8 November 2011 Last updated at 01:14
Leaflets containing information for UK families of those who go missing are being published following criticism by the mother of Madeleine McCann.
In the summer the first Parliamentary inquiry into the issue was told by Kate McCann there was a “complete gap” in help for those affected.
The National Policing Improvement Agency has responded by publishing factsheets giving practical advice.
The factsheets are also expected to be made available at police stations up and down the country.
Joe Apps, manager of the NPIA’s Missing Persons Bureau, said: “Family members suffer great distress when someone goes missing and often they don’t know where to turn or what to do.
“These factsheets aim to help them in the same way that victims of crime get practical advice and information.”
In June, Kate McCann, whose daughter vanished in Portugal in 2007, told MPs it should not be down to “grieving parents” to search for their children.
She said grief was compounded by a “lack of communication and information” and called for a single point of contact between families and the police.
The 11 factsheets produced by the Missing Persons Bureau explain:
- what to do when someone goes missing, whether it is in the UK or abroad
- which charities and organisations to contact to help find a missing person
- what support and advice is available to relatives
- how to deal with financial, legal and property issues arising when someone is missing for a long time.
Mr Apps said the need for the leaflets was highlighted during the inquiry by the all-party Parliamentary group for runaway and missing children and adults.
All police officers and civilian staff dealing with missing persons investigations have been encouraged to read them and recommend them to families.