Advice for preventing mate crime shared at Wicksteed Park community event
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Neighbourhood Policing Team members joined an event for people with learning disabilities to share advice to help keep them safe.
Organised by community interest company Get on Board, which is run with and for people with learning disabilities, the event saw around 150 people gather at Wicksteed Park, Kettering, last Wednesday, October 18.
PC Neil MacKenzie, PCSO Maz Stretton and the Force’s hate crime officer Yemi Holman gave presentations and advice to representatives from disability organisations, carers and individuals.
Topics included cuckooing, the illegal practice of taking over the home of a vulnerable person to use it for drug dealing, mate crime, a form of hate crime involving the exploitation, abuse or theft from a person at risk by those they consider to be friends, hate crime and general safety advice.
PCSO Stretton, pictured, said: “The Get on Board event gave us a great opportunity to explain to people exactly what mate crime is, how it can really affect someone’s independence and confidence, and how to tackle and prevent it.
“Mate crime covers a range of situations, but is essentially when a person is befriended by someone who then takes advantage of them, sometimes by taking their money, controlling what they can and can’t do, or by taking over their home and treating it as their own, often while also working to isolate and control them by telling them they will take care of them, and are their only real friend.
“This kind of abuse can very often go unreported, as the person targeted may not realise what is happening, or be worried they may lose their home or their independence as a result of speaking up.
“By educating everyone from individuals and carers to family members and those working with charities and organisations, we hope to help people recognise the signs of mate crime and understand what’s going on, so it can be stopped and the person affected can get the help and support they need.”