Over the past decade, the number of people that have gone missing in London has risen by 72% which equates to approximately 55,000 individuals each year. Consequently, the Metropolitan Police has been overwhelmed by the number of cases. However, the Missing People Charity has announced its aim to help twice as many people as it does now after a period of 5 years.

A senior Metropolitan police officer described the effort to combat this increase as “absolutely unsustainable”, given that expenditure is estimated between £70 million and £130 million each year.

Despite this, the Missing People Charity contributes invaluable assistance by helping missing people reconnect to their families in the safest way possible, taking into account the fact that pre-existing hostility as well as more severe physical and emotional abuse is a common cause for people to go missing. In addition, the charity helps the families who may experience trauma as a result of the overwhelming uncertainty that comes with the absence of a loved one. Furthermore, in the year 2017/2018, the charity reached 90,000 people, helping 10,400 children, young people, vulnerable adults and families in the process.

However, the statistics have revealed that almost half of the people that go missing are between 15 and 21 years old and that 1 in every 200 children goes missing in the UK. The reason for this is that they often experience neglect in the home and studies show that 7 in 10 children that have been sexually exploited go missing.

Moreover, children in care are far more likely to go missing because their environment in unsettled. These children also generally have an increased vulnerability that stems from the cause of their time in care. Additionally, these children are often placed in care in an area far away from where they grew up and so they often go missing in order to return to their former home and find familiar faces.

As a result, Missing People have unveiled a commemorative flower garden at Chiswick House and Gardens to raise awareness for the 80,000 children who go missing every year in the UK. The plants chosen each have a special significance which relates to their meanings in various cultures. For example, blue ‘omphalodes verna’ have been incorporated as they are commonly-known as ‘forget-me-nots’ and ‘hosta’ have also been included as they symbolise hope. The garden itself was designed by charity volunteer Esra Parr, who won a gold medal at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The garden provides families who are experiencing pain with a peaceful location to think of their missing loved one and assuage their grief.

Overall, the charity’s hopes to double the number of people they help appears feasible as there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people that consult its services in recent times, which in itself has doubled over the last 3 years.