Belfast Telegraph

Protecting the elderly is our main priority

By ACC Stephen Martin

The PSNI is all too aware of the impact crimes against older people can have and the fear that these incidents can engender in a community.

I want to assure people that we do not underestimate this.

Uniform police officers and detectives across the service are working hard on a daily basis to identify and apprehend those who commit crimes against older people.

We are committed to engaging with the groups and organisations that represent older people and those who advocate on their behalf.

Tackling burglary, particularly where older people are the victims, remains an important issue for the police service.

A four-strand approach, focusing on investigative, operational, preventative and partnership opportunities, aims to support our overall aim of keeping people safe.

It is also an essential feature of our strategy that people feel empowered to report concerns to police.

We do not want people to be reluctant to pick up the phone.

Let us know about any suspicious individuals or activity in your area.

Recently we launched a national anti-burglary media campaign and simultaneously announced the implementation of the 'Nominated Neighbour' scheme. The scheme sees older people identify a 'nominated neighbour' who can be contacted by unknown and unexpected callers to the older person's home.

The caller is shown a contact card by the older person which instructs them to contact their 'Nominated Neighbour', who can then deal with the caller, verify their identity, and accompany the older person during any communication.

We know that the issue of crime against older people requires not only a policing response but also a community response. We want every member of our community to feel safe and protected, while also being enabled and encouraged to feel in control of their own security and safety.

The PSNI will continue to work with partners and communities to make progress in this area and improve overall service delivery for older people.

  • Stephen Martin is Assistant Chief Constable with the PSNI

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