opinion

Police Wrap with Geraldton OIC Chris Martin: Key details can offer head start in cops’ search for the missing

Sen. Sgt Chris MartinGeraldton Guardian
Geraldton Police Station officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Chris Martin.
Camera IconGeraldton Police Station officer-in-charge Sen. Sgt Chris Martin. Credit: Liam Beatty

When someone goes missing it’s a heart-stopping race against time to find them as quickly as possible for their health, safety and wellbeing.

In Geraldton, we often receive a missing person report every week, which leads us to launch a welfare search for that person. It’s an issue that has been growing in frequency across the State.

In an effort to address this, WA Police have partnered with the Australia MedicAlert Foundation to launch a new program which will hopefully cut the time it takes to find vulnerable people.

From my own experience conducting major searches, I can say we’re always battling the clock, and time is of the essence.

It takes a few moments to join the service but the peace of mind of knowing police will have the necessary details should something happen is well worth it.

By creating a profile with details like a recent photograph, places they’re known to frequent, medical history and contacts, police have a head start when undertaking search operations.

I’d urge anyone with parents and relatives who are elderly or have neurodegenerative disorders to sign up and add the details now before tragedy strikes.

The rollout of Safe & Found will be the first of its kind in Australia after the brass at WA Police took notice of the success recently seen in the US.

Anyone at risk of becoming lost or reported as missing should register as soon as possible, with the program officially launching later this year.

It takes a few moments to join the service but the peace of mind of knowing police will have the necessary details should something happen is well worth it.

As an added measure, the program will come with an ID bracelet engraved with the details needed to return the person to safety should they appear lost or disoriented.

Hopefully together we can work to make things safer for our vulnerable residents.

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