South Yorkshire police adopt new scheme to help find missing people with dementia

Police in South Yorkshire are adopting a new scheme to ‘save minutes and lives’ when people with dementia go missing.

The force has teamed up with the Alzheimer’s Society, health trusts and Dementia Action Alliances to introduce the ‘Herbert Protocol’,to provide officers with early access to information when dealing with missing people with dementia.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Anne Simmons, service manager of Alzheimer's Soceity at the launch of the Herbert Missing Persons Protocol at Barnsley Town Hall. Picture: Andrew Roe

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner and Anne Simmons, service manager of Alzheimer's Soceity at the launch of the Herbert Missing Persons Protocol at Barnsley Town Hall. Picture: Andrew Roe

The scheme – named after a former soldier who suffered from dementia – was launched in Barnsley yesterday and there are plans for it to be rolled out across the region, including Doncaster and Sheffield.

Under the scheme, family members or carers will be asked to fill in a vulnerable person profile about their loved one, which includes information such as their name, date of birth, habits and access to transport.

The form is designed to help police officers access important information which could help locate a missing person with dementia as soon as possible.

Jim Sheard, the force’s mental health co-ordinator, said: “We have a rare situation in that we have a new initiative, but don’t actually want to use it. We hope people don’t go missing, but if they do we need to be able to find them as quickly as possible. If we can save minutes we can save lives.

“It’s about helping their loved ones too. If they have to report someone missing it is a very stressful situation. They may struggle to remember information or they may even make errors.

“Giving them the chance to write down the information in a situation when there is no stress can only be a good thing.”

The Reverend Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire police and crime commissioner, said: “It’s such a simple idea I don’t know why we haven’t done it before. I think it’s wonderful.”

The scheme, originally developed in Norfolk, was adopted by South Yorkshire Police in May last year and implemented with registered care home providers across the region.

Relatives and carers of people with dementia are urged to fill in the form as soon as possible.

Forms are to be kept in a safe place and given to a police officer if the person it refers to is reported missing.

To download the form, visit www.southyorks.police.uk/help-and-advice/herbert-protocol site