Partnership initiative to tackle doorstep crime

A multi-agency initiative to protect the most vulnerable members of the Inverness Community from doorstep crime was launched today (22 March) at Trading Standards offices, Harbour Road, Inverness.

The joint campaign is the result of a partnership between The Highland Council Trading Standards, Northern Constabulary and NHS Highland.

The key message of the campaign will be ‘Your Doorstep, Your Decision’ and will focus on those residents who are looked after through the NHS’s Home Care Programme. Every day, carers and community health professionals go into these homes. The partners in this initiative see this as a valuable opportunity for these carers to provide advice, pass simple crime prevention tips and find out if patients have or are being targeted. There will also be a simple reporting mechanism set up so that information can be fed back to Police and Trading Standards who can then act accordingly.

The main aims of the campaign will be to try to prevent this type of crime and to raise awareness to empower people to make the right decisions on their doorsteps and in their homes.

Gordon Robb, Highland Council's Trading Standards Manager, said: “This partnership initiative offers a unique and effective way to support those who are the most vulnerable to doorstep crime.”

“In order to try and prevent this type of crime we need to raise awareness of how it is committed and the simple steps we can all take to protect ourselves and those we care about and for. If something does happen, the Community Health teams will be able to recognise the signs, offer support and will have a way to report the matter to both Trading Standards and the Police. These reports will allow us to target these criminals.”

Jean Pierre Sieczkarek, Locality General Manager, South East Highland Community Health Partnership, said: "The South East Highland Community Health Partnership is delighted to work with Trading Standards and Northern Constabulary on this joint initiative.

“Our staff are at the forefront of supporting vulnerable people in their homes. By working together we can help the Police and Trading Standards target their resources in the most efficient way to protect our patients. This project is evidence of a continuing development of the excellent relationships between our agencies and part of continuing close working into the future."

Temporary Superintendent Graeme Murdoch, Divisional Commander, East Division of Northern Constabulary, said: "Every year, criminals try without conscience to exploit the trust and vulnerability of the elderly and other members of our community.

“Many fall victim to rogue traders, under-handed sales practices and theft from their homes. We recognise that this not only has financial consequences but can also have a significant negative impact on health and a sense of security in the home.”

He added: “We are committed to finding and dealing with the callous individuals who commit these types of crime. However, with this initiative, we and our partners in Health and Trading Standards have joined forces to help people to prevent themselves becoming victims in their own homes.

“It is also an ideal opportunity to raise awareness with some simple crime prevention messages which we can all use to help elderly and vulnerable people we know and care for in our communities.”

Evelyn Sinclair, Stay Safe Volunteer co-ordinator, said: "Over the past year the unique partnership project known as Stay Safe has been arranging for older volunteers to speak to older groups on the specific issues of doorstep crime and also of SCAMS.

"The evidence we have gathered from the groups indicates that the information regarding how to deal with these situations has been welcomed by those attending.  However we have struggled with the issue of how to get the same quality of information to those older individuals who may be housebound and do not attend any group meetings.

"The new partnership will provide the ideal vehicle for the distribution of the information to an even greater number of vulnerable individuals and we warmly  welcome this new partnership initiative."

23 Mar 2012