Oban and Isles needs more Keep Safe places

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Businesses and tourist attractions in Oban and the Isles are being asked to help keep vulnerable people safe.

So far there are 17 spots across Argyll and Bute where people can go as part of a Keep Safe project run by Police Scotland and community charity I Am Me – but only seven of those are based in Oban and the Isles.

Now the initiative is appealing for more shops, offices and visitor places to come forward and join them, giving people who are lost, have lost phones or wallets, or who are victims of crime a safe place to go if they need help.

Staff at Argyll Community Housing Association (ACHA) have been trained to help.

ACHA chief executive Alastair MacGregor said: ‘We work closely with Police Scotland on  a whole range of issues. All our seven offices in Argyll, including on Mull, are Keep Safe spaces.’

To become a Keep Safe place, premises have to have at least two staff on site at any time, the building must be checked as safe and a form has to be completed to allow Police Scotland to carry out background checks.

Once those checks are done, staff are then trained and the ‘safe place’ receives stickers to display. It is also registered on websites and the Keep Safe Scotland app.

PC Michelle Rusden, local authority liaison officer for Argyll and Bute, said: ‘The number of premises within Oban and the Isles needs to increase to ensure Oban and the Isles have a good Keep Safe representation.’

Keep Safe cards are available to anyone in the community online from iammescotland.co.uk

Police Scotland area commander Marlene Baillie said: ‘This is such a worthwhile initiative that I would urge local businesses, shops and other service providers to become involved in.

‘The willingness to help people is already clearly evident in our communities across Argyll and Bute and the Keep Safe places simply provide easily identified locations where vulnerable people can access that help and reassurance should it be required.’

And Chief Superintendent John McKenzie from Police Scotland added: ‘Tackling hate crime and enhancing community safety is a priority for Police Scotland and Keep Safe is a fantastic initiative that works with local communities and businesses to support this.’

Anyone interested in becoming part of the initiative should contact PC Michelle Rusden at Lochgilphead police station on 101 or email michelle.rusden@scotland.pnn.police.uk