The Herbert Protocol, Purple Alert and The Philomena Protocol

The Herbert Protocol

The Herbert Protocol is a form containing key information about a person living with dementia, who is at risk of going missing. This information includes, but is not limited to, medication that the person needs; places they have previously been found; historic addresses, and a recent photograph. The form can be completed by family, friends or carers of the person living with dementia. Good practice should involve, where possible, a genuine engagement with the person to empower them to stay safe and identify anything that might increase their risk of going missing.

A completed Herbert Protocol form saves carers and loved ones the worry of trying to recall the information during the stressful time of someone going missing, and can be handed to the police at the time of a loved one being reported missing.  It also saves time for the police, allowing the search and missing investigation to begin sooner. The Herbert Protocol has been widely introduced across Scotland as a tool to help safety plan for and support people living with dementia, who are at risk of going missing.

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Purple Alert

Purple Alert from Alzheimer’s Scotland is a free app to alert the public that someone with dementia is missing in their local community, or wider geographical area. The app has been designed with input from people living with dementia; their carers; Police Scotland; Social Work; Dementia Friends Scotland; Health and Social Care Partnerships; and Telecare Services.

Missing People support the use of the app where appropriate, in order to help the search for a missing person with Dementia.

For more information about Purple Alert visit: Purple Alert | Alzheimer Scotland (

Purple Alert features

The Philomena Protocol

The Philomena Protocol is an interactive electronic form that applies to young people in children’s homes who are at risk of going missing.  The protocol requires staff with caring responsibilities to carefully and sensitively gather and upload relevant information, such as places a young person frequently visits and up to date photographs, so that they can risk assess and work with the young person to prevent them from going missing. It also enables staff at the home to work in partnership with the police to trace the young people as quickly as possible if they do go missing.

Philomena Protocol form

Sign up to be a Digital Search Hero

We have launched a regular email so that you can be aware of new missing person appeals and share them far and wide! We are also calling on all Heroes to be the eyes and ears for Missing People on the ground. Your sighting of a missing person could make a difference in a crucial time.