New scheme to crackdown on bogus callers

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An initiative aimed at protecting the elderly and vulnerable from bogus callers and doorstep conmen is being extended across Leeds following the success of a pilot in the North West of the district.

More than 400 people have signed up to the Nominated Neighbour Scheme since its launch in north-west Leeds in December 2012. Following the success of the pilot scheme, from today it is now being rolled out across the rest of Leeds district.

Members of the scheme are given a card that they can hold up at the window to show they are part of the initiative which directs the caller to their nominated neighbour nearby. The nominated neighbour will then be able to verify the caller’s identity and establish if they are legitimate. The card also tells the caller that they will need to try later if the nominated neighbour is not in.

Signs are displayed in the streets where the scheme is in operation to deter criminals and fraudsters and let legitimate callers know what to expect.

Sgt Teresa Dmoch, of Leeds District Police, said: “The Nominated Neighbour Scheme has been well received since its launch in north-west Leeds with 420 residents currently signed up. It has been described as an invaluable service by current members and from today elderly and vulnerable people living across Leeds will be able to benefit from the scheme.

“The initiative aims to help the more vulnerable within our communities feel safer in dealing with unwanted, unexpected people who call at their home and preventing these doorstep callers from tricking their way into homes. The Nominated Neighbour Scheme enables people to be protected by someone they know and trust, such as a neighbour, friend, relative, warden or a local Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator.

“Members of the scheme need not just be the elderly, but also include vulnerable people such as those with learning difficulties or who have disabilities. It can include anyone who does not feel safe in their own home when a stranger knocks on their door.”

Anyone wishing to be part of the Nominated Neighbour Scheme or who knows someone who would benefit from the scheme and would like further details can ring 101 and ask to speak to their local Neighbourhood Policing Team.