Wife of missing Norfolk GP in plea over investigation policy
- Credit: IAN BURT
The wife of a missing Norfolk GP has urged the emergency services to always deal with incidents involving a missing person after police said they would stop attending every reported case.
Dr Shona Lidgey, whose husband David has not been seen since June 29 2011, said it would have been 'very difficult' for her family to have coped with his disappearance had officers not devoted the time to search for him.
David, a GP in King's Lynn, left the family home in Hilgay, near Downham Market, having written a note saying that he had 'gone for a walk'.
The father-of-three had driven his children to school that morning and left his prized silver Volvo, wallet and mobile phone behind.
Shona has been full of praise for how Norfolk Constabulary dealt with her husband's disappearance, saying police searched for David and still regularly contact her about the case.
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However the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) has announced that from April, forces will only launch a full investigation for people whose disappearance is out of character or are deemed to be in danger.
Chief Constable Pat Geenty, Acpo's lead officer for missing people, said forces 'agree on the need to move beyond a 'one-size-fits-all' response', as nationally there are nearly 900 reports of missing people per day.
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Chief Constable Alex Marshall, chief executive of the College of Policing, added: 'By identifying the risks better, the police can focus more on the people most at risk of harm, and work with partners to safeguard the vulnerable.'
However Shona said: 'In my own experience, the police were really good at looking for David. It would have been very difficult if the police had not given that time to us.'
Shona agrees that some cases need to be prioritised. She understands, for example, that her own husband can no longer be classed as vulnerable due to the length of his disappearance.
When it comes to investigating initial reports though, Shona said: 'Someone has always got to be available and it would be a shame if that were to go.
'It really does need to happen – families need to feel the disappearance of their loved one is being taken seriously.
'We still want to find out where David is. We want to make contact with him always.
'We want to know if he's all right and if we might ever see him again. We really want to know what's happened.'
Jo Youle, chief executive of the charity Missing People added that it was 'absolutely vital that all police forces have missing persons coordinators in place in order for this redefinition to be beneficial'.
David is described as white, 6ft 3in tall and of slim build with brown/greying hair and was last seen wearing brown leather boots, dark trousers and an RAF fleece with the Cotton Traders logo.
Anyone with information can call the Missing People helpline on 116 000 or contact Norfolk police on 101.