Should found missing people have to refund the authorities?

Celd • Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 UK 🇬🇧

I live in a town which is heavily populated by students. Every year at least one student goes missing. Most of the time their bodies are sadly found, but once or twice the student has been found safe and sound overseas, having taken an impromptu trip abroad and not told anyone.

Thousands of pounds are spent looking for missing people here. Helicopters, search dogs, 24 hour teams for weeks and weeks. Granted, the people who have just gone abroad usually get in touch after a few days so not too much money is spent on trying to find them.

My question is, hypothetically, if thousands are spent on a missing person who is then found safe and sound, having just run off and not told anyone- should they be forced to pay for wasting police time and resources?

What if they had depression or were being abused?

What if they were entirely mentally sound and not an abuse victim and just wanted to run away because they had bad grades or something?

What if the reasons for their running away were inconclusive?

Last pointer: more effort here is spent looking for young students (18+) than missing non-student adults. I’m not sure about the official stats, but certainly public concern is much greater for a missing student than working middle-aged adult. Is this right? Why do you think this is?