Dementia training pays off for police

Supt Mick Paterson with Barbara Bow and Danielle Hayes, of the Alzheimer's Society.
Supt Mick Paterson with Barbara Bow and Danielle Hayes, of the Alzheimer's Society.

Police have teamed up with a charity to improve their response for people with dementia.

Officers in Northumberland have worked with the Alzheimer’s Society to become Dementia Friends, learning about the signs of dementia and what they need to consider when dealing with someone living with the condition.

The awareness-raising initiative aims to ensure police can quickly find people with dementia who have gone missing, using information provided by family members and carers to build up a picture of the individual and where they may go.

Officers have already put their training into operation, finding a man with dementia who had wandered off in less than an hour and providing reassurance to avoid causing him distress.

The programme has been rolled out to care homes, encouraging them to compile a file on each of their residents with dementia to help police if they should go missing.

Superintendent Mick Paterson said: “This is an example of how working together can potentially save lives. Working with the Alzheimer’s Society and care homes has allowed us to work together with the experts to provide the best services possible.”

Alzheimer’s Society Operations Manager for North and South of Tyne, Danielle Hayes, said: “We are delighted that by working together with Northumbria Police we are taking steps towards making Northumberland a better, safer place to live for people with dementia, their carers and loved ones.”