North Yorkshire Police, working closely with York People First, have designed a scheme to help and support anyone who is vulnerable and needs some help and assistance when they are out and about in York
Called We Care, the scheme has been designed to enable people who have learning difficulties or difficulties with communication, to go out into their local communities and live their lives, but at the same time feel a bit more safe and secure.
The scheme has been developed by PCSO Justin Piercy from the York North Safer Neighbourhood Team, with the assistance and support of York People First, a self-advocacy group for people with learning disabilities, based on Clifton Moor, York.
We Care consists of two main elements. When joining the scheme, people are asked to complete an application form, which provides the police with key information about the special needs of the scheme member. The form has been developed with the use of Widgit pictures, to enable people with learning difficulties to access, read and complete the form themselves. The information provided is then held securely by North Yorkshire Police and fed into their call management systems.
When a scheme member contacts police, a notification is raised with the call handler, which alerts them to the fact that the person calling is a member of We Care and may have a requirement for extra support. By having this information to hand, it enables the police call handler to provide further assistance to the scheme member, whilst taking their report.
The other element is a We Care card, which scheme members can carry with them. The card has some basic details about We Care on one side and on the other, contact numbers for the persons next of kin or carer. If the scheme member finds themselves confused or lost or scared in York, they can approach a person, go into a shop or speak to a police officer and show the card to request help. Contact can then be made with the people listed overleaf.
Speaking about the development of the scheme and working with the police, York People First member, Shaun Lavery said:
“Being part of the development of We Care has been really exciting. The We Care scheme has made me more confident in phoning the police and if there are any problems, then I feel better that I can do that. I hope that people will take note about the scheme, as it’s important to be safe and how people can be kept safe. Being part of the scheme helps me feel safer when I am out and about.”
PCSO Justin Piercy said “We Care came about from my conversations with York People First and discussing the issues members of the group face on a daily basis and how North Yorkshire Police can better serve and support those within our communities who are more vulnerable.
“With the assistance of York People First, who have given us lots of support and help throughout the development, we have designed We Care. As the scheme is just starting to roll out, we are concentrating on the York area at the moment. However, we hope to introduce the scheme across the region in the near future.
“I would ask individuals themselves, or groups who support people with learning difficulties, disabilities or communication difficulties – who think this scheme may help them, to email me at WeCare@northyorkshire.pnn.police.uk or go to the North Yorkshire Police website for more information www.northyorkshire.police.uk/WeCare ”Posted on in News stories