New computer link aids search of missing persons

The National Missing Persons Helpline (NMPH) is using an innovative piece of software to help them speed up the exchange of information.

Sep 22, 2005
By David Howell

The National Missing Persons Helpline (NMPH) is using an innovative piece of software to help them speed up the exchange of information. The COMPACT (Community Policing and Case Tracking) system is designed to streamline the process of investigating and recording missing person cases by UK police forces.

The new system is being used by Gloucestershire and Leicestershire constabularies and includes a secure link that automatically transfers police information about such cases to the NMPH in the charity’s own computer format, together with the investigating officer’s contact details.

COMPACT has been designed by Bristol-based WPC Software which worked closely with the NMPH to improve communications between the UK’s police forces and other relevant agencies. The new system allows access to shared information about a missing person at the click of a button, and is able to carry out a risk assessment on everyone who goes missing. Each individual is ranked as high, medium or low risk and COMPACT builds up case histories of people who go missing frequently, providing officers with valuable information instantaneously.

Tim Beaman, Head of IT at the NMPH, said “WPC continue, via their system COMPACT, to help police forces record a high quality of data in relation to missing persons’ cases, and to transfer this data efficiently and securely to the NMPH. This enables the charity to focus on fulfilling its key roles of finding missing persons and supporting those they leave behind.”

Detective Inspector Barry Sweeny, of the Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Force Intelligence Bureau, said: “Having an electronic link to the NMPH does away with lots of time consuming paperwork – and reduces the risk of human error – which means officers can get back on the beat more quickly.”

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