On the blog: Searching for our missing persons

Detective Superintendent Jamey Bellicanta

Detective Superintendent Jamey Bellicanta joined the AFP in 1985. He spent his first 15 years in ACT Policing working in General Duties, collision investigations and the Fraud Squad where he was designated a Detective. In 2000 he transferred to the AFP Tasmania office as an investigator, later returning to the mainland as an instructor at the Police College, School of Investigations.

Detective Superintendent Bellicanta has spent time throughout his career in AFP Protection, Aviation, International Deployment Group, Counter Terrorism and the Reform, Culture and Standards portfolio. He undertook a two-year secondment to the Department of Defence, working with the African Union (AU) Commission to develop guidelines for the protection of civilians in AU missions. He was also deployed to the United Nations for missions to Cyprus (1992) and Timor Leste (2003). His studies include a Bachelor of Policing, a Graduate Certificate in Applied Management (Policing and Emergency Services) and Certificate in Italian Language.

Detective Superintendent Bellicanta has now returned to ACT Policing to lead the Intelligence and Community Safety portfolio, which includes the Missing Person’s Unit.

In this month’s ACT Policing blog, Detective Superintendent Bellicanta talks about not giving up on our long term missing persons.

This month marked the 30th anniversary of National Missing Persons Week (NMPW) and I’m personally appealing to the public to come forward to police with any information they may have about our missing persons.

Families living with a missing loved one experience a considerable amount of emotional trauma, holding onto hope every day that their loved one will return home to them.

The dedicated team at ACT Policing Missing Persons Unit work tirelessly to find answers for these families.

When reporting someone missing, police need information such as last known location and time, the person’s mobile phone carrier, who they bank with and a recent photo.

The more detail we have, the sooner we’re able to follow-up leads, and the more likely the person will be found safe and well.

Last year in Canberra, there were 652 reports of people missing and so far this year there have been *427 reports. Thankfully, most people are located within a week.

Please don’t wait 24 hours before reporting a person missing. If you believe someone’s life is in danger or their behaviour is out of character, call police immediately on 131 444, or visit your local police station to make a report.

While going missing is not a crime, when someone does go missing, their life may be in danger and they could fall victim to a crime.

People go missing for many reasons including miscommunication, mental health, domestic violence, and dementia related illness. 

In fact, some people choose to go missing of their own free will.

If you’re one of these people, I urge you to contact police. If you wish to remain estranged from your family or friends, you can do so. Police will let them know you are safe and well but no details will be provided.

During NMPW, ACT Policing’s Missing Persons Unit went out in the community with stalls in Gungahlin, Tuggeranong, Belconnen and Majura, appealing for information from the public.

Canberra Milk assisted us by profiling Jean Policarpio (missing since 26 September 2017) on the side of their milk cartons and ACTION busses showed images of our missing persons on their internal bus screens.

Appeals have been made to the media, and ACT Policing’s Facebook and Twitter accounts have helped to spread the word.

I’m asking people who may have held on to a piece of information about a missing persons case — something they saw or heard, even many years ago — to tell police. Something insignificant to you could open a new chapter in the investigation. This could lead to answers for the family who have been waiting years to be reunited with their loved ones.

If you have information, please call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the Crime Stoppers ACT website.

*Statistics as at 3 August 2018

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