Last year there were 522 instances of missing people – almost 80 per cent of whom were under 18 and many of them repeat runaways.
The States police say that on average it costs about £1,300 in time and resources to deal with each missing person case, equating to a total spend of £680,000 in 2016 and £400,000 already this year.
It is now hoped that a new collaboration between the States police and the Jersey Youth Service will help to reduce the numbers.
Following three months of consultation with young people, parents, the police and the Children’s Service, the Youth Service has employed a new full-time member of staff to work with young people who go missing. Young people who run away are now being invited to take part in new ‘return home’ interviews with trained youth workers in an effort to reverse the spiralling trend.
The police will continue to carry out ‘fit and well checks’ when a person is found to ensure that they are healthy and to assess if they have been a victim of any kind of crime.
However, the Youth Service will now be able to offer young people a more in-depth service during which they will aim to build a relationship with the individual and, if necessary and possible, identify ways to support them.