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Merseyside Police launches new officer identification protocol for people who are visually impaired

Merseyside Police has launched a new way to help people who are visually impaired confirm whether a person at their door is a police officer.

Anyone with any form of visual impairment can use the verification protocol, which is made possible by the Police Contact Centre, either over the phone or by the attending officer using an agreed password.

Password

There are two instances when the protocol can be used. The first is when someone with a visual impairment, rings 101 or 999 to ask for police attendance at their address. In this scenario, a password is chosen during the call and the officer who calls at the address will use this password to verify their identity.

The second scenario is when someone with a visual impairment needs to verify the identity of a police officer who is calling at their address although they have not dialled 101 or 999 to request police attendance. Whether it’s a planned visit or not, the occupant can call 101 and give details provided by the officer to the police call handler to verify their identity.

Carers and anyone who provides support to someone who is visually impaired can also use the service.

Details about the Visual Impairment Protocol are being distributed to people across Merseyside who are visually impaired, by councils and other organisations including charities.

More information can be found on the Merseyside Police website.

 Warrant

All police employees (including those in uniform) carry an identification or warrant card, but it can be difficult for someone with a visual impairment to make out details of a uniform or to see a photograph or details on a card.

Superintendent Mark Wiggins of Merseyside Police described the protocol as an extra layer of security and assurance for potentially vulnerable people. He said: “The person with the visual impairment is safeguarded by verifying the identity of the police officer, before letting them into the premises. This verification is facilitated by our contact centre, either over the phone or by the attending officer using an agreed password.

“Similar initiatives have been implemented by other forces across the UK and we have adapted the protocol for use in Merseyside. Examples of good practice like this are shared between forces at a national level and we recognised the protocol’s potential to enhance our accessibility and support for vulnerable members of the community.”

He added: “The partnership approach taken to develop the Visual Impairment Protocol for use in Merseyside is a good example of preventative policing. It’s about problem solving and reducing the risk to vulnerable members of the community becoming a victim of a bogus caller who purports to be a police officer.”

Simple but effective

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner Emily Spurrell said: “It’s vitally important that police officers and staff who go to the door of a victim or witness are able to identify themselves.

“This simple but effective process provides greater security and safeguarding for visually-impaired members of our community, ensuring they can have confidence that the person coming to the door is who they say they are and can be trusted.”

“I’d like to thank everyone who has helped to introduce this worthwhile scheme here in Merseyside and I would urge anyone who knows someone with a visual impairment to let them know about this useful protocol.”

Find out more.  

ASB Awareness Week: Making Communities Safer

Merseyside Police will be working with local communities and partners across next week to highlight the support available to people experiencing anti-social behaviour and the work taking place in Sefton to prevent and tackle it.

The 19-25 July has been nationally identified as a week to shine a spotlight on anti-social behaviour to help make communities safer.

During the week, in Sefton, Merseyside Police and partners including One Vision Housing will be building on the work they carry out on a daily basis in our communities to address the issues that matter to Sefton residents. From school visits, open land searches and leaflet drops to quad bike patrols and high visibility presence in hot spot areas they will engage with communities across the borough.

Chief Superintendent for Local Policing, Zoe Thornton said, “Anti-social behaviour is a priority for Merseyside Police and this awareness week offers an opportunity to highlight the issues of ASB and the impact it can have on the local communities.

People deserve to feel safe where they live and our activities this week will highlight some of the work that we undertake on a daily basis to support our communities and tackle ASB.

Merseyside’s Police Commissioner, Emily Spurrell said: “Anti-social behaviour can have a hugely damaging effect for victims who are repeatedly and persistently targeted. It causes fear, stress, anxiety, depression and leaves people too scared to leave their front door and even afraid while they are inside their own home.

“That’s why tackling and preventing ASB is one of my priorities. I welcome the launch of the UK’s first official ASB Awareness Week and all the fantastic multi-agency initiatives planned by Merseyside Police and our partners over the next week and beyond.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe where they live.  I hope this event will help to bring communities together to take a stand against ASB and highlight the help and support which is available to anyone affected by it.”

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing, said: “In Sefton we continue to do all we can alongside our partners in the police, to curb any and all instances of anti-social behaviour (ASB).

“We hope that the community join us in supporting Anti-Social Behaviour Awareness week and this is an opportune moment for us all to remind ourselves of what we can do to help keep our fantastic borough safe and free from this kind of harm and upset.

“We have a committed and hard working ASB team who regularly team up with partners in housing and uniformed services to support victims, as well as proactively reducing the amount of ASB we see in our communities.

“The Sefton Safer Communities Partnership funds, via its Crime Reduction Grant, many activities throughout the year that offer diversionary activities to help reduce Anti-Social behaviour.”

