New tool for missing person searches

New tool to trace missing persons

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A vital tool to protect people with dementia has been launched this week in Argyll and Bute.

Families concerned about vulnerable relatives can now create a document that could save critical time in the event that a dementia sufferer goes missing.

In partnership with care sector agencies, Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Policing Division has launched a system to provide information that can play a key role in tracing a missing person.

Known as the Herbert Protocol, the scheme creates a file of important details including contact information, medication required and locations that might be significant to the person with dementia.

These details can then be used by officers responding to a missing person enquiry.

Welcoming the initiative super intendent Douglas Wilson said: ‘Across Argyll and Bute, Police Scotland regularly responds to missing person reports.

‘When dealing with complex vulnerabilities, including dementia, it is very important that we are able to quickly obtain important information to guide our enquiry at an early stage.

QR code for missing person file

‘We are delighted to see our partner agencies using and encouraging family to use this system to obtain information in advance in a way that can be provided to police should the need arise.

‘This scheme can provide families with peace of mind knowing that they are prepared should they need to report a loved one missing.

‘We hope our local officers will never need to ask for this information, but experience of the Herbert Protocol in other parts of the UK has shown that by having this information to hand it will help us to protect vulnerable adults if they go missing.’

The Herbert Protocol is being supported by the Argyll and Bute Adult Protection Committee whose chairperson Alex Davidson urged families to get involved with the scheme.

He said: ‘ If you live with or care for someone suffering from dementia I would urge you to consider completing a Herbert Protocol form even if the person has no history of going missing.

‘If the member of your family is within a care setting, please discuss this with the care provider.’

The form can be found and downloaded at or by scanning the QR code