On the UN International Day of Older Persons, Tuesday (1 October), Sussex Police have re-affirmed the force’s commitment to promoting the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of older people.
International Day of Older Persons aims to stand up to ageism and those behaviours which victimise the older members of our communities.
In July 2019, Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Police, Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) released a report on all police forces across England and Wales seeking improvements in service delivery for older victims of crime.
Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell said: “We welcome the findings of the recent HMIC inspection report which presents some national recommendations to improve service delivery and safeguarding for older victims of crime.
“We will monitor the progress of National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) work in developing a consistent national definition of an older person and we have already started work to develop our response to the inspection findings through our public protection teams”
Sussex Police works hard to protect the elderly from crime. Prevention teams liaise closely with communities to reduce and prevent crime, such as fraud which is increasingly targeted at older people.
PCSO Damian Cecil, a member of the Horsham Prevention Team, says:
“We take crime against the elderly very seriously, and with more than 70% of fraud targeted at those over 60, this is a priority issue for whole force. As well as rogue traders, there are fraudsters who prey on the vulnerable by telephone, on the doorstep, by email and online too, including romance fraud.”
“We support and give reassurance to victims of these crimes, and safeguard them so they won’t be targeted further. We also gather intelligence to assist our prevention teams and Financial Investigations Unit in targeting fraudsters and disrupting fraud.
“To make others aware of the risks we visit sheltered housing schemes, social groups where we engage with elderly people and advise them on how keep themselves safe.”
Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne comments: “Research shows that nuisance calls, scams and financial coercion are the biggest concerns for older residents and in counties like Sussex, it is the 75+ age group that has proved most vulnerable to these crimes.
“I am pleased that Sussex Police continues to work hard on initiatives like Operation Signature which has been recognised by HMICFRS as good practice in identifying and supporting vulnerable victims of fraud.
“We must continue to provide preventative measures to support and protect older residents from being targeted by criminals in the future. This is why I funded two fraud caseworkers, who helped and supported 638 people last year alone; none of which have fallen victim to fraud since.”
See further information and advice about Sussex Police’s priorities of protecting older people on the Sussex Police website. For more information about the International Day of Older Persons click here. To find more information on the support services available for older and vulnerable victims, visit Safe Space Sussex.
For further information on how to spot and prevent frauds against the elderly and vulnerable see the Op Signature pages on the Sussex Police website.