The Herbert Protocol is named after George Herbert, who was a decorated veteran who had dementia. George continually went missing from his care home and the police would have to find him. The police helped to develop the Protocol from 2011 onwards to help get people with dementia who had gone missing back to a place of safety as quickly as possible.
The Protocol originally focussed just on people in care homes, but it was extended from 2015 to include individuals still living in their own home with dementia.
It can involve use of technology e.g. GPS trackers etc, and an App is being designed to make reporting easier. It started in Norfolk, but is now going to be rolled out nationally.
Whenever someone does go missing, it causes trauma to everyone involved – staff in care homes, family, and the person themselves. So the quicker they can be located and returned to safety, the better for everyone. There were 1400 reports of missing persons to the police service last year alone – 5.2% of those are dementia sufferers.
The protocol can be used in two ways:
- It can be completed by a relative, friend, neighbour or carer, and kept at home or in a safe place until it might be needed. If the vulnerable person goes missing, the relative/carer MUST call the police on 999. At this point they should tell the police control room that they have a Herbert Protocol, and give a copy to a police officer on request. Relatives/carers can download a protocol to complete from https://www.norfolk.police.uk/advice/personal-safety/missing-people
- It may be completed by a police officer in the course of their normal duties. If a police officer considers a person is vulnerable to going missing, they will record the relevant details on the police system and this may also lead to a protocol being completed.
If more people know about the Protocol, they can be prepared and get better safeguarding measures in place so please do share this!