Visual Impairments Protocol
Visually-impaired people contacting West Yorkshire Police now have a better way to check the identity of police officers attending at their properties, and reduce the risk of letting a bogus officer into their home.
It is very important that police officers and other police employees calling at the door for whatever reason are able to identify themselves. Usually, when officers attend a property, they have a warrant card to identify themselves to the householder and prove they are who they claim to be.
However, it’s not as simple for visually impaired people who may not be able to see a photograph or name on a warrant card clearly, and so West Yorkshire Police are responding to feedback from the community to put an alternative, but straightforward process in place. This has been carried out in conjunction with the community through a West Yorkshire Police Visual Impairments Working Group as well as through speaking to individual members of the community. This has been important in ensuring that the process meets the needs of the community, and is both simple and secure.
How does the Visual Impairments Protocol work?
The Visual Impairments Protocol works as follows. A process map is contained at the bottom of the page:
The caller contacts either the emergency 999 number, or the non-emergency 101 number to report a crime or other incident in the same way as they would normally contact West Yorkshire Police. This may either be through telephone, text, typetalk or LiveChat.
When connected to a member of West Yorkshire Police, the caller explains that they have a visual impairment. As a result, as well as being given a log number as anyone contacting West Yorkshire Police would, they will also be asked to select a password of their choosing, which will then be provided to the attending officer.
When the officer responds to the incident, they will be asked to supply the password. Only through reciting the details correctly will access to the property be granted. In cases where the person is deafblind, for example, such details will be verified through alternative means best for the person concerned. An incorrect answer will prompt the member of the public to refuse entry and to contact the Customer Contact Centre via 999 to request immediate police attendance to try and locate the bogus officer. Although confirmation of details is not technically an emergency, due to the vulnerability of the caller, this will be regarded as a 999 call.
The same procedure will apply when a member of West Yorkshire Police may be in the area to provide crime prevention advice, or is conducting house-to-house enquiries as part of an investigation. The crime prevention activity or house-to-house enquiry work would have been registered with West Yorkshire Police previously, so a check can be made as to whether officers would be expected in the area. A log number would have been generated as a reference point. The member of the public contacts the Customer Contact Centre, and be given the log number in question to check with the officers at the door.
The Visual Impairments Protocol applies to anyone with a visual impairment, whether with full blindness, with a guide dog, or with any sight-impaired condition. It can also be used by anyone who cares for, or supports, someone who is visually-impaired.
Although the process only applies to those who are visually-impaired at the moment, it may be extended further in future months to support other vulnerable groups of people.
If you would like more information on the Visual Impairments Protocol, members of West Yorkshire Police’s Customer Contact Centre would be happy to receive a call using our non-emergency contact information.