Report on policing concerns of over 60s in Sussex recognised in Parliament

A group of volunteers who have helped highlight the policing and crime concerns of Sussex residents over 60 presented a report to Parliament this week.

The Sussex Elders’ Commission was set up by Sussex’s Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne and in the past year the 30 members have had 1,500 conversations and hosted 80 public meetings resulting in 6,160 concerns being recorded.

The most mentioned issue to SEC members was nuisance calls and scams followed by local policing, road safety, and anti-social behaviour.

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Pauline Jackson, an SEC member from Bexhill who made a presentation at the launch in Westminster on Tuesday, said: “I joined the Elders’ Commission in order to give older people a voice, particularly those who feel isolated.

Sussex Elders' Commission Report SUS-160803-163944001

“Many people told me ‘this is the first time that anybody has asked for my opinion and to hear what concerns me’.

“Falling for scams was a recurrent theme. I spoke to an older gentleman who had been romanced and conned out of his savings by a younger neighbour.

I was also shocked that so many people did not know about the 101 police non-emergency number.”

Mrs Bourne added: “I am very proud of the achievements of this dedicated group of community-minded volunteers.

Members of Sussex Elders' Commission (photo submitted). SUS-160903-100339001

“They have tapped into their networks and social groups to lift the lid on older citizens’ concerns about crime and revealed that some people are being exploited and intimidated simply because their age and isolation makes them more vulnerable.

“They have a clear message that adult protection needs to be taken as seriously as child protection.

“SEC members have an extensive and influential network of contacts at many different levels, and they have the capacity and will to help inform thousands of older people to avoid scams, stay safe online and have the confidence to report abuse.

“Some of the recommendations in their report can be achieved in Sussex by collaboration and information sharing between partners, such as Action on Elder Abuse, Age UK East Sussex, Trading Standards, the Post Office and Neighbourhood Watch.

“Some recommendations are more challenging and will undoubtedly require discussion at a national level with police, financial institutions and other statutory bodies.

“The 30 members of the Sussex Elders’ Commission have invested a year of their time to conduct this extensive person to-person survey. I think we owe it to all those senior citizens who talked to us to look at their concerns and act on them where we can.”

The House of Commons event was hosted by Wealden MP Nus Ghani.

Ms Ghani said: “I was delighted to welcome members of the Sussex Elders’ Commission to Parliament, where they outlined the findings of their year-long consultation. East Sussex has one of the oldest populations in the country, so working closely with elderly people is key to providing effective policing and community support, from individuals and organisations of all types.

“As chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Ageing and Elderly People, I am proud to add my support to the commission’s work. I will be reflecting on its conclusions carefully, and I congratulate and thank all who have made it possible.”

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