As some of you may already know, Beacon is an AI powered geo-location app that assists in the search of missing veterans and service personnel. If you’re not familiar with beacon, you can learn more and join the service here.
In the last month we’ve had seven requests to launch Beacons, but we’ve only taken action on two. Why? Because we want Beacon to be a trusted service and we require certain criteria to be met before we do anything. We’re constantly analysing what that criteria is, in order to be effective at finding missing people, respectful of individual privacy and accurate in what we’re reporting.
Currently this is what we need:
- We need to know that the individual has served at least a day in the Armed Forces.
- We need to know or suspect that they are a risk to themselves or others.
- We need an appeal from an official agency or close family member (we need a police report, an official missing persons report or very close family to confirm that one of the above has been actioned.
This might seem like a simple list, but as already mentioned only two of the last seven missing people that have been signposted to us have met this standard.
Number one is to be expected from an organisation focused on the welfare of Armed Forces personnel and veterans. Number two is a matter of respect for the individual, sometimes people go off grid. We want to ensure that people are entitled to their privacy and only raise the alarm if they are in danger. Number three is perhaps the most contentious: Why do we need a police report or confirmation from a close family member you may ask, if the intel we have says they are missing and at risk? We don’t want to be another cog in the rumour mill. As with anything online, often there is a blurring of the facts of the situation. We want our users to trust that if they heard it from us, it’s genuine. So if we report it, know that the three conditions above have been met and the alert is real.
Requesting a Beacon
If you’d like a Beacon to be launched you can send us a message on Facebook or an email to beacon[at]allcallsigns.org, but bear in mind we will need certain information to move forward. We want to move as quickly and as accurately as possible so please have answers to as many of the following questions as possible:
- Which service/regiment/squadron are or were they a part of?
- What is their name, age, height, build, hair colour/style?
- What is their last known physical/mental state?
- Have they ever done anything like this before?
- How are you related?
- If not related, do you have a a police reference or link to missing person appeal?
- Where were they last seen?
- When were they last seen?
- Were they with anyone?
- Have they made contact since?
- What distinguishing features do they have?
- What were they wearing when last seen?
- Is there a search party in progress?
- If so, who is the point of contact?
- Do you believe them to be a danger to others?
- What would you like us to direct our users to do?
If you are part of a charity, organisation, agency or body that deals with veterans or missing persons, you can email beacon[at]allcallsigns.com and get access to the Beacon system so you can initiate launches directly.
With two user cases in hand, we’re sure Beacon will grow to be an asset to the search of missing veterans. with just over 700 active subscribers we’re able to reach an audience of 250,000 and that number will grow as our subscriber base does. We want you to know that we’re committed to ensuring it’s only ever used where it is needed. Thanks for helping make it a reality by being here and supporting what we’re trying to achieve.