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Local Policing Updates

Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) – Your local policing team

Every community in Warwickshire has a local policing Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT). Our teams work with communities and partner organisations to identify and address local concerns. Teams tackle crimes and work to make communities safer.

The local SNT for Welford on Avon is the Alcester Police South Safer Neighbourhood Team, the team deploy from Alcester and cover the wards of Bidford and Salford, Welford, Barton, Aston Cantlow, Alcester and Kinwarton. For an update on all current information please visit the dedicated web site at https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/article/2269/Alcester-South?uprn=200001167773

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner

All monthly updates of the Crime Commissioner’s Newsletter are now available at https://us9.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=ab4395fd0dda81296142cc9ad&id=d7e75fb781

Alcester South SNT Update

Welford Incidents
  • Suspicious Circumstances. Church Street. Blue Peugeot seen acting suspiciously in the area. Details of registration number and description of driver passed to police. 6.55pm Wednesday 2nd September. 0312 02/09/2020

Vehicle Crime

We have had a few instances of vehicle crime on the area over the last month where the vehicle involved has been left insecure. This presents a great opportunity for the passing opportunist thief and saves them a lot of time and effort to commit crime. We know that this type of crime usually takes place during the early hours and the offender will walk down a street randomly trying car doors in the hope to find an open one.

  • Always lock your vehicle. Whether it’s on the road, car park, driveway or in a garage.
  • Remove all valuables, especially those that can be seen through the windows.
  • If you have any valuables that cannot be removed, secure them in a locked compartment or boot and mark them with your postcode and house number.
  • Fit an alarm to the vehicle that is audible and which also has the ability to send a notification to your smart phone that movement has been detected.
  • Fit a camera system that has real time movement notifications and sharable footage.
  • Report any suspicious activity seen on 101 or 999 as required at the time.

Crimestoppers

If you have information on a crime that you would like to pass to police anonymously, please consider using the independent charity Crimestoppers. Crimes in progress should always be reported to police on 999 or 101 as required.

Their website states “ We’re an independent charity that gives you the power to speak up to stop crime, 100% anonymously. Whoever you are, wherever you live, from communities to companies.  By phone and online, 24/7, 365 days a year.  We also share advice on how to protect the people you care about from crime, so everyone can feel safe. After receiving your call or a completed anonymous online form, we create a report that brings together all the information you gave us, making sure it doesn’t contain any information that could identify you. Your report is sent to the relevant authority with the legal responsibility to investigate crimes, make arrests and charge people in order to bring them to justice. This could be your local police force or an agency such as the UK Border Agency or HM Revenue & Customs”.  Find out more with what we do with your information here – https://crimestoppers-uk.org/

Community Speed Watch

Warwickshire Police’s Community Speedwatch scheme is relaunching as part of a phased reintroduction in the county. Community Speedwatch (CSW) is a national initiative where active members of local communities join together to monitor speeds of vehicles in their local area with support from the police. In Warwickshire each group uses the LTI Speed Lasers independently purchased by either the group itself or the local parish council. Any vehicles found to be exceeding the speed limit are referred to Warwickshire Police and receive a letter with the aim of educating drivers to reduce their speeds. However, in cases where education is ignored and there is evidence of repeat or excessive offences, even across county borders, enforcement and prosecution follow.

Inspector Sally Bunyard-Spiers said: “Speeding continues to be a concern for many communities in both rural and urban environments and we are delighted that we are able to start a phased reintroduction of the Community Speedwatch Scheme in Warwickshire. “Warwickshire Police is very grateful to all the CSW volunteers who use their own time to help make Warwickshire’s roads safer for everyone, often enthusiastically supporting national anti-speeding campaigns.”

Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “I would encourage anyone who is concerned about speeding in their community to consider signing up as a Community Speedwatch volunteer. As well as helping Warwickshire Police and partners to raise awareness of speeding, the visible presence of CSW helps to reduce the speed of vehicles to the speed limit, improving the quality of life for local communities and most importantly helping to reduce death and injury on our roads. This is something I am keen to support.”

Warwickshire Police is keen to support and develop further CSW groups and as soon as COVID restrictions allow we hope to be able to progress the training of newly formed CSW groups. Volunteers receive appropriate training, and are supported by officers and staff including a new soon to be appointed Road Safety Officer who will oversee the CSW groups. The aim of CSW is to make our roads safer, and to ensure no CSW members or the public are put at risk, a full risk assessment is carried out for each group.

