A new initiative is being launched in Gloucestershire that could save police and other agencies vital time in the search for vulnerable missing people.
The county is one of the first in the country to launch the Herbert Protocol, which is aimed at carers, friends and loved ones of people who may have a learning disability or suffer from dementia or Alzheimer's.
It is named after George Herbert, a war veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia.
The protocol consists of a two-part form that carers can print off from the Gloucestershire Police website. The first part can be downloaded and completed at any time and should kept as a contingency should the vulnerable person go missing. It includes questions about the person's appearance, habits and routine. The second part is only completed if the person goes missing and includes precise detail of their state of mind and appearance when they went missing.
Carers or family who look after someone who is vulnerable are being encouraged to fill in the form and keep it safe with photos in case of an emergency. If the vulnerable person does go missing the form should be handed to police in order to help their search.
The form and a list of FAQs can be found at www.gloucestershire.police.uk/staying-safe/the-herbert-protocol/
Gloucestershire County Council's Telecare team will be sending a letter to over 1000 carers throughout the county to promote the protocol.
Missing Persons Coordinator PC Christine Pfister said: "Filling in this form when your mind is clear and you have the breathing space to gather all your thoughts could be crucial to us finding your loved one if the worst happens.
"It saves you time and means the information is there in enough detail and an easy to digest format.
"The form has been designed by experts and means we can allocate our resources accordingly and quickly if your loved one goes missing.
"I would encourage family, friends and carers to download the form from our website at the earliest opportunity. It could be a life saver."
Margaret Willcox, commissioning director for adults at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “The Herbert Protocol is an excellent initiative that can really help the police if a vulnerable person going missing
“The form can be easily sent or handed to the police in the event of a loved one going missing, reducing the time to gather this information and giving family members and carers peace of mind.”
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