Investigative Services : Crime Stoppers | Criminal Intelligence Section | Domestic Violence & Criminal Harassment Unit | Gang and Drug Units | Homicide Unit | Robbery / Assault / Arson Unit| | Sex Crimes Unit | Vice Unit
Missing Persons Unit
The Vancouver Police Department's Missing Persons Unit is part of the Major Crime Section. The Unit handles over 2,500 cases each year, including:
- juveniles and adults reported missing
- letters received from around the world requesting assistance in locating a lost relative or friend
- requests for assistance from outside agencies (other police departments)
- child abductions by parents / strangers.
At the end of each year, cases outstanding (not resolved) usually number from five to a dozen, depending on the circumstances of the disappearance. Most, if not all, unsolved cases are adults.
The Missing Persons Unit includes Coroner's Liaison and Witness Protection.
The Coroner's Liaison is a support service for both the VPD and the B.C. Coroner's Service. For VPD investigations involving a death, the Coroner's Liaison:
- takes over from operational units when next-of-kin cannot be readily identified
- deals with disposition of property seized
- ensures that necessary follow-up investigations and reports are done
- assists in identification of the victim
For the B.C. Coroner's Service, the VPD's Coroner's Liaison:
- ensures reports and follow-up reports are forwarded to the Coroner
- provides photos via the Forensic Identification Unit
- assists in identification of victims
The Coroner's Liaison keeps in close contact with the VPD's Missing Persons Unit and will issue press releases whenever public assistance is required to help identify a victim.
Witness Protection is a support service for the Vancouver Police Department. They:
- assists various sections within the department with witness protection issues
- helps organize the relocation of witnesses as required
- liaises with other police departments on witness protection issues
- provides financial and emotional support and other services for witnesses who qualify for the program
Due to the sensitive nature of Witness Protection work, members will not discuss any information about witnesses who may or may not be in the Witness Protection Program.
VPD Missing Persons Policy
The VPD recognizes the need to investigate missing persons reports in a timely fashion. This is particularly important when children, elderly persons or persons with mental / physical handicaps are involved. To this end, effort shall be made to avoid delay and to facilitate the investigation by avoiding jurisdictional disputes. When such disputes occur, the safety and welfare of the missing person shall be paramount.
If the missing person was last seen (i.e. confirmed by an identifiable witness) in another jurisdiction, the police agency having jurisdiction where the last sighting took place is responsible for the investigation. However, if that jurisdiction fails to investigate, members are again advised that the safety and welfare of the missing person shall be the paramount consideration.