Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Delivering Advice

Following a successful pilot project in Worcester Park, police officers are teaming up with the Meals on Wheels service in Sutton to help stop elderly and vulnerable people becoming victims of bogus traders and doorstep tricksters.

During last year's pilot in Worcester Park and Nonsuch, the Meals on Wheels team handed out 60 police safety packs to residents.

Sgt Suzannah James, of Worcester Park Safer Neighbourhoods Team, who has been pioneering the project, said the safety packs have been so well received by residents that it was decided to expand the scheme across the borough:

"This is all about organisations working together to help people and keep them safe. We do not want to cause unnecessary alarm or distress but just wish to provide residents with up-to-date information about current crime trends along with helpful tips on crime prevention methods.”

PCSO Wendy Stephens, of Worcester Park Safer Neighbourhoods
Team with Meals On Wheels volunteers Hazel and Alan Williams

Police Community Support Officers will be accompanying Meal on Wheels volunteers when they do their lunchtime rounds. At the same time as the meal is being delivered, the PCSOs will quickly introduce themselves and deliver a pack about ‘How to stay safe’.

Because there is only a very short time for PCSOs to say talk to residents during these meal visits, a follow-up visit will be arranged within a couple of weeks. At this second visit, officers will go through the information in the safety pack and explain its key points.

For example, residents will be told:
  • to refuse entry to any doorstep callers claiming to be digital switchover TV engineers unless they have arranged for an authorised engineer to visit their home
  • not to allow in any unknown or unexpected callers. Such callers may not be who they say they are and just want to talk their way inside to steal cash, jewellery and other valuables
  • to treat all callers without an appointment, except for known friends, family and neighbours, as suspicious, refuse entry and call 999 for the police immediately
More than 300 recipients of Meals on Wheels are expected to receive the Safety Pack and receive a follow-up visit by a PCSO.

The Safer Sutton Partnership Service, which manages the borough’s community safety services (including neighbourhood policing)  has been working closely with the borough’s network of community-based service providers to ensure that information about personal security is delivered to Sutton’s elderly and vulnerable people.