Page last updated at 10:58 GMT, Saturday, 20 February 2010

Walking sticks kitted with alarms for people in Newport

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Pc David Castree has been fitting alarms to walking sticks and mobility scooters

Walking sticks are being fitted with personal attack alarms by police in Newport after elderly people raised fears of being attacked.

Around 400 alarms have been fitted to the walking aids of people living in sheltered housing schemes in the city.

The alarms can also be fitted to crutches, walking frames, mobility scooters and wheelchairs.

It is hoped the high pitched alarms will reassure and give confidence to elderly people who have them.

Pc Dave Castree from Gwent Police said the alarm idea sprang from discussions with elderly people living at Shaftesbury Court residential housing.

He said there were concerns among residents of what they would do if they were ever threatened or attacked.

He said the alarms provided by Newport City Centre Neighbourhood Policing Team were loud and high pitched and could be activated easily with the push of a button in times of danger or distress.

Pc Dave Castree fits a wheelchair alarm
The alarms can also be fitted to mobility scooters and wheelchairs

He said the type of alarm chosen would be more practical that one that had to be carried separately.

"With walking stick and mobility alarms, they would always have it with them, so it is at their finger tips whenever they needed it.

"We believe these alarms will give elderly people more confidence whenever they leave their homes.

"The alarms are very easy to use and everyone we have fitted one for so far has been delighted and very grateful.

"People should expect to feel safe on the streets of Newport and we hope these alarms will help to reassure and protect them."

'More confidence'

He said the aim was to provide them to as many elderly people in Newport as possible.

Shaftesbury Court scheme manager Sara Whatmore said: "All the residents are using the alarms and they have more confidence when walking around, which is great.

"The lounge where the police gave their presentation was packed - as full as I've ever seen it."



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