Police officers are now required to provide personal security details when they make doorstep visits to visually impaired people in West Yorkshire.
In a move which the region’s police force hopes will better protect partially and non-sighted residents from criminals, officers will have to offer up personal information when the member of public contacts West Yorkshire Police to confirm their identity.
The caller will select a password of their choosing, which will then be provided to the attending officers. If the officer then fails to provide the correct details, the member of the public can ring 999 to request immediate police attendance.
Until now, officers attending a property have had a warrant card to identify themselves to the householder, regardless of how good their sight is, in order to prove they are who they claim to be.
The new approach has been adopted following police talks with members of the visually-impaired community as part of a Force Visual Impairment Working Group.
John Robins, Temporary Deputy Chief Constable at West Yorkshire Police, said; “Protecting vulnerable people is at the heart of everything we do. We recognise how vulnerable visually-impaired members of the public are to bogus callers, and those who masquerade as police officers, to gain entry to the homes of the visually-impaired.
“This initiative demonstrates the innovation, support and safeguards that the Force will provide to someone when reporting a crime. West Yorkshire Police have worked in close partnership with organisations who support the visually-impaired to develop a process which we are confident will make contact with the police even safer.”
The ‘Visual Impairments Protocol’ has received support from the community.
Tim McSharry, head of disability and diversity for the Access Committee for Leeds, who sits on the Visual Impairments Working Group, said; “As someone who is visually-impaired, this is fantastic news, and I want to say truly well done to West Yorkshire Police for launching this initiative. The strategic level of engagement and partnership associated with developing this protocol has been very truly outstanding and when considering safeguarding, vulnerability and focus on inclusive service, it really does highlight an absolute commitment to addressing diversity of needs across all communities.”