‘Runaway’ scheme to be piloted

Police are to focus on 'missing' youngsters with a pilot initiative
Police are to focus on 'missing' youngsters with a pilot initiative

POLICE are preparing to launch a new initiative in relation to those under the age of 16 who go missing.

The ‘Young Runaway Scheme’ is initially being piloted in the Kirkcaldy, Glenrothes and Levenmouth areas.

When any young person is reported missing to Fife Police, stringent enquiries take place to trace the person concerned and ensure they are safe and well.

This will continue to be the case, but there will be a change in procedure for officers once the youth concerned is traced.

The new procedures will see a specifically trained police officer carry out thorough checks on the person’s health, and a visual check on the premises in which they live to ensure there is no risk to their health or well-being.

A welfare interview with each youth will be completed, general advice given and contact details will be provided for appropriate agencies.

Referrals will be made to agencies where youths and parents need help, and officers will provide additional support to the families concerned when required.

For those youths who go missing regularly, intervention will take place to assist the families in an effort to prevent repetition.

PC Sally Nodes, the force’s juvenile missing person co-ordinator, said: “When a youth goes missing, it is often a problematic and distressing experience for both the young person concerned and their parents or carers.

“In addition, the police enquiry on each occasion incurs a large number of resources.

“Hopefully this new scheme will reduce future youth absconding.

“Additional support to all families will now be given as a matter of course and this should assist in improving the future outlook for all concerned.”