Pilot scheme helping those with dementia showcased at Westminster

05 Aug 2015 08:00 AM

Northumbria Police [View Full Size]

An innovative pilot scheme designed to help people suffering from dementia has been showcased at the House of Commons.

Superintendent Mick Paterson and Community Engagement Officer Michelle Redfern were invited to Westminster as guests of Alzheimer's CEO Jeremy Hughes and Speaker John Berkow.

The visit gave the opportunity for the joint initiative between Northumbria Police and the charity, working under the name Dementia Friends, to be discussed.

Chosen as a finalist in this year's Dementia Friendly Awards in September in the category Best Dementia Friendly Organisational Initiative, the pilot scheme is up and running in Northumberland and involves officers being given specialist training to help advise them about the condition, how it can affect people, how to spot the signs of someone with it and how to handle their needs.

Officers also use information provided by family members and carers to build a picture of where someone with dementia may be likely to go if missing so that they can locate them.

The programme has been rolled out to care homes across the county encouraging them to compile a file on each individual resident with dementia that would indicate to police where to concentrate their search in the event the person goes missing.

Supt Paterson said: "This pilot scheme is a great example of how working together with our partners can potentially save lives.

"Training was introduced to officers two years ago now and we believe this has helped a number of people living with dementia, enabling us to focus our resources to where they're most needed and quickly.

"Pooling our expertise with that of the Alzheimer's Society and care homes means we can provide the best service possible to those that are most vulnerable in Northumberland.

"I believe as a force we are leading the way with this initiative and are honoured to be shortlisted as a finalist in the Dementia Friendly Awards. We will continue to find ways to enhance the service even further in the future."

George McNamara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at Alzheimer’s Society, added: "We were delighted that Northumbria police were able to join us to celebrate this ground-breaking initiative and highlight the ways the local officers are working to better support people with dementia in the area. Northumbria is not only leading the way, but also demonstrating through partnership, what steps can be taken by everyone to ensure that the needs of people affected by dementia are considered and realised.

"The event was an opportunity for great local work like this to be recognised and also to ensure that the UK Parliament is leading by example in becoming the first dementia friendly parliament in the world. Dementia is a local, as well as national challenge. All of us have a role to play and working together we can transform the lives of people with dementia across Northumbria for the better."

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner Vera Baird represents the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) on the National Mental Health Crisis Care Concordat and this year gave her signature to a regional Crisis Care Concordat which sees police, the NHS, councils and the voluntary sector in the north east coming together to improve the crisis care for those with serious mental health issues.

She said: "I have given my full support to this excellent pilot scheme from the very start and know we are once again a leading force in implementing an innovative project designed to help those who are vulnerable and in most need in our communities.

"The very fact our officers and the Alzheimer's Society were invited to the House of Commons and nominated for an award is testament to the scheme's success and long may it continue. I look forward to seeing how it evolves and enhances over the coming years.

"I'm delighted officers have created such a successful partnership with Alzheimer's Society who work tirelessly to help give a better understanding of dementia and how it effects people.

"By working together, we can ensure those with dementia, their carers and their loved ones are given an outstanding service by our officers who will have a greater understanding and awareness of the condition."

For more information on the Alzheimer's Society visit

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