News item

Cold Call Control Zone Community Toolkit launches on Highland Council website

The Highland Council has launched their Cold Call Control Zone Community Toolkit today (Tuesday 12 May) in a bid to help communities protect themselves from doorstep crime.

The resource has been created by Highland Council trading standards. The toolkit includes a guide on how to set up a Cold Call Control Zone (CCCZ), tips on how to deal with rogue doorstep traders and advice for businesses to help them operate within the law.  

While many doorstep traders offer a legitimate service, some look to exploit vulnerable people by charging inflated prices for work that is of poor quality, not necessary or not carried out at all. This is referred to as doorstep crime and the traders involved as rogue doorstep traders.  

CCCZs are community run and funded schemes that tackle doorstep crime by educating and empowering residents to say no to unwanted doorstep traders. This is done through the introduction of signage in the area and by supplying residents with educational materials. 

Three CCCZs are already in operation in the Highland Council area. They can be found in the Wimberley Way, Muirtown and Dalneigh areas of Inverness.

It is hoped that the toolkit will encourage more groups throughout Highland to introduce zones and help to protect their communities by reporting incidents to trading standards and Police Scotland.

The toolkit contains a comprehensive guide for community groups interested in setting up a CCCZ including information on how the zone works, what support trading standards can provide, who else to involve and how to gauge demand for the scheme in their area. 

Information is also included for individual members of the public on how to protect themselves from doorstep crime, what to do if they have entered into an agreement with a rogue doorstep trader and ‘what to do next’ advice if they suspect a friend or relative is being targeted.  

Trading Standards Manager Gordon Robb said: “The introduction of this toolkit has been designed to give communities across the Highland Council area the information and hopefully the confidence they need to protect themselves against rogue and unwanted doorstep traders.  

“Even though it is thought that only 10% of such cases are reported, the 259 incidents that did come to our attention last year revealed that Highland residents lost nearly £95,000 as a result of doorstep crime

 “Those communities that have already worked with us to set up their own schemes have all reported real benefits and as a result of this initiative I look forward to more interested groups working with us and the other agencies involved to protect their communities and help us tackle the issue.”  

Detective Superintendent Colin Carey from Police Scotland Highland and Islands Division said: "Police Scotland and trading standards work closely to tackle doorstep crime and I would urge the public to read the advice within the toolkit, act on it and help both agencies by reporting rogue doorstep traders."  

"Doorstep crime can affect anyone but we know that the elderly can be particularly vulnerable. Those who commit doorstep crime can be extremely convincing in their methods to securing the confidence of their potential victims. Sadly, many people are convinced by these lies; with potentially devastating effects for individuals and families, financial and otherwise. 

"Even if you do not feel you are likely to fall victim to this type of crime, it is very important to pass on advice to friends, neighbours or family members who may be more likely to be targeted and provide them with the information and confidence to say “no”. Police Scotland welcomes any initiative that improves the safety and wellbeing of people, places and communities here in the Highlands."  

Councillor Thomas Prag, Chairman of Highland Council’s Planning, Development and Infrastructure Committee said: “Cold Call Control Zones have been proven to make people feel safer in their homes and communities. They are also a useful way of informing both trading standards and Police Scotland of doorstep trading activity in an area.  

“I hope that communities use this new resource to work with trading standards and protect vulnerable people in our communities.”

DATE: 12 May 2015