New scheme to help locate vulnerable missing people
Katy Bourne, the county’s Police & Crime Commissioner, praises Sussex Police for adopting a new protocol that will help speed up the search for missing people living with dementia.
The Force, along with partner agencies, is adopting the 'Herbert Protocol' which gives carers, relatives or friends the ability to prepare, in advance, information that officers need quickly when a loved one goes missing.
The ‘Herbert Protocol’ is being publicised during Dementia Action Week, which starts today (21 May). The scheme has already been adopted by several forces across the UK and is named after George Herbert from Norfolk, a veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia and repeatedly went missing from his care home.
With more than 850,000 people affected by dementia in the UK and numbers set to rise, Sussex Police have worked in partnership with the Alzheimers Society and Sussex Search and Rescue (SusSAR) to plan this scheme.
How it works:
Family or carers of those living with dementia complete a form that records
crucial information about the person - including their regular medication, previous addresses and daily routines. Should the person then go missing, the form can be handed straight to the attending police officer, along with a photograph. This will provide officers with the most up to date information about the vulnerable missing person, helping to accurately guide their search, and avoid further unnecessary questions for families at what can be an extremely distressing time.
Commenting on the protocol, Mrs Bourne said: "With an ageing population increasing across our county, the need for the 'Herbert Protocol' has never been greater.
As people live longer, they may also become increasingly vulnerable and this is no doubt made worse when they suffer from a debilitating disease like dementia.
I am really pleased that Sussex Police have adopted this protocol as it will help everyone from the police to families and carers to be best prepared for an unanticipated emergency and help protect the more vulnerable in our society.“
The form once completed should be regularly updated and kept in a safe place, with a photo, where it can be easily located and handed to the attending officers should the person you care for go missing. To get the form and find out more, just visit here.