NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Herbert Protocol arrives in north east to help people with dementia

Elderly man walking away Image copyright Getty Images

A scheme which helps to trace people with dementia if they go missing is being launched in the north east of Scotland.

The Herbert Protocol is already used in other parts of the country including Glasgow and Dumfries and Galloway.

Carers provide police with personal information in advance, which saves valuable time when every minute counts.

Last year, more than 500 people with dementia were reported missing in Scotland.

Because dementia symptoms often include problems processing and retaining information and feelings of anxiety, those who have the condition are particularly vulnerable.

Vital details

They require two to four times the policing resource otherwise required when someone goes missing.

The Herbert Protocol aims to increase the chances of tracing the missing person more quickly.

Carers, family members and friends complete a form recording vital details, such as medication required, mobile numbers, and relevant personal information to allow police to move faster.

The scheme is being launched at the start of Dementia Awareness Week by Police Scotland in conjunction with NHS Grampian, Aberdeen Health and Social Care Partnership, Aberdeenshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Moray Health and Care Social Partnership, Alzheimer Scotland and VSA.

Image copyright Getty Images

Insp Carron McKellar said: "Almost 23,000 people are reported missing every year in Scotland with over 500 of these reports relating to people living with dementia.

"In the north east, 4% of reports of missing persons in 2017/18 involved people living with dementia.

"It can be distressing for family members to give important details when their loved one has disappeared so by completing the Herbert Protocol form before any incident occurs, it will make things easier for families and help officers respond more quickly."

What is the Herbert Protocol?

The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme being adopted by more and more local police forces which encourages carers to compile useful information which could be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.

Carers can complete in advance, a form recording all vital details, such as medication required, mobile numbers, places previously located, a photograph etc. In the event of your family member or friend going missing, the form can be easily sent or handed to the police to reduce the time taken in gathering this information.

The Herbert Protocol initiative is named after George Herbert, a War veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia.

The scheme is not intended to replace existing safeguarding and security measures but can speed up a search if required.

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