New Delhi: The Centre has directed states to ensure safety of senior citizens by urgently reviewing existing policing arrangements for them and prepare plans to face current and future challenges for their protection.
The Home Ministry has asked all states and Union Territories to prepare a database of old persons living alone, identify crime-prone areas inhabited by them and issue guidelines in this regard.
The Ministry also issued directions regarding policing arrangements.
"Police headquarters should ensure that each police station has a security scheme for the protection of the elderly in the context of local requirements, which should be updated regularly. These should provide for patrolling, both during day and night.
"Police should maintain and regularly update the database about the elderly and obtain feedback about security arrangements in force for them," the Home Ministry advisory said.
Holding rich senior citizens as most vulnerable, the Centre told the states and UTs to fast-track security clearance process of their personal and security staff and organise special drives for verification of the antecedents of servants, drivers and other domestic help as also of tenants.
Enquiries should be held to fix responsibility for lapses whenever serious incidents of crime against the elderly take place and suitable action should be taken on it, the advisory said.
The Home Ministry asked states to take note of the fact that in recent decades, support mechanism of family and responsibility of the young to look after the elderly have weakened due to underlying societal changes such as emigration of the young, lower fertility levels, increased life expectancy and the appearance of the nuclear family.
The Home Ministry asked the states and UTs to ensure that senior police officers periodically inspect records of the elderly in police stations to ensure they are regularly updated.
It also asked states to ensure that beat staff along with community or NGO members regular visit residences of senior citizens living alone.
Senior police officers should also periodically interact with older persons living alone and set up senior citizens` special cell at state and district police headquarters to coordinate and monitor their safety, besides setting up a 24x7 senior citizens` toll free helpline.
The states were asked to issue dos and don`ts for older persons while dealing with salespersons, going out shopping or walking.
Besides, establishment of community policing programmes in areas with high proportion of older persons is also necessary, the advisory said.
"All the states and UTs are advised to consider adopting the measures elucidated above and any additional measure that is required for the effective management of crime against the elderly," it said.
The advisory came in the wake of growing incidents of brutal attacks on senior citizens living alone, particularly in metro cities.