Extra officers and specially-trained staff are starting visits to vulnerable people - as reports tend to increase at Christmas.
'Fake' Health Visitors See New Born Baby
Police in Gosport are appealing for information after the parents of a newborn baby reported a suspicious incident to them.
At around 9pm on Thursday, March 31, two women called at an address in Old Road, Gosport, where the residents had recently had a baby.
The women were dressed in what appeared to be NHS uniforms and the parents of the baby, believing the women to be health visitors or social workers, allowed them into their home.
The two women spoke with the parents for around ten minutes and one of them briefly held the baby before they left. The parents later became suspicious and reported the incident to police. Subsequent checks with local health authorities have failed to identify the women or confirm their authenticity.
Detective Sergeant Gary Shirley said: “Incidents like this are extremely rare and I would like to reassure all parents that there is no suggestion that these women wanted either to harm this baby or take it away.
“The baby’s parents were present throughout this incident and the women made no attempts to take the child away.
“Nevertheless, we are taking this incident seriously and appealing for the public’s help in identifying these two women.
“They were both white, in their mid 30s to mid 40s and wearing blue tops, darker blue trousers and cardigans with name badges on them.
“We understand that this may cause alarm to parents but this is an isolated incident. I would also like to stress that we are treating it as a suspicious incident and not an attempted abduction as at no point did these women try to take the baby from its parents.
“We would like to hear from anyone who recognises the description of these two women or who saw them in the Old Road area at the time of the incident. We would also like anyone who thinks they may have been visited by these women to contact us.”
Nicky Adamson Young, Divisional Director for Children’s Services for Hampshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust said:
“We would like to assure people that we are working closely with the police investigating this incident.
“Health visitors do not routinely work in the evenings and, if they do, will always make an appointment before they visit. They will always carry identification cards with them and should show them when they call at an address.
“If someone calls at your home claiming to be a healthcare professional then ask to see their identification. If you are unsure of them then do not let them in; close your door and telephone the organisation they say they are from to check their identity.
“In some cases social workers may call at a home outside normal hours and without making an appointment, however they will always have identification on them which you will be able to check.”
Anyone with any information should contact Gosport CID on 0845 045 45 45 or call the anonymous Crimestoppers charity on 0800 555 111.
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