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Manor Hospital in Walsall is the latest NHS trust to take up a partnership with the crime reporting line charity Crimestoppers. More in the October 2017 print issue of Professional Security magazine.
This follows similar launches at North Bristol, at Southmead Hospital; and Wolverhampton, and shortly Luton; the idea of Adrian Canale, sector director – education and healthcare at the contractor Carlisle Support Services. It took him about a year to arrange, to satisfy hospitals and the Crimestoppers charity alike. Pictured left to right are Paul Richardson, head of performance and quality in estates and facilities at Manor Hospital; Walsall town centre PCSO Tracey Bingham; Marina Pekris, account manager at Crimestoppers; and Adrian Canale, senior director – education and healthcare at Carlisle Support Services. It took him about a year to arrange, to satisfy hospitals and the Crimestoppers charity alike, for example over data protection, and what crimes were likely to be reported.
As the posters at the display stand in the entrance lobby showed, the aim of the scheme is to encourage visitors, patients and staff to report crimes that are particular to healthcare, and more general crimes – theft (whether of drugs or equipment, it’s a cost to the NHS and ultimately the community), and knife crime (such as the carrying of weapons on hospital sites); bed hopping (whereby abuse of NHS services means that someone taking up a bed pretending to be ill may be denying it to someone who needs it), modern slavery and vulnerable children. The posters stressed that people wanting to raise concerns would call ‘100 per cent anonymously’ or could report online, anonymously also, through the website safernhstrust.co.uk.
As Professional Security heard, nurses and doctors may – as in other workplaces – feel it’s best not to report colleagues over suspicions of wrong-doing; or may not know who to contact, whether police or their line manager or HR inside the hospital. Hence the appeal of Crimestoppers generally, that doesn’t record any personal details about a caller, and passes information to the relevant authority without revealing identity. Or even visitors to an accident and emergency department may over-hear a remark which they may well want to pass on to the authorities, but be not sure about who to contact, if seeing a child in an accident and emergency department and an adult says to another, ‘I told you not to hit him’.
Also attending the launch was Paul Smith, security manager at Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust, and that trust’s local security management specialist (LSMS). That trust based on New Cross Hospital in Wolverhampton launched its 0800 freephone anonymous crime reporting line in the summer. He recalled visiting Crimestoppers, to listen to the call handlers at work. He was impressed, and satisfied the service is truly anonymous. The handlers typically run callers through a set of questions, to find the what, where and when. This NHS scheme has its own 0800 Crimestoppers number so a handler knows the likely at once. On the corporate side, Crimestoppers already offers a similar service for others; for the Security Industry Authority, for instance, to gather complaints of fake SIA badge use.
Marina Pekris of Crimestoppers said: “It’s about giving people a voice and giving confidence within NHS trusts to report crime and make them feel safe where they are.” She added that the scheme applied to the whole of NHS premises; including the grounds and car parks, and ambulances.
Carlisle Support Services is also offering to healthcare customers an app specific to healthcare for incident reporting and task management; and, with trainer Jim O’Dwyer of violence prevention consultancy Aegis Protective Services, healthcare-specific security officer training.
For more about Crimestoppers visit https://crimestoppers-uk.org/about-us/our-vision/.