The Herbert Protocol, for vulnerable people who may go missing
The Herbert Protocol encourages carers or family members of adults living with dementia to collate information on those who are vulnerable onto a form, know as the Herbert Protocol form, that can be given to the police if they go missing.
Carers, family members and friends please collate the information below:
- medication required,
- mobile numbers,
- places previously located,
- a photograph
In the event of your family member or friend going missing, the form can be easily handed to the police to reduce the time taken in gathering this information.
The Herbert Protocol initiative is named after George Herbert, a War veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia.
What is the Herbert Protocol?
It is a simple risk reduction tool to be used in the event of an adult with care and support needs going missing in the UK. It consists of a form that contains vital information about a person at risk that can be passed to the police at the point the person is reported missing.
A recent photograph of the person should also be kept with the form. It is not intended to replace existing safeguarding and security measures.
Who decides who is at risk?
If you think that your family member or friend is at risk of leaving their home and going missing or already has a history of this please fill in the form as soon as possible.
If you are a carer the judgement should be based on your professional opinion.
Who completes the form?
The form can be completed by a family member or, with the permission of the next of kin, friend or neighbour working together with the vulnerable person.
If the person is in a care setting, or the person filling in the form is a home carer or a representative of a partner agency, take advice from your management on your organisation's protocols.
The form should be completed and regularly updated, so that all the information is as relevant as possible.
When should the form be sent to the police?
The police only need the form at the point the person is reported missing. There is no need to hand it to police before then and the form will be returned once the person is found.
Where should the form be stored?
It should be stored in an easily accessible place in the person's home but kept out of sight of visitors as the information is confidential.
In the care setting it should be stored in accordance with data protection laws, but where you can find it quickly.
What should a care provider do if the person goes missing?
After you have conducted an 'open door' search of the address, grounds and outbuildings and you believe a person is missing, alert the police at the earliest opportunity.
If you believe that the person missing is at a high risk of harm, please call 999. Tell the police operator that you have the Herbert Protocol person profile.
Who to contact
- Contact name
- Devon and Cornwall Police
- Contact position
- To report someone missing, please call below:
How do I report a person missing?
You can report a person missing in the following ways:
- Call 999, if the missing person is a vulnerable adult or a child, or you believe them to be in danger, or
- Call 101
- Go to your local police station
What do I do if I have information about a missing person?