Garda Annual Report 2004
The Garda annual report for 2004 was published this week. The section that covers missing persons is to be found on p.87 of the report.
The way in which missing persons were recorded changed in the autumn of 2003. Consequently, 2004 is the first full year to reflect these changes. The concepts of acceptable and unacceptable missing persons (used in the years before 2003) no longer apply. There are now three separate categories into which a reported missing person may be recorded.
“Category A” covers the reports which require immediate action on the assumption that the missing person is at serious risk, such as child abdution or possible suicide threats.”
“Category B” refers to persons who may have disappeared of their own volition and are asumed not to be at any immediate risk such as persons who have a reason to leave or have left a note stating that they do not intend to return.
“Category C” includes reports where there is no apparant threat of danger to the missing person or the public such as a person over 18 who has decided to start a new life.
For the year 2004, 5060 people were reported missing in Ireland and 83 remained untraced by the year’s end. 2612 people who were reported missing were classed as Category A and 44 remained untraced. Under Category B, 1531 were reported missing and 22 remain untraced. Under category C, 917 were reported missing and 17 remain untraced.
In all 1.6 % of all missing person reports made in 2004 remained untraced and 66% of missing person reports relate to persons who are under 18 years of age.
It is a sad fact that the number who go missing particularly in the category A classification continues to rise. It is a matter of concern that 66% of reports related to people under the age of 18. It must also however be stated that given the high number reported missing in 2004, the vast majority were found.