B&NES Council has announced its support for a service designed to help vulnerable people if they feel scared or at risk while they are out and about in the community and need support right away.
The Safe Places scheme is operated by Avon & Somerset Police and has been set up to support people who are vulnerable and have communication difficulties such as those living with dementia, autism or learning disabilities.
People who join the scheme are given a yellow card with a unique reference number which they can show to trusted people such as police officers, PCSOs, bus drivers, shopkeepers or council staff if they find themselves in a crisis situation, are lost, scared or upset, and don’t know what to do, or if they have been a victim of crime.
A telephone number on the card gives direct access to police support 24 hours a day.
Councillor Paul Crossley, cabinet member for Community Services, said: “This scheme is life changing; enabling vulnerable people to feel safe in the knowledge help is at hand if need be and giving peace of mind to families and carers.
“I’d urge anyone in Bath and North East Somerset who feels they’d benefit from the scheme to sign up and would encourage residents who are approached by someone carrying the yellow Safe Place card to take the time to help the individual.
“A few minutes of your time, picking up the phone and calling the Safe Place number to let the police know that someone is frightened and needs help will ensure they get the support they need.
“We’re promoting the scheme to schools and care homes and we’ll be making sure our staff are Safe Place aware. We all have a role to play in ensuring vulnerable people feel safe in our community and I’d urge other organisations across Bath & North East Somerset to get involved.”
Sergeant Adam O’Loughlin, Force Lead for Autism for Avon & Somerset Police, said: “Being lost, feeling scared or upset and not knowing what to do, especially if you’ve been a victim of crime is an unsettling experience for anybody, but for someone who is vulnerable, it can be extremely distressing.
“Anyone who’s registered can call the Safe Places number if they find themselves in a crisis situation, and know that not only will they get the help that they need, but that their individual communication needs will be met.
“Not only that but those on the scheme can show their card to either a police officer or PCSO who will have direct access to their information, ensuring they can support them effectively.”
The Safe Places service has no age limit and is open to anyone who lives or frequents the Avon and Somerset police force area who has communication difficulties.
To join the Safe Places scheme, complete the online registration form by visiting: https://www.avonandsomerset.police.uk/forms/rsp.