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French Police End Missing Persons Searches, Suggest Using Facebook 95

Posted by timothy
from the hire-a-stalker dept.
itwbennett writes "According to an announcement on a French government website, police have stopped current searches for missing adults and will not accept new search requests. 'Such 'searches in the interests of the family' were conducted under an administrative procedure almost a century old, introduced to help families separated during the upheavals of World War I to find missing relatives,' according to the French Ministry of the Interior. In a letter to police chiefs announcing the changes, the Ministry advised them to instead 'direct people towards social networks on the Internet, which offer interesting possibilities.'"
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French Police End Missing Persons Searches, Suggest Using Facebook

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  • by DigitalReverend (901909) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:28AM (#43802719)

    the French surrender.

    • the French surrender.

      Sacrebleu!

      You beat me to it.

      • Re:So once again... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:43AM (#43802887)

        Nothing to see here. The French procedure does not correspond to that used in the US. Searches for children or persons who are clearly in danger continue.

        • by hedwards (940851)

          Not really, there's a presumption that if somebody's been missing for more than a given amount of time that they're in danger, unless there's evidence to the contrary. Having a police report also means that if they're spotted by police that the police will likely make contact.

          Facebook is something to augment efforts to locate somebody, not to replace the work of police officers. By the time you've determined that somebody isn't in danger, you've probably already located them anyways.

          And yes, FB is probably

          • by BasilBrush (643681) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @11:27AM (#43804107)

            Not really, there's a presumption that if somebody's been missing for more than a given amount of time that they're in danger, unless there's evidence to the contrary.

            Then it's a bad presumption. Most people go missing because they want to. You've got to look for children, senile people and people with mental health issues, because they may not have the capacity for making a rational choice to leave, and the chances of them coming to harm are higher. But adults who get out of contact with their families. In most cases it's because they don't like them, or have some issue they'd rather get away from.

            • by hedwards (940851)

              It's not a bad presumption at all.

              What precisely do you tell the families of people who wind up being found chopped to bits and buried in somebody's basement, that there wasn't sufficient evidence to take it seriously? There's no reason why the police need to report back where it is that they find these people, but they do have a responsibility to look into such things in case something has happened.

              Plus, how do you know that somebody doesn't have unknown mental health issues? There's a lot more people out

              • What precisely do you tell the families of people who...

                Sound policy is not made from the category of question "What precisely do you tell the families of people who..."

                You can't investigate every possible crime that might have happened although no one has any evidence to say it did.

                If you did you'd have to find something to tell the people who's actual reported crime wasn't investigated properly, because the police were too busy wasting time chasing someone who chose to leave home without explaining.

                Plus, how do you know that somebody doesn't have unknown mental health issues?

                Again, you can make policy based on "How do you know that some

                • by icebike (68054) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @03:28PM (#43806711)

                  And if there's foul play, there's likely to be something indicating that.

                  Yeah, like the person is missing!

                  In fact, the standard followed by most jurisdictions is: the absence of any indication of intent to disappear is in fact evidence of either an accident or foul play.

                  Police make at least an effort to find people that simply disappear (after a suitable waiting period), and at least interview friends and workmates etc for changes in behavior, look at credit card usage, and request cell records, before throwing in the towel. (The effort is actually much larger if its a missing woman than if it is a man.) Its not an unreasonable level of effort, nor does it take a great deal of resources. (Some of this stuff is automated these days).

                  Most people who CHOOSE go missing end up defrauding someone out of some amount of money. Unpaid rent, unpaid credit card bills, saddling a spouse with a huge debt, etc. Its not a victimless choice.

    • by Picass0 (147474)
      "You'll be suprised you're doing the French Mistake! Voila!"
    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      This is such a weird meme. We (the British) has our arses kicked and had to flee on a bunch of fishing boats we cobbled together, leaving all our valuable shit on the beech while the French covered our retreat. It was only after we buggered off and left them that they surrendered.

      Simple fact is our military was a bad joke at the time. If Hitler had carried on over the channel we would have quickly been defeated. It was only his mistake in assuming that a naval led invasion would have failed without first wi

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:31AM (#43802753)

    Should be looked for on ebay.

  • I'm sure cops everywhere will continue to "outsource" their roles in the wake of diminishing budgets. (Although this does sound like a headline from The Onion.)

    • I'm sure cops everywhere will continue to "outsource" their roles in the wake of diminishing budgets. (Although this does sound like a headline from The Onion.)

      In related news:
      French police end burglary investigations, citing no difference between thieves and beggars besides politeness.
      Cutbacks end inquiry into Suicides after being labeled "dying early", which is not technically a crime.
      Current Homicide investigations will be completed, but no new murders are allowed under French Law.
      Police Stations continue to operate with funds fully dedicated to ensuring the success of France's Pastry Industry.

