As part of World Alzheimer’s Day, on 21 September, police in Sheffield are renewing their commitment to the Herbert Protocol, helping reduce risk and speed up searches in the event that a person with Dementia or Alzheimer’s goes missing.
Launched in 2017, the Herbert Protocol is an information gathering tool used for early intervention and to reduce the risk around vulnerable people who may be at risk of going missing.
The initiative is named after George Herbert, a war veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia. George Herbert sadly died whilst 'missing' and trying to find his childhood home.
The information gathering tool consists of a form designed to make sure that if someone goes missing, the police can get access to important information about that person as soon as possible. If a loved one goes missing, it can be deeply distressing and upsetting for family and friends. Being asked by a police officer to recall lots of detailed information can add to this stress, and therefore the process is designed to remove some of the worry.
Relatives and carers can complete a Herbert Protocol form in advance, so that vital information is readily available to share with the police in the event of an individual going missing. This helps the police save time usually used for gathering information and instead resources can directly start searches sooner. The form includes useful information such as locations they are known to frequent, mobile numbers, medication they require, details of their appearance and a photograph.
Inspector Kay Fitzgerald from South Yorkshire Police explains: “We hope that we never have to search for missing loved ones, but know that people living with Alzheimer’s and dementia may be vulnerable to going missing or have a tendency to wander off, so planning ahead is important.
“The Herbert Protocol provides a simple and effective way to help save vital time in the search for a missing person. Readily available information means our officers can focus their time on searching for your loved ones and bringing them home safely.”
If you are concerned about a vulnerable family member living with dementia or Alzheimer’s going missing, visit our Herbert Protocol webpage where you can download a form to complete.
Following completion of the form, relatives and carers can request an NFC enabled (Near-field Communication) assistance Wristband or Hangtag for their family members. The devices, programmed by South Yorkshire Police, store information about the wearer including their name and an emergency contact number which can be retrieved by emergency services, health professionals via a mobile phone to help return the wearer to safety if they are found lost or in need of assistance.
If you believe a person with dementia or Alzheimer’s is missing, this is an emergency, and you must call 999. The sooner the police know that someone is missing, the sooner officers can start looking for them.
Roll out of the Herbert Protocol has been supported by funding from the Safer Sheffield Partnership.