Senior Citizen Liaison team (SCLT)
Avon and Somerset Constabulary - Senior Citizen Liaison Team

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Project: The world is in the midst of a unique and irreversible process of demographic transition that will result in older populations everywhere. As fertility rates decline, the proportion of persons aged 60 and over is expected to double between 2007 and 2050, and their actual number will more than triple, reaching 2 billion by 2050. In most countries, the number of those over 80 is likely to quadruple to nearly 400 million by then. In 1991, the General Assembly adopted the United Nations Principles for Older Persons, for policymakers to incorporate into national development programmes. Underscoring the contribution that older persons make to their societies, the 18 principles were grouped under five quality-of-life characteristics: • Independence • Participation • Self-fulfilment • Dignity • Care The ageing population is a significant social change issue facing society today. There are currently 10.3 million people aged 65 and over in the UK. This is an 80 per cent increase over the six decades since 1951, and in the next two decades, the number is set to rise by another 50 per cent. Within that, the number of people aged over 85 is set to double. Older adults are often the most vulnerable people in our communities and are frequently targeted by heartless criminals who seek to exploit the inherent fragilities associated with older age. With a higher than average proportion of older adults in the population (40% over 60-years in some areas of Somerset opposed to 20% nationally), older adult crime was having a significant impact upon the most vulnerable citizens in the community. A survey of people aged 65-yers and over, which was conducted by the respected charity, Age UK, identified that 53% of the people (aged 65yrs and above) surveyed had either been the victims of fraud, or had been targeted and had failed to be deceived into parting with money. The survey also found that only approximately 5% of fraud-type deception offences against older persons were ever reported to the authorities. This being due to combination of; embarrassment, intimidation, fear, coercion, concern of loss of independence, etc. from the elderly victims. In the 2009 – 2010 crime reporting period, Bristol (Population: 441,300) suffered more distraction burglaries than the entire country of Wales (Population: 3,006,400), and more such offences than all the other South West of England police forces added together, thus clearly identifying the city as a national hotspot for this crime-type. The percentage of the population of Bristol aged over 50-years (as of 2016) presently stands at 28%. Frauds of all types (doorstep, telephone, internet and mail) has a disproportionate effect upon the elderly, who have less ability to overcome the financial losses and often suffer poor health and early mortality due to becoming involved in fraudulent criminal offences

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
To identify financial harm risk and vulnerability in elderly victims and potential victims. To provide a bespoke and uniquely tailored safety service to the vulnerable elder community. To overcome all barriers, such as language, culture, location, affluence, etc. to provide safety and support to vulnerable elders.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
It is with this background of socio-criminal behaviour change, that the Senior Citizen Liaison Team was born in 2009. With fraud rising to epidemic proportions and a swiftly ageing population, coupled with falling public sector funding and increasing capacity demands, it became apparent that an agile and innovative solution was required. The Senior Citizen Liaison Team (SCLT) was created by Avon and Somerset Constabulary to address the issue of senior fraud. The team, which is 100% volunteer resourced (i.e. non-salaried staff), now provides a suite of bespoke safeguarding services, which have been designed to protect the vulnerable, elder community from financial abuse wherever encountered, typically; on the doorstep, by telephone, land-mail or via cyber channels. To tackle this most devastating of crimes it was recognised that a new approach be attempted, that bound the police, their partners and other stakeholders to the goal of achieving the below initial strategy: • To reduce the impact of senior fraud on the vulnerable, older adult population, through protection and education. • To create sustainable working partnerships with statutory and voluntary partners. • To ensure ALL senior communities, even those isolated by barriers of language or culture, are able to benefit from the service. • To promote the scheme and expand to offer the service to the wider Avon and Somerset area and neighbouring regions beyond. Problem Analysis Triangle By applying the problem analysis triangle (offender/victim/location) we were able to analyse the problem of senior fraud crime and plot a strategy to reduce the issue. Victim As identified in professional analysis, victims of fraud are diverse and affects all members of the community, it is to be noted that financial loss for older victims (aged 55+years) was likely to be twice the amount per fraud, as for younger age groups. It is also to be surmised that older victims (on a fixed income) have less means to recover from the financial losses from a fraud and thus suffer more emphatically. When considering the specific theme of doorstep fraud, there exists far better data to draw analysis: 85% of victims are aged 65+years 62% lived alone 24% suffer mental capacity issues 33% suffered bereavement within 2-years 9% were known to be repeat victims. One of the main problems of analysing senior fraud is the vast instance of under reporting which takes place due to: embarrassment, fear of reprisals/loss of independence, lack of understanding (mental capacity), believing it futile to report and other factors. Offender & Location Offenders of these offences are often internationally based and lie outside the reach of British law enforcement services. It is a long established fact that fraud is an offence-type, which the police will not easily overcome by way of detection, but will be best combatted by responses involving victim support and target hardening. At the outset of the initiative, no specialist protective services were in place to safeguard specific neighbourhoods, which were known to be vulnerable to doorstep crime offences. Policing services were primarily reactive to senior crime and did not use crime plotting to offer preventative services to target communities. Community Landscape It also has to be recognised that at the time of this initiative the law enforcement environment of the United Kingdom was going through seismic change, with sweeping cuts to the Public Sector (Avon and Somerset Police saw cuts amounting to 600 police officers from its strength of 3400). It was identified that any solution to the issue of senior fraud would need to be highly frugal, if not 100% self-funding and hence extremely well suited to implementation by a volunteer body.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Traditionally to address a public safety/crime trend/problem, the police would have initiated a project involving a redirection of existing or new resources to address the new theme of offending. Due to the constraining financial landscape this was impossible, so to address the situation Avon and Somerset Police took the bold step of forming a team of Police Support Volunteers (unpaid members of the public), to formulate and deliver a package of specifically themed, safety products to cater for the unique needs of the older adult community (Age 54years+). This includes a specially trained Public Presentation Team, which provides elder-crime themed presentations to community groups, as well as offering subject-matter-expertise training to law enforcement professionals throughout their region. In 2012, a Senior Minority Outreach Team was added to the suite of available services. This all-volunteer team provide training to diverse groups, who might otherwise be unable to access safety services from statutory or voluntary agencies, due to barriers of language or culture. The Senior Citizen Liaison Team concept is unique within the United Kingdom and Europe, namely a 100% volunteer team/charity working in strategic alliance with the police service to deliver a public safeguarding service

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The Senior Citizen Liaison Team concept was derived by police officers who noted the requirement to deliver a specialised, senior citizen safeguarding service to vulnerable, elder citizens, but were aware that reduced resources within the police service made this extremely challenging. To overcome this issue, the initial architects of the concept, developed a community initiative, recruited, trained and accredited volunteers and worked with the police service to establish a safety strategy for implementation. This led to the initiative becoming a registered British charity (No: 1148383) in 2012. The SCLT Charity is managed by a board of trustees, which has police involvement and complies with all the regulations of the UK Charity Commission as well as the good governance procedures as overseen by the police organisation (Avon & Somerset) in which it is in a strategic alliance. The Senior Citizen Liaison Team concept has expanded to 2 additional neighbouring police areas, where it has been faithfully replicated and governed along the same lines. The whole populations of these areas exceed 3-million citizens, of which it can be extrapolated that 540,000 people are aged 65-years or over (18% of 3-million). Although the services provided by the SCLT Charity are also beneficial to relatives, carers and others whose lives are adversely affected by these themes.