  • by 200_success (623160) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:41AM (#43802863)
    The summary is missing the important qualifier "... unless the person may be in danger". So, apparent abductions and unexplained disappearances would still get police assistance like you would expect.
    • by advid.net (595837) <slashdot@advid. n e t> on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:49AM (#43802953) Journal

      Yes, translation is:

      Allows you to search for a missing person, your family, to renew relations with her. Does not apply to missing persons in alarming conditions suspicious or criminal.

      So this kind of search is no longer available with the state help.
      Ok... Is it really worth a story on /. ?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Only if you leave out the important details and get people worked up over nothing. You know, standard operating procedure here.

      • by hedwards (940851)

        The problem is that the translation was wrong. As you put it, it's a non-story, but as the summary puts it, it's something very strange and backwards minded. But yeah, if it's just getting people back in touch that have lost contact, as in grown apart or moved away, that's not something that the police should be dealing with.

        It's the sudden unexplained disappearances that they will continue to investigate that they should be investigating.

    • by JeanCroix (99825)

      So, apparent abductions and unexplained disappearances would still get police assistance like you would expect.

      But how can they know if it's a cleverly done abduction or not? So if you're a meticulous kidnapper, it's open season on adults in France now?

    • by ColdCat (2586245) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:12AM (#43803215)
      It change almost nothing.
      This law was to find your family members after long lost of contacts (years). It was to help family member reconnect after end of WW1 WW2 and after the end of colonisation in Asia and Africa. The administration do the research find the person, the ask him/her if he want to reconnect with you and if he/she wants give you the address. It's stopped because fewer and fewer people use it in the last decade.

      If someone is missing, police still do the research.
      If Someone need to be found to pay kids pension, to helps his/her parents, for fraud or taxes evasion, or even for some kind of family Inheritance there are others laws.
  • by Picass0 (147474) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @09:48AM (#43802941) Homepage Journal
    He has a very particular set of skills.
  • by thestudio_bob (894258) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:13AM (#43803231)
    Status update: Kidnapped
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward's Relationship Status has changed to Stockholm syndrome...
    • Status update: Kidnapped

      Cutbacks cause French Police to raise the 'ransom' bar. "Demanding large sums of money does not mean your babysitter is a kidnapper", says spokesman for the Assemblée Nationale, who is also campaigning to keep their monthly salary from falling below 7,043.69 euros (USD 10,389.49), "Anything less and there will be hell to pay!"

  • by Guru80 (1579277) on Thursday May 23, 2013 @10:15AM (#43803271)
    ..on /.?!? Unbelievable!! (only if you haven't ever been on /.) What we have here, ladies and gentlemen, is a typical non-story sensationalized by a partial summery to leave out the key information to in order to get the comments section worked up over nothing. Shouldn't editors at least check the story to ensure the summary isn't intentionally devoid of the facts?
  • There are many problems with searches for missing people using facebook. The most important problem is the lack of a trustworthy source. I would never take part in such a search, if the source is a person, I don't know. If you want me to take it serious, then link to the police' official page on the search. If the police doesn't want to put up such a page, then don't expect my participation.

    Harm can be done by spreading such a search on facebook, if it isn't legitimate.
    1. The person may already have been found, in which case you are just spamming. And you are decreasing the value of what could otherwise have been a useful communication channel.
    2. The person may never have been missing in the first place, and the entire search is nothing but harassment.
    3. The person may be hiding from abusive relatives, and you may inadvertently lead those abusive relatives directly to the victim.
    • by slashmojo (818930)

      The general idea I think is that the police would post it on their official facebook page, assuming french police have one. I've (unfortunately) had experience with exactly this.. being on facebook didn't work though and the person is still missing. I found that most people just don't pay attention to such things, there are just too many faces in the crowds we all walk through every day.

  • This is stupid, since dead bodies normally don't call or go on Facebook. If the missing person is dead, you won't find here body unless you search for it, if you find it to start with.

    Sometimes missing people are never found at all.

    • by cellocgw (617879)

      This is stupid, since dead bodies normally don't call or go on Facebook.

      You jest, but I still get birthday auto-notices from FB for friends who died years ago. Unless you have a relative w/ access to your FB account, it's apparently impossible to delete the account, or even change the owner's status to "Dead. Stop wishing the corpse happy birthday."

  • As an adult, you have the right to privacy. Long as you aren't being illegal, you don't wish to be found, that's your business. And the french aren't talking about kids anyways. There's nothing wrong with that announcement.
  • I could have sworn I accidentally visited The Onion when I saw the headline.
  • They won't only suggest you try "fassbeurk".

    They'll also stick out their bottom lip and do that palms up shrug thing.

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