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More than 2,000 missing children reports are filed each year

More than 2,000 children are reported missing each year in Norfolk. Photo: Getty Images

More than 2,000 children are reported missing each year in Norfolk. Photo: Getty Images

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More than 2,000 children go missing each year in Norfolk, triggering a police response.

And the fresh threat of county lines drug gangs has prompted police to bulk up their safeguarding.

It comes as a new team has been established to protect children from falling into criminality, and youth crime was described as a "national emergency".

Officers have said they "throw a large amount of resources" on getting children in Norfolk returned home safely.

And additional risk assessments are being made if a child is suspected of being involved in county lines.

Supt Terry Lordan is the new District Commander for Norwich Police.
Picture: Nick ButcherSupt Terry Lordan is the new District Commander for Norwich Police. Picture: Nick Butcher

The vast majority of people who went missing over recent years have been under the age of 18, Norfolk Constabulary figures show.

And while a missing child will immediately be classified as high risk, they are usually soon downgraded.

93pc of all missing children cases in the last two years were closed at medium risk when the child was found.

Superintendent Terry Lordan, Norwich police commander, said the force has a "really rigorous process" for children reported missing.

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It can include a formal command team and hourly reviews.

"When we do locate the misper we try to put in place an interview and gain as much information as we can to where they have been and who they have been with.

"We will throw a large amount of resources to get that high risk missing person located."

Detective Inspector Pippa Hinds said: "All children under 18 are initially assessed as high until a supervisor has conducted an initial review of all the circumstances and if appropriate it can be re-assessed to medium.

"Each case is risk assessed dependant on the circumstances of the case and concern increases with the number of risk factors that apply. The assessment is dynamic and could change as enquires are made.

"If a missing person is defined as high risk police resources will be immediately deployed. This involves a number of strategies being put into place internally relating to investigative strategy and immediate actions.

"Should someone be assessed as medium risk there will be an active and measured response by police and other agencies in order to trace the missing person and support the family."

DI Hinds added every missing person case is reviewed by the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub.

"Police will do a safe and well check and this is then followed by a Return Home Interview by the appropriate practitioner, designed to find out the circumstances of the missing incident and identify any risk factors," she said.

"If there are county lines concerns around a young person this will result in a further risk assessment based on whether the child is considered to be at risk of county lines. This involves key partners sharing information and if appropriate an intervention plan is put in place to support that young person."

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