Martin Neill, Scottish Labour councillor for Shettleston in Glasgow, highlights local action against doorstep crime.
All politics is local.
That’s a sentiment I am determined to stick by.
Since my election to Glasgow City Council in a by-election last December I have been astounded at the number of times people have spoken to me about bogus callers and rogue traders making people’s lives a misery.
It is completely unacceptable that elderly and vulnerable people in Glasgow, and indeed right across Scotland, are exposed to these criminals. That’s why I championed a motion at full council which calls for more help for elderly and vulnerable groups who are unfairly exposed to the under-reported crime. The message I took directly to the chamber was clear. Rogue traders and bogus callers are not wanted in our communities.
These criminals can be extremely convincing in their approach and make a living out of the lies they create; this is their job – they are con artists. There is also evidence that they will then pass the details of victims to other criminals who will continue to prey on vulnerable people.
Working with the police in my ward I have been promoting the Nominated Neighbour Scheme launched by Police Scotland, which is a great way for elderly and vulnerable people to protect themselves by seeking the help of a neighbour or relative. This initiative will help individuals seek a second opinion from a trusted friend, neighbour or family member before they proceed with any business instigated on their doorstep.
Glasgow City Council is also working with Police Scotland and Trading Standards to create a database of ‘No Cold Calling Zones’. This will identify problem areas in the city and ensure that the best support and advice is available to vulnerable residents cross the city where cold calling is a particular problem.
The local community policing team in my ward have committed to work with all partner agencies to increase awareness amongst communities of this despicable crime, and give people confidence in being able to deal with those who cold-call.
I will now be hitting the streets of my ward to encourage elderly and vulnerable residents to be on their guard, and to sign up to a campaign which encourages local people to support each other to combat doorstep crime. By working together we can protect our elderly, our vulnerable and our communities, and shut these criminals out.
Local campaigning and the championing of issues affecting the most vulnerable in our society is Labour at our very best.