A safe haven for vulnerable people in Northamptonshire
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A partnership between Northamptonshire Police and West Northants Council will create safe havens for vulnerable people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s who go missing in Northampton.
The Safe Haven Scheme originated in Cleveland when an Inspector called Phil Spencer wanted an alternative place to take vulnerable and elderly people when they were found instead of a police station.
Several care homes were approached to see if they would be willing to be a safe place for these people to wait with a police officer whilst their family or care home came to collect them.
The scheme was noticed by Detective Sergeant Adi Sharpe in Northamptonshire Police’s Missing Persons Unit and he has worked hard to adopt it in this county.
The care homes signed up will be able to offer a safe environment for a vulnerable person who has been found but who cannot provide personal details or an address.
While a police officer waits with them whilst enquiries take place to ascertain their details, they will be offered a comfortable place to sit, a cup of tea and light refreshments, and a blanket if they are cold or a cool fan if they are overheated.
DS Adi Sharpe, said: “Police stations are very confusing environments if you are living with dementia or Alzheimer’s and have been found after being reported missing.
“That’s why I really liked the idea of this scheme because it provides people with a relaxing place for them to sit and wait with a police officer whilst we try and reunite them with their family or place of residence.”
Cllr David Smith, West Northamptonshire Council Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Engagement, and Regulatory Services, said: “People with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia sometimes go missing and it can be a very traumatic experience for them and their loved ones.
“This scheme will give them somewhere warm, safe and friendly to wait while a family member or close friend comes to pick them up. Care homes are just the right place for this, as their staff have the expertise to handle a variety of circumstances, including the effects of dementia.”