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The independent care sector’s worth is now reaching in excess of £45 billion and home care is on the increase due to the rising costs of care homes and the squeeze on personal finances. David Ogden, Managing Director for Supra UK trading as The Key Safe Company, explores the implications of vulnerable people regularly needing healthcare professionals to gain access to their homes.

The nature of the care industry, and the well-documented turnover of staff, means patients are often seeing various carers, occupational therapists and local authority staff entering their homes. This begs the question, what is being done to protect and support people in different care scenarios?

Those working in the care and security sector do so to help care and protect individuals who need support. The values of both industries are very much aligned and often are working towards the same goal. This presents an opportunity for both sectors to work together to minimise the risks of crime for those needing care, and work in partnership to source and develop the right solutions to safeguard patients.

One of the key considerations is finding the right solution for each circumstance, as the requirement for care can be vast and complex. There are key factors that should be considered when choosing a care security package, such as utilising police accredited products, which have gone through rigorous testing to ensure they comply with British Standards, and most importantly have usually undergone attack tests to ensure they are up to the job. It is also crucial to work with reputable manufacturers and those whose products are recognised by the likes of Secured By Design to ensure the highest levels of security.

One example of where the local police have worked with manufacturers is in the case of South Yorkshire Police, who were seeing rising burglary figures in the area. Vulnerable and elderly victims were being faced with a spate of bogus callers, so the force worked with Supra UK to help local residents feel safer in their homes through providing a range of security solutions.

Eamonn Larkin, crime reduction officer at South Yorkshire Police, commented: “We are seeing more bogus callers targeting vulnerable people so we need to ensure people are extra vigilant and helping to look after each other.”

Most recently, an elderly couple in South Yorkshire was targeted when someone entered their home posing as a water engineer. The fraudster distracted the homeowners before stealing valuables from the safe. Eamonn continued: “Unfortunately, the couple trusted the man in question to be who he said he was and allowed him to enter their home. Sadly, it’s not uncommon for people to be tricked liked this, so we are looking into different measures to help people feel safer in their homes. That is why we are working collaboratively with providers such as The Key Safe Company to ensure that we can provide the best possible solutions.”

Further south, The Bedfordshire Partnership Trust Bobby Scheme was created to support elderly and vulnerable victims of crime, and more recently domestic abuse, by providing free home security checks and to deal with immediate security issues.

Supra UK supports the scheme’s assessment teams with the aim of enhancing safety features within the home. The fitters will offer advice to install a wide range of security improvements including the Supra C500 KeySafeTM to allow unrestricted access to the home for users without the need for multiple keys.

Martin Darlow, Chief Executive at the Bedfordshire Police Partnership Trust, commented: “The scheme was set up a number of years ago to plug the gap for elderly and vulnerable people who were unable to afford to protect themselves in the home. Many people we see have already been victims of crime and do not have the means to prevent themselves from further risks.

“The scheme has proven beneficial to the community as we found the chances of an elderly person becoming a repeat victim of crime, in the first six months after an incident, drops from 14% to just 1% if they have had a visit from us.”

The organisation, which relies on charitable donations, receives referrals from a range of sources including the police, local authorities, fire services, as well as families of elderly people who feel they could benefit from the assessment.

Martin added: “As well as installing security measures, we fit key safes as requested as we feel they are a vital addition to the homes of elderly and vulnerable people as they may often have care workers visit the home throughout the day. It ensures that numerous people aren’t holding keys and gives people the peace of mind that their keys are safely locked away.

“We’ve fitted other key safes but currently use The Key Safe Company, which are the best on the market. What was really important to us was that the Supra C500 was police recommended, which gives us the confidence to further recommend.”

As part f the partnership between the scheme and The Key Safe Company, each of the fitters were taken through a training course with the company to receive a key safe accreditation.

For those who have carers regularly visiting the home, the company’s leading Supra C500 KeySafeTM allows a secure method of authorised access by externally storing keys to a property.

The Supra C500 is a mechanical key safe that is police accredited through the Secured by Design initiative due to achieving the LPS1175: Issue 6, security rating 1. The product has an accredited certification from The Loss Prevention Certification Board (LPCB), the leading international Certification Body in the fields of security and fire protection. Recognised by Secured By Design, as well as leading home insurance companies, the product has undergone rigorous tests devised by security experts to demonstrate a comparable attack resistance to a domestic front door.

For further information, advice or support on any of the products from Supra UK trading as The Key Safe Company, please visit: www.keysafe.co.uk


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