state, police are constantly investigating leads and following up information received from the public.
"We have long term missing persons that date back to the 1970s, but we also have people who are reported missing and located within just an hour or two. In the large majority of short term missing persons cases, it is just a simple mix up or a lack of communication that has led to them being reported missing.
"By taking the time to let your family or friends know you are running late or have changed your plans, we can prevent these reports and the stress these incidents can cause," Detective Superintendent Brian Wilkins of the State Crime Operations Command's Homicide Investigation Group said.
"Letting someone know can be as easy as picking up your mobile and sending a quick text message. While we are all quite busy and are often short of time, this only takes a couple of seconds and is certainly worthwhile for the distress it can prevent," he said.
Missing Persons Week runs from July 29 to August 4 and this year's theme is "take the time to let someone know". The week is coordinated by the Australian Federal Police, National Missing Persons Coordination Centre and aims to raise awareness of the significant issues associated with missing persons in Australia. It is also aimed at encouraging the public to contact police or Crime Stoppers with any information that may assist in helping to locate a missing person.
"It is very important to understand that while we are hoping to reduce the amount of unavoidable missing persons reports, we continue to reinforce our message that if you do have genuine reason to suspect a person missing, you should call police immediately. It is a myth that you must wait 24 hours. If you have information or fear for a person's safety or wellbeing, then it is important you contact us as soon as possible," Detective Superintendent Wilkins said.
A missing person is defined as anybody whose whereabouts are unknown and concerns are held for their safety or welfare.
"While the majority of missing persons cases are young people under the age of 17, our recovery rate of missing persons across the board is high. We locate 99.65% of missing persons and most people are located within the first few days. While eventually some do get added to the list of long term missing persons cases or are found to be homicides or non suspicious deaths, we continue to work on locating any person that remains outstanding," Detective Superintendent Wilkins said.
Anyone with information which could assist police with their investigations should contact Crime Stoppers anonymously via 1 800 333 000 or crimestoppers.com.au 24hrs a day. Crime Stoppers is a charitable community volunteer organisation working in partnership with the Queensland Police Service.