Community Safety Events and Projects
Older People’s Awareness and Learning (OPAL) events
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Older age is associated with being vulnerable and statistically, elderly and frail people are more likely to suffer fires and injuries in their homes than other groups. They are also more prone to crimes such as ‘distraction’ and other types of burglary. Getting out and meeting people in the community is very important but not always easy as many elderly people find themselves lonely and are unaware of the groups and societies that are available to them.
OPALs has been devised to help reduce some of that vulnerability and offers the older person the opportunity to sample some of the help and support which is on offer in the local community. This initiative is being run by the Three Rivers Community Safety Partnership. The concept is to bring together groups of older persons in a fairly large venue and rather than them having to walk around different stands looking for advice, we offer them a seat at a table, serve them refreshments and then in a timely fashion a representative from different agencies visits each table in turn and talks to them about the services they can offer and provides advice in an informal setting.
Agencies involved include: Three Rivers District Council, Thrive Homes, Fire Service, Age UK, Herts Independent Living Service, Police, Trading Standards, Neighbourhood Watch, Watford and Three Rivers Trust, a Nutritionist etc.
Some of the feedback received from attendees included:
- “Really good concept”
- “Good for social contact”
- “Speakers were all very good”
- “Thank you to all the organisers and speakers. It’s a pity there were not more people attending”
- “(Enjoyed) the information on scams”
- “I think everyone should attend meetings like this”
For more information contact the Community Safety Coordinator at Three Rivers District Council on 01923 776611.
The Herts Police Safer Neighbourhood Team, alongside the firefighters and Neighbourhood Watch representatives, have been knocking on residents’ doors in selected streets to provide crime prevention advice and speak to people about any concerns. Residents are also encouraged to join the crime fighting scheme Neighbourhood Watch, which has resulted in membership numbers reaching 20,000 to date in Three Rivers! Officers also supply a variety of items to keep people safe including carbon monoxide detectors, tool identification kits and smart water for marking household valuables.
The ‘Think Safe’ course is designed to give the attendees an understanding of how to keep themselves safe from crime, and when issues arise, how to interact with each of the agencies and gain confidence in speaking to their local police and firefighters.
The group take part in role play exercises on a number of subjects including how to report a crime, reinforcing what they need to remember if they witness a crime and how to call emergency services. They are also given a talk about fire safety from local firefighters, which involves interactive quizzes about fire safety in the home and road safety.
The project is supported by Hertfordshire Constabulary, Hertfordshire Fire & Rescue and Watford Mencap. The partnership works together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and achieve this by diverting people away from committing crime and anti-social behaviour, protecting the vulnerable and keeping people informed.
Keep Safe is a community safety scheme run in partnership with learning disabilities charity Herts People First. As part of the initiative, organisations sign up to provide people with learning disabilities a place to make a phone call in the event of an emergency to be able to contact a parent, carer or support worker, the Police or another emergency service. Premises signed up to the scheme ensure they are easily identifiable to people with learning disabilities by displaying an orange ‘Keep Safe’ sticker in their windows. Schemes are in place across Hertfordshire. In Three Rivers they are in Rickmansworth, Money Hill Parade, Mill End, South Oxhey and one is being planned for Abbots Langley High Street. www.herts.police.uk