Jun 14, 2017

At What Point Does a Missing Person Become a Worry

It is a long-standing urban myth that people should wait twenty-four hours to report a missing person to the Australian Police. Hear what the National Missing Persons Coordination Centre has to say on the subject:

“You do not have to wait 24 hours to report someone as missing. If you have serious concerns for the safety and welfare of a person, and their whereabouts is unknown, then you may immediately report them missing to local police by making a missing persons report.”


We understand why they prefer a twenty-four hour time lag where there are no safety worries. They have a massive workload and must set priorities. At QLD Covert Investigations, we can start as soon as our customers want. Although in the case of a family fight, it is sometimes wise to wait a day.

At What Point Do Serious Concerns for a Missing Person Kick In

Serious concerns involve a genuine, deep-seated worry for the safety, welfare, or even survival of a missing person. What constitutes a threat depends on the individual and their particular circumstances, especially their ability to survive these. Here are three examples where the first hour, or first few hours could be critical.

  • A toddler vanishes in a busy shop while someone distracts the mother. A through search fails to produce results …
  • An able-bodied hiker fails to check in at a NSW mountain ski resort. An avalanche has partly covered the trail …
  • An elderly relative with Alzheimer’s finds an unlocked door and wanders away from their care home. It is late afternoon …

In these examples, the missing person has left their comfort zone. This is the caring presence of the mother, a safe trail to follow, and secure care in a home respectively. Their safety and welfare are not necessarily under immediate threat. However if they were, then they may have no defence against it. Quick action could be wise.

When Could We Worry Less, at First, about a Missing Person?

There may be less cause for concern where a missing person could survive alone, at least for a while. This applies particularly if they deliberately ‘went off radar’ because of a quarrel or a tiff. Missing teens and newlyweds frequently fit this category. However, you are welcome to contact QLD Covert Investigations for advice and further assistance regardless of the circumstances.
Please call 1300 553 788 now if urgent.

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