Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

Playlists in Policing

We’re working with emergency services around the country to support people living with dementia


You may have seen Playlist for Life resources in your local library, dementia hub, care home or GP surgery; but did you know that we also work with the police and fire and rescue service?

In this blog we’re showcasing the work we do with police officers, who provide vital support to vulnerable people in their community, including those living with dementia.

How can playlists help people living with dementia?

A personalised playlist tells the story of a person’s life through music, giving them a ‘flashback feeling’ when they hear the music.

Our work is based on over two decades of research showing that ‘personal music’ – the specific tunes attached to someone’s emotions that can spark memories – can help those living with dementia by alleviating stress, managing symptoms and improving connection with family members and carers. 

That’s why at Playlist for Life, we want to ensure everyone living with dementia has access to a unique personal playlist and that everyone who loves and cares for them should know how to use it to support them. 

“It’s (using Playlist for Life) probably one of the very few positive things that has happened in my husband’s life since his dementia took over.” – Wife and carer

Playlists in Policing

Police Officers provide vital support to vulnerable people in their community through their community policing, visiting people at home or at a time of crisis. Playlist for Life can be an extra tool for Police Officers to share with families in the community affected by dementia that can help. Using a playlist can reduce symptoms such as stress and distressed behaviours, confusion and wandering, all of which can lead to increased contact with emergency services.

Police Officers are sharing our resources during home visits,  community engagement and in Herbert Protocol packs. The Herbert Protocol is a form which family members or carers complete for a person living with dementia who may be at risk of going missing. To learn more about the form, watch this short explainer video from Police Scotland

We want people to know that personal music can help, and everyone who comes in to contact with people affected by dementia can get involved in raising awareness. 

Playlist for Life has partnered with over 2000 community organisations across the UK including libraries, dementia cafes and carer centres and have even shared resources with Police Services and Fire Services (in 2021 we announced a partnership with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service)

PC Jordanne Watson has been sharing Playlist for Life resources within her community since 2020:

At Kirkintilloch Police Office we include Playlist for Life resources in the Herbert Protocol packs we share with people living with dementia and their families in our community.

We are well placed to share information with people about support that can help them stay safe and live well and Playlist for Life is a simple tool that people can use to improve their own wellbeing.

Encouraging people to include personally meaningful music in their Herbert Protocol could be very useful for officers supporting people living with dementia, during visits to their home or in a missing persons situation. This music can reduce anxiety and distress as well as create a familiar connection for the person at a time when they may be feeling lost or confused.           

I would encourage other officers to share Playlist for Life resources in their community.”

PC Jordanne Watson
Police Scotland | Greater Glasgow Division

Help Point Network – How do I sign up?

If you are a Police Officer and would like to share our resources, you can learn more about becoming a Playlist for Life Help Point and sign up to join our growing network here! Every organisation that becomes a Help Point receives a FREE welcome pack containing:

And it’s not just Police Services that can join the Help Point network. 

Any organisation that can provide free advice, support or activity to people affected by dementia are invited to apply, from grassroots community groups to libraries, dementia cafes, sports clubs, community Fire and Rescue Services and GP Surgeries. No matter how you reach your community, there are multiple ways for you to share the power of personal music.

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