Protocol to assist police in tracking down missing people with dementia launched in Honiton

Dora Hargreaves, Heather Penwarden and John Scurr at the Herbert Protocol lauch in Honiton. Picture:

Dora Hargreaves, Heather Penwarden and John Scurr at the Herbert Protocol lauch in Honiton. Picture: Callum Lawton - Credit: Archant

A safety programme which sees police given a greater chance of locating missing people with dementia has been launched in Honiton.

PCSO Richard Shelton spoke about The Herbert Protocol, which could help officers find people quicker and get them home safe, at Honiton Memory Café’s annual general meeting last week.

Mr Shelton said: “Particularly out here in rural East Devon, it can be very hard to find someone or have any idea of where somebody might want to go.

“The programme encourages families, carers, friends and neighbours to hold information about the person with dementia so it can help the emergency serices find them if they go missing.

“An easily accessible form provides vital information about the person such as a description, photograph, their daily routine and significant places in their life.”

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The Herbert Protocol was trialled last year in Plymouth and was found to a success in helping assist officers searching for people reported as missing.

Mr Shelton added: “The idea is you fill out a form, putting on as much information as you can. A photograph is really helpful to us.

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“When the form is finished, leave it somewhere at home where it is easily accessible and where officers can find it.

“From that information them, we can start the process of getting officers into the right areas.”

The forms are available from Mr Shelton and PCSO Darren England, as well as Honiton Library, the Citizens Advice office, Honiton Hospital, The Beehive and Honiton Surgery.

Mr Shelton said: “We would ask you to get these forms completed as soon as you can.

“The information that you put on there is confidential. If the person doesn’t go missing, we will never need to see the form.

“We’d only need to access the information on the form if you reported the person as missing.”

Heather Penwarden, chairman of Honiton Memory Café and Honiton Dementia Action Alliance, said: “What we are going to do with our memory café friends is help anyone that wants to complete the forms.

“We will also offer that service to others if they want.”

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