A new force procedure to help safeguard vision impaired members of the community who need to confirm if a person at their door is a police officer has been launched this week, Monday 27 June.
Use of the Visual Impairment Procedure (or VIP) is optional, but it adds a layer of security and assurance when visual identification of a police officer by their uniform or warrant card is impractical.
The procedure works using a one-time memorable password, which is agreed between the caller and the contact handler at 101 or 999.
The procedure can be used by anyone with a vision impairment, to any degree, or anyone who cares for or supports someone who is vision impaired.
Helping to keep visually impaired people safe
Sam Fox, a volunteer for Essex Sight Loss Council and a member of Healthwatch Essex disability forum, who is blind and relies on her faithful guide dog, Winston, said:
“I am extremely proud and grateful for the work that Essex Police have done to help keep sight impaired people safe. "This new procedure was implemented within a relatively short space of time with the support of all senior officers to train all staff. “In addition, Essex Police continue to work with myself and other sensory impaired people to help improve our lives with better access to police services, should we need them. “Chief Superintendent Claire Talbot has been truly amazing and once again I would like to thank her and her team for all the work they have done. “Thank you, Essex Police.”
67,500 Essex residents living with site loss
There are 67,500 residents living with sight loss in Essex and The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) estimates that by 2030 this will rise by 25%.
Chief Superintendent Claire Talbot, North Policing Area Commander and leading the procedure’s development and implementation, added:
“It’s really important that we offer an inclusive service to all members of the public. “The procedure begins when a person calls 101 or 999 and they tell us they are vision impaired. Our call handlers will implement the procedure immediately and explain how it works. “If an officer attends a location and their identity needs to be verified, the member of the public can tell the officer they want to use the Visual Impairment Procedure. The officer will wait outside until the procedure is set up by the person calling us. “This extra layer of security will help safeguard vision impaired members of the community and ensures that officers’ identity can be verified.”