West Yorkshire Police launches Kirklees partnership commitment to national dementia initiative

The Mayors, Mark Burns-Williamson, Janet Hargreaves and Berenice Golding
The Mayors, Mark Burns-Williamson, Janet Hargreaves and Berenice Golding

The scheme provides vital information for the police when a person living with dementia goes missing

A KIRKLEES partnership commitment to a national scheme, which helps locate vulnerable people when they go missing, was officially launched at the University of Huddersfield by West Yorkshire Police.

Called the Herbert Protocol, the initiative encourages carers, family and friends to provide and put together useful information which can then be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.

All vital details are filled in such as medication required, mobile numbers, places previously located, a photograph, etc.  This way the record of information, which is retained by the family, can be provided to the police who will use that information in their search.  

Named after a war veteran of the Normandy landings, George Herbert had dementia and sadly died while he was ‘missing’ on his way to his childhood home.  Dr Berenice Golding and Professor Janet Hargreaves, both from the University of Huddersfield, organised the launch and hope that by raising awareness of the scheme among carers and health professionals, vulnerable people will be safeguarded against this happening again.

West Yorkshire Police has been using the Herbert Protocol for two years and Detective Inspector Vanessa Rolfe, of West Yorkshire Police, is delighted that scheme is being launched in Kirklees.

“The University of Huddersfield has been extremely proactive in raising awareness of dementia and the impact it can have on those with dementia and their families and friends and seemed an ideal venue to launch the scheme in Kirklees,” said DI Rolfe.

“The first few hours of any missing person search are critical, but even more so when a person has dementia or another condition that can leave them confused and vulnerable.

“The Herbert Protocol ensures that a search operation can be immediately tailored to the known details of the missing person without the need for certain carers, relatives or friends with that knowledge being available.  The scheme only works though if people sign up and this event is all about raising awareness among those with care responsibility for someone with dementia of the Herbert Protocol and how it could benefit them.

Raising awareness

The University has been an advocate in raising awareness of dementia by hosting performances of plays such as Grandma Remember Me, by Az2B Theatre Company, and The Cleverest Thief, by Smoke Tree Theatre, which depict the impact of Alzheimer’s on individuals and their families.

This year saw the bespoke play Seeking Joan performed by the over 50s drama theatre group Curtain Up Players, many of whom have had direct experience of dementia.

The play portrays a lady called Joan, who has dementia, who one day wanders off and goes missing.  To create a play as true to life as possible, the performers conducted research with help and advice from the West Yorkshire Police, Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance, Mencap in Kirklees and Kirklees Council.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police Crime Commissioner, opened the launch event and said the Herbert Protocol has his full support.  “It is incredibly important that we protect vulnerable victims and that the police are accessible and adaptable to all the communities we serve.

“People with dementia are vulnerable and need treating with care, compassion and dignity,” said the Police Crime Commissioner.  “I am proud to see West Yorkshire Police are doing what they can to ensure officers and staff understand the individual needs of those with dementia by way of working with the University of Huddersfield and many others.”

A number of organisations from across the area have been involved with the planning of the event.  The University, in particular, would like to thank the following for their help in organising the launch event:

–        West Yorkshire Police, in particular Detective Inspector Vanessa Rolfe, Police Sergeant Neil Taylor and Police Constable    Michelle Linney

–        Elaine Bostock of Kirklees Dementia Action Alliance

–        Samantha Jones of Mencap in Kirklees

–        Sheila Sorby from Locala

–        Euan Hill from Kirklees Council



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