PROTECTING the most vulnerable from crooks and conmen was top of the agenda last week at a multi-agency seminar in the Borders.

More than 70 representatives from key organisations attended the event which was organised by the Scottish Borders Adult Protection Committee (SBAPC).

Financial harm is both a local and national concern with victims at risk of theft, fraud, extortion and being pressured in connection with money, property or a will.

It is also covers bogus workmen, cold callers or scams over the phone, internet or mail.

The multi-agency seminar explored how professionals across the area could work in partnership to prevent and respond to financial harm.

Jim Wilson, chair of the SBAPC, told us: “This was an extremely well-attended and well-received event which will contribute significantly to the future policy direction of this important issue here in the Borders.

“It also gave a clear message that agencies across the Borders are very committed to working together in collaboration to prevent financial harm and to support and protect people who are at risk of financial harm or any other form of harm, neglect or abuse.

“The committee will take now work to take forward the key issues raised as part of their business plan for 2017/18.”

Key speakers at the seminar included Graham Clarke, from the Scottish Business Resilience Centre, who highlighted the national perspective.

Tricia Scott, who is part of trading standards at Scottish Borders Council, gave an overview of local issues, including scams.

Sandra McDonald from the Office of the Public Guardian (Scotland) provided information about her organisation’s role and remit.

And she also spoke about their investigation service, principles of the Adults with Incapacity (Scotland) Act 2000, issues relating to power of attorney and guardianship as well as describing some of the warning signs of financial harm.

Hazel Brydon, area manager for the Royal Bank of Scotland gave a banking perspective and described actions that banks are taking to prevent and respond to financial harm of customers.

Anyone who is concerned that they or someone they know is at risk of harm should seek advice as a matter of priority.

They can also call customer services at Scottish Borders Council on 0300 100 1800 (office hours) or the emergency duty team on 01896 752111 (out of hours).