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 Launch of scheme to protect the vulnerable


​THE Herbert Protocol is a new scheme being introduced by Durham Constabulary.

Working alongside its partners in the council, fire and rescue as well as Age UK and The Alzheimer’s Society, it encourages Staff, families, friends and carers to compile useful information which could be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing from either care homes or their own homes.

The scheme is a step towards protecting some of the most vulnerable adults in County Durham and Darlington. Any adult who is at risk of wandering or going missing for any reason is encompassed within this protocol.

Inspector Rachel Stockdale commented: “It is important we have in place a sensible, joined up approach to prevent vulnerable people from going missing in the first place, and ensures that the procedures for when people do go missing are robust and effective.”

The scheme protects the vulnerable and elderly whilst respecting and understanding their need for independence. It will allow those vulnerable adults living in their own homes to remain independent for longer, providing a safeguard for if they went missing and extra support where deemed  necessary by relevant third parties.

If used effectively, the protocol will develop links between residents, their families, care providers and local police teams, which will ensure that there are well-established relationships within all sections of the communities served by Durham Constabulary

It will save time and resources but most importantly it has potential to save lives of our vulnerable people, by working with their carers to establish patterns of behaviour, places they frequently visit, keeping an up-to-date photograph and medication list on hand and if they do go missing completing a standardised form which will make the emergency services response to the enquiry more efficient.

Ann Baxter, Independent Chair of Darlington Safeguarding Adults Partnership Board welcomes the launch of the Herbert Protocol in Darlington and Co Durham, she said: “The Board  is seeking to actively engage with the people of Darlington to increase public awareness and understanding of Safeguarding and to protect adults who may be at risk from harm and to promote their welfare. 

“When a friend or loved one goes missing it is a deeply upsetting and stressful time for their family and friends. The Herbert Protocol is designed to make the process of reporting someone missing in these circumstances more efficient and less stressful. Having access to the form and information at an early stage of the enquiry makes the search more effective and can help ensure the safe return of the person concerned before they come to harm. “

Denise Elliott, Strategic Commissioning Manager for Adults and Health Services at Durham County Council said: “We are delighted to support the rollout of the Herbert Protocol across the care homes in County Durham. This simple approach will add to the broad range of measures we already take to ensure that we do everything possible to keep some of our most vulnerable residents safe”

If you require further information or think you know someone who should be a part of the Herbert Protocol, please contact us via”