'Keep Safe' Launches In Harpenden

1 April 2015, 06:49 | Updated: 1 April 2015, 06:50

A new scheme has been launched in Harpenden aimed at supporting disabled people to keep themselves safe and to get help in the event of an emergency.

“We have a key ring and if I was to get lost I can go to a shop with the sticker in the window.” Jason 

“I am not afraid of the police anymore; if I need help I can go to them and ask. I can see that underneath their uniform they are just real people.” Alistair

A scheme has been launched in Harpenden aimed at supporting disabled people to keep themselves safe and to get help in the event of an emergency.

The Keep Safe scheme first launched in Hertford in 2008 to support people with learning disabilities and has now expanded its service to help disabled people of all ages as well. With support from local organisations, the Daylight Club, Harpenden Mencap and Community Meeting Point, Harpenden is now the first town in Hertfordshire to offer this expanded service.

Keep Safe is a community safety scheme run in partnership with charity Herts People First.  As part of the initiative, retailers, businesses, public services and community services are invited to join, and to provide local disabled people with a place to make a phone call in the event of an emergency. 

Premises signed up to the scheme ensure they are easily identifiable by displaying an orange ‘Keep Safe’ sticker in their windows, which shows people that the premises is a place they can go to make an emergency call to a parent, carer or support worker, the police or another emergency service. This scheme provides people with the Keep Safe card or key ring on which they can put their ‘In Case of Emergency’ telephone number.

Around 65 people attended the launch at the Public Halls in Harpenden on Thursday, March 26, including local disabled people who have been taking part in the Keep Safe training, along with police officers and PCSOs, before heading out into Harpenden to place stickers in the windows of local businesses joining the scheme.

The distinctive orange Keep Safe stickers were put up in 13 shops including, Nottingham Building Society, Boots, Sainsbury’s, WH Smith, Threads, M&Co, Waitrose, Marks & Spencer and Martin’s.

Keep Safe lead for Harpenden, PCSO Del Holloway, said: “Through working with Herts People First, to set up Keep Safe over the past few months, I have met and worked with more than 50 local disabled people from whom I have learnt a lot – even though I was providing the training! This is what my job is all about – getting to know my local community, making sure people are safe and that they know how to contact me if need be.”

Keep Safe Co-ordinator for Herts People First Jane Dellow, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Constabulary to introduce Keep Safe across the county. Local disabled people, their support organisations and the local police safer neighbourhood team have worked well together to set up Keep Safe in Harpenden. Very good relationships have been built up between disabled people and the local officers and this is a great example of neighbourhood policing at its best!

“Sometimes disabled people are not sure about approaching the police for help. When working in a team with their local officers to set up Keep Safe, they get the chance to meet the people behind the uniforms and soon realise there is nothing to fear and it is the same for local officers who get to meet the people behind the disability. Disabled people in Harpenden have told me that in getting to know their local police they have a much greater confidence to contact them.

“Disabled people really like the Keep Safe community safety scheme – and say that it is reassuring for them to know where they can get help and support if need be and how their local community, business and services are so welcoming of the scheme.”

Retailers, businesses and public services interested in helping to introduce Keep Safe premises in their local areas should visit the Keep Safe pages on the Hertfordshire Constabulary website www.herts.police.uk/hertfordshire_constabulary/keep_safe.aspx. Alternatively call your local SNT via the police non-emergency number 101.

For further information about disability hate crime and how to report it, please visit the hate crime pages on the Constabulary website www.herts.police.uk.

Alternatively call the police non-emergency number 101 and ask to speak to your local hate crime officer.