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The Concept Delivery: The team engage the senior community with their Public Presentation Team (PPT) by giving hundreds of crime-busting presentations to thousands of seniors at community locations where older adults meet and socialise. The PPT offer a catalogue of highly professional presentations, which include audio/video content, which enthuse and engage audiences from across the wide spectrum of society, from higher functioning older adult groups, to others who require specialist engagement, such as Alzheimer’s and Stroke Groups. Such is the success of the PPT that volunteer presenters have been asked to deliver the safety presentations throughout the UK and in Germany, Holland and the USA in law-enforcement conferences and seminars, as the innovative and holistic nature of the PPT concept has been extremely widely embraced. In 2012 the SCLT further adapted to the needs of the community by establishing a Senior Minorities Outreach Team (SMOT) led by volunteers with specialist skills in crossing the boundaries of language and culture, to spread the senior safety message to citizens who may not have access to other statutory & voluntary agencies. The SMOT has seen volunteers attending community events, such as the annual Eid Festival (Cardiff) and the Annual Peace Symposium (Cardiff & London) as well as participating in cultural charity events and even having volunteers embedded at the annual 3-day Muslim ‘Jalsa Salana’ (Festival of Faith), where as many of 30,000 adherents of the Ahmadiyya faith engaged with SCLT volunteers and obtained senior safety advice. To engage with the wider senior community, the team produce a free magazine, ‘The Senior Siren’ which contains crime prevention and victim support information, as well as lifestyle and health advice. The magazine is delivered via a network of volunteers & partner agencies, which ensure the most vulnerable, receive their copy by hand. The magazine has become one of the most successful magazines of its kind, and is now made available to 250,000 readers, nationwide. The team website (www.sclt.us) receives thousands of weekly hits, worldwide. The Volunteers: The volunteers, of whom there are approximately 20; undertake every function of the delivery of the work of the SCLT. This has included the formation of a board of trustees and the establishment of the SCLT as a registered UK charity. The team includes an accountant who acts as treasurer, a musician who performs the role of editor of the magazine and others with transferable skills. Every member of the team is valued and supported to gain skills and qualifications from their experience with the team. An example is the small team of volunteer presenters of the PPT. All have been mentored by an experienced presenter and have been provided with all the equipment required to deliver exceptional quality presentations. All have the opportunity to attend regular training up-skilling sessions and some volunteers have gone on to become members of the Professional Speaking Association, where the skills that they have acquired with the SCLT have been recognised with professional accreditation. Funding: Coming at a time of shrinking public sector budgets, the SCLT was required from its conception, to be 100% self-funding. This was achieved by the volunteer team becoming a registered charity and by applying for grant-funding to cover the initial set-up costs. The SCLT remains extremely financially stable into its 8th year of operation and now has reliable funding streams, such as donation income from supplying guest speaker and presentation services at conferences & seminars, as well as advertising sales within the Senior Siren magazine. The SCLT is proud to deliver an award-winning crime-prevention and safety-education service in partnership with Avon and Somerset Constabulary, while being 100% self-funding.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
From its outset, the Senior Citizen Liaison Team initiative has proved to be highly adaptable and has been holistically developed throughout its lifetime, as per the requirements and unique needs of the target clients. This is readily visible in the implementation of the Senior Minority Outreach Team (SMOT) which was established and implemented, when it became clear that a tailored protective-services team would be required to improve education transfer with the many vulnerable, elder citizens who were previously excluded from SCLT services due to an inability to engage in English. Aside from working symbiotically with Avon and Somerset Police, the leadership (trustee board) of the SCLT Charity also forged extremely close links with other statutory and voluntary agencies who shared the same or similar community safety goals. This included members of the trustee team also holding similar, decision-making roles on such bodies as; Age UK Bristol (Charity), Gwent Association of Voluntary Agencies, South West Forum on Ageing and a host of other bodies which were able to offer shared advocacy opportunities for the elder community. Even after 8-years of operation, the Senior Citizen Liaison Team remains innovative and eager to take up new ideas and opportunities to reach-out to excluded groups. For 2017, the team will introduce a new safety podcast service, which has been designed, funded and implemented by volunteers, to assist in delivering a bespoke audio-safety service to those people (of any age), who suffer an impairment or loss of hearing

