Police defend delay in appeal over missing Robert

People are asking why it took so long for police to make an appeal over missing Robert.
People are asking why it took so long for police to make an appeal over missing Robert.

Police have been criticised for not making a public appeal about missing Bellshill teenager Robert Thomson for 10 days.

Robert, of Community Road, hasn’t been seen by family or friends since his dad left him at a bus stop in the town’s Motherwell Road on Friday, June 3.

Police Scotland did not release details until Monday this week and there have been angry posts questioning this on the force’s Lanarkshire Facebook page.

Comparisons were drawn with the case of a woman who disappeared in Glasgow on Sunday. An appeal for information about her was made just 24 hours later.

A petition calling on the police to treat missing persons cases equally has been signed by nearly 900 people.

It states: “If it was a girl of 17 who didn’t turn up within 24 hours there would be a manhunt. The sexist treatment of men and boys when they go missing is appalling. They do not get the same attention as women and are treated as though they don’t matter.”

Responding to the criticism, a police spokesman said: “Officers follow robust procedures when any person is reported missing.

“In line with this process, a significant amount of work has been carried out, and continues to be carried out by officers on this case, including visiting a number of addresses and speaking to a number of Robert’s associates, in addition to intelligence checks.”

Meannwhile, the police investigation into Robert’s disappearance has taken officers to Ayr after two reported sightings of the teenager in the seaside town.

His mum, Hazel Doonan, has appealed to anyone who thinks they see him to try to take a photo and send it to the family.