Barry Coppinger the Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner is today launching his poster campaign aimed what is described as protecting some of the Cleveland Police force areas most vulnerable people within the community.
The new trend of ‘Mate Crime’ will be the main focus of the campaign which is a term coined for incidents where vulnerable people are befriended by others who then go on to take advantage of their friend, financially, emotionally or even sexually.
Some cases of ‘Mate Crime’ across the United Kingdom have includd vulnerable people purchasing clothes and food for others, then friends going on to use mobile phones and bank cards without permission.
Mate Crimes can also include the friend bringing people in to the homes of a vulnerable person that they simply do not know, People who fall victims of mate crime are generally disabled and often have learning disabilities.
The posters that will be displated across Teesside which have been designed by police officers in conjunction with disabled people who attend the CHAT group at the Cumberland Resource Centre in Middlesbrough.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “It is important that the police protect all members of our communities, and especially the most vulnerable. People who take advantage of others in this way need to be dealt with firmly and robustly, but equally it is important that we get the message out to our communities that this sort of behavior should not be tolerated and if it is happening to you, there is support available.
“We hope that this poster will raise awareness of the issue and encourage people to come forward and report incidents.”
PC Nicola Bell, whose role involves dealing with hate incidents and engaging with minority groups said: “We wanted to work with the disabled community themselves to ensure that what we produced covered the issues that were pertinent to them and was put together in a format that they would find useful.
“I would urge anyone who feels that they are being targeted in this way to tell someone they trust and to report it to the police so that we can give them the support they need.”
Incidents can be reported by dialing the 101 non-emergency number. In an emergency always use 999.