HC Deb 16 July 1953 vol 517 cc2219-20
4. Mr. Dodds

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what machinery is available for compiling a list of missing persons; and whether he will consider setting up a central missing persons bureau so that the information will be available to the police when required.

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

The Commissioner of Police keeps an index of persons believed to be missing in the Metropolitan police district and, when necessary, particulars of missing persons are circulated to other police forces. It is not the function of the police to attempt to trace missing persons unless some element of public interest is involved, and I am not satisfied that the creation of a missing persons bureau, covering the whole country, would be justified.

Mr. Dodds

Is it not a fact that in other countries the Government are responsible for keeping a missing persons register? Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman aware that some people feel that if such a register had been in existence it is quite possible that the antics of Christie might have been discovered a little sooner?

Sir D. Maxwell Fyfe

I have tried to consider all the points, but I must also bear in mind that it would not improve relations between the police and the public if, for example, the police tried to track down a runaway wife or husband.