Love thy neighbour and keep them safe

FULL BACKING -- Hucknall's police chief, Insp Nick Butler
FULL BACKING -- Hucknall's police chief, Insp Nick Butler

A NEW high-profile campaign is aimed at protecting old people from crime — such as the recent, shocking attack on an 80-year-old Hucknall woman in her own home.

The ‘Good Neighbour’ initiative is a bid to harness a strong community spirit displayed during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

The campaign, which has been launched across Nottinghamshire by the county’s Safeguarding Adults Board, is encouraging residents to look out for elderly, vulnerable and disabled neighbours.

The long-term objective is to help reduce the number of people who have falls and other accidents or become victims of crime.

The assault on the pensioner, who was pinned down by heartless thieves while they snatched jewellery from around her neck, has caused outrage across Hucknall.

The campaign has been enthusiastically supported by Hucknall’s Conservative MP, Mark Spencer, the police and town councillors.

Mr Spencer said: “We have lost our way in society a little bit. We are aware of our rights and not our responsibilities.

“I think that when things go wrong, we look to the State to put things right when the help should come from within the community. Our grandparents did this without needing to be asked.

“Now that people are more mobile and family members split up, sometimes living in different parts of the country, it is more important than ever for people to keep an eye on neighbours who may need help.”

Hucknall’s police chief, Insp Nick Butler, said: “The campaign has my full backing.

“The community spirit which developed during the Diamond Jubilee was a positive thing and it should be built on.

“This sounds like commonsense but it is not always so easy, particularly when families face heavy demands through work commitments.”

Coun Mick Murphy (Con), of Hucknall, who is Notts County Council’s lead member for community safety, said he was well aware of elderly people becoming victims of rogue traders calling at their homes.

They had included a gang of bogus damp-proof specialists who conned vulnerable people out of thousands of pounds — and one of their victims was a resident of Butlers Hill, Hucknall.

Coun Murphy thought it would be a good idea for people to support the campaign by ‘adopting’ an elderly neighbour.

Ashfield District Council’s deputy leader, Coun John Wilmott (Lab), of Hucknall, said there was plenty of scope for the campaign in the town, which had a large number of elderly residents.

He added: “It is easy to forget that these people have contributed to the community for many years and they deserve a little bit of help and support.”