The Court of Protection & deputies

Publish date

11 March 2024

The Herbert Protocol – helping to keep vulnerable people safe

As anyone who cares for vulnerable people knows, it can be challenging to keep them out of harm’s way.

Sadly, often vulnerable people can get lost or go missing and planning ahead for this eventuality is really important.

How can the Herbert Protocol help?

The Herbert Protocol is a national scheme that encourages carers, family and friends to put together, in advance, useful information, which can then be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.

It has been adopted by police forces across the country as a way to quickly access vital information about a vulnerable person, as soon as they go missing.

The Protocol is named after George Herbert, a war veteran of the Normandy landings, who had dementia and sadly died when he went ‘missing’ on his way to his childhood home.

What kind of information needs to be included in the Herbert Protocol form?

 When a vulnerable person goes missing, time is of the essence. Being able to quickly access a range of information about the person can greatly help speed up the police investigation.

As such, the Herbert Protocol form contains information including:

  • A recent photo of the person and a physical description
  • Details about their routine and places they visit regularly
  • Places they have previously been located if they have gone missing before
  • Details of any medical conditions such as dementia or brain injury
  • The medication the person requires
  • Contact details for the carers and family of the person
  • Any other relevant information.

When should the Herbert Protocol form be filled in?

It is a good idea to fill in the form for any vulnerable family member who may be at risk, even if they have not previously gone missing: the faster the details can be provided to the police, the greater the chance the missing person will be found safe and well.

The person at risk or their family can fill in the form. It can also be completed by a carer, but permission from the person involved or their family should be sought.

Once completed, the form should be kept somewhere safe, where it is easy to access if needed. It should also be updated on a regular basis. There is no need to share it with the police unless the person at risk goes missing.

Hopefully it will never be needed, but it will give some peace of mind to know that it is there.

You can download the form here.



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