Special Report: How many people have been reported missing in Derbyshire this year and why?

Tim Beardsley has been missing since 2012.
Tim Beardsley has been missing since 2012.

Imagine arriving home from work to find a loved one had vanished without a trace.

No note. No phone call. No text.

Tim Beardsley has been missing since 2012.

Tim Beardsley has been missing since 2012.

Imagine the worry, the heartbreak, the tears.

It is unimaginable. Unless you have experienced it yourself.

Terrie Beardsley’s husband, Tim, has been missing for five years.

He was last seen leaving his home in Old Tupton on July 9, 2012.

Karen Robinson of the Missing People charity.

Karen Robinson of the Missing People charity.

There have been no positive sightings of him and no one has heard from him since.

Speaking to the Derbyshire Times this week, Terrie, 47, said: “When it first happened I was just thinking ‘how he can have just gone?’ and ‘where is he?’.

“Everybody was concerned for his wellbeing, as was I.”

Mr Beardsley, now 49, was driving a green Ford Focus estate, which was found abandoned near Ullswater in the Lake District on July 14, 2012.

“It is one of those things where there is never going to be an answer,” Terrie said.

“You have to look to the future. Five years is a long time and the chances of finding him are getting narrower and narrower.

“You just have to try and live with it.”

A Freedom of Information request by the Derbyshire Times to Derbyshire police has revealed that so far in 2017, up until the end of June, a total of 486 people have been reported missing on 759 occasions to the force.

That works out at 81 individuals every month. Some of these people go missing more than once. One person has been reported missing 17 times in the county so far this year.

If the rate of missing people in the first six months of 2017 continues for the next six months, it means a total of 972 people will have gone missing in Derbyshire this year.

This would be more than in 2016, where 943 people were reported missing on 1,719 occasions.

But it is not as many as in 2015, where 1,088 people were reported missing on 2,001 occasions.

The number of people going missing on several occasions is also quite alarming.

In 2016, one person was reported missing as many as 54 times, with others on 47 and 30 occasions.

In 2015, one person was reported missing on 48 occasions with others on 37 and 30 occasions.

The ages of people reported missing ranges from babies to pensioners, with a 116-year-old reported missing in 2016. The most common age group is teenagers and young people.

There are a number of reasons why people go missing, these can include mental health issues, children in care, domestic violence, financial worries, substance addiction and dementia amongst others.

According to the Missing People charity, more than a third of all people go missing on more than one occasion and almost all continue to face problems and serious risks when they return.

Karen Robinson, director of development and partnerships at the charity, said: “Reasons for repeat missing episodes vary from person to person, however what we do know from the National Crime Agency is that a higher percentage of repeat missing cases relate to children.

“We currently deliver return home interviews to children and young people in three regions of the UK, and to adults in Wales. This provides a safe space for the person to discuss their experience, address issues and plan next steps. These services are essential in preventing people from experiencing further harm including repeat missing episodes.”

In the UK it is currently a statutory requirement for children to receive an independent return home interview after every occasion they return from being missing. There is no equivalent statutory requirement for adults, leaving them vulnerable to significant ongoing harm that is not addressed by any agency. Through a pilot in Wales, the charity is aiming to show that there should be parity for adults who should also receive a return home interview after the return from being missing.

Ms Robinson added: “When somebody goes missing, it can be an incredibly traumatic and emotional experience for those left behind. We know that it can be difficult to find someone to talk to who understands the unique situation that they find themselves in.”

The Missing People charity has a free, confidential helpline for families to provide emotional support and practical advice.

The charity also helps by providing publicity appeals, as well as giving a family practical advice on topics such as legal and financial issues.

Terrie said that she received a great amount of support from the charity after Tim went missing.

“They were very helpful,” Terrie added.

“Any ideas you have you can run by them. They have got good support all over the country.”

n The charity’s helpline can be contacted by families, or by anyone who is missing or thinking about running away, by calling or texting 116 000 or emailing 116000@missingpeople.org.uk. The helpline is kept open 24/7, thanks to funds raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.