Reporting a missing person | Western Cape Government

Reporting a missing person


man searches the internet for missing children. News of lost persons If someone close to you is missing, you should report it to the police. You don't need to wait 24 hours, report it as soon as you know they're missing.

A detective (investigating officer) will investigate the case and list the missing person  on a database, known as the National Bureau for Missing Persons database. This database is a Crime Stop project and police all over the country use it.

The database means that police throughout South Africa can be on the lookout for the missing person. Crime Stop often broadcasts missing persons on TV so that anyone with information about a missing person can call Crime Stop on 08600 10111.

  • Try not to panic.
  • Don't wait 24 hours to report your missing child.

  • Do a quick search to check whether your child is really missing. Contact their friends, school, neighbours, etc.

  • Get a responsible person to stay at your house while you’re at the police station or searching for your child. This person can take messages if someone calls about the disappearance of the child or if the child returns home.

  • Go to your nearest police station and report that the person is missing as soon as you know they're missing.

  • Take along a clear and recent photograph of the missing person. The person should be easily identifiable. A police officer will scan the photo into the database. Be ready to give any information that might help  identify the person, such as their age, height, hair colour, eye colour, and any identifying marks such as scars or tattoos. 

  • You’ll have to complete a SAPS 55 (A) form which safeguards the police against false or hoax reports. This form also gives the Police permission to distribute the photo and information of the missing child.

  • The police will assign a detective to the case. Make sure that you have the name and contact details of the detective, and keep in contact with them. After you have reported the case, give the detective any new information about the missing person that you get. Remember that if your child returns home, you’ll have to go to the Police station to report that the child is safe.

Who to contact:

You can contact the Bureau for Missing Persons to report a missing person on:

Tel: 021 918 3512 / 3449 / 3452

Email: /


The following organisations can also assist you with the search for your missing child.

Missing Children South Africa

Emergency: 072 MISSING (072 647 7464)


Fax: 086 580 3310

The Pink Ladies Organisation for Missing Children

24 Hour SMS : 072 214 7439 

Email: / 

Please note: the 24-hour number is to be used only in the following situations:

  • Reporting a missing child/adult.

  • Relaying information regarding a missing child/adult.

No other enquiries will be responded to on this number.

  • Use for all other non-urgent enquiries regarding membership, media involvement or volunteering etc.
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The content on this page was last updated on 20 December 2023