South Scotland

Police explain missing mental health patient pupil alert

Missing man Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption It is thought the missing patient may have made his way to Glasgow

Police have moved to reassure parents during the ongoing search for a missing mental health unit patient.

Children were kept in some schools on Tuesday to await collection during the hunt for Abdelnabi Alainani, 30, around the Midpark Hospital in Dumfries.

Police said initial reports suggested he might have had a knife but it was subsequently found near the unit.

The search is continuing for Mr Alainani although it is thought he may have tried to make his way to Glasgow.

Police said they fully understood public concern about children walking to and from schools after the "unusual request" to hold them in schools for collection.

Image caption The search started in the area around the Midpark Hospital

"We would like to explain why this happened and to offer some reassurance," a spokesman said.

"Pupils were collected from some schools yesterday afternoon as a precaution to a fast moving missing person search.

"A number of risk factors are taken into account during the first minutes and hours of an incident like this and steps are taken to reduce any potential risk to the public.

"While we tried to confirm information we were given from staff at Midpark, we felt a request to keep pupils inside certain schools was appropriate."

'Normal routine'

He said that as the situation had changed that decision had been reviewed.

Police now believe the missing man may have tried to get to Glasgow and there have been no confirmed sightings since Tuesday afternoon.

"Today we will continue our patrols, however we would ask the public to go about their normal routine," said the spokesman.

Anyone who spots Mr Alainani has been asked not to approach him and to contact police.

A spokesperson for NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: "We are concerned about the health and wellbeing of the patient and would reiterate the advice from Police Scotland for the public to be alert and vigilant, but not overly alarmed."

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