Essex Police rolls out software to track down runaways

Essex Police has installed software to help track down missing children.

Essex Police has installed software to help track down missing children.

The Community Policing and Case Tracking (Compact) software enables information sharing on a central database, making it easier to find young runaways.

The Essex force received nearly 2,000 reports of missing people in 2006, with the vast majority involving children or young people who had gone missing three times or more.

Individual reports were previously held on paper files making it difficult to find information, and the new system makes it easier to access data on a particular child quickly.

Officers can check how many times a person has gone missing and get an idea of where to look for them by getting addresses of friends or families.

The system, developed by WPC Software, builds up case histories of people who go missing frequently and ranks each as low, medium or high risk.

There is also a "briefing sheet" summary, showing details and photographs of missing people. Officers on patrol can print off these sheets for easy reference.

All ranks of officers will be trained to use Compact and information will be shared with other organisations like local authorities and care facilities to enable them to work together on cases.

Sergeant Emma Brookes from the Essex Police Missing Persons Project said: "The Compact system will allow us to control all missing persons investigations centrally and within a single database. This will make it much easier for us to access timely information about persistent young runaways and locations where they may be found."

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