By Aisling Meath
THE Mizen Community Safety Project has launched a new community initiative, the first of its kind in Ireland, in order to combat bogus callers.
The Nominated Neighbour scheme encourages residents, especially the elderly and vulnerable, to seek the help of a friend or a neighbour when an unexpected caller comes to the door. It is already successfully operating in the UK and Northern Ireland.
If someone calls to the door that the resident does not recognise, they are encouraged to show a ‘Nominated Neighbour’ card through the window to them, rather than enter into conversation.
The nominated neighbour will verify the caller’s identity. If they are satisfied that they are genuine, they will accompany them to the resident’s home.
Along with the contact details of the nominated neighbour, the caller will read the following information written on the card:
‘They will check your identity and return with you. If my neighbour is not available, you will have to make a written appointment. I do not wish to be rude, but you are not recognised. If you persist on gaining entry alone, I will contact the gardaí.’ It has been observed that a genuine caller will not mind doing this. The nominated neighbour cards are not left on permanent display but kept in a convenient place near the door to be shown to unknown callers as they arrive.
The Mizen Community Safety Project, comprising Nellie Cotter, Tom Notter, Jonathan McCarthy and Tommy Jermyn, with the support of the local gardaí, have been working hard to put together 400 ‘Bogus Caller’ packs which they have distributed around the Mizen area. These contain the Nominated Neighbour cards, other crime prevention information, useful emergency numbers, and a fridge magnet with the local Garda station numbers.
Genuine callers will leave their details and you can call them back if you require. You can verify a number by calling 11890 Directory Enquiries. There are still a limited number of packs available and the Mizen Community Safety Project encourage people to pick them up free of charge from the following outlets: Ballydehob PO, The Little Way Charity Shop in Schull and from Tommy Jermyn in Goleen.