A new scheme to help trace vulnerable missing people has been launched.

Called the Herbert Protocol, the initiative helps police officers respond quickly if someone vulnerable goes missing.

The scheme has already had success throughout the UK prior to its launch in the Highlands and Islands.

It is made up of a detailed form, which can be pre-populated with vital information such as a photograph, contact details, medication required and significant locations.

This can be used by officers to save vital time in a missing person inquiry.

The scheme will be promoted with everyone registered with adult care services in the Highlands, including people living with dementia, a learning disability or experiencing mental ill health.

Sergeant David Campbell, missing person co-ordinator for Highland and Islands Division, said: "People go missing for a variety of reasons and unfortunately vulnerable people becoming lost, distressed or disorientated is something that we can be faced with.

"This not only puts the missing person at risk but it also causes considerable distress for their loved ones.

"In the Highlands alone, more than 40 people with dementia have been reported missing in the last year.

"Speed is of the essence in any missing person enquiry - the longer someone is missing, particularly if they are vulnerable, then the greater the risk to them.

“The Herbert Protocol enables people to be assured that all relevant information can be passed quickly to police, and will provide vital assistance to officers in their search efforts."

The Herbert Protocol originated in Norfolk and takes its name after Normandy landings veteran George Herbert, who lived with dementia and sadly died in 2011 after he went missing while looking for his childhood home.

If a family has a relative in a care home and wishes to complete the paperwork in their respect they would initially discuss that with the care home who would then include that in the individual's care plan.

For relatives at home the paperwork can be obtained through any police station.