Fighting back against disability hate crime

Nationwide Oban are just one of the local businesses on board with the Keep Safe initiative.

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Businesses, shops and organisations in Oban, Lorn and the Isles are being urged to join an initiative aimed at raising awareness of disability hate crime.

Keep Safe is a Police Scotland led project in partnership with the I Am Me Scotland charity.

Seen as one of the most under-reported types of crime in Scotland and the UK, it is estimated that around 97 per cent of disability hate crime goes unreported.

Keep Safe aims to work with individuals and groups to create safe places for people to go if they need help – maybe because they are lost, they have lost their wallet, a phone or are a victim of disability hate crime.

Premises displaying the Keep Safe sticker will provide assistance in any way possible.

Keep Safe places in Oban already include Nationwide, ACHA, Calmac Ferry Terminal, Carr Gomm, Police Scotland, North Argyll Carers Centre and The Corryvreckan (Wetherspoons) Public House.

To become a Keep Safe place, interested premises have to meet criteria which include a minimum number of two staff in place at all times and must complete a form to allow Police Scotland to undertake background checks.

Once these checks are complete, staff undergo training which is provided free of charge by Police Scotland. The training is tailored to each individual premises and can last as little as 30 minutes. It can be done face to face or remotely through Microsoft Teams.

After the training, the premises will be issued with a Keep Safe Business Pack, funded by the Argyll and Bute Community Justice Partnership and Keep Safe.

Jim Tomlie, chairman of Oban and District Access Panel, said: ‘The Keep Safe initiative is a brilliant way of promoting independence for people with disabilities throughout Oban. We hope local businesses will engage with this and put themselves forward for the training.

‘Part of the panel’s work is to help businesses support people with disabilities and joining Keep Safe is one way local businesses can do that.’

Anyone interested in becoming part of this initiative should contact PC Laura Evans, Dunoon Police Station, by email at Laura.Evans@Scotland.pnn.police.uk.