Police to keep watch over the elderly

POLICE in Barnstaple have volunteered to act as extra pairs of eyes and ears for the local branch of Age Concern, on the look-out for any vulnerable elderly people who may be in need of help. In a trial initiative, Barnstaple officers on their beats will

POLICE in Barnstaple have volunteered to act as extra pairs of eyes and ears for the local branch of Age Concern, on the look-out for any vulnerable elderly people who may be in need of help.

In a trial initiative, Barnstaple officers on their beats will keep watch for any older people who may be struggling to live on their own, unaware of the help available from the charity.

Since police are on the beat every day, they are in the perfect position to spot those who might need help but not know how to get it. With the resident's permission they can refer them to Age Concern Barnstaple, whose volunteers offer a range of services to enable people to continue living independently in their own homes.

The closer ties between the police and the charity were forged by PC Glyn Clark, neighbourhood beat manager for the Landkey, Swimbridge, Bishops Tawton and Whiddon Valley areas, who came across a case that couldn't be solved by normal policing methods.


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"I was made aware of an elderly man who had recently been housebound through ill health," he said.

"I visited him and found he was living on his own, in his own home independently, but with no relatives living nearby. I was concerned for him in regards to the support and care he was receiving, as when I spoke to him I learned he had minimal food in the house, no money to buy anything and more importantly had run out of his prescribed medicine. He was also unaware of what support he was entitled to."

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Through Age Concern and Care Direct, run by Devon County Council, he was able to arrange a referral for the man and created an information leaflet for all police and support officers.

PC Clark also invited Andrea Scott, director of Barnstaple Age Concern, to talk to beat managers about the charity's services. To contact Age Concern Barnstaple, visit 1, Litchdon Street or call (01271) 324488. Potential volunteers are very welcome. Care Direct can provide out of hours support via 08451 551007.

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