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Results: In 2009 the number of distraction burglaries in the Bristol area reached a high of 137 offences. By implementing the strategies of the all-volunteer SCLT, by the end of 2012 the number of offences had been reduced to 73. A clear reduction of 56%, achieved through their victim-centred approach to helping the elder community overcome their vulnerability The Senior Citizen Liaison Team is the only such body of volunteers operating in the UK at this time and due to their specialist awareness of deception crime and its consequences in the neighbourhood, they are in great demand to assist other policing organisations who are embarking upon similar ventures. This has resulted in the SCLT network now extending to the Gwent Police and Dyfed-Powys Police areas, where the expertise and skills of the volunteer team has been shared across the wider region. Since 2009, many tens of thousands of vulnerable elder citizens have benefited from attendance at an event arranged by the Public Presentation Team and the Senior Siren Magazine will have been read millions of times by readers throughout the globe. In 2015 the SCLT were named as winners of the Lord Ferrer’s Award (The best police volunteer team in the UK) in addition to the European Public Sector Award Certificate of Merit and were recipients of the Queens Award for Voluntary Service (known alternatively as the ‘Team MBE’ – a national honour) in the 2015 Birthday Honours List. Mark Sedwill (Permanent Secretary of the Home Office) ~ Conferring the 2013 Fighting Fraud Award upon the SCLT in London 2013) ~ “What really strikes you about the SCLT, is that fact that so much has been achieved by people who take pride in volunteering in their own communities” Prime Minister David Cameron said - upon awarding the project his Big Society Award in 2013 – “The police do a fantastic job keeping people safe but unfortunately tackling crimes like distraction burglaries relies on people having the information and confidence to keep themselves safe. It is great to see officers and volunteers in Bristol giving up their own time to help raise awareness among older, vulnerable people in the local community to prevent them from becoming victims. Halving the number of distraction burglaries in Bristol is a huge achievement by the Senior Citizen Liaison Team and I’m pleased to be able to give them this award to mark that success”.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Initial obstacles included such basic issues as obtaining funding to resource the requirements of the project. This was overcome by recruiting a volunteer accountant to join the leadership team, who brought their professional skills to bear upon the issue. With a funding strategy in place, the initiative achieved all its financial goals by seeking corporate funding and charitable donations from appropriate, grant-funding bodies, which support safety initiatives. To ensure the long-term financial health of the team, the funding strategy encompassed a cash-generation programme, which included selling advertising space in its highly regarded magazine, as well as charging for services, such as corporate hosting and after-dinner speaking appearances by its lead volunteers. Another issue to overcome was the establishment of recognition of the identity of the initiative and subject-matter expertise to ensure that the efforts of the team were taken seriously and trusted by the target audience and clients. This was achieved by the implementation of a carefully thought-out legitimacy strategy, to bolster the reputation of the team and promote its credentials in its area of business. Actions to address this area included stridently promoting the successes and achievements of the initiative on a local, regional and national level. This involved nominating the team for a number of highly significant, national recognition processes. These were very successful and resulted in the Prime Minister’s Big Society Award (2013) and ultimately the Queens Award for Voluntary Service (2015) – the highest possible award for volunteer teams in the United Kingdom. These early successes showcased the work and reputation of the initiative and assisted in forming mutually beneficial relationships with partner agencies, who felt confident in working with an organisation, albeit young, but who had received high level, national recognition.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
As has already been introduced in this nomination, it is a statistical fact that the safeguarding activity of the SCLT initiative in its first year of operation was a significant contributory factor in the reduction of distraction burglaries in the City of Bristol by over 50%. But what is equally important is the way in which the SCLT has holistically evolved to encompass the growing trend of fraud crime, which has increasingly been directed at the older adult community over the lifetime of the initiative. Although it is notoriously difficult to quantify the success of a preventative programme, particularly within the field of fraud, which is possibly the most under-reported crime time, there are some undeniable facts associated with the SCLT initiative which cannot be argued. These include the remarkable achievement of establishing and maintaining a nationally recognised, charitable group, which delivers a quality financial harm-aversion service to the elder community of South West