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Dementia Friendly Recognition for Police and OPCC

During an event organised at Gwent Police's Headquarters in Cwmbran today, Gwent PCC Jeff Cuthbert and the Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Jeff Farrar, were presented with the official Alzheimer's Society 'Dementia Friendly Community' kite mark in recognition of the commitment of their organisations to support people living with dementia.

Dementia is a chronic or persistent disorder caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning. 1 in 14 people over 65 years of age reported to be living with dementia and it can have a great impact on family members who take on a caring role for loved ones.

To achieve the accreditation, both the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Gwent and Gwent Police had to set out how they will work in a dementia friendly way, raise awareness of dementia and meet the seven criteria points set by the Alzheimer's Society.  

To secure Dementia Friendly accreditation, staff from the OPCC and the Force attended awareness sessions to increase their understanding of dementia. Nearly 1,000 front-line officers from Gwent Police also received the training to ensure that they are able to understand and support vulnerable people in the community and respond effectively and with empathy when people with dementia become confused.
  
The Force has also supported and adopted the Herbert Protocol, a national safeguarding plan which assists Police, health and the local authorities to reduce the risk of harm people with dementia are exposed to in the unfortunate event they go missing. The Herbert Protocol initiative is named after George Herbert, a War veteran of the Normandy landings, who lived with dementia. The protocol encourages carers to compile useful information which could be used in the event of a vulnerable person going missing.
  
Welcoming the accreditation, the Police and Crime Commissioner for Gwent, Jeff Cuthbert, said: "We fully support the Dementia Friendly Community concept and a lot of work has been undertaken internally to ensure that my staff and staff and officers at Gwent Police fully understand the challenges faced by people living with dementia and the wider implications it can have. This complements and clarifies the high standards we already expect from all of our employees with regards to delivering a quality service with a focus on what matters to our communities."
  
The Chief Constable of Gwent Police, Jeff Farrar, said: "The Dementia Friendly kite mark is a testament to our commitment as a Force to providing the best quality of service to some of the most vulnerable people in our community. We recognise the need to protect and support people living with dementia who may become confused, go missing and generally need people to understand their condition. By providing essential awareness raising sessions to all of our staff and officers, we are providing a more effective service to individuals and the families of those living with dementia."
  
Phil Diamond, Theme Lead for the Health & Social Care Transformation Team at Torfaen Council, who worked with the Force and OPCC, said: "The development of a Dementia Friendly Community involves the whole community improving their understanding of dementia and becoming 'Dementia Friends'.  Everybody will be touched by dementia at some point - if it is not immediate family, it will be extended family or friends - but it only takes 45 minutes to be become a dementia friend and find out more information about dementia.  This started as a project under the Social Services and Wellbeing Act but has become a social movement over the last year and we have created over 7000 dementia friends across Gwent.  I congratulate both Gwent Police and OPCC on receiving their awards and to my knowledge the only Force and OPCC to officially receive these awards."

For further information about how your organisation can become a Dementia Friend, please visit www.dementiafriends.org.uk