THE second phase of a scheme offering reassurance to Uttoxeter’s vulnerable people while out and about is being launched this week.
Uttoxeter town centre shops and facilities are being encouraged to sign up to Citizen Watch, run by the East Staffordshire Borough Community Safety Partnership and Mencap, following the successful launch in Burton in April.
Shops that sign up to the scheme will display a prominent Citizen Watch logo in their windows so they can be easily identified which allows people with learning disabilities and elderly residents to know the shop is a safe haven where staff will be able to contact the police, a carer or family member for them.
The scheme also aims to help vulnerable people be more independent and increase their confidence so they can report any incidents to the police, PCSOs and street wardens when necessary.
Sally Currie, partnership manager for East Staffordshire Local Policing Team, said: “Citizen Watch is a great initiative as it enables extra support and reassurance to be provided to vulnerable people.
“It will allow them to use facilities in both town centres safe in the knowledge that help is readily available should they need it. It also shows our commitment to making it as easy as possible for people to report hate crimes — these are crimes or incidents that have been aggravated by the vulnerability of the victim or another factor based on their personal circumstances.
“This is also a good example of how we’re working with partners, along with support from local businesses, to help encourage people to report hate incidents.
“Discriminatory bullying and antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated.” Similar schemes are already operating in other parts of the county and have proved a success. Citizen Watch is jointly funded by Mencap and Staffordshire Police.
Councillor David Leese (pictured), the borough council’s deputy leader for partnerships, said: “Burton and Uttoxeter town centres are generally regarded as safe places to visit and spend leisure time. In fact, crime and antisocial behaviour are low.
“However, Citizen Watch is a valuable scheme which promotes safety and respect for some of the most vulnerable members of our community.
“Citizen Watch ensures that people have a safe haven whenever they need it.
The council strongly supports the scheme and is pleased to see it introduced in our two towns.” Anyone wanting to sign up to the scheme, either as a vulnerable person or a business, is asked to call in to Uttoxeter Town Hall between noon and 2pm tomorrow.