The Philomena Protocol is a scheme that asks carers to identify children and young people who are at risk of going missing, and to record vital information about them that can be used to help find them quickly and safely.
The protocol is named after the Patron Saint of Babies, Infants and Youths and was introduced by Durham Constabulary in 2019. It has been successfully implemented in a number of forces across the country. The scheme focuses on the recording of vital information that is required to assist police with a missing person investigation.
Often, missing young people head for familiar locations or try to find people who they think are their friends or who they can rely on, so having details of these people and places written down in case of emergency can really help to speed up our search.
The form is owned, completed, updated and shared by carers to ensure the most up to date information is recorded.
When to fill in the form
If you're concerned that a young person might go missing, fill in part one of the form as soon as possible along with the Philomena Protocol Risk Assessed Locations form, including a recent photograph.
You should only fill in part two of the form if the young person actually goes missing. Part two includes things like what the young person was wearing at the time and where they were last seen.
When should the form be given to the police?
The form must be shared with the Police upon their initial attendance, when the young person has been reported as missing.
Where should the form be kept?
Keep the form somewhere secure, where you or any other carer can find it quickly day or night. The form can be kept in digital or paper format.
What if a young person goes missing?
If you discover the child or young person has gone missing, and it is safe to do so, you should take steps to try and find them immediately. For example:
Call the child or young person’s mobile phone.
Contact their friends or relatives to see if they have seen the child or young person.
Check the place the child or young person was last seen or was expected to be.
Check any places that the young person is known to frequent.
Allow the child or young person a reasonable period to return of their own accord.
If you are unable to do this, call 101 to report them missing and tell the call handler that you have a Philomena Protocol form.
If it's an emergency and the young person is in danger, phone 999 immediately.
When a young person leaves your care
The Philomena Protocol is used in many areas nationally, so please transfer the form to the new carer, who will be responsible for keeping it safe and up to date. Similarly, if a young person transfers to your care from another area, check whether they have an existing Philomena Protocol in place that you would now be responsible for.
If you are a care provider and would like to find out more about the Philomena Protocol please contact: [email protected]