If you are interested in forming a CSW group in your area, please contact your local Safer Neighbourhood team. The details of your local SNT can be found by visiting www.warwickshire.police.uk and entering your location. For more information about CSW please visit https://www.communityspeedwatch.org

Alcester South SNT Update

Welford Incidents
  1. Road Traffic Collision. Shop, High Street. A Grey Renault Megan has hit the wall and the two white male occupants have run off. They have headed in the direction of Samantha Way. Enquiries ongoing and further evidence being gathered. 6.40am Saturday 29th August. 0067 29/08/2020

Alcester SNT Update

Is your vehicle attracting thieves?

Don’t let thieves get an easy ride. Follow these ten simple rules to protect your car.

  1. Lock your vehicle – Locking your vehicle, even when filling up or parked on your drive, greatly reduces the possibility of it being targeted by an opportunist thief. Even if you have locked your vehicle, check you haven’t left any windows or the sunroof open. Remove all valuables, especially those that can be seen from outside the vehicle. It is actually illegal to leave your vehicle running unattended while you de-ice it or warm it up in cold weather. If someone takes it while it’s left like this, your insurer won’t pay out because you won’t be covered.
  2. Keep the keys safe – Vehicles today are by and large more difficult to steal than ever, unless the thief can access your key or fob to clone them. Keep your keys safe, out of view when at home, and away from your front door. It’s not uncommon for car keys to be stolen from inside your home by thieves fishing for them with a stick and hook through the letterbox. When not in use, keep your electronic car key in a security pouch to prevent it being scanned by thieves to open and steal your car nearby.
  3. Be aware of carjackers – The fact that you’re in the car isn’t always a deterrent to someone trying to steal it. In traffic, drive with the doors locked and when queuing leave enough space in front of your vehicle to enable you to get out of a tight spot. If your vehicle is bumped from behind, wait to pull over – somewhere safe and preferably where there are people. After all, you don’t know the person who has collided with you; they could well be hijackers. If you’re at all suspicious, consider calling the police. If someone threatens you, it’s better to hand over the keys to the vehicle than become a victim of assault. Then call 999 as soon as possible, and ask for the police. If your car is stolen, some modern vehicle alarm and tracker systems have the facility to isolate or shut down fuel systems, bringing the vehicle to a halt and leaving the thief high and dry.
  4. Park responsibly – It’s always advisable to avoid parking in dark and secluded areas. It’s worth an extra five or ten-minute walk if it means your vehicle is left in a well-lit and busier street. And if possible, always try to park in illuminated and staffed car parks or those with a Park Mark safer parking award. To find one, simply check out Park Mark.
  5. Watch for illegal tow trucks – Thieves often attempt to lift vehicles from the street, literally. So, if you see a towaway crew acting suspiciously – especially if their vehicle isn’t branded or if they’re not in uniform – then please report it immediately. As with every report of suspicious behaviour made in good faith, we’ll never blame anyone for calling us if it proves unfounded. Car parks with height-restricted entrances help prevent illegal tow trucks and removal vehicles. And fitting a Thatcham rated category 1 or 2 alarm system with tracking, immobilisation, anti-grab and movement sensors can help protect and trace your vehicle.
  6. Fit good in-car security locks – Bear in mind that built-in steering locks aren’t necessarily thief-proof. Many can be forced and broken. Fitting a Sold Secure steering wheel, gear lever or clutch pedal security device can give your vehicle added protection.
  7. Double-check electronic locking – Electronic devices can be used to jam the electronic signal from your key fob to lock your vehicle. Always manually check your vehicle has locked before walking away. If unsure, lock it manually, then scan the immediate area for anyone hanging around. If a potential thief who’s watching feels they’ve been spotted, they’ll probably move off.
  8. Before you buy, check for cloning – Changing the identity of a vehicle, known as vehicle cloning, can be as simple as adding stolen number plates. When buying a vehicle, always check the DVLA V5 document and make sure the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the vehicle is the same as on the document. Make sure you check more than one of the VINs as well as the engine numbers on the vehicle. Check a used vehicle you’re buying.
  9. Secure your port – Many modern vehicles are fitted with engine management diagnostic ports, which can be accessed without the thief needing to open the vehicle doors, boot or bonnet, but which can unlock and start your vehicle. If your vehicle has this type of port, consider fitting a lockable cover.
  10. Be aware of test drive thieves – Test drive thefts are where a thief answers an advert for a vehicle sale pretending to be a genuine buyer. When they meet the vendor they ask for a test drive and never return with the vehicle. Take steps to avoid this by going with the prospective buyer on any test drive and don’t leave anyone alone with the vehicle and its keys. Ask any potential buyer for contact details and to see their driving licence and insurance. Never leave the vehicle keys in the ignition – keep hold of them.

