Police Scotland asks Good Morning Service to keep their everyday callers up-to-date on the dangers of doorstep crimes in Glasgow
The Police Scotland initiative is aimed at preventing the endangerment of vulnerable lives by allowing unverified individuals to potentially commit crimes
The non-profit organisation, Good Morning Service (GMS) have been informed by Police Scotland to raise awareness about bogus callers operating in the area.
GMS is a charity program, based in Glasgow, which has established a community-based telephone service that checks the welfare of people over the age of 60.
Staff at the GMS call lonely and socially isolated people, who may need a listening ear, and provide much-needed emotional support during tough times. The hope is that after a few sessions of calls, a trusting and meaningful relationship is gradually built.
The details of those who are contacted by the service, including their respective GPs and next of kin, are held by the organisation in case a client fails to answer their morning call. When a member cannot be found, the services attempt to locate them.
Hospital discharge dates are also co-ordinated with the Good Morning Service to resume the support calls, once the patient returns home.
The Chief Executive of GMS, Nicky Thompson, states the greatest quality the befrienders of GMS have is patience. They are the charity’s greatest asset because of their warm and friendly attitude towards their everyday callers.
Glasgow Police Division, in cooperation with GMS, urged the charity programme to spread awareness via the telephone calls, informing users about bogus callers who con their way into people’s homes. GMS employees, or telephone befrienders, then pass along this warning to their members – bestowing a supportive message of good doorstep management.
According to Police Scotland, in the last six months, bogus caller crime has been reduced by 64% across the Greater Glasgow. However, due to seasonal weather improvements, coupled with lengthier days, there is a greater likelihood of vulnerable people being preyed upon.
Police Scotland reminds the residents to be increasingly vigilant when someone arrives at the door. Whether it’s a postal worker, or someone selling a product or service, they should always ask for identification – as the homeowner has the right to refuse entry to those who they may find suspicious.
Chief Inspector for Safer Communities, David Pettigrew, said, “Not everyone who comes to your door is up to something. Genuine callers will not mind if you check their ID, or call their office to confirm who they are.
“Although anyone can be a target, older people are who these criminals tend to target, mostly because of a perceived vulnerability, and it can have a hugely detrimental effect on the life of victims.”
The Social Care Institute of Excellence published a paper in May 2015, stating that “befriending” is a type of service which improves the lives of older people, protecting them from social isolation and loneliness.
Dependent on what the individual feels comfortable with, some befriending methods involve door-to-door visits by volunteers, or hired befrienders providing emotional support and services that facilitate the transport of groceries or medication.
This method also includes telephone services, established through a one-to-one contact, which has been proven worthwhile for those who are frail or housebound.
For those who are aged 60+ and are living in Glasgow City Council and South Ayrshire Council areas, the Good Morning Service is available free of charge.