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Police chief calls for national dementia database

Police chief calls for national dementia database
5th November 2013

Sir Peter Fahy, chief constable for Greater Manchester, believes that the details of all people living with dementia in the UK should be held on a central database so that the police can better serve those with the condition.

He told BBC Radio 5 live Investigates that 400 of the 7,200 officers in his area are deflected from their normal duties each year because they are called out to deal with people who have mental problems.

"It's a growing issue and sometimes it is because people suffering from dementia go missing, sometimes it's because they have fallen at home and they are confused and we need to gain access on behalf of the ambulance service," he said.

"We have some people with dementia who are ringing us 30 times a day and clearly we have to take every one of those calls seriously."

He said a national database will make it easier for officers to contact a dementia sufferers loved ones if they are called out to a particular address.

However, the Alzheimer's Society has stated it is not keen on the idea as it may create more problems than it solves.

George McNamara, the head of policy at the charity, said a more effective plan would involve better sharing of existing information between the police and social services.

Recent research from the BBC found that the majority of police forces across the UK have seen a rise in call outs to people with dementia in the past two years.

Sussex Police has had to deal with the biggest increase – up from 682 calls in 2010 to 1,815 last year.

It is estimated that there are currently around 820,000 people living with some form of dementia in the UK and the figure is expected to rise above the one million mark by 2020 unless a major breakthrough in research is made.

Read more about Barchester's dementia care homes