England and South Wales, for no financial cost to its parent organisations (Avon and Somerset Police, Gwent Police & Dyfed-Powys Police). Tens of thousands of vulnerable seniors have received face-to-face training and crime prevention advice from one of the team’s highly trained presenters and the Senior Siren magazine has been made freely available to millions of potential readers via the printed and electronic versions (www.sclt.us), as well as tens of thousands of hard-to-reach, elder citizens, from a variety of diverse communities, who have had the opportunity to engage with SMOT volunteers in community events, religious gatherings and at annual festivals. Whilst delivering these services, the members of the initiative have additionally used their access to vulnerable elders to advocate for improvements in their circumstances (through membership of forums and organisation) and have signposted many people to partner agencies who were able to assist in many individual situations (Quote: Mr ‘K’ (83-years) ~ Local Resident of Bristol ~ “Since meeting the Senior Citizen Liaison Team and being helped by them, we have received over £15,000 of help with redecorating our home and we have been on holiday to the RAF veterans home in Weston-super-Mare. I cannot adequately say how much thanks I have for their work”) To promote the success of this initiative and spread best practice throughout the sector, both in the United Kingdom and beyond. Members of the SCLT initiative have presented at many international events, such as the 2016 German Crime Prevention Congress, the 2015 European Public Sector Awards and the 2012 International Police Problem Solving Conference (USA), as well as numerous local, regional and national conferences and seminars.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The population demographic which is the core beneficiary of the work of the Senior Citizen Liaison Team (SCLT) of Avon and Somerset Police are those who are the most vulnerable within the community, namely the elder citizens, who frequently suffer ill-health, mental capacity issues, loneliness and isolation, which affect their ability to access the services of statutory and voluntary services. It is a well-established fact that financial harm offences, which are perpetuated against the elder population, are very much unreported (2015 Age UK survey suggests that fewer than 5% of elderly victims report frauds to the authorities). The Senior Citizen Liaison Team has something of a unique situation to assist in ensuring that the ‘silent voices’ of the elder community are heard and acted upon by other statutory and voluntary bodies, as well as decision-making government agencies. This is due to the SCLT being both registered UK charity, as well as being in strategic partnership with several police organisations (Avon & Somerset Police, Gwent Police and Dyfed-Powys Police). Key members (volunteers) of the SCLT have sought and gained positions of responsibility on the below charity/ NGO bodies: • Gwent Association of Voluntary Organisations • South West Forum on Ageing • Age Action Alliance • Veterans Advisory & Pensions Committee • Age UK Bristol • International Crime Prevention Centre • Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen’s Families Association • North Somerset Armed Forces Steering Panel This has allowed the SCLT, through its ongoing membership, to advise and influence these bodies into taking positive, safety activities which benefit the elder community and to champion the needs and special requirements of the people they support. Additionally, the SCLT, using the medium of the Senior Siren magazine and their website (www.sclt.us), have been able to promote the services of a number of statutory and voluntary agencies, who’s activities may not have been readily known or accessible to the senior community. This was particularly relevant for members of the many diverse communities, who engage with the Senior Minority Outreach Team, who may have been effectively excluded from accessing services due to issues of language skills or cultural barriers.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Due to the difference in gender life expectancy in the United Kingdom between males and females (Female 83-years ~ Male 79.4-years), there are more females in the elder community in general. This means that there is no gender gap in the provision of services provided by the Senior Citizen Liaison Team. To ensure that the most vulnerable and poorest segment of the community receive an enhanced service, which is appropriate to their needs, the SCLT works closely with groups such as The Alzheimer’s Society, Age UK and other specialist groups, to engage with those in greatest need.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Avon and Somerset Constabulary - Senior Citizen Liaison Team
Institution Type:   Public Agency  
Contact Person:   Ashley Jones
Title:   Mr.  
Telephone/ Fax:   01275 814 616
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   enquiries@sclt.us  
Address:   DS 3359 Ashley Jones, OPCC, Police Headquarters, Valley Road
Postal Code:   BS20 8QJ
City:   Portishead
State/Province:   Bristol
Country:  

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