In a ceremony at the Avon and Somerset HQ the Police Chief Sarah Crew, Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Mark Shelford, and Inspector Stuart King were presented with prestigious awards for their outstanding contribution to dementia safeguarding. Tony Hall, the Chair of the Bristol Dementia Action Alliance Charity, officially handed over certificates acknowledging the force’s achievement as a Proud Dementia Aware Organisation (Silver status) and the ‘Gold status’ for Inspector Stuart King for the exceptional work on the Dementia Safeguarding Scheme.
Conceived by Inspector King, the Dementia Safeguarding Scheme has been a beacon of hope since its inception in 2015. Inspector King, reflecting on over 20 years of police service, explained what inspired him to create the scheme:
“I’ve seen an increase in calls related to individuals with dementia found in distressed states or lost. Some incidents have had tragic outcomes, prompting me to seek a solution to better safeguard people.”
The scheme aims to provide reassurance to those with dementia and their families. Funded through charitable contributions and stakeholder support, Inspector King administered the scheme alongside his policing duties and continues to manage the scheme alongside his role in the Office of the PPC.
If you are living with or caring for someone with Dementia, you can register for the the Dementia Safeguarding Scheme on-line form (also known as the Herbert Protocol) via this link: Avon and Somerset Police
The form allows you to record vital information about the person living with Dementia, such as their former addresses, former places of work and a photograph. This information will then be instantly accessible to police if they are reported as a missing person. At the end of the on-line form, you will be able to request a FREE NFC assistance device. The NFC assistance devices contain information about the wearer which can help to identify them if they are lost or in need of assistance. They consist of a wristband, lanyard with glow-in-the-dark card and a hang tag. You can request individual devices or all of them, for FREE! These will be posted out to you along with a programming guide and letter from Inspector King.
With approximately 900,000 people in the UK living with dementia, a number projected to rise to 1.6 million by 2040, the importance of proactive safety measures cannot be overstated. Inspector King has assisted many other police forces and organisations across the UK to extend the Dementia Safeguarding scheme across the UK and internationally.
The Dementia Safeguarding Scheme operates on four key fronts:
- NFC Assistance Devices Allocation: Free wristbands, hangtags, and lanyards provided to the public and various groups.
- GPS Tracking Pendant Allocation: For individuals at the highest risk of going missing.
- Dementia Safeguarding Scheme Registration (Herbert Protocol): Relatives can record vital information on the force website for immediate access if the person is reported missing.
- Avon and Somerset Dementia Forum Support Group: A self-sustaining group that meets in person and online and can be found on Facebook via the following link Avon and Somerset Dementia Forum | Facebook
Notably, as well as increasing people’s safety the scheme has also proven cost-effective for the force, especially when compared to the average high-risk missing person incident, which costs approximately £2,500.
The Avon and Somerset Dementia Safeguarding Scheme stands as a shining example of proactive, community-focused policing. With an impressive 93% success rate, the scheme showcases the power of partnerships and the value of front-line police experience to drive change. The latest figures, as of November 2023, reveal that only 7% of individuals signed up for the scheme went missing, affirming its effectiveness.
A testimonial from Kate in Bristol reinforces the scheme’s real-world impact: “Your safeguarding system worked very efficiently when my husband went walkabout earlier in the year. He had only been registered for a matter of a few days, less than a week.”
The Dementia Safeguarding Scheme was also recognised earlier in 2023 on a national and international platform. The list of notable awards are:
- October 2022 Avon and Somerset Police were recognised by the Bristol Dementia Action Alliance charity and awarded Silver Status as a Proud Dementia Aware Organisation.
- March 2023 Avon and Somerset Police were recognised by HMICFRS in the PEEL report for good working practice with partners to protecting vulnerable people living with dementia.
- April 2023 Avon and Somerset Police were the Winner of the National Alzheimer’s Society Awards for being the Largest Dementia Friendly Business nationally.
- April 2023 at the same awards Inspector Stuart King was joint Winner of the National Alzheimer’s Society Awards for his Research and Innovation into Dementia as recognition for his work in establishing and running the Dementia Safeguarding Scheme since 2015 and assisting other forces and organisations to adopt the same scheme.
- May 2023 Avon and Somerset Police was the Winner of the RDID Best RFID/IOT (other industry) at the prestigious RFID Live trade awards in the USA for their use of GPS and NFC technology to protect and safeguard people living with Dementia
- September 2023 Avon and Somerset Police were recognised for the second year running by the Bristol Dementia Action Alliance charity and awarded Silver Status as a Proud Dementia Aware Organisation.
- September 2023 Inspector Stuart King awarded ‘Gold Status’ by the Bristol Dementia Action Alliance charity for the on-going work overseeing the Dementia Safeguarding Scheme.