Police iniative seeks to protect the elderly

Police iniative seeks to protect vulnerable
Police iniative seeks to protect vulnerable

Police and Local Authorities have launched a scheme to keep vulnerable older people safe and reduce the risk of them going missing from care.

Adults who go missing from care homes make up a small proportion of the 40,000 missing person investigations carried out by Police Scotland every year.

But this group are regarded as one of the most vulnerable, especially older people living with dementia or other related illnesses.

Police Scotland have implemented a pilot partnership protocol in an effort to more effectively prevent people from this group going missing, and respond effectively and proportionately if they do. The pilot is being carried out in three Police Divisions; The Lothians and Scottish Borders, Greater Glasgow, and Argyll and West Dunbartonshire.

A number of residential care homes have already carried out risk assessments for their most vulnerable residents, and gathered information which can be used to immediately focus efforts to trace any person who does go missing from their care as quickly as possible.

The divisions and local authorities involved in the pilot met last week to discuss the protocol and share experiences and learning.

Chief Inspector James Royan, who leads on the pilot on behalf of Police Scotland, said: “This partnership protocol is a simple but critical element in keeping older, vulnerable people safe and reducing the risk of them going missing. When you consider that 40 per cent of people living with dementia will go missing at some point in their lives, it is vitally important that together we are able to respond quickly and effectively.

“I am very grateful to the care homes and Local Authorities who are already supporting this pilot, and would encourage other establishments to consider the benefits that the scheme provides. It’s about maintaining the independence of residents for longer – with an established plan in place to respond should they go missing, it allows their normal routines to continue in the meantime.”