Keep Safe Cymru Card introduced

South WalesPolice, Learning Disability Services and Mencap Cymru, have jointly developed aKeep Safe Card Scheme for anyone in the South Wales force area with a learning disability,or mental health and communication need.

The scheme,a first in Wales, is designed to make people more aware of their personalsafety, to encourage reporting of crime – especially hate crime – and to seekhelp if they need it. It will also help those providing assistance, such as thePolice, to access support for the user of the card and understand how to makethem feel safer.

The launchevent included a variety of key note speakers including South Wales PoliceAssistant Chief Constable Jon Stratford, Ministerfor Health and Social Services Professor Mark Drakeford AM, South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner AlunMichael, Mencap Cymru Director Wayne Crocker, Hafal CEO Alun Thomas and theagency’s service users.

How KeepSafe Cymru works:
If the card holder needs assistance, whether they are lost, a victim of crimeor any situation that means they need some extra support, they can use the cardto access this help.

The cardwill hold basic information about the individual such as how they communicate,any health issues and any emergency contacts such as parents or carers.

When anindividual registers for a keep safe card, they will also be given access tothe Police Disability Line. This is a dedicated non-emergency telephone numberfor people with a disability to use to contact the police. When calling thisnumber, the call handler will be aware before they speak to the caller thatthey have a disability.

This willensure that the call handler is aware of any additional needs the caller mayhave and can pass it onto any policing resource managing their report. This isnot an alternative to the emergency 999 service; it is to be used instead ofthe non-emergency telephone number only.

South WalesPolice Assistant Chief Constable Jon Stratford said:

“TheKeep Safe Card is an excellent opportunity for South Wales Police to engagewith people with learning disabilities or a mental health condition.

“It willprovide people with learning disabilities or mental health with informationabout how to keep safe and how to access help if required through the Keep Safecard. It will enable us to be more accessible to our diverse communities, whichwill build personal confidence and encourage the reporting of incidents andcrime to us.

“Thisscheme will build trust and confidence within our communities, promoteaccessibility and help to improve victim satisfaction. We are very proud to beinvolved in such an innovative and valuable initiative.”

WayneCrocker JP, Director Mencap Cymru said:

“Peoplewith a learning disability have to right to feel safe in their communities andthe social model of disability means we as a society must make the changesneeded to make this happen. We welcome the Keep Safe Card because it givespower to the person with a learning disability to expect to feel safe and besupport appropriately by statutory agencies. We have been particularlyimpressed with the real, genuine commitment of South Wales Police to make thiswork for people with a learning disability and their families and carers; let’shope all police forced across Wales follow their lead.”

ProfessorMark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Services added:

“I amgrateful to South Wales Police, Learning Disability Services and Mencap Cymrufor working together to develop the Keep Safe Card for the benefit of peoplewith a learning disability, mental health issues and communication needs.

“Thescheme supports work we are taking forward to reduce violence anddisability-related bullying and hate crime which is underpinned by the need tosupport equality to create a fair society, free from discrimination, harassmentand victimisation with cohesive and inclusive communities.”

South WalesPolice and Crime Commissioner Alun Michael said:

“Overmany years I have seen the problems that can arise when an individual’scircumstances are not understood. People in official roles who are themselvesunder pressure can be impatient when they don’t know that a member of thepublic needs a little time and space to be able to explain themselves or to begiven some special consideration.

“Thisscheme is about ensuring that people get the consideration they need and it’shelpful to the person who is shown the card as well as the person presentingit. We need to support the scheme and promote awareness of the benefits it willdeliver.”

Find out more about the scheme @ http://www.south-wales.police.uk/more-about-us/keep-safe-cymru-card/