Offenders who prey on vulnerable adults targeted in Rotherham scheme

Published Wednesday, 22nd April 2015
Older person and carer
An older person and carer

Offenders who prey on vulnerable adults in Rotherham will be subject to the ‘wrath’ of South Yorkshire Police, thanks to a new initiative launched by the Vulnerable Persons Unit (VPU).

The VPU is a bespoke adult protection scheme, launched in Rotherham to safeguard the most vulnerable adults in the community from harm and exploitation.

The unit handles a wide range of cases that don’t always require police intervention – sometimes a vulnerable adult requires the care and support of other agencies.

However, as part of the unit’s remit, officers in Rotherham hold monthly ‘WRATH’ meetings to identify individuals they believe could be exploiting vulnerable members of the community.

Chief Inspector Richard Butterworth said: “The point of WRATH is to watch and gather intelligence, report that intelligence, and target exploitative offenders who engage in this despicable crime.

“This is an incredibly complex issue because many vulnerable adults do not realise that they are victims of crime, so they aren’t reporting concerns to police or other agencies.

“We need the support of our partner agencies and the wider public in Rotherham to ensure that vulnerable adults in our communities are protected and kept safe from harm.”

The Vulnerable Persons Unit (VPU), established by the Safer Rotherham Partnership, is made up of police officers and representatives from the Council.

The unit is tasked with identifying vulnerable adults that are believed to most at risk of harm or exploitation from criminals. The unit will then co-ordinate a multi-agency response so the individual receives the appropriate care and support.

CI Butterworth added: “If anyone in Rotherham suspects that there is an adult at risk of harm or abuse, I’d urge them to report their concerns so that we can investigate.

“To those offenders out there who are preying on those in our communities they believe are an easy target, I say that the authorities will identify and use every legal means to protect victims."

Commissioner Stella Manzie, Managing Director of the Council, said: “It is vital to ensure the Council and South Yorkshire Police provide the very best service to help safeguard those who find themselves in often difficult and traumatic circumstances.

“We are therefore working very closely with partners to support this invaluable service for vulnerable people who require specialist help. Joining up in this way will best protect individuals and facilitate a much more dynamic multi-agency response to safeguarding our communities.”