Fears benefit sanctions and money worries could be behind huge rise in missing folk in the area

RNLI lifeboats from Broughty Ferry, Arbroath and Montrose are routinely launched off the Dundee and Angus coast to search for missing people.

Fears have been expressed that the growing number of people being reported missing across Tayside could be linked to money worries.

New figures released by Police Scotland show a huge rise in people being recorded as missing across the region compared with last year.

In the first quarter of this year (2017/18), more than 1,000 missing persons cases were dealt with by officers in Tayside.

That’s up from 655 in the same period last year.

Figures in Dundee are also up significantly, from 299 in the first three months of 2016/17 to 542 this year.

Police Scotland says it’s made some changes to the way it records missing persons cases, meaning more are recorded now than previously.

But the figures have sparked fears that growing numbers of people are disappearing because they’re struggling to cope with the stresses of life — particularly when it comes to employment and benefits — with a large number of them young and vulnerable.

Angie Sivagnanasundaram has run the Missing People Scotland Facebook group — which has more than 75,000 members — for the last six years and has helped to publicise a host of missing person investigations across the country.

She told the Tele: “The number of people being reported missing nowadays is unbelievable.

“It could be money pressures, it could be family problems.

“Another thing we have noticed is there seem to be a lot of recurring missing people – maybe a young person leaving a foster home or a care home again and again.

“I am currently in the process of setting up an official body to try to target the recurring missing people because there is something that these young people are running from.

“The police are stretched and they will get the call, find the person and return them to where they ran away from.

“Our organisation will work with everyone involved to try to find out why it is happening over and over again and try to find some sort of resolution to prevent it happening again.”

Angie added: “The biggest cases we have seen all seem to be young men.

“Initially, I thought it was just because the cases were more well known but the stats don’t lie — they show that it is a much bigger problem for males.

“I don’t know whether it is the pressure of not getting jobs or something like that.

“There could be a correlation between things like benefit sanctions and people being reported missing.”

Police Scotland has been asked to comment but has not responded.

 

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