Cheshire Constabulary to become a ‘Dementia Friend’ Date published: 15th May 2017 12.24pm

Cheshire Constabulary, supported by Cheshire Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane, has pledged to become a ‘Dementia Friend’ as part of ‘Dementia Awareness Week’

Dementia Friends is a nationwide initiative run by the Alzheimer’s Society which aims to transform the way the nation thinks, talks and acts about the condition.

By joining the initiative Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane aims to enable all officers and staff to handle situations more effectively and compassionately when dealing with people living with dementia; whether that be as a victim, witness, offender or missing person.

Deputy Chief Constable Janette McCormick said: “Dementia touches the lives of millions of people across the UK, yet many people do not understand what the condition is, and what impact it has on those who live with it.

“Many people think that dementia is purely about memory loss and believe that there is nothing they can do to help, but that is simply not the case – it is much, much more than that and we can do something to make a difference.

“As a force, we deal with people who live with dementia on a daily basis, which is why I feel it is so important that all our staff and officers understand the condition and know what they can do to help.

“By becoming a ‘Dementia Friend’ our aim is to ensure that all our officers and staff have awareness of dementia, and know what simple steps they can make when dealing with people living with dementia.”

To enable the force to fulfil its commitment the constabulary has identified a number of staff and officers who will all complete the ‘Dementia Friends Champions’ training course.

The comprehensive training courses will be delivered by the Alzheimer’s Society; they provide specialist knowledge about the condition, which can then be shared with colleagues across the force.

In addition, the constabulary is also looking to introduce ‘Dementia Friends’ training as part of the standard training package for all new recruits.

Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane said: “I am delighted that Cheshire Constabulary will become a dementia friendly force and I believe that this will make a real difference to the communities we serve.

“Dementia can affect anyone and people living with the condition often feel confused and frustrated, and their families often feel isolated by the stigma that is attached to the condition.

“By becoming ‘Dementia Friends’ I hope that all police officers and staff will have better understanding of how dementia affects people's day-to-day lives, and how they can make a positive difference to people living with dementia in our community.”

The pledge to become a ‘Dementia Friend’ comes just weeks after Police and Crime Commissioner David Keane provided funding to enable the constabulary to become the first force in the North West to launch the Herbert Protocol

The Herbert Protocol is a scheme, which is specifically designed for people who live with dementia, many of whom are known to start to 'walk about' or ‘wander’. While the majority of people do return a short time later, some people can get lost and go missing.

The scheme works by encouraging carers, family members and friends of people living with dementia to complete an online form in advance recording all vital details, such as a photograph, mobile number and medical conditions.

All this means that in the event that their family member does go missing; all the required information can be instantly accessed and handed to the officers. Helping to reduce the time it takes to gather information, which can prove vital in the event of a missing person.

To find out more about the Herbert Protocol or to register a friend or family member visit https://www.cheshire.police.uk/advice-and-support/missing-persons/herbert-protocol/.