The national missing persons framework, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, was launched in May 2017, and we reported on progress earlier this year. The framework has been backed by investment of £60,000 to develop and deliver return-discussion training, which is central to ensuring that people do not fall into the pattern of repeatedly going missing. Additionally, we have committed £142,000 to the Missing People charity to enhance awareness and use of its 24-hour helpline and TextSafe facilities in Scotland. I have also recently written to all local authority chief executives asking them to continue to support actively implementation of the framework.
Allan Bryant was last seen outside Styx nightclub on Caskieberran Road in Glenrothes just after 2 am on 3 November 2013. Five years on, his family are no closer to finding out what happened to their son. Although I welcome the minister’s missing persons framework in principle, will she outline what support is available for families of long-term missing people, and will she commit to looking again at how the strategy is implemented in practice to assist family members like the Bryants who live with the daily torture of a loved one being missing?
I thank Jenny Gilruth for raising that point, and I join her in extending my thoughts to Allan Bryant’s family and to all families who are missing loved ones. I reassure her that Police Scotland does not close missing persons cases and that Mr Bryant’s case remains open; Police Scotland will continue to investigate any new information that it receives.
The national missing persons framework recognises the need to support the families of missing people. I believe that we are moving in the right direction, but there is more work to do. I am happy to meet Jenny Gilruth to discuss this important issue further, if she would like that.