Monday 30 September 2013

Directors of adult social services have congratulated police authorities in England, Wales and Northern Ireland for coming together under the collective name Operation Liberal to offer advice and help for professionals working with older people who might be threatened in their own homes.

So-called 'distraction crimes occur when criminals, often working in gangs, gain entry to older peoples homes and use distractions to help them burgle and steal.

Packs are being made available to health and social care staff to help them identify high risk individuals and to provide them with the means of identifying when this type of crime has happened and to provide them with the opportunity to share any information with the police. 

According to Operation Liberal, Information available to the operation suggests there is a level of information sharing between burglars and rogue traders. The effects of this type of crime on the older victims cannot be underestimated, often resulting in a downturn in their general health, unexpected admissions to hospital and sometimes death.

The victims of this type of crime are typically 81 years old, female and live alone.

Older victims of distraction burglary usually have existing or unmet health and social care needs:

·         80% were in receipt of health and social care at the time of the incident

·         80% had unmet health and/or social care needs

·         10% have unexplained admissions to hospital in the three months following the incident

·         40% had a change in their quality of life

ADASS President Sandie Keene congratulated the police services, and the help they had received from ACPO, on what she described as an 'extremely important initiative to help reduce an 'extremely serious crime. She said: both social care and health staff are well aware that these crimes occur and do what they can to warn older people living at home only to open their doors when they are sure the person outside is safe.

This pack will raise their awareness of the importance of this advice, encourage them to disperse it more widely and will hopefully lead to fewer incidents of this nature proving successful. I urge all my colleagues and staff to participate as fully as they are able.


For further information contact:
Sandie Keene, ADASS President, 01132 478700
Drew Clode, ADASS Policy/Press Adviser, 020 8348 5023/07976 837755

Editorial Notes

The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) represents directors and senior managers of adult social services departments in English local authorities. Directors (DASSs) have statutory responsibilities for the social care of older people, adults with disabilities and adults with mental health needs.

In many authorities ADASS members will also share a number of responsibilities for the provision and/or commissioning of housing, leisure, libraries, culture, and community safety on behalf of their councils. More than a third of DASSs are also the statutory director of childrens services for their authority.

For further information about Operation Liberal go to: