Lost and confused in Newcastle. The social experiment which has pulled heartstrings across the nation
22 Jul | 11:54

The bold experiment was carried out as part of the "It could be nothing..." campaign to raise awareness around vulnerability.

This is the heartbreaking video that has police officers in tears. Grab your hankies, it's emotional. 


WATCH the emotional moment a man in his sixties who appears lost and confused on a busy city centre street seeks help to find his daughter.

Do people stop to help? Is he dismissed as a nuisance, or worse, completely ignored?

This was a bold social experiment carried out by Northumbria Police to help understand if total strangers are willing to help those who may be distressed and need our help the most.

Local actor - Brian - took on the role of a vulnerable person on a busy high street in Newcastle  on a Wednesday afternoon. 

His character showed signs of early onset dementia and was unable to remember where he was meeting his daughter or where he was.

Brian was specially trained by the Alzheimer’s Society as to how people living with early onset dementia may present to really get into the role. At no point was he asking for money or personal information - he simply just needed help.

On the whole, the people of Newcastle upheld their reputation of being some of the friendliest and most helpful people in the country after the majority of those the man interacted with took a moment to assist  - some even flagging down a nearby police officer to help who also happened to be in on the experiment. 

Chief Constable Winton Keenen of Northumbria Police has praised members of the public who took the time to help the man and says they absolutely did the right thing.

But the sad fact remains that there were a few who dismissed him, brushed off his plea for help or even completely ignored him.

Chief Constable Keenen said: "This experiment has been something completely new for us and it has been a bold step to take. However, given the absolute importance of protecting those most vulnerable in society, a different approach is what needs to be taken.

"It is imperative we all understand what vulnerability can look like in day-to-day life and, more importantly, how we can all do our bit to help.

"To the people who stopped to help - you are a credit to our community - you have affirmed our belief that we are still the chivalrous and friendly folk we North Easterners are proud to be. I would urge anyone who sees someone who appears to be vulnerable to speak out or contact police. 

"There is clearly still work to be done to educate and inform people about vulnerability and the many forms this can present in. We need communities to be our eyes and ears and tell us when something doesn't look right. We need your help to look out for people who need our help. 

"This experiment is the start of our ‘It could be nothing but…’ campaign. Protecting those who need our help the most is the absolute priority for us and we are doing all we can to spread the word that safeguarding is everyone's business."

If you have any concerns about someone who may be vulnerable please search 'Northumbria Police tell us something' to report online or call 999 if someone is in immediate danger.

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