A new tool to help find missing people with dementia was launched in January 2018 in partnership with search and rescue teams of Thames Valley.

The Herbert Protocol is a form to record key information about a person with dementia. This should be completed by carers or family members in case they go missing.

Memory problems are one of a number of symptoms that people with dementia may experience, this can lead to feelings of confusion, fear and vulnerability and consequently can result in a person going missing.

The Herbert Protocol helps ensure that the police and partner agencies, including the volunteer search and rescue teams, have the best possible information should someone with dementia go missing and a search needs to be conducted to find them.

It will help avoid any unnecessary delays as the right information is immediately available. This may include if the person is on medication, favourite places they like to visit or key people they know.

Det Supt Nick John, Head of Protecting Vulnerable People, said: “The Herbert Protocol seeks to reduce the harm suffered by people living with dementia who go ‘missing’ by ensuring that the information needed is readily available to help inform the risk assessment and the search by the police and partner agencies, including the volunteer search and rescue teams. I would strongly urge carers, whether family members, private carers, or care home staff, to adopt the protocol by completing the Herbert Protocol form in advance.”

Kris Manning, Chairman of Berkshire Lowland Search & Rescue, said: “We are proud to be working in partnership with Thames Valley Police to launch the Herbert Protocol. This initiative will undoubtedly lead to better outcomes when searching for those living with dementia, providing Search & Rescue teams with better information, faster.”