Research impact

The research project is overseen by an expert steering group made up of serving police officers, police-based researchers, forensic scientists, academics and representatives of the Missing People Charity.

This group exists in part to help us define the legacy and impact of the research work. As the project begins this group has discussed how the in-depth interview work with returned missing people may assist in: 

• Creating training materials for police officers: enabling them to envisage missing people’s journeys from experiential perspectives and stimulating a different basis for stimulating ‘geographical imaginations’ that inform operational searches. Such materials aim to complement spatial behaviour profiling that currently informs police work. We will update the web page as this work develops.

“Missing People fully supports the work of the Geographies of Missing People team. The findings of this project are expected not only to inform the charity\’s provision of support to families and police forces, but also to guide and support Missing People\’s policy and campaigning work. Our staff and volunteers are looking forward to welcoming the team to visit us and share their findings and thoughts throughout the lifespan of the project.” Missing People Charity.

• New knowledge exchange: Sharing professional and personal knowledges: the research will contribute to multiple police forums and meetings, and directly fund 3 large meetings in the UK, Brussels and the USA to enable the sharing of professional knowledges around ‘geographies of missingness’: the pivot of these meetings will be the findings of our research project, findings which will generate knowledge exchange between international police officers and researchers; as well as representatives of families of missing people, and returned missing people.

“Missing People represent a significant challenge for the police due to the volume of cases and the potential risks missing people face. Building on the work we have already conducted, this new qualitative research will significantly add to our knowledge of missing person behaviour and support how we approach missing persons operationally.” Grampian Police Assistant Chief Constable Colin Menzies (also Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS) lead for Missing Persons).

• New Public awareness: ‘storying journeys’: creatively assembling interview narratives into ‘stories of journeys’ may help translate the experiences of people who have been reported as missing to wider audiences and assist in creating public conversations about missingness. Keeping missing issues in the public eye is important to the charity Missing People. The research team have already mounted a conference in Glasgow University in December 2011 called ‘Excursions’, which featured materials from recorded interviews (see our Research Dissemination tab). Since then the research has also formed part of an exhibition by National Theatre Scotland at the Tramway Theatre in September 2011 and in August 2013 prompted public engagement via a post show talk as part of the award winning Engineer Theatre Collective production \’Missing\’ at the Edinburgh Fridge Festival, Edinburgh.

• Our research contributed to the making of the documentary The Missing which aired in the UK on channel 4 on Tuesday March 25th 2014.

• Academic knowledges: the team are writing through the emerging research data for publication in academic journals. We are particularly interested in writing on and around ‘embodied absence’. Published articles are referenced and can be accessed via our Publications and Project Reports Outputs tab.


Read more > Fieldwork