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NHS & Police Highlight Importance of The ‘Herbert Protocol’ To Safeguard Vulnerable Adults

The Herbert Protocol campaign, first launched in autumn 2017, is being promoted again throughout the festive season and new year winter months, highlighting the importance of a simple form to keep vulnerable loved ones safe.

The protocol was devised for police and partners when dealing with missing person reports involving people who are diagnosed with Dementia or a Learning Disability.

Having seen the general increase in the number of people within our community diagnosed with Dementia and Learning Disability, Police Scotland and the IDEAS Team (Interventions in Dementia, Education, Assessment and Support) NHS D&G worked in partnership on the Herbert Protocol. The benefit of the Herbert Protocol is that family, friends, care workers or neighbours have access to a PDF file in either hard copy or electronic version, which once completed provides police with the relevant information pertaining to the person of concern. This process assists in the search due to the informant having possession of a document which contains all of the required information for a missing person report. The early sharing of this information allows immediate access to detailed information and images of the missing person, and ensures a more timely response from police to resource the search process.

Although this is a police and NHS led initiative, the hope is that partners across the region – Third Sector Organisations, The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, Galloway and Moffat Mountain Rescue Teams, The Food Train and residential care homes will help promote the campaign as widely as possible.

Detective Inspector Robin Ferguson, Police Scotland, D&G Division said:

“Police Scotland is committed to working with key partners to safeguard those who suffer from dementia in our community. Close working with the IDEAS team, and their delivery of training to police officers in Dumfries and Galloway increases our knowledge on the types of dementia and the behaviour that a person might display. Through effective partnership working we continue to review processes and arrangements, and explore new opportunities to increase our collective approach to help keep people safe in our community.” Someone who has had first-hand experience of the benefits of the Herbert Protocol said:

“I think the Herbert Protocol is a necessity for anyone in the situation where a loved one has gone missing. I have had experience of this and at that time panic set in and it was difficult to think straight. The form is easy to fill in and provides all the relevant details in one place for the police. I think anyone in that situation will find it so helpful to have the Herbert Protocol to hand over to the police.” What is the Herbert Protocol?

The “Herbert Protocol” Missing Vulnerable Person Incident Form aims to make sure that if someone goes missing, the police can get access to important information about that person as soon as possible. The idea is that this will help police to plan and start their search as quickly as possible.

The Herbert Protocol Form

The Herbert Protocol form should be completed by the individual(s) who know the person best. It should be kept in a safe place and updated as necessary on a regular basis. The photo of the person on their Herbert file should be renewed if there is significant change in appearance (e.g. weight loss).

In Winter Months

In winter months the length of time (daylight hours) for a safe search is reduced. The longer someone is missing in cold or freezing temperatures, the higher the risk.

If the Person Goes Missing

If the person goes missing, you should give the Herbert Protocol to the police. It will be used to help them find your loved one as soon as possible. We will never share your information with anyone else, unless as a part of a live investigation.

What should I do when I find out that my relative or friend is missing?

Ring 101 or 999 and ask for the police – have your Herbert Protocol form on hand. The police will only ask for the form, or the information in the form, if the person is reported missing.