Police ‘must consider’ tip-offs from psychics, new guidelines state
In a consultation document from the College of Policing (COP), which lists new guidelines on how police should handle inquiries on missing persons, officers are urged to examine a psychic’s methods and “accredited success” before heeding their supernatural advice.
The consultation, which runs until October 9, aims to offer official guidance for police officers and support them in missing person’s investigations.
Police told to "consider tips from people claiming psychic abilities" in missing persons cases. And arrest them if they're right, one hopes— Lucy Wainwright (@Whoozley) August 30, 2015
“Any information received from psychics should be evaluated in the context of the case, and should never become a distraction to the overall investigation and search strategy unless it can be verified,” the consultation paper said.
“These contacts usually come from well-intentioned people, but the motive of the individual should always be ascertained, especially where financial gain is included,” it added.
Big cases can attract attention from psychics etc - so it's right our guidance addresses this & advises accordingly pic.twitter.com/GUwQgpjJ4z— College of Policing (@CollegeofPolice) August 29, 2015
Our guidance: info recvd from psychics needs to be evaluated within context of case, like all info should be.Not urging reliance on psychics— College of Policing (@CollegeofPolice) August 29, 2015
“The person’s methods should be asked for, including the circumstances in which they received the information and any accredited successes.”
A spokesperson for the COP said, in this context, “accredited success” means previous cases where a psychic has given police information that turns out to be correct.
Speaking to the Telegraph on Monday, a spokesperson for the charity Missing People said, as a “non-judgmental organization,” they respect that some families of missing people will try “every avenue” to find their loved ones.
“Research based on interviews with the families of missing people conducted by the charity shows that no interviewees reported significant findings or comfort from the experience of consulting psychics or mediums,” they told the paper.
Dismissing the COP’s “shameful” guidelines, the Asian Rationalist Society of Britain said police should investigate cases based on facts “not fiction or illusion.”
The society’s general secretary Sachdev Virdee told the Hindustan Times: “If such people have the powers they claim to have, why have policing at all?
Guidelines say police shouldn't rule out psychics to help find missing people. Should police accept psychic help? pic.twitter.com/Z6ZJXdQjEP— LBC (@LBC) September 1, 2015
“It is sad and shameful that such guidelines have been issued,” he said.
Several high-profile cases on missing people have attracted offers of help from psychics.
When three-year-old Madeleine McCann went missing from a Portuguese holiday resort in 2007, psychics tipped off police on potential leads. They were all considered in case they turned out to be true.