Finding a safe place in Sidmouth

PUBLISHED: 16:00 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:25 17 June 2010

POLICE were visiting Sidmouth businesses on Tuesday to promote a scheme which combats the bullying of people with learning disabilities. PC Vanessa Thompson, diversity officer, with the help of Anna Holden and PCSO s Jay Pepper and Alex Powe were visiting

POLICE were visiting Sidmouth businesses on Tuesday to promote a scheme which combats the bullying of people with learning disabilities.

PC Vanessa Thompson, diversity officer, with the help of Anna Holden and PCSO's Jay Pepper and Alex Powe were visiting traders to tell them about a new Safe Place scheme which is being launched in East Devon.

PC Thompson explained: "The idea is somebody with a learning disability carries a card with someone they would like to be contacted in an emergency. The businesses put a sticker up in their window and the person can identify that is a place where they can get help and see a friendly face."

Anna Holden got involved with the scheme after she was assaulted on a bus in Paignton.

PC Thompson said: "She didn't tell anybody until she got back to Exmouth so we couldn't catch the people who did it.

"The good thing about the scheme is if people see the sign they don't have to explain what happened to them, but they can just give their card over and someone will ring for help."

The scheme has already been introduced in Exmouth and Honiton and is proving to be very successful.

PC Thompson added: "It went very well in Sidmouth. We covered about 20 to 25 premises and they all said they would put up the sticker in their window."

Stephen Kendall-Tory, owner of Pure Indulgence, is very enthusiastic about the scheme: "I think it is a very good idea and has been well thought up by someone. I know it's directed at a specific group but I don't see why anybody who needs help shouldn't use it. I would like to think if a child was lost they would come in and ask for help."

In the next couple of weeks, PC Thompson will be visiting groups in Sidmouth and giving out the cards as well as giving a presentation about how to use them.

Anybody who would like to find out more about the Safe Place scheme and to register for a card should ring PC Thompson on (01395) 226129.


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