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More data is always good. I will come on to suggestions about what local authorities need to do.
In 2018, the top six locations for episodes of missing persons accounted for one quarter of the overall number of missing episodes in Bedfordshire. Of those 1,049 episodes, 779—three-quarters of the total—came from these unregulated settings. The Centre for the Study of Missing Persons at the University of Portsmouth estimates the average cost of investigating a missing person at £2,400. That is a financial cost to Bedfordshire Police of around £1.9 million caused by these unregulated homes. It means that the officers involved cannot respond to other serious incidents. What makes the situation worse is that most of those children are being placed in this substandard provision in Bedfordshire by local authorities outside the county.