Vulnerable Adult Missing Persons Profile (Herbert Protocol)

Do you have a friend or relative with Alzheimer's or dementia and often worry that they may go missing?

We appreciate that caring for people with dementia is challenging - and that planning ahead and keeping safe is really important. There is often a risk that people living with dementia can at some point start to 'walk about'. While this may only be into the garden or street and returning a short time later, some people can get lost and go missing. This can lead to feelings of confusion, fear and vulnerability for individuals and their families, particularly at night time or during times of extreme weather.

The Herbert Protocol is here to help provide you with reassurance, and help you keep friends and relatives safe. It is a national initiative adopted by Cheshire Constabulary, as well as other police forces around the UK.


Information to help to search for someone with dementia

As part of making reasonable life adjustments, we want to help by putting a system in place that will help to give the emergency services the best possible information should there be a need for them to become involved in a search for someone with dementia.

The Herbert Protocol is a form which is kept at home, or in a safe place, with important information about a vulnerable person. Should they go missing, information is easily on hand about routines, medical requirements and favourite places to visit and can be handed over to the police, alleviating the worry of collecting it together during a stressful time.

How to utilise the Herbert Protocol

To join, you need to:

  1. Read the guidance information below.
  2. Download and complete The Herbert Protocol Vulnerable Adult Missing Person Profile and retain in a safe place.

If someone goes missing:

This is vital - if you can't find someone in the normal way you would expect to, then you MUST call the police on 999. It is quite normal to worry about calling 999. Some people are concerned that they will be criticised for calling the police, but if you are worried about a person's safety then this will not happen.

Further information can be found within the frequently asked questions below.

The form can be completed at your leisure, with no time pressure or urgency.  The sooner the form is ready, the quicker it can be used if needed. The form has been designed so you can fill it in on a computer - this will mean it is easier to share the information with us when it is needed. When you have completed the form, please keep it in a prominent position so that is it easily accessible if required.

Whilst sometimes more information is better. Police officers want an overview rather than in depth detail. Whilst we need to know some key information, we don’t need to know everything.  If you are writing the information by hand, please try to make sure that it is easily readable for someone perhaps unfamiliar with your handwriting.

There is no need for the police or anyone else to have access to this information unless the person to whom it refers goes missing.  You keep the information and hand it over when the police need it - it will be used to help the police to find the person as soon as possible, and nothing more.

We will never share your information with anyone else, unless as part of a live investigation it is necessary to do so to safeguard someone.

This is vital - if you can't find someone in the normal way you would expect to, then you MUST call the police on 999. It is quite normal to worry about calling 999.  Some people are concerned that they will be criticised for calling the police - if you are worried about a person's safety, then this will not happen. Minutes saved can mean lives saved. The sooner the police know that someone is missing, then the sooner officers can start looking for them.

No it won't. We need to gather some information to enable us to deal with the incident in the best way possible.  If necessary, officers will be sent while the call handler is still talking to you gathering more information. They will ask:

  • Have you joined The Herbert Protocol?
  • When was the person last seen? How long ago, and where – be as specific as you can.
  • What were they wearing? They will ask for a description of the clothes the person was last seen wearing, an anything they might be carrying, such as a bag or walking stick, etc.

A police officer will attend your address or care home and collect The Herbert Protocol Vulnerable Adult Missing Persons Profile from you, or if the form is electronic, the call handler will provide you with an e-mail address to send it to the police.

The information contained will be of great use when coordinating the search for the person. You will be feeling upset and worried for their safety.  This is completely natural, and the police officers will make sure that you are supported throughout the process.

Please remember this Vulnerable Person Missing Person Form and the information it contains should be regarded as an additional measure to help ensure a person's safety. It should NOT be the only approach taken.


Help and support

If you or someone you care about is living with dementia and you wish to talk to someone in confidence you can contact the Alzheimer's Society.

You can call the National Dementia Helpline on 0300 222 11 22 or visit the Alzheimer's Society website for further information and advice.