During this dementia awareness week, police are introducing the Herbert Protocol, which encourages family and friends to keep a document to help officers in the event a loved one goes missing.
The Herbert Protocol is a national process used by a number of police forces. Unfortunately, some people with dementia are at risk of being missed and may involuntarily place themselves in very dangerous situations because they are unaware of environmental factors such as their surroundings or weather conditions.
The Herbert protocol encourages families to prepare for a missed episode should it happen. By compiling key information such as a body description, known locations, health records and a recent photograph, families can provide police officers who file missing persons reports with important information that can be helpful in the early stages of an investigation to find someone with dementia who has gone missing .
The aim of the Dementia Action Week is to raise awareness of the disease and to encourage people with symptoms to seek support.
Detective Inspector Dave Savill said: “We know how distressing it is when a loved one with dementia goes missing.” Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence and it is important that family and friends are prepared.
“We prioritize our response in cases of this nature to ensure we have the best possible opportunity to locate the missing person as quickly as possible.”
“Families using the Herbert Protocol can help officials find a missing person faster because they have immediate answers to many important questions.” This is the type of information needed to locate the missing person as quickly as possible is of vital importance. Therefore, it is a great help for us to have them on hand from the very beginning of the investigation.
“We are working closely with our community partners to best respond to cases of this nature. These include the Alzheimer’s Society and Cambridgeshire Search and Rescue and we all agree that a proactive approach is vital to give us the best opportunity to locate the missing person without further incident.
“If you have a friend or family member who has dementia, please take the time to fill out the required forms. Hopefully you’ll never need it, but should it be necessary it could make a big difference and cut down on the time the person is missing.”
For more information and to download a form, visit the Herbert Protocol page on the Cambridgeshire Constabulary website.
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