A vulnerable missing woman was located and safely returned home within 60 minutes – thanks to a swift response by officers.
Just after 1am yesterday morning (Wednesday), police received a report that an elderly woman with dementia was missing from her address in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea.
Officers were immediately dispatched to the Northumberland town, and a range of searches were carried out in a bid to locate the missing 86-year-old.
Using vital information supplied from relatives, the woman’s known haunts were identified, and officers scoured the small town to find her and bring her to safety.
Within the hour, the woman was located on a lifeboat ramp a few meters from the sea. She was thought to be suffering symptoms of hypothermia and was taken to hospital by colleagues at North East Ambulance Service (NEAS) for treatment.
Chief Inspector Phil Mcconville of Northumbria Police said: “Thanks to the swift action and teamwork from our officers and our partners at NEAS, a vulnerable woman with dementia who was outdoors on her own, just meters from the sea, was safely located and escorted to safety.
“I’m so proud of the response from officers to this situation, and I’ve no doubt that had they not taken such swift and decisive action, this situation could have ended in tragedy.
“Northumbria Police puts vulnerability at the heart of everything we do and, with the assistance of partnership working, we will continue everything we can to secure a positive outcome.
“A big thanks to our colleagues at NEAS – I’m sure the public are reassured to know how closely we work to protect those who need it most.”
Ch Insp Mcconville added: “At Northumbria Police, we are proud to use the Herbert Protocol - a nationwide scheme which encourages carers and family members to record useful information which could be used if a vulnerable person with Alzheimer’s or dementia goes missing. Thankfully, on this occasion, we were able to locate the woman with information from her relative, but this is not always possible.
A NEAS spokesperson said: "Yesterday morning, (Wednesday 24 May) at 2.08am we received a call from the police to reports of a person injured outside the lifeboat station on Prospect Place, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. We dispatched an ambulance crew who transported the patient to the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital (NSECH) for further treatment."
For more information on The Herbert Protocol, other similar protocols in place, or advice on what to do with missing persons episodes, search ‘Missing People’ on the Northumbria Police website.