Published 04 August 2021

West Dunbartonshire HSCP has joined forces with the police to adopt an initiative that helps to trace vulnerable missing people.

The Herbert Protocol is a document that provides vital information such as a recent photograph, contact details of relatives or carers, medication required and significant locations relating to the individual.

This information can be used by police officers to save time in responding to a missing person enquiry.

Recognising that speed is of the essence – the longer a vulnerable person is missing the greater the risk to them – Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Policing Division are working with the Council, HSCP and partner agencies across the care sector to encourage families of people with dementia to complete the form.

Supt Douglas Wilson of Argyll and West Dunbartonshire Policing Division said: “Across West Dunbartonshire, Police Scotland regularly responds to Missing Person reports.

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

“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 initiative takes its name from Normandy landings veteran George Herbert from Norfolk, who lived with dementia and died in 2011 after he went missing while looking for his childhood home.

Since then the Herbert Protocol has become well established in many parts of the UK and West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership is happy to support an initiative that can help to protect vulnerable people in our community.

Fraser Downie, Integrated Operations Manager in West Dunbartonshire HSCP 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 and scroll to the Herbert Protocol section.