Resolving missing persons cases in Spain – The role of CNDES

by Lorraine Williamson
missing in Spain

People go missing in Spain every day for all sorts of reasons or issues. Thankfully many are found safe and well within hours or a few days. However, some are not. Many are still missing!

In Spain, the issue of missing persons is addressed with utmost seriousness and dedication through the National Missing Persons Centre (CNDES). Under the Ministry of the Interior, CNDES serves as a pivotal hub for coordinating efforts among law enforcement agencies, public administrations, and various institutions.

With its comprehensive functions and dedication to reuniting families, CNDES plays a vital role in resolving cases of missing persons in Spain.

The role of CNDES

The CNDES operates as a multifaceted entity, fulfilling several key functions:

Observatory of missing persons phenomenon:

CNDES acts as a vigilant observer, studying and understanding the patterns and trends related to missing persons in Spain. This comprehensive analysis aids in the development of effective strategies.

Issuing warnings and alerts:

One of the primary responsibilities of this organisation is the issuance, management, and dissemination of warnings and alerts both nationally and internationally. These alerts mobilise communities, encouraging them to collaborate in the search for missing individuals.

Promoting coordination and cooperation:

CNDES fosters collaboration between law enforcement agencies, associations supporting the relatives of missing persons, and public and private institutions. This coordination strengthens the collective effort in locating missing individuals.

Developing protocols and instructions:

The centre formulates detailed instructions and protocols for law enforcement agencies. These guidelines streamline search efforts, ensuring a systematic approach to locating missing persons.

Advocating legislative reforms:

CNDES actively proposes legislative reforms to enhance research instruments and tools used in missing persons cases. These reforms are essential in keeping the procedures up-to-date with evolving challenges.

Disseminating information:

The organisation periodically disseminates general and statistical information about missing persons cases. This transparent approach enhances public awareness and involvement, encouraging communities to remain vigilant.

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Serving as a national contact point:

CNDES operates as a national contact point, connecting with other specialised national and international organisations dedicated to missing persons. This network amplifies the collective expertise, leading to more successful outcomes in locating individuals.

Types of missing persons

Understanding the typology of missing persons is crucial for both law enforcement and the public. There are three primary categories:

Voluntary Disappearances:

Individuals who choose to leave their usual place of residence without informing their families or friends fall into this category. Although voluntary, these disappearances can cause considerable distress to loved ones.

Involuntary Disappearances:

These cases involve individuals who go missing due to circumstances beyond their control, such as accidents, medical emergencies, or mental health crises.

Forced Disappearances:

The most concerning category, forced disappearances, refers to individuals who are abducted or forcibly taken against their will. These cases require immediate and intensive efforts from law enforcement agencies and communities.

Taking action: Reporting a missing person

If you find yourself in the distressing situation of a missing family member, friend, or acquaintance, it is vital to act swiftly. Reporting the disappearance to law enforcement authorities promptly significantly enhances the chances of locating the missing person. If you believe someone is missing, do not hesitate to contact the following numbers:

  • Guardia Civil: 062
  • National Police: 091

The dedicated efforts of CNDES and the collaboration of communities and law enforcement agencies are instrumental in resolving cases of missing persons in Spain. By understanding the functions and roles of this organisation and staying vigilant as a society, we can contribute to reuniting families and ensuring the safety and well-being of all individuals.

Also read: Almost a year later, former UK rugby player, Levi Davis is still missing

Main image: @CNDES – missing from Zaragoza 8 October 2023 – Sheyla Hernández Medina, Manuel Hernández Medina, Nuria Hernández Medina

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