Help of psychics should be evaluated in missing people cases: Police guidance
Police officers searching for missing people should not rule out the help of psychics, according to suggested guidelines for the profession.
The person's methods should be asked for and whether they have any "accredited successes," says a consultation document from the College of Policing, which is the official source of professional practice on police work.
The consultation, which runs from last Monday to October 9, is to help ensure that cases of missing people are investigated effectively and supported by relevant management structures.
The detailed document notes at one point: "High-profile missing person investigations nearly always attract the interest of psychics and others, such as witches and clairvoyants, stating that they possess extrasensory perception.
"Any information received from psychics should be evaluated in the context of the case, and should never become a distraction to the overall investigation and search strategy unless it can be verified.
"These contacts usually come from well-intentioned people, but the motive of the individual should always be ascertained, especially where financial gain is included.
"The person's methods should be asked for, including the circumstances in which they received the information and any accredited successes."
The College of Policing gave a statement in which they said what "accredited success" means.
It said: "Our guidance says that all information received in the course of a missing person investigation should be recorded and assessed to see whether it can yield any valid lines of enquiry, including information that comes from people identifying themselves as psychic.
"In this context, 'accredited success' means previous cases where they have given police information that turns out to be correct."
The Missing People charity said: "As a non-judgemental organisation, we respect the fact that some families of missing people will want to try every avenue in order to find a loved one.
"Research based on interviews with the families of missing people conducted by the charity shows that no interviewees reported significant findings or comfort from the experience of consulting psychics or mediums."