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Call blocking device to protect elderly from scammers brought to area

A new call-blocking device to protect vulnerable people from fall victim to phone scams is to be rolled out across the local area.

Funding is being made available for the initiative, which will be up-and-running in both the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon, and the Newry, Mourne and Down areas.

Justice Minister Claire Sugden welcomed the move, which aims to protect vulnerable people from falling victim to phone scammers.

The call blocking initiative is jointly funded by the Department of Justice, the PSNI and the Northern Ireland Policing Board.

It is being delivered by five Policing and Community Safety Partnerships across Northern Ireland, the others being Causeway Coast and Glens, Derry and Strabane, and Lisburn and Castlereagh.

Minister Sugden was speaking during a visit to Coleraine where she met the first recipient of a call blocking device provided by Causeway Coast and Glens PCSP.

She said: “As Minister of Justice I am committed to doing all I can to help reduce fear of crime for older and vulnerable people and to increase their confidence and feelings of safety in their homes and communities.

“My Department’s Community Safety Strategy has a number of measures specifically linked to this aim and we work closely with the PSNI and other statutory and voluntary agencies to tackle this very serious issue.

“Scam calls can have an extremely damaging impact on older people’s confidence and sense of safety within their own homes, and can lead to substantial financial losses in the worst cases.

“I have heard today how the call blocking devices are significantly reducing the levels of nuisance calls that older and more vulnerable members of our community are receiving.

“This initiative aims to reduce the opportunities that criminals have to exploit older people. I am confident that it will go a long way to preventing and deterring criminals from targeting vulnerable individuals.”

PCSPs have been allocated funding to buy the devices, which will be distributed to vulnerable elderly on the basis of an assessment against set criteria through local networks.

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