What can you do when a vulnerable person goes missing?
“Over the past decade, I have heard so many stories of vulnerable people going missing, particularly those living with dementia. Many people have been found, but for some the consequences were tragic.
"Last week Eric went to collect a chinese takeaway for himself and Margaret his wife, who was in the car right outside. Two minutes later on his return, Margaret had vanished and was nowhere to be seen. A panicked search, some community support and a 999 call to the police eventually found Margaret who had made her way quite a distance to one of the local pubs. She wears a GPS tracker which doubles as a watch but on this occasion it failed to work. Fortunately a good outcome ensued.
"Do you know about the Herbert Protocol?
"It's an invaluable resource for vulnerable people which can be completed, kept at home and given to the police force if the person goes missing and returned when they are found," explains Gina Awad, lead of the Exeter Dementia Action Alliance.
Developed by Norfolk Constabulary in partnership with other agencies in 2011. It encourages carers to compile useful information within a comprehensive form with the local police force.
The Herbert protocol is an early intervention and risk reduction scheme to help find vulnerable people who are at risk of going missing. Named after a war veteran of the Normandy landings named George Herbert, who lived with Dementia in a care home. Mr Herbert went missing and sadly died while searching for his childhood home.
The protocol, initially designed to help Norfolk police find people such as Mr Herbert, by encouraging family members/carers to compile useful information which could be used in the event of a person going missing. It contains information about the person, their past, their habits and places they go.
The protocol was first implemented to help those living with dementia who lived in care homes. 18 months after this initiative was launched, the protocol was broadened for those with dementia who live independently in their own homes. It now extends to children in care and people with mental health issues.
The Herbert protocol is widely used by police forces across the UK but much of the public are still unaware of its existence.
For more details and to complete a form for your vulnerable loved one click here or visit https://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/missing-person/missing-persons/vulnerable-people-at-risk-of-going-missing/dementia-missing-risk-herbert-protocol/