The Special Squad for Tracing Missing Persons will focus only on this task

Police Commissioner Amaresh Pujari has constituted a Special Squad for Tracing Missing Persons and the squad comprises one Sub-Inspector and two-constables. These personnel, ever since a complaint of missing person is received, will bestow their attention only on that.

The course correction was necessitated because of the poor performance in terms of tracing missing persons (see graphics). In Coimbatore City in 2010, of the 211 persons only 166 were traced and 45 remain untraced. In 2001, of the 305 people who went missing, 232 were traced and 73 are yet to be traced.

Missing women and children remained a cause for concern, as the law enforcing agency had to crack the case to prevent immoral trafficking of women for flesh trade and children for alms seeking (beggary). In West Zone, in 2010 of the 206 persons reported missing only 83 were traced and in 2011 of the 260 reported missing till November, only 109 were traced.

Normally, the police used to ask whether the missing person was mentally stable. Then they used to inform their counterparts in the neighbouring States and districts.

Unidentified

Then, they used to check with the counter parts on the cases of unidentified bodies mainly in accidents and those in death under suspicious circumstances. Police also used to check up with mortuary.

If the person gets traced in any of the above measures then the case remains resolved, otherwise the complaint remains as an unresolved one. The breakthrough will be only if the person returns on his own, or the relatives trace him with the help of their relatives and friends.

Under the new squad system, a dedicated team is paying undivided attention to ensure that the number of traced persons at least draws close to the number of missing persons.

An police officer said that while receiving the complaint, the following details are sought about the missing person, name, age, relationship with the complainant, missing from when, time, address, dress worn at the time of missing, jewellery if any, possible reasons for leaving (dispute, love affair, financial constraints, health ailments) or doubts (threat, forcible marriage, threats), when was last seen, languages known, habits, addictions, hobbies, identification marks, places of regular visits, photograph of the missing person, any note left at home and efforts taken by the complainant to trace the missing person.

After receiving the complaint, the team verifies the information through enquiry with neighbours and speeds up the investigation. If the missing is an aged person and visits temple often, then the details with photograph is sent to all the temples in the State.

The squad files a daily status report for a particular case and informs the complainant about the progress in the case.

If needed, further clarifications or information are sought from the complainant and the missing person's friends or relatives or at work place. Cyber Crime Cell is playing a pivotal role in the event of a missing person being a user of a cellular phone or Internet.

A private firm employee K.P. Murugaa (33) of Pappanaickenpalayam whose mother P. Rajeswari (53) went missing a year ago due to a family dispute is yet to be traced. But Murugaa is confident of tracing his mother soon by the progress made in the last one week.

“There has been no progress or information from the police since I had filed the case in October 2010. But I have received calls from the police asking for more details and their actions in the past week,” says Murugaa.

With the squad having begun the work now, their progress card could be reviewed after a month or so, say police officers in City.

What they say

Amaresh Pujari, Commissioner of Police - Coimbatore City

The objective of the Special Squad for Tracing Missing Persons is to ensure that due and undivided attention is paid towards complaints of missing persons and to deploy all possible methodologies of investigation by a dedicated team to trace the person and restore them to their family members.

M. Selvam, Sub-Inspector, Race Course police station (Law and Order)

A daily status report of the particular case is sent to superiors and the progress made is informed to the complainant. An action taken report is also submitted to the high officials regularly and suggestions are also sought from them. The squad is confident of tracing the missing persons.

Santhamani (55) of Pappanaickenpalayam

My husband S. Marimuthu (60), a labourer, was missing since April 2010. Efforts to trace him at relative's house and temples failed. After a week I filed a complaint with the police, but no progress was made so far. Only in the past few days the police started to enquire about him and sought more details about him. With the police initiating action, I am confident of my husband's return soon.

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