WILTSHIRE Police will trial a scheme in Swindon this winter to help find vulnerable people in the event of them going missing.

The Herbert Protocol will encourage carers and family members to complete a form in advance which records vital information about a person, such a recent photo, their condition and medication they require.

The information can then be quickly passed onto police who can use it to plan their search in the first critical hours of someone reported missing, what the police refer to as the 'golden hour'.

The Herbert Protocol is named after George Herbert, a war veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia.

If successful the scheme will go nationwide.

Detective Inspector Mark Kent, Wiltshire Police lead for missing people, is heading the project. “I really welcome the opportunity to work with the Swindon Dementia Steering Group to pilot the Herbert Protocol."

"This work will help us and help carers keep vulnerable people safe.”

One of the partners backing the scheme is Swindon Carers Centre which supports 4,000 carers.

Melanie Dix, service delivery manager said “It is extremely important for carers to put contingency planning in place to support them and the person they care for in an emergency."

"This is always done most successfully when people have the time and energy to consider the 'what if's' and not during a crisis situation. We are looking forward to supporting the unpaid Carers of Swindon utilise the Wiltshire Herbert Protocol Scheme.”

Wiltshire Police has dealt with 1,456 reports of missing people in the last six months.

It advises people to call 101 straightaway, or 999 if the missing person is a child or someone thought to be at serious risk or harm.