Criminals who prey on the blind could have to experience what it is like to lose their sight following a blindfolded experience by Boston’s community policing inspector.
Insp Andy Morrice took part in a project to understand what it is like to negotiate the busy town centre without the benefit of sight.
After the experience he said he it could be something that forms part of a restorative justice process.
He joined members of Boston Town Area Committee (BTAC) to walk blindfolded along Dolphin Lane and across Boston’s busy Market Place.
He said: “From a policing angle this opportunity has given me a real insight into how terrible being a victim of criminal activity must be for anyone in this situation.
“I am looking at ways I can actually roll this out as part of a restorative justice process, to make people responsible for crime against our most vulnerable understand the true impact of their behaviour by getting them to take part in something similar as part of the restoration.”
The walk was organised by Roger and Molly Fixter, both sight impaired and members of Boston Disability Forum, to demonstrate the difficulties people with sight loss face on a daily basis.
It also aimed to show how important it is that blind and partially-sighted people receive the care and support they need to get out and about.
Each person was given a blindfold and a white cane and was led by helpers from Mitre Lane onto Dolphin Lane and then onto the Market Place where they walked across the busy pedestrianised and trafficked area.
They were not warned of any obstacles in their path, such as people, shop signage, tables and chairs or uneven surfaces.
The inspector added: “I think from my perspective what it highlighted to me was just how vulnerable certain sections of our society are. I actually felt okay down Dolphin Lane. I felt a perception of being enclosed and safe, although I had no idea of what was going on around me.
“This feeling of having no idea of what was going on really manifested itself when crossing the road in the Market Place, I could hear vehicles but had no perception of how close they were, whether they were coming towards me or not, and I really felt I was putting my life in someone else’s hands when stepping out to cross the road.”
Coun Sue Ransome also took part in the walk. She said: “I have friends who are blind or partially sighted. I was aware that there are problems in Boston town centre. I will be chasing the county council to help alleviate some of the hazards on the footways.”
She added that she found the walk in Dolphin Lane difficult due to the number of obstacles, but felt safer in the Market Place.