17/08/12....Turning the tide on rogue traders -
THE tide has been turned on rogue traders who mostly target older or vulnerable people in Oxfordshire, thanks to the efforts of the county council’s Trading Standards Service, in partnership with Thames Valley Police.
While doorstep crime incidents are on the increase nationally, in Oxfordshire reports of this type of crime fell by 10 per cent last year.
This is the first year the team has seen a small reduction in reported incidents in Oxfordshire - down from 524 to 480 (April 2011 to March 2012).
Oxfordshire County Council and Thames Valley Police adopt a joint approach to tackling this problem. This includes a rapid response to reported incidents, as well as joint investigations and raising awareness through publicity campaigns, such as the current advice about doorstep crime.
Intervened to save cash
In the past year the joint Doorstep Crime Team intervened to save Oxfordshire residents £133,383, a slight increase on the previous year’s total of £127,766.
Richard Webb, Acting Head of Trading Standards said: “While it is very pleasing to see a small decline in the number of doorstep crime incidents in Oxfordshire last year, it is still worrying that there is more than one a day reported to us.
“We are obviously approaching this in the right way to buck the national trend, but there is still a lot more work to do. Behind every incident is a person and often the impact of these crimes is much more than just financial.”
Strong support for victims
Cllr Judith Heathcoat, county council Cabinet Member for Safer and Stronger Communities said: “Our joint Police and Trading Standards Doorstep Crime Team ensures that we can provide strong support to victims of this type of crime, as well as ensuring we achieve the best possible results from investigations into incidents.
“A number of cases are brought to court each year, including one that concluded last year with two offenders being sentenced to a total of seven-and-a-half years’ imprisonment. The team is an example of best practice and other local authorities come to visit the team to see how they achieve what they do.”
If anyone has any concerns about rogue traders, please contact the council’s Trading Standards on 0845 051 0845, using option 2. Link to the current Trading Standards doorstep crime summer awareness campaign for advice:
PHOTO: Courtesy of: www.newsrt.co.uk