20/10/2004

Seminar targets doorstep crime

A seminar which aims to raise awareness of the issues surrounding doorstep selling, doorstep crime and distraction burglary has been held in Belfast.

The seminar was commissioned by the Home Office to research ways of better preventing and detecting doorstep crime against older people.

David Livingstone, Head of The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment’s Consumer Affairs Branch, said that many of the problems associated with uninvited doorstep callers were experienced by Northern Ireland householders.

“I would therefore encourage members of the public, not only to be on their guard when they deal with these uninvited callers, but also to report incidents, when they have concerns, to the relevant authorities,” he added.

Brian Steele, Consultant on Doorstep Crime & Distraction Burglary and commissioner of the seminar, said: “The purpose of this seminar was to raise general awareness, highlight initiatives, and inform people of the proposals for new legislation.

“The level of interest in this subject was reflected in the wide range of guests here today, from community and voluntary organisations, PSNI and the statutory bodies. I hope that it has given an insight into how you can all work together and that it provided an impetus to progress the campaign, to protect communities from rogue doorstep traders and bogus callers.”

Research undertaken by Mr Steele recently indicated that doorstep-related crimes committed in Northern Ireland, are similar to those committed in Great Britain, and as those guilty of targeting vulnerable people use more advanced methods, so those charged with protecting, supporting and advising them, must also ensure that they are continually evolving and developing their methods of detection and prevention.

(MB/GMCG)

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