The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is calling on members of the public to report to the police immediately persons that they believe are missing.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank earlier this month, Head of the Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) of the JCF, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Stephanie Lindsay, noted that persons do not have to wait 24 hours before reporting missing persons.
“We usually get a lot of missing person reports during this time of the year. If a member of your family is deemed missing, there is no waiting time to report. Once you are of the view that the person’s absence and your inability to contact that person is outside of the person’s normal routine, then it is important that you make a report immediately to the nearest police station,” she explained.
SSP Lindsay added that the nearest police station that the concerned persons visit are obligated to take the reports.
“It may be necessary for you to go to another police station afterwards in the jurisdiction from where the person is missing, and you may have to go to the local police, but the initial police you make contact with should be enough,” she said.
According to SSP Lindsay, persons who are reporting missing individuals will be asked to provide a recent photograph of that person.
“It is always useful to give a good description of the individual and the clothing that the person was wearing the last time he or she was seen. It is important for persons who are going out to have someone look at them or to communicate with someone where they are going, because they will be able to provide the police with your intended destination,” she advised.
SSP Lindsay added that if the person missing is a child, an Ananda Alert be immediately activated and the relevant departments and agencies that deal with children alerted by the police.
She pointed out that each case brought to the JCF is assessed carefully. Therefore, it is important that the persons reporting missing individuals be open to questions.
“We have risk ranking. We want to be sure that the person is not in any danger, if they are likely to be in danger and the persons that are likely to impact these individuals. We know sometimes you are in distress and you are not comfortable, because your loved ones are missing and you believe the police are asking too many questions, so we ask that you give as much information as possible, as the more information you give, the better it is,” she explained.
SSP Lindsay also encouraged citizens to report to the relevant stations if the missing persons are found.
“Sometimes persons are found and they don’t communicate with the police. You will find, too, that different family members report the person missing at different police jurisdictions. So, to prevent waste of resources in looking for someone who has returned home safely, we encourage you to give feedback if and when the person is found. If it’s a child, they must be taken to the police station, so that the person can be properly debriefed by the investigators,” she said.