Activity taking place throughout the week includes:

  • Sefton’s Local Policing team will continue the work they do on a daily basis to deploy patrols to ASB hotspot areas
  • Quad bikes will patrol areas where police receive reports of those riding scrambler bikes illegally
  • Sefton schools officers will deliver talks to pupils about the impact and consequences of anti-social behaviour in local communities
  • A joint operation around persistent ASB with One Vision Housing to address concerns from their residents
  • Social media Q&A for residents in Seaforth, Crosby, Waterloo, Blundellsands, Bootle and Litherland

ASB Awareness Week is organised by community safety specialists Resolve, ASB Awareness Week is being backed by the Home Office, Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Local Government Association (LGA), National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and the National Fire Chiefs’ Council (NFCC).

Rebecca Bryant OBE, Chief Executive of Resolve, said: “As the nation begins to recover from the impact of the pandemic and our society and economy celebrates the start of return to normal life, it is important that the challenge of ASB continues to be given the priority it needs nationally and locally so that people feel safe in their homes and communities.

“We are delighted Sefton is involved in this hugely important and successful campaign. It is vital to develop partnership approaches across communities to deal with the growing challenges around ASB. Everyone has the right to feel safe in their home and community.”

To find out what is happening each day follow Merseyside Police’s social media accounts for regular updates.

For more information visit www.resolveuk.org.uk/asbawarenessweek

REPORT IT

If you are experiencing anti-social behaviour or are a victim of a crime you are encouraged to report this to Merseyside Police @MerPolCC or online here.

You can also report anonymously to Crimestoppers 0800 555 111

Sefton Council urges residents to stay safe this October/ November

This Halloween and Bonfire Night authorities across the Liverpool City Region are urging residents not to gather or arrange events.

With the Liverpool City Region under Tier 3 restrictions, the risk of transmitting coronavirus is significantly higher than in other areas so mixing with other households should be avoided.

Major outdoor events scheduled to take place this over the Halloween and Bonfire Night period have been cancelled to help reduce the spread of coronavirus and all requests to hold events such as firework displays, no matter how large or small, will be refused for public safety reasons.

Cllr Trish Hardy, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities and Housing said:

“We understand that this is a difficult period as this time of year families would usually be taking part in Halloween and Bonfire Night activities however, this year traditional ‘trick or treating’, parties and firework events are not permitted as this could increase the risk of spreading infection.

“Protecting our residents especially those who are vulnerable is our main priority and I know our communities will work together to help stop the spread of Coronavirus.”

Local authorities will continue to work with the Merseyside Police to help protect residents by ensuring that the restrictions are followed.

Chief Inspector Peter Clark, who is heading this year’s operation for Merseyside Police said:

“As you know there are a number of rules and restrictions in place in relation to Covid-19 – that means that the planned displays and events we normally attend, will not be happening this year. We know that this is another sacrifice we are having to make, however now is a time to pull together, follow the guidance and help to stop the spread.

“We are keen to get the balance right between protecting people from the spread of the coronavirus and ensuring that they can still enjoy this period. We will maintain a common sense approach during the Halloween and Bonfire night period – and are working to encourage people to respect the restrictions and explain why they are so important. Where people are flouting restrictions, we will however take action.

He continued: “Our message regarding anti-social behaviour during this period remains simple – it will not be tolerated and anyone caught committing this type of offence will be dealt with firmly and robustly. No one should have to suffer being the victim of anti-social behaviour and I would like to reassure everyone that there will be extra high-visibility patrols during this time.”

Local authorities are encouraging members of the public to find alternatives to trick or treating and gathering at bonfire or firework displays this year.

As in previous years, council officers will be working with both the Police and Fire services to reduce anti-social behaviour and protect the vulnerable, as well as removing fly-tipped waste and illegal bonfires.

Joe Cunliffe, Station Manager at Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, said: “We know things won’t be the same this year and Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service still wants people to enjoy this period, but now is the time to pull together, follow the guidance and help stop the spread – it’s more important than ever that we all work together to protect our communities and the most vulnerable among them.

“Deliberately started fires in the run up to bonfire night put a huge drain on already overstretched Fire Service resources. You can help to reduce the number of incidents this bonfire period by never giving combustible materials to anyone, especially young people, and making sure your wheelie bin is out of sight – only put it out on collection day and bring it back in in as soon as possible.”

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service is encouraging members of the public not to have bonfires on public land this year in order to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Station Manager Cunliffe added: “Community bonfires must not take place on public land, as this will encourage people to gather in breach of current restrictions. Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service will respond to reports of fires and will extinguish them throughout the bonfire period. We would urge people to report any combustible material that could be used for deliberate fires via our website www.merseyfire.gov.uk, by calling 0800 731 5958 or via our social media pages.

“If you decide to have fireworks at home, only buy them from reputable retailers registered with MFRS. Please observe the restrictions and always follow the firework code.”

