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Investigation of Missing Persons

Police

WEST BENGAL POLICE DIRECTORATE
WRITERS’ BUILDINGS, KOLKATA

Police Order No. 7 of 2011

The problem of missing persons in the State, particularly women and children, is matter of serious concern and cause of immense trauma for a large number of families. But, efforts by the police result in recovery of only a small number of missing persons. Further, a very small number of missing persons return home on their own.

While it is a fact that a number of persons leave their houses on their own, a considerable number of them are actually trafficked to other places for various illegal activities. Many of the missing women and minor girls are also subjected to commercial sexual exploitation within the state and outside. Hence, locating missing women and children becomes a very important issue. Various High Court and the Supreme Court of India have often expressed their displeasure over regular failure of the police in recovering missing persons, particularly women and children.

In a large number of cases, people from rural areas send their children and other family members to cities with a firm belief that they will get proper jobs. Only after a few months they understand that the child/ woman is actually a victim of human trafficking and they hesitate to approach the police.

In addition to the above, a large number of dead bodies remain unidentified and unclaimed every year which is a matter of great concern.

In order to deal with the problem, the following Standard Operating Procedure is laid down.

Objectives:

Objectives of the SOP for investigation of missing persons cases is as follows:

i. To maintain a systematic record of information about missing persons, recovered persons and unidentified dead bodies.
ii. To coordinate efforts for tracing out missing persons and restoring them to their family members.
iii. To publish information and photographs in the Criminal Intelligence Gazette (CIG) and to take other measures for wide circulation of information.
iv. To correspond with Missing Persons Bureaus and Criminal Investigation Departments/Crime Branch of other states and union territories whenever necessary.
v. To undertake investigation in all cases of missing persons.

Registration of information:

i. All information in respect of missing persons shall be recorded in the General Diary.
ii. In compliance with Police Order No. 9 of 2010 issued on 10th August, 2010, ‘M’ Form shall be filled up in the Missing Children Tracking Portal (MCTP) in respect of all missing persons irrespective of age.
iii. A Missing Person Case shall be registered at the police station concerned with effect from 01/07/2011 on the basis of information lodged at the said police station.
iv. Missing Person Case shall be serially numbered as Police Station MP Case No. of the year and date. Such as Kotwali PS MP Case No. 1/2011 dated 01/07/2011.
v. If the informant is unable to provide all required information at the time of lodging of missing information, the officer in charge of police shall depute the Child Welfare Officer/Juvenile Welfare Officer of the police station and in his absence any other officer not below the rank of ASI to contact the family members of the missing person and to collect all details including photograph.
vi. MP Case shall be endorsed by the officer in charge of police station to SI/ASI for investigation.
vii. ‘M’ form of MCTP shall be treated as the form for lodging first information of missing person.
viii. In case of suspicion of abduction/ kidnapping at the time of lodging of information or afterwards, a specific case shall be registered without delay in terms of section 154 Cr. PC.
ix. Investigation of MP Case shall continue till the missing person Is located or a specific case is registered.

Role of Investigating Officer:

i. The Investigating Officer shall be responsible for uploading of ‘M’ form in MCTP in respect of MP Case endorsed to him for investigation.
ii. He shall visit the place from where the person was reportedly missing.
iii. He shall contact the family members of the missing persons and record their statements.
iv. He shall also examine the friends, teachers, acquaintances, etc. for eliciting information about the missing persons, circumstances in which he or she went missing and other relevant details and to find out the probable cause of disappearance of the person.
v. He shall send email to all officers in charge of police stations in the state, all District Superintendents of Police, all Nodal Officers of Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) in the district, ail District Nodal Officers for MCTP implementation and Missing Persons Bureau of CID.
vi. He shall make necessary enquiries at bus stand, railway station, hospitals, shelter homes, GR Register of the court concerned, panchayat, etc.
vii. To scrutinize the missing person’s diary, computer, mobile phone, etc., if any, and his/her personal belongings for any clue.
viii. He shall obtain cell phone details/ if any, of the missing person for further investigation as to his/her whereabouts.
ix. To scrutinize surveillance/ security cameras in the vicinity of the place where last seen or from where the person is reported to have gone missing.
x. He shall examine any person having inimical terms with the missing person.
xi. He shall remain in touch with the complainant/ family members to ascertain if any demand for ransom has been received.
xii. He shall alert border checkposts, immigration, railway police, etc. about the missing persons.
xiii. He shall collect birth certificate or proof of age of the missing person.
xiv. He shall consult information about unidentified dead bodies pertaining to his police station as well as those received from other police stations.
xv. He shall maintain a separate record of investigation as per proforma enclosed in respect of each NIP Case endorsed to him.
xvi. He shall take all necessary steps and measures for tracking, tracing and recovering the missing person.
xvii. He shall coordinate with other agencies and NGOs for restoration of recovered persons to their families.
xviii. Whenever a missing child is traced or he/she comes back on his/her own the Investigating Officer shall examine all relevant angles such as involvement of organized gangs and application of appropriate sections of law.

Role of Officer in Charge:

i. Apart from timely registration of MP Cases on receipt of information, the officer In charge shall be responsible for supervising the steps taken by the Investigating Officers in Investigation of MP Cases.
ii. He shall coordinate the actions required to be taken by investigating Officer.
ili. In case the missing person is a girl/woman, prior written permission of parents/ guardians/ husband shall be taken to the effect that the photograph may be published in print media and broadcast on electronic media.
iv. He shall arrange for publicity through local cable TV network.
v. He shall involve women police officer for investigation of missing girls/ women as far as practicable.
vi. He shall forthwith send the information to all concerned as per guidelines of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the year 2002 in the case of Harilal Vs. State of Delhi.
vii. He shall forward all relevant details to the Officer in Charge, Missing Persons Bureau, CID West Bengal for opening MPB file and publication in CIG and newspapers and publicity through All India Radio and Doordarshan.
viii. He shall ensure filling of ‘R’ form in case of recovery/ return of the missing person and full compliance of Police order No. 9 of 2010 issued on 10th August, 2010.
ix. He shall activate his channels of information including panchayats so that all cases of missing children and missing women is reported so that the actual picture about the crime of human trafficking is available.

Supervision and training:

i. Statistical report regarding missing as well as recovered/ found persons including women and children shall be prepared by DCRB and put up to the Superintendent of Police in the first week of every month.
ii. The Superintendents of Police in the districts and GRPs shall nominate one officer of the rank of Dy. SP to function as nodal officer of the district in the matter of missing/ recovered persons including women and children.
iii. One officer of the rank of Sub Inspector shall be designated as nodal officer at the police station level in the matter relating to missing persons including women and children.
iv. The Superintendents of Police in the districts including GRPs shall review the cases of missing persons, police station wise, during the monthly crime conferences.
v. CID, West Bengal shall be the nodal agency to supervise functioning of MCTP at district level and to study and devise ways and means to deal with the problem of missing persons.
vi. CID, West Bengal shall also coordinate the activities of district police and provide help and assistance in investigation of MP Cases.

The aforesaid SOP shall come into force with effect from 1st July, 2011.

Sd/- N. Mukherjee
Director General and Inspector General of Police
West Bengal

Original Order, Source