As many as 30 people are reported missing to Avon and Somerset police every day.
The high volume of calls – about 900 per month – is revealed as a new way of classifying missing people starts today.
The force hopes the "improved risk-based approach" recommended by the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) will mean officers are better able to protect vulnerable people.
A checklist will be used to distinguish between people who are "missing" and "absent". Officers will be deployed immediately to investigate and find high-risk cases – such as those at risk to themselves – as has always been the case. When someone is not where they should be but there is no evident risk, an officer will not be deployed but the absence will be monitored.
Detective Inspector Gary Stephens said: "More than 10,000 calls relating to missing people are made to the force each year – around 900 each month. We are committed to bringing those at risk home safely as quickly as possible and we believe the change will improve how we do this."
"Officers and relevant police staff have undergone bespoke training to ensure any indication of risk is immediately identified and that we are better able to direct key resources to those who need it most.
"We continue to work extremely hard with our partners to ensure the most vulnerable are protected and we have fully communicated these changes with them to make sure this continues.
"We believe this new approach will better protect children and vulnerable adults."