For further information on how to stay safe this Halloween and Bonfire Night follow the Police and Fire service social media channels who will be sharing tips and information over the next few weeks. In an emergency always call 999 and ask for the service you require.

The Environment Agency is advising people to:

  • Think twice about having a bonfire this year.
  • Only burn small amounts of dry paper, leaves, clean wood and cardboard if you do decide to have a bonfire. Make sure materials are stored securely before being burned and always check the bonfire for wildlife before setting it alight.
  • Avoid burning waste such as treated wood, tyres, plastic, rubber and oil as these can seriously harm health and pollute the environment. It is illegal to burn most types of waste.
  • Make sure you know where the materials for your bonfire have come from. If you suspect illegal activity report it anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  • Read Environment Agency advice at https://www.gov.uk/garden-bonfires-rules to make sure you’re disposing of waste on your bonfire safely and legally.

Sefton Council joins forces with partners to tackle Hate Crime

National Hate Crime Awareness Week takes place from 10th – 17th October 2020. The aim of the week is to raise awareness of what hate crime is and how it affects people, encourage people to report hate crime, and let people know what is happening in the local area to tackle hate crime.

Raising awareness and encouraging the reporting of hate crimes and incidents is a priority for the Council and partners throughout the year, but we can also take the opportunity to join with national groups across the country to highlight issues during campaign weeks.

What is Hate Crime?

A hate crime is defined as ‘Any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person’s race or perceived race; religion or perceived religion; sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation; disability or perceived disability and any crime motivated by hostility or prejudice against a person who is transgender or perceived to be transgender.’

A hate incident is any incident which the victim, or anyone else, thinks is based on someone’s prejudice towards them because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or because they are transgender.

Not all hate incidents will amount to criminal offences, but it is equally important that these are reported and recorded by the police

Cllr Ian Maher Leader of Sefton Council said:

“Sefton Council take all incidents of Hate Crime very seriously and we are working hard with our partner agencies to tackle this problem.

 “I would encourage people to tell and partner agencies such as the Police, support charities such as Stop Hate UK and housing providers who can help take action and support victims and witnesses.

“You don’t have to be the victim to be able to report a hate crime or hate incident, anyone can make a report a crime. Please help us make Sefton a safer place for everyone.”

Click here for more information about hate crime from the Sefton Council website.

Click here for more information from Merseyside Police, including an online reporting.

Click here for more information about National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

Click here for more information about the Stop Hate UK national hate crime helpline.

Merseyside Police re-visit Skin Kerr Aesthetics

Officers from Sefton Council’s Environmental Health team and Merseyside Police, revisited Skin Kerr Aesthetics, Hair and Beauty, in Bootle today after the poster saying the businesses would not be following COVID-19 requirements was put back on display.

The poster had been removed on Tuesday 8th September, and after a meeting with the owner yesterday Sefton Council understood this was a permanent move. During the meeting, Environmental Health officers were also satisfied that all the measures currently required for the safe operation of the premises were in place.

However, after reports that the poster was back on display this morning (Thursday 10th September), they returned. The posters in question have been seized and discussions will now take place with Sefton’s Director of Public Health to instigate closure proceedings on the premises.

Cllr Paulette Lappin Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Regulatory, Compliance and Corporate Services said: “It is so disappointing that at a time when we are all focused on trying to limit the spread of coronavirus in the face of rising figures across the region, the owner of this business is taking this irresponsible action that could put their customers, their colleagues and the wider community at risk.

“We are all working hard to prevent more stringent restrictions that would have a negative effect on all local businesses and Seton’s local economy but selfish actions like this could contribute to jeopardising those efforts.”

Environmental Health officers were first made aware on Monday that Skin Kerr Aesthetics, Hair and Beauty was displaying the poster. It states that masks are not being worn at the salon despite rules requiring staff to wear surgical face masks and visors to limit the spread of the disease. The poster also denies the existence of COVID-19, which has been the cause of death for over 1,000 people in Merseyside hospitals, and bans mention of the pandemic.

Sefton Council and Merseyside Police have visited the salon more than once and it was understood the problem had been resolved.

Sefton Council is reminding local businesses and their customers of the importance of following the Government’s COVID-19 guidance, which includes the distancing, cleaning and face-covering measures required to help keep clients and staff safe.

For customers, this means following any of the measures in place for their protection and making sure they provide any Test and Trace information requested on arrival.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said recently: “As well as protecting individual businesses and their customers, these measures are there to support the whole economy by helping to reduce the possibility of a wider COVID-19 outbreak and the potential need to introduce local restrictions, which would have a negative effect on everyone.”

The Government’s guidance for working safely, including at close contact businesses including barbers, beauticians, hairdressers and tattooists.

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