And police in the region say they had over 66 missing people cases reported to them in the first six months of this year.
As a result, officers this week explained more about the process and the subsequent investigation when someone goes missing.
A spokesman said: “We risk assess every missing person report each time we ask a load of questions that help us understand who the missing person is, why they may have gone missing, where they might have gone and what has already been done to look for them. We also look at the time of year, the weather, how long they have been missing and whether they have been missing before.
“We will only publish an appeal when we believe that the risk the person is facing outweighs the impact of making the appeal we believe that they could come to some harm as a result of being missing (perhaps they are ill, vulnerable or need medical attention) or at serious risk of being a victim of crime.”
They stress that often the risk may not be obvious to the general public, but revealed that many of those who go missing can be vulnerable and be at risk as a result: “Going missing can also be incredibly traumatic for the missing person and having their name, description, personal life and photo splashed all over social media and the media is unlikely to help matters.
“That can have a long term impact on the person’s life when they are found, and can make it harder for them to restore their privacy We are very aware of this long-term impact, and only once we are satisfied that the short term risk to the person outweighs the long term impact do we make the appeal.”
Indeed, officers say that most missing people are not reported publicly, adding: “That doesn’t mean we are not constantly working hard to find missing people, but it does mean that we don’t think that a public appeal is (yet) the right tool to use in any particular case.
“We have lots of resources that can help us track people down, including dogs and helicopters when they are believed to be out in the open.”
Advising the public on how they can help in such cases, the spokesman advised sharing social media appeals posts, but only those from trusted sources.