Do you care for an elderly relative with dementia, or have a family member or neighbour with learning disabilities, or other vulnerabilities that could make it difficult for them to know where they are if they got lost?
If a loved one were to ever go missing, would you remember the colour of the jumper they were wearing? That medication with the long name? Where did they grow up, and do they have a routine? The police will ask lots of questions – what they were last wearing, their favourite places to go (even from childhood memories) and whether they’re on regular medication or have certain medical needs. Sometimes those questions might seem quite personal, and some may not seem necessary, especially when you might be feeling upset and distracted looking for your loved one – but they are to help us find them quicker.
That’s where the Herbert Protocol comes in – an ONLINE FORM that carers or family members can fill in ahead of time and keep saved on a computer or mobile device, sharing it with the emergency services if you ever need to, removing the need to ask lots of questions. The form should contain useful information and an up to date photograph which could help us to locate your loved one sooner, safeguarding them and returning them to safety.
At this time of year, it’s not unusual for us to celebrate family traditions; visiting family and friends and perhaps even popping down to the pub for a drink with old colleagues. Oftentimes, those with dementia will return to where they feel is familiar, and this is often old routines such as an old workplace commute (despite having not worked there for a number of years), or to a bakery three towns away to collect the morning bread like they used to do as a teen. It could even include a childhood home.
While we hope they never goes missing, the Herbert Protocol will help both you and us to be prepared should it happen. Just let the call handler know you have a copy of the Herbert Protocol form when you report it to us, and an officer will collect it from you (either by email or a hard copy), and will share with colleagues to help inform the search and return them home as soon as possible.
Look out for loved ones this Christmas, and warm wishes from Lancashire Constabulary.