What does it mean if someone is “high risk” and missing? (Black Press File Photo)

What does it mean if someone is “high risk” and missing? (Black Press File Photo)

Victoria Police Department outlines what it means to be a ‘high risk’ missing person

VicPD explains protocols for missing people, repeat releases

Victoria Police say there’s a method to continued postings of missing persons, and for labelling them as “high risk” even if they go missing frequently.

In recent weeks the Victoria Police Department has put forward multiple releases on two such cases, both involving youth who have been reported missing regularly over the past few months.

VicPD spokesperson Bowen Osoko said it’s not a matter of department standards, but rather a mandatory requirement due to provincial protocol.

“Protocols changed after a report from the Pickton inquiry,” Osoko explained, referring to convicted Vancouver area serial killer Robert William Pickton. The ensuing ‘Forsaken: the report of the missing women commission of inquiry’ brought forward several changes to police protocol, including in considering who is high risk.

READ MORE: MISSING – Police search for ‘high-risk’ missing teen with medical concerns

“In the past people might hear that Jane Doe was missing, and learn that she was a sex trade worker and think that of course she was missing because she led a transient life,” Osoko said. “In reality, she might have been on Pickton’s farm.”

Now, anyone who fits several (or in some cases one) of the following criteria are considered high risk, prompting an immediate issuance of a missing person call out: if they are under 18, female, Indigenous, suffer from mental or physical health issues, suffer from drug addiction, are involved in high-risk trafficking, have a medical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s or dementia, or if going missing is uncharacteristic.

“It’s very quick for someone to be considered high risk,” Osoko said. “But for youth files it’s hard to balance out.”

ALSO READ: VicPD locate high-risk missing woman

Osoko was referring to privacy concerns protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act which prevents police from providing details on every situation, for example if missing youth are also avoiding police because they have a warrant out for an arrest. He could not confirm if this was the case for either of this week’s missing youth.

For people who go missing frequently, he said, it’s still important for reports to go out as soon as possible.

“Someone who is going through things may go missing a couple times in quick succession,” Osoko said. “But a large number of our missing people are found after reports were seen on social or traditional media… it does save lives.”

This, he concluded, makes the heavier police workload and the risk of public interest exhaustion worthwhile.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

VicPDVictoria Police Department

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

From right: Brad Cameron, BCEHS superintendent of patient care delivery for Greater Victoria, with primary care paramedics Em Funk, Tyrone Trotter, Fiona Galvin and Peter Hill at the Leigh Road station. (Black Press Media file photo)
West Shore paramedics didn’t waver when faced with COVID-19 pandemic

B.C. Emergency Health Services personnel are this year’s Courage and Bravery Award recipients

Amy Morrison was surprised to find a note on her windshield for parking on a public street with no restrictions in south Oak Bay where she works. (Amy Morrison Photo)
Oak Bay resident uses notes to claim street parking

‘You must have noticed, we park in front of OUR HOUSE,’ note writer says

Metchosin council introduced a bylaw at a special council meeting Wednesday, which, if approved, would limit further subdivision of a 40-acre portion of the Boys and Girls Club property. The proposed bylaw amendment will come to public hearing on March 15. (Black Press Media file photo)
Metchosin council introduces bylaw to limit subdivision of Boys and Girls Club property

Proposed bylaw amendment will come to public hearing on March 15

Sooke Lake Reservoir, shown here, is the primary storage site for Greater Victoria’s drinking water supply. The Capital Regional District just purchased a property on the north edge of the water supply area to help further protect the supply. (Photo courtesy CRD)
CRD acquires 58.7-hectare watershed to further protect Greater Victoria drinking water supply

Forested area near Grant Lake is part of the Cowichan Valley Regional District

Karen DeCicco and Darren Russell have been named principals of the Sooke School District’s two newest schools, both under construction in Langford. DeCicco will lead Pexsisen Elementary while Russell will be at Centre Mountain Lellum Middle School, both starting in spring of 2022. (Courtesy Sooke School District)
Principals named for new Langford schools set to open in 2022

Sooke School District tabs veteran educators with strong track records on the West Shore

Dr. Bonnie Henry leaves the podium after talking about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
COVID: 589 new cases in B.C., and 7 new deaths

No new outbreaks being reported Feb. 26

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

After nearly 10 months of investigations, Mounties have made an arrest in the tripping of an elderly woman in Burnaby this past April. (RCMP handout)
VIDEO: Mounties charge suspect for tripping elderly woman near Metrotown in April

32-year-old Hayun Song is accused of causing bodily harm to an 84-year-old using her walker

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read