New scheme helps police and dementia sufferers

A NEW initiative has been launched to help the police deal with missing dementia sufferers.

The Herbert Protocol aims to help police track down people more quickly.

The scheme – which was launched on Monday  – was developed in Norfolk and named after a former soldier who had Alzheimer’s disease.

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The protocol enables people living with dementia, or their carers, to be able to complete an information sheet that contains details about the missing person’s medical status, mobility, access to transport, places of interest and daily routines.

Once completed, copies are made and are then available for use in the event they may be reported missing.

Officers are able to collect the sheet and use the information to form part of the search plan, saving time trying to ascertain where they may be or how they may get there.

Jim Sheard, South Yorkshire Police’s mental health co-ordinator, said: “When anyone is reported as missing, their family and friends will be understandably worried and distressed.

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“This is especially so when that person is vulnerable through illness.

“However, the Protocol will allow officers to access vital information and hopefully reduce the time that a person’s whereabouts are unknown, returning them quickly to their loved ones.”

The Herbert Protocol in South Yorkshire has been developed and led by the Alzheimer’s Society in Rotherham.

Alzheimer’s Society operations manager for Yorkshire and the Humber Judith Gregory said: “We are delighted South Yorkshire Police is introducing the Herbert Protocol.

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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.

“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.”