Boys and girls in blue – and green – helping to protect the elderly
A partnership between South Wales Police and Wiltshire Farm Foods is helping to protect the elderly across Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Delivery drivers for the popular frozen food business are now delivering advice – on top of food – to its thousands of customers in all corners of the community.
This new front line is made up of five drivers, who deliver to more than 2000 customers, and cover nearly 300 miles a week. They are giving crime prevention advice to customers and feeding valuable information about suspicious incidents or concerns back to the police.
It the first partnership of its kind in south Wales, and it has potential to be rolled-out far and wide as the food company delivers food to customers right across the country.
Deborah Elward, Crime Reduction Tactical Advisor for South Wales Police, said:
“Through this partnership we are giving help and advice to a wider target audience, to people who may never come into contact with a police officer until it’s too late.”
There are examples of how the partnership has worked since it was launched in August 2015. One driver raised the alarm when an elderly women tried to give him her credit cards – with their support, social services were contacted and able to contact her relatives and put in motion appropriate care measures. Another woman confided in her driver that some unsolicited men had charged her £50 an hour for gardening work – this information was passed to the police and is now under investigation. The same delivery driver was there to intervene when an unknown man asked an elderly customer if he could come into the house for a glass of water, potentially preventing a distraction burglary there and then.
“We know that elderly people are being targeted by criminals and we know that many will not report incidents directly to the police. Delivery drivers for Wiltshire Farm Foods build a rapport with their customers – who they meet regularly – and it puts them in a prime position to act in that first responder role, when quite often, the matter may never otherwise have been reported.”
Statistics show that elderly people are much more likely to become a victim of rogue trader-type offences or doorstep scams.
Peter McLaren-Kennedy, owner of Wiltshire Farm Foods in Cardiff:
“We are delighted to be partnering up with South Wales Police and Trading Standards to help keep our customers safe in their homes and to protect them from rogue traders. All too often we find customers having fallen prey to those that think nothing of overcharging a vulnerable person or coercing them into paying for unnecessary work. We have trained our staff and drivers to look out for their customers and to signpost those who have fallen prey or who are in danger of becoming another statistic. The good news is that this has already paid dividends and we have already been able to come to the aid of a number of customers. This new partnership will enable us to protect people further.”