It was just after 12:30pm on the 28th July 1986 when estate agent Suzy Lamplugh left her office for a 12:45-1pm appointment with a Mr Kipper at a property.
It was 6:45pm late that evening, 6 hours later, when the police received a call from Suzy’s boss reporting her as missing.
Her car was found, unlocked nearby to the property. In fact, a sighting of her sat in a car outside the property just before 1pm was the last time she was ever seen again.
There has been lots written in the media about the disappearance of Suzy Lamplugh in the 33 years since she vanished. Indeed, as recently as this July the police were following a new lead in the investigation.
There was huge public interest in the case, the media coverage was wall to wall. This was one of the biggest missing person cases in the history of the UK.
However, despite the hard work of police and Suzy’s family and friends, nobody has been able to find out exactly what happened on that day in 1986.
So, on the anniversary of Suzy Lamplugh going missing, we are going to look at what happened since and how developments in lone working and personal safety have helped many other people since that tragic day in the summer of 1986.
The Suzy Lamplugh Trust
The parents of Suzy; Paul and Diana Lamplugh, set up the Suzy Lamplugh trust in December of 1986. Before then, there wasn’t a lot of information or advice about lone working or personal safety.
Trying to answer the many questions raised by their daughter’s disappearance, Paul and Diana worked relentlessly all over the UK to make people aware of the dangers of lone working and personal safety dangers.
They passionately believed that personal safety should be taught from school age and upwards. Over the years the trust has grown and grown, becoming synonymous with personal safety and lone working.
Some of their most successful campaigns include the start of the Missing Persons Helpline, the Lone Workers Directory, calling for licencing in the minicab industry and their most recent campaign the Reach Appeal, which has been raising funds to supply services and support for victims of stalking.
In 2019 the trust was also a key part in the introduction of the new Stalking Protection Bill.
The Suzy Lamplugh Lone Working Legacy
In 1986 mobile phones were only just being introduced to the UK and it would be a few years before they even began to start being popular. There were no rules or policies for companies to follow for anyone lone working. Personal safety as we know it today just didn’t exist.
If you were lone working in 1986 and found yourself in a dangerous situation, you couldn’t get your phone out of your bag to call for police or discreetly text someone.
If you were late or delayed, you couldn’t easily let anyone know. You would have to find a phone box, make sure you had coins, and have the telephone number written down, to phone a friend or colleague.
In 2019, and thanks largely to the campaigns of The Suzy Lamplugh Trust, personal safety is of paramount importance.
The advent of mobile technology means that most people now have mobile phones, often with in-built tracking applications.
Lone worker devices, like the lone working devices First2HelpYou provide, can send discreet alerts to a 24-hour manned alarm monitoring centre have been introduced.
Help and awareness of stalking, and now cyberstalking, is available with the National Stalking Helpline and the introduction of National Stalking Awareness Week.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and the mental effects in general of being attacked or stalked are now widely recognised and treated, so personal safety isn’t just related to precautionary measures but post-stress too.
There is a multitude of guidance and advice available. Companies now have lone worker policies, personal safety training for staff and procedures for what do if you are in any potentially dangerous situation.
Personal safety awareness is also being taught to people at a much younger age than it was in 1986,
The unfortunate rise of hate crime and crimes against the LGBT community has led the Suzy Lamplugh Trust to work with different groups on several projects like The Reducing Fear, Living Confidently Project for the LGBT community.
And all of this is just the tip of the iceberg of the work, campaigns, research being done, largely because of, or inspired by, everything that the Suzy Lamplugh Trust do.
Unfortunately, after a long illness, Diane died in 2011 and in 2018 Paul passed away.
As you can see though, their legacy lives on and is continuing to evolve, helping to keep people safe, even after over 30 years.