§ Mr. Peter Bruinvels
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will publish in tabular form, by police force area, such information as is available to him on the number of children under 17 years who were reported as missing in each of the past five years, and to date; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Douglas Hogg
The only information readily available is that from the Metropolitan police missing persons bureau. Their records are not comprehensive because cases are normally reported to the bureau only when the person has been missing for at least 48 hours and because other forces do not report cases to the bureau as a matter of course. However, I understand from the Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis that the number of children aged 17 or under reported to the bureau as missing for each of the past five years was as follows:
Sex Metropolitan Police Provincial police and Interpol Total 1982 Boys 1,550 135 1,685 Girls 1,823 141 1,964 1983 Boys 1,340 147 1,487 Girls 1,534 174 1,708 1984 Boys 1,416 138 1,554 Girls 1,733 153 1,886 1985 Boys 1,283 115 1,398 Girls 1,699 121 1,820 1986 Boys 1,291 147 1,438 Girls 1,586 142 1,728 Information by police force area is not readily available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.