20th September 2019

People living with dementia in Wiltshire are being invited to join a scheme which will support them to stay safe and independent.

The Herbert Protocol is named after George Herbert, a veteran of the Normandy landings who lived with dementia. It has been adopted in various parts of the UK and was launched by Wiltshire Police at Alzheimer's Support's Music for the Mind group in Chippenham. 

The protocol is designed to make it as easy as possible to find people who are reported missing from home. Under the scheme the police are asking people living with dementia, carers, family members and friends to fill in a booklet in advance, recording important details such as medication, mobile numbers, places previously visited and a recent photograph.

Then if a family member, friend or resident goes missing, the booklet can be quickly handed to police, reducing the time taken to gather information during the initial, critical stages of a search, which police call 'the golden hour'. 

Safe and Found

Detective Inspector Mark Kent, Missing Persons lead at Wiltshire Police said: "I really welcome the opportunity to work with partner agencies across Wiltshire and Swindon in launching the Herbert Protocol. It will help us and help carers keep vulnerable people safe.

"The information may need to be located quickly, at any time day or night, by a police officer to begin the initial searches. We will only ever ask for the Herbert Protocol booklet if the person is reported missing".

Diane Barkham, Dementia Adviser Manager at Alzheimer's Support, said: "Alzheimer's Support are really pleased to see an initiative that will help families feel more confident that their family member have a better chance of being found if they use this document. It is always a worry that someone with dementia may go out and not find their way home".

Stuart Ilbury, Service Delivery Manager at Swindon Carers Centre which also supported the launch, said "The Herbert Protocol will not only enable the individual with memory problems the freedom we all deserve, but also give their equally deserving carers relief and knowledge that plans are in place should their dependents get confused and lost. Swindon Carers Centre are delighted to have played a part in this new protocol and its launch."

Georgia Romeril of national charity Missing People said, "People living with dementia may feel the urge to walk about, sometimes leaving home and struggling to find their way back. Due to their age and medical circumstances they may be at greater risk of coming to harm whilst they are away."

The booklet is available free from www.wiltshire.police.uk/herbertprotocol. Copies are also available from police enquiry offices, Alzheimer's Support offices, council offices and doctors' surgeries.