Written by Scott Campbell.
Published at 07:13 BST on Friday, 27th July 2012.
Council, Health Board and Police team up to 'Keep People Safe' against abuse or harassment

Picture is copyright of Cumbernauld Media/ Scott Campbell.

A new council, police and health board partnership will see witnesses and victims of crime kept safe throughout Cumbernauld, and North Lanarkshire as a whole.

The new partnership between Strathclyde Police, North Lanarkshire council and NHS Lanarkshire will see a new alarm device with GPS tracking being offered to victims and/or witnesses of crime within the area who are at risk of harm.
Commenting, North Lanarkshire Divisional Commander, Chief Superintendent Nelson Telfer said: “I am delighted to see the arrival of the GPS new alarm devices with within North Lanarkshire. This type of alarm will allow the Police to quickly locate the user whenever the device is activated. It also reassures people to know that if they need the Police, we can trace them by following the GPS location markers. Often, when a person is involved in a serious incident, they feel unable to leave the house fearful they will be victimised. This alarm will allow them to feel more confident when going out in public and can provide great reassurance after being involved in a distressing experience.”

The new device is the latest technology to be used to ensure the Police are ‘Keeping People Safe’ in relation to domestic abuse and public protection matters, with the new devices being funded by North Lanarkshire Housing and Social Work, North Lanarkshire Public Protection and the Integrated Children’s Services Chief Officer Group, where NHS Lanarkshire made a contribution.

Mr Telfer added: “We are making a real difference in reducing serious crime in North Lanarkshire and our concern for victims does not end when reports are made to the Procurator Fiscal. We work to ensure that people don’t become repeat victims and will continue to look at technology to prevent and detect crime. Criminals should realise we are never going to stop exploring ways to arrest them and our absolute objective is to Keep People Safe and protect the citizens of North Lanarkshire.”

The discrete device will be issued to victims of serious crime who can activate it by simply touching a button. Satellite technology then gives their exact location and officers can be deployed to help them. The operator can also listen remotely to a victim if it’s suspected they are being attacked.

The technology was tested in the Bellshill area prior to being purchased and was given to a victim of an assault who said: “By adopting a different attitude to the problem, backed up by the security of the GPS alarm, I slowly but surely started to gain enough confidence to leave my home, to go to the shops, and even venture to the local park to take the dogs for a walk. Over the weeks, life started to take on a new perspective - freedom from fear of attack. I have been able to go about my day to day life, accompanied by my ‘silent friend’ secure in the knowledge that if I needed help it was only a matter of pressing the button and it would be on its way.”

The devices are limited and will be issued to the people who most need them in order of vulnerability. They systems have been commissioned for use over the next three years which have provided a viable sustainable approach to protecting people within our communities.