The spiraling increase in missing persons cases in Fife is having a huge impact on police resources.
It has been revealed that the region has experienced an 84 per cent increase in cases in the last four years.
Last weekend alone police in Fife had to deal with 39 potential missing persons cases.
The alarming statistic were revealed by Chief Superintendent Colin Dall as he presented his Fife divisional performance report to councillors.
Officers had to deal with a total of 6147 missing persons enquiries between April and December 2017 – 669 more than the same period for the previous year.
“These significant increases have made it a key issue for us as numbers continue to rise,” said CS Dall.
“Every call has to be assessed for the the risk with cases categorised as low, medium or high and to put last weekend into context.
“Only two were deemed high risk incidents due to mental health dementia concerns.
“The rest were runaways and absent without leave issues, all of which require a significant amount of resource.
To combat the rise a number of are now resources focusing solely on the issues,while training has also been stepped up.
“We now have a new missing persons co-ordinator as well as increase engagement with schools, and the local authority to ensure a consistent approach especially towards repeat offenders,” sid DS Gall.
“We are also speaking to organisations such as NHSFife to ensure cases, prior to the police being alerted, are being properly assessed whether they are actually a police matter.
“Often we are finding that people reported missing are often not missing but actually elsewhere on site.
“Furthermore we are deploying extra training for officers to fully risk assess the incidents.
“We also have a young runaways officer who engages with the individuals on their return in order to know where they have been and what reasons were behind the disappearance,”
“This is a longer term measure but I’m confident tis will provide a significant reduction in due course.