Belfast Telegraph

Pensioners need better support

By Pauline Reynolds

South Belfast MLA Conall McDevitt has urged both the PSNI and the Executive to provide better support for older people living in the area.

The call came after an 80-year-old woman suffered a terrifying ordeal when her home was burgled last Saturday evening.

She was restrained by one of a number of men who she disturbed in her house in Upper Malone Park at around 9.15pm.

During the burglary the elderly lady sustained a cut to the lip and the gang fled with a small amount of cash.

Mr McDevitt has called for a major police drive to protect elderly people and for community support for elderly neighbours.

He revealed that crime against pensioners was now becoming a “weekly occurrence” in the south of the city.

“In this part of the city criminals are targeting the most vulnerable in our community, robbing and attacking older people,” he continued.

“The attack may only take minutes but the fear and scars can last for a very long time.

“Police need to target those attacking older people. The Executive also needs to look at how it can provide more practical support.

“Today lots of advice is offered but not a lot in terms of practical ‘in house’ security measures.”

Mr McDevitt said that in 2003 the NIO launched a £2.5 million campaign to tackle crime against older people.

He outlined how government planned to supply and fit, free of charge, additional security measures in the homes of approximately 10,000 people aged 75 and over.

“I am not aware that such a scheme is in operation today and I am calling on the Executive to bring forward a strategy to support the elderly who are now living in fear.”

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