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Remember your elderly friends and relatives on World Elder Abuse Day says Sussex Police

Sussex Police are reminding older people and their families and carers, that it is important to stay on the alert for attempts to defraud them – whether through couriers, doorstep callers, computers and telephones, investment offers, on dating sites, by someone close to them or through bogus inheritance claims.

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World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on Saturday (June 15) shows that various types of abuse affect more than half-a-million older people across the UK each year; abuse can be physical, financial, sexual or psychological and all can be a result of neglect. It can occur anywhere – at home, in residential care, even in hospital.

In Sussex alone, in the year to the end of May 2019, there were 1,754 Operation Signature reports with a financial loss to those who were defrauded of over £11,000,000. Seventy-three per cent of victims were over 60 and 71 per cent lived alone. Fraud is a crime type which is particularly prevalent among the elderly population and Operation Signature is the Sussex Police process to identify, protect and support vulnerable victims of fraud within Sussex.

Elderly victims can also fall victim to romance fraud where they seek companionship via dating and other online contact websites. A recent case in Sussex saw an 80-year-old woman defrauded of around £20,000 when she ‘lent’ money to a man who she believed was genuinely befriending her. You can read more about romance fraud here.

There are serious long-term physical and psychological consequences of the maltreatment of older people, and this is both under-recognised and predicted to increase, in-line with the aging population.

The aims of the day are to both voice opposition to the abuse and suffering experienced by so many people worldwide, and to collaboratively find ways to manage risks of abuse, provide education on ways to prevent abuse and give support to those experiencing such harm.

Chief Superintendent Lisa Bell said:

“There are serious long-term physical and psychological consequences of the maltreatment of older people, and this is both underreported and predicted to increase, in-line with the ageing population.

“Sussex Police treats elder abuse as a serious matter, especially where more vulnerable members of the community are targeted. The aims of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day are to both voice opposition to the abuse and suffering experienced by many, manage risks of abuse, provide education on ways to prevent abuse and give support to those experiencing such harm.”

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said:

“I’m really proud of this system established by Sussex Police which has seen huge success protecting our older residents. They are now able to give targeted advice to ensure the public get help and support in identifying potential fraudsters.

“We know that criminal gangs deliberately target our older residents because they may have substantial savings and can be seen to be more trusting. Sadly, when a possible victim is identified their details are often shared with other criminals and so they are at risk of being re-targeted.

“This is why I fund two fraud case workers in Sussex who helped and supported 638 people last year alone. This means that those who fall victim to this heinous crime are offered invaluable emotional support as well as practical advice when it is most needed.”

Increasingly fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive – Operation Signature follows up reports of any of the fraud types where the victim is vulnerable by providing preventative measures to support and protect them from further targeting. This can include helping them to change their phone number to an ex-directory number, contacting family to suggest Power of Attorney, mail re-direction, offering them advice on call blocking devices and referring them to other support services.

The banking protocol is a reasonably new initiative in Sussex where bank staff are trained to identify customers who are making unusual withdrawals or money transfers. Victims are often after being pressured by rogue traders or phone calls from fraudsters impersonating officials. Staff will ask questions to establish if the customer is potentially the victim of fraud and will make a 999 call to police quoting ‘Banking Protocol’. This has been extremely successful in identifying vulnerable victims, preventing financial losses and locating offenders.

In the past 12 months, 384 calls have been received from the banks, with nearly 250 crimes recorded and safeguarding concerns raised. Losses to victims in excess of £2,113,530 have been prevented and 21 arrests have been made.

See further information and advice about to prevent fraud of this type on the Sussex Police website. For more information about World Elder Abuse Day click here. For other information about support for elders visit this link.

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Jo Shiner chosen as the preferred candidate to be Sussex Chief Constable

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Jo Shiner (r) with Katy Bourne

Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, has chosen Jo Shiner as her preferred candidate to be the new Sussex Chief Constable.

The announcement comes after a rigorous recruitment process, which began in March, following the retirement announcement from Chief Constable Giles York.

Joining Katy Bourne on the interview panel were: Lynne Owens, Director-General of the National Crime Agency; Air Vice-Marshal Bob Judson (retired senior Royal Air Force Officer and Sussex resident) and Mrs Dianne Newton (an experienced Associate Assessor for the College of Policing, appointed by Mrs Bourne as an independent observer). 

Jo Shiner has been Deputy Chief Constable for Sussex Police for the last 18 months. Previously, she was Assistant Chief Constable for Kent Police. 

Mrs Bourne said:

“Jo Shiner has a wealth of operational policing experience at all levels and has already demonstrated a passion for Sussex, its people and police force, in her role as Deputy Chief Constable over the last 18 months.

 “Throughout this time she has really impressed me with her commitment to making our county an even safer place in which to live and work.

“She believes in achieving this through proactive policing, tougher enforcement, successful community engagement and a greater policing presence in our towns and villages. These are all the things the public have told me they want.

“She has already demonstrated strong leadership within the force and a deep understanding of the complexities facing our communities, with a passion to protect the most vulnerable. 

“I am confident that, going forwards, Jo will be an inspirational, hard-working and hands-on Chief Constable for Sussex Police.”

The Police and Crime Panel will be formally notified of the proposed appointment in due course. This will be subject to a confirmation hearing at their meeting on Friday 26 June 2020.

Jo Shiner said: “I feel very humbled and privileged to be given the opportunity to be the preferred candidate for the Chief Constable of Sussex. Sussex Police is a fantastic force and, subject to confirmation by the Police and Crime Panel, I am committed to ensuring that we continue to provide the very best possible service to the public, through protecting our communities and making Sussex a hostile environment to criminals. 

“I look forward to continuing to work closely with the Police & Crime Commissioner, colleagues and partners to provide the best policing to the community.”

Biography for Jo Shiner

As Deputy Chief Constable Jo Shiner engages closely with the Police and Crime Commissioner and is a member of the Chief Officer team for Sussex Police.

Jo, who is married to Andrew, started her policing career in Norfolk in 1993, serving up to the rank of Chief Superintendent. She then transferred on promotion to Kent as Assistant Chief Constable in 2014, before joining Sussex Police as Deputy Chief Constable at the end of 2018.

Jo’s career in the police spans almost 28 years, during which time she has undertaken a wide variety of roles.  These have predominantly been operational, both in uniform and within the Child and Adult Protection Unit, CID and as a firearms, public order and critical incident commander. 

As Deputy Chief Constable, Jo is responsible for the smooth and effective running of Sussex Police and delivering the services that the communities deserve. As part of this she is passionate about supporting local groups and addressing issues that really matter to our communities.

Jo has been pivotal in ensuring that the additional investment into the force has delivered visible results for our communities, including the Tactical Enforcement Units, rural crime teams, local resolution teams and additional DA and stalking investigators. Importantly she has also overseen the investment into additional PCSOs and road policing officers. All of these mean that the force can do more to protect our communities, catch more criminals and deliver an outstanding service to victims, witnesses and the wider public. Jo has also supported the recruitment and delivery of the additional officers through both the Op Uplift programme and the local precept investment. 

In addition, in January 2020 Jo took over the NPCC National Lead for the policing of Children and Young People. She is also the NPCC National Lead for Police Fitness.

Outside of work, Jo proudly sits as a Trustee for the charity Embrace (Child Victims of Crime) and has previously volunteered and raised money for The Princes Trust. She is an active member and keen supporter of a number of charities, including the Beachy Head Chaplains who save hundreds of lives every year.  She is a keen sportswoman, regularly signing up for events to fund raise for various charities, and is the proud owner of a very exuberant, and much-loved rescued Mountain dog, Rocky.

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