Alumni Impact Awards: Outstanding Leadership, Greater Manchester Police
Wednesday 4th October 2023
Police Constable Jamie Acton has been recognised at Police Now’s national Alumni Impact Awards for developing an innovative new approach to handling reports of missing people from healthcare settings in Manchester, in ‘Operation Ambition.’
The annual Alumni Impact Awards celebrate the achievements of officers across England and Wales who have graduated from Police Now’s two-year programmes and have gone above and beyond to reduce crime, support their communities and build public trust and confidence in policing.
Eight officers from forces across England and Wales were recognised at the awards ceremony on Friday 22nd September, at Cutler’s Hall in Sheffield. The awards were presented by Police Now’s Chief Executive Officer Kurtis Christoforides and members of the Police Now HQ team.
RUNNER UP: Outstanding Leadership, Police Constable Jamie Acton
Police Constable Jamie Acton has developed an innovative new approach to handling reports of missing people from healthcare settings in Manchester, in ‘Operation Ambition.’
His pilot project has already saved a significant amount of money and police time, which could save £7 million if replicated across the force.
Jamie joined Greater Manchester Police in 2021 via Police Now’s National Graduate Leadership Programme and was awarded runner up in the ‘Outstanding Leadership’ category, for his ability to inspire and motivate police sergeants and clinicians to achieve positive change through this innovative new operation.
The operation was trialled in March across three hospitals in North Manchester, which together accounted for over 1,500 missing person cases last year. After conducting research with local hospitals, Jamie identified that a large proportion of the cases could be handled without a formal police investigation. If clinicians were equipped with the correct tools and knowledge, they could resolve a number of missing patient cases themselves. For example, through knowing how to review CCTV footage and engaging with the patients’ friends and families. Jamie led on delivering training sessions and upskilling staff on these essential skills.
If the missing person was not located using these methods, it would be escalated and a police officer would work with partner agencies and the hospitals to establish the next best course of action. If the missing person was deemed at risk, a formal investigation would proceed.
Thanks to Jamie’s work with the district’s Prevention Hub to run the pilot, police officers were able to resolve 45% of missing person reports without needing to launch a formal investigation. Of the 120 reports of absconded patients recorded during the operation, 55 were resolved at this early stage, saving almost £150k in police time and resources. If these results were replicated across all hospitals in Greater Manchester, an estimated £7 million could be saved every year.
PC Jamie Acton, who studied Japanese and Politics at the University of Manchester before joining Police Now’s programme, said: “As a Police Now neighbourhood officer, I work to proactively address the crimes or issues affecting my local community and the force. Thousands of people are reported missing across Manchester every year and it’s essential we work efficiently and effectively to get them home safely. It means that we can prioritise police resources to support the most vulnerable in our community and get more officers on the streets fighting crime. After conducting research and presenting my proposal for the pilot project, Inspector Sheil provided me with the support to get it up and running. I am pleased with the success of the pilot and the positive feedback I have received. The operation is currently being reviewed by the force, to be rolled out in other divisions.”
- Financial savings were calculated using an estimated cost of £2,719 for each Medium Risk Missing Person investigation. In extensive data work, no hospital Missing Persons case was recorded less than Medium Risk at outset.
- In the UK, over 180,000 people are reported missing each year and Greater Manchester accounts for approximately 20,918 of these. Around 96% of people reported missing are found, with many of these returning home of their own accord.
- Across the whole of Greater Manchester, over 5,700 missing people were reported from hospitals last year, costing the police approximately £15.6 million.