A national scheme designed to protect loved ones living with dementia is being launched in Greater Manchester.
The initiative, known as the Herbert Protocol, comprises of a simple form which carers and family members fill in with useful information that could help officers in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.
The form includes details such as places they like to frequent (including their old work place, a park or the local cemetery where a loved one has been buried), medication required, general routines and a description and a recent photo.
Once completed, the form is stored in a safe and easily accessible place, either in electronic format or a printed version. In the event that someone does go missing it may need to be located quickly, at any time of day or night to begin the initial searches.
The protocol allows for early intervention should a vulnerable person go missing and has already proved successful in other police forces such as Cheshire.
Inspector Mark Kenny from Greater Manchester Police said: “The Herbert Protocol is a simple initiative designed to assist our most vulnerable members of the community. It’s measures like this that can make the difference between a missing person and someone being returned home to safety.”
Marion Coleman, Dementia Friendly Communities Coordinator for Alzheimer’s Society in Greater Manchester, said: “We are delighted that Greater Manchester Police are launching and introducing the Herbert Protocol for the nearly 30,000 people living with dementia in Greater Manchester.
“People with dementia are particularly vulnerable if they go missing from a care home of other familiar setting. They may be trying to find their way back to their home or somewhere else from their past life that they have happy memories of, but can quickly become confused and completely lost.
“Too many people with dementia live in communities that do not support them and with dementia a priority for Greater Manchester devolution, the launch of the Herbert Protocol with the support of Alzheimer’s Society is integral to shaping Greater Manchester as the best place for people with dementia to live.
“These new measures will really help police act quickly to find someone who has gone missing and hopefully minimise the distress this can result in for the individual and their family. If anyone needs any advice or information about dementia please go to alzheimers.org.uk or find your local office at https://www.alzheimers.org.uk/info/20170/regional_alzheimers_society_offices.”
Bev Hughes, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime said: “Dementia is a devastating illness and many families have to contend with the challenges and anxieties it can throw at them. So having a good response in place if someone with dementia goes missing is hugely important. I strongly support the Herbert Protocol being introduced across Greater Manchester, ensuring extra care and support is given to the most vulnerable people in our society.”
Members of the public interested in filling in the form can do so by visiting the following page on the GMP website www.gmp.police.uk/herbert. Alternatively, collect a form from your local police station.
The police will only ask for the form, or the information in the form, if the person is reported missing.