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Force welcomes new 'Winnie Protocol' scheme which launches today to help locate missing adults
18 Nov | 12:03

Police and safeguarding partners have worked together to launch the initiative across Northumbria

From depression to family disputes and even exploitation - people go missing for many reasons.

When this happens our officers will do everything they can to help bring people home quickly and safely.

And the Force has teamed up with partners from the six Safeguarding Adult Boards across Northumberland, Tyne and Wear to develop a new scheme - named the Winnie Protocol - to help locate and support adults who go missing.

The scheme encourages carers and professionals to fill out a useful form which is designed to tell police more about an individual so officers will have details to hand that could prove crucial during a search.

Inspector Lynne Colledge, of Northumbria Police’s Safeguarding Department, played a leading role in developing the scheme.

She said: “The Winnie Protocol is about police and safeguarding partners working together.

“The protocol introduces a simple and easy to fill out form which will ask about the missing person’s medication needs as well as contact details of close friends and family.

“Going a step further it will also ask about the individual’s interests and hobbies, routines, places where they frequently visit or places of special significance.

“This form is so important because it can give us a detailed history of the person, whether they have been missing before, where they were found and where they are likely to go.”

She added: “We already have a team of dedicated Missing From Home (MFH) Co-ordinators, whose job it is to explore the reasons behind why someone goes missing – focusing on prevention and limiting the times they go missing, by working with partners such as social workers and care professionals to identify support for the individuals.

“This new protocol will assist our MFH Co-ordinators and our officers, who are on the ground searching, and will hopefully allow us to locate missing people faster so we can offer them the vital support they need.”

Gateshead Safeguarding Adults Board Business Manager Carole Paz-Uceira said: “The six Safeguarding Adult Boards within the Northumbria Police area welcome the opportunity to develop a consistent approach to how we work together to support adults who go missing. 

“Adults go missing for many different reasons and may require the support from a wide variety of agencies including mental health, substance misuse, housing providers or social care.”

More information and support can be found on the Northumbria Police website and the Missing People Charity’s website.

And remember, if a loved one goes missing there is no time limit for making a missing person report. If you are concerned a friend or family member may come to harm and cannot be located please contact police immediately by calling 101 or 999 in the event of an emergency.

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