Police launch new scheme to help the search for missing people with Dementia

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North Yorkshire Police have launched a new scheme which is designed to help find people with Dementia who go missing.

The Herbert Protocol is a national initiative adopted by North Yorkshire Police which aims to provide the police with quick, detailed information about a person’s background and history to help speed up the time taken to find them.

When someone is reported missing, the police need to gather a lot of information about the person such as their daily routine, medication, mobility, and places that are significant to them. If the person has Dementia, a condition that affects someone’s memory, much of that information may be historic.

Extracting the information takes time and the person providing it may be in a heightened state of anxiety and they may not know everything the police need.

The Herbert Protocol is a simple risk reduction tool that is designed to collect most of the information the police need in slow time. A form is completed by the person at risk, their carers or their family, and kept in a safe place but where it can be quickly found if the person goes missing.

North Yorkshire Police will only ask for the form if the person at risk has been reported missing.

The information provided under the protocol will inform the police’s searches, saving valuable time and therefore reducing the risk to the missing person.

The scheme is part of wider project that has seen North Yorkshire Police and local Safeguarding Adults Boards work more closely with local care providers to manage the risks around vulnerable people who go missing.

Deputy Chief Constable Tim Madgwick of North Yorkshire Police, who is also the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s (NPCC) lead for Dementia, said:

Given the stressful nature of making a report to the police when someone has gone missing, and then having an officer arrive to speak to you, it can be difficult to remember such information accurately.

The Herbert Protocol is designed to provide the police with access to accurate information as soon as possible, meaning officers can ensure that their actions and searches are targeted on the basis of specific information. In such situations, it can often mean the difference between life and death.


Councillor Carol Runciman, Executive member for Adult Social Care and Health, City of York Council, said:

I would urge friends and relatives of people living with Dementia to complete the Herbert Protocol form. Such a simple thing could make a real difference to how quickly their loved ones could be found, making a difficult situation less stressful and dangerous for all concerned.


For more information and to download the form and a leaflet explaining the protocol, please visit www.northyorkshire.police.uk/herbertprotocol Or pick up a form from your local police station.

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