WEST MIDLANDS POLICE are warning elderly members of the community and their families about distraction burglars claiming to be from the 2011 Census.
From Wednesday 6 April census representatives will be working across the region, knocking on doors to collect late census forms from householders.
However, police are urging members of the elderly community to be wise to distraction burglars and opportunist thievesâ€™ using the census as an opportunity to commit crime.
So far, there have been two distraction burglaries which have occurred across the West Midlands where offenders have claimed to be from the census. The offenders have gained access to victimâ€™s homes and stolen a quantity of cash.
2011 Census area manager for Birmingham, Paul Glover, said: â€œCensus staff will never ask for peopleâ€™s bank details. All 2011 Census field staff wear photo identification badges and carry other visibly branded items.â€
â€œCensus collectors will only call on people who have not yet returned their questionnaires to offer help and assistance. They will not ask to enter your home and they will only enter if you invite them in.â€
The Office for National Statistics, which runs the census in England & Wales, issued the following guidelines:
You should only get a visit from a census collector if:
â€¢ We haven’t yet had a completed questionnaire back from you – either in the post or online
â€¢You’ve requested a visit through the census helpline and a census co-ordinator has contacted you to arrange this
â€¢ Census collectors will be out and about visiting households from late March through to 6 May 2011.
The caller will always carry their photo ID, bearing the 2011 Census logo. Ask to see it if they do not automatically show this to you. Our staff will do everything they can to reassure you and will not try to prevent you from checking their identity.
Please contact the census helpline for advice if you have any doubts as to the identity of 2011 Census staff on 0300 0201 101.
What the census collector will not do:
â€¢ Ask you to provide bank, debit card or credit card details
â€¢ Call to deliver your census questionnaire: this is all being done by post
â€¢ Ask you to leave your questionnaire on the doorstep or with a neighbour for collection
â€¢ Ask for any personal information other than to confirm your name, address, and date of birth
â€¢ Come into your home â€“ unless you invite them in
â€¢ Fill in the questionnaire on your behalf: unless you are unable to do this yourself
â€¢ Leave a spare census questionnaire with your neighbour or ask them to provide personal or detailed information about you if youâ€™re out
Force Distraction Burglary Lead Alistair Fellows-Bennett added, â€œWe again urge people to be cautious when opening the door to strangers or unexpected callers at your door.
â€œAnyone working in an official and legitimate capacity would have proper identification from the organisation they represent and would be willing to show this when calling at your home.
â€œAlways contact police if you have concerns and remember if in doubt keep them out.â€
To read a full copy of the census guidelines please visit
www.west-midlands.police.uk or visit the 2011 Census website
Officers will also be distributing census guideline leaflets to homes considered to be at particular risk of distraction burglary
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