Alcester South SNT Update

Welford Incidents
  • Burglary. Barton Road. Two male offenders wearing balaclavas have forced entry through a window of the premises using a crowbar type instrument. They have then threatened the occupants before making off with a Rolex Watch. A vehicle was heard to leave the area. 3am Thursday 23rd July. 0035 23/07/2020

Keep your home safe

Burglars are often opportunistic thieves who prey on houses and flats. They seek out any opening that they can take advantage of, specifically doors and windows that are left open or unlocked or are easy to force. Anything of value that they might spot through a window will only spur them on. But it really doesn’t take much to deter these thieves – just smart thinking.

Burglar facts

  • •Burglars target homes that they think will contain valuables. A sure giveaway is leaving packaging from expensive items outside your front door
  • •Burglars often look for homes with windows or doors left open or with vulnerable features that they can exploit.
  • •Burglars are aware of the times when someone is expected to be away from their house such as during the school run or holidays
  • •Burglars typically do not want to be seen or heard and if they feel that they would be noticed by a neighbour or passer-by then they are more likely to feel exposed and may move on to find somewhere else to burgle
  • •Burglars often choose a home because they’ve spotted a specific vehicle, motorcycle or bicycle they want to steal – and the keys are more than likely to be inside the residence
  • •Sheds and garages are often vulnerable as they are not that secure and contain tools which the burglar can use to assist them to gain entry to a home
  • •It’s a fact that many burglars return to homes that they’ve previously burgled because the homeowner failed to upgrade security following the first burglary. They sometimes return to an area to try to burgle a nearby home that they spotted while committing a previous break in. Even more reason for you to ensure you keep your home as safe as houses

Leaving your home checklist

Whenever you go out, it’s important to leave your home secure. Getting into an ‘exit routine’ can help ensure that you don’t forget obvious, but important things, like not leaving your valuables near windows, or no lights on if it will be dark before you get home. Here’s our quick reminder on what to do just before you go out. Become a creature of habit. Try to get into the habit of following your own course of action when you lock up your home. This will ensure that you don’t forget anything.

Here’s what we recommend you do before you go out:

  • •close and lock all your doors and windows, even if you’re only going out for a few minutes
  • •double-lock any door
  • •make sure that any valuables are out of sight
  • •keep handbags away from the letterbox or cat flap and hide all keys including car keys, as a thief could hook keys or valuables through even a small opening
  • •never leave car documents or ID in obvious places such as kitchens or hallways
  • •in the evening, shut the curtains and leave lights on
  • •if you’re out all day, then it’s advisable to use a timer device to automatically turn lights and a radio on at night
  • •set your burglar alarm
  • •make sure the side gate is locked
  • •lock your shed or garage
  • •lock your bike inside a secure shed or garage, to a robust fitting bolted to the ground or wall, like a ground anchor

Going away?

Here are five tips to help you keep your home and belongings stay safe while you’re away:

  • 1.if you’re off on holiday and wish to post anything on social media, make sure your posts aren’t public and that they’re only seen by your friends
  • 2.leave lights and a radio on a timer to make the property appear occupied
  • 3.get a trusted neighbour to keep an eye on your property or join a Neighbourhood or resident Watch Scheme
  • 4.consider asking your neighbours to close curtains after dark and to park on your drive
  • 5.remember to cancel newspaper and milk deliveries

Alcester South SNT Update

Welford Incidents
  • Anti-Social Behaviour. School, Headland Road. Caller concerned that children had gained access to the school grounds and may have also been climbing on the roof. Evening of Wednesday 24th June. 0468 24/06/2020

Illegal Raves

You may have seen on the news recently that around the country several illegal ‘raves’ have been reported and dealt with by police. They can result in a number of offences being committed and can generally harm the community and environment, especially during the current pandemic. A large proportion of our area is rural and unfortunately could be used for an illegal music gathering to be organised. We ask that if you hear or see people arriving at a location and feel that it could be the start of a Rave type situation, that you contact us on 101 as soon as possible.

Signs to look out for:

  • Posters or messages on social media advertising a rave
  • Locks and chains on fields and private land being cut or tampered with
  • Unusual traffic activity – i.e. large convoys of cars on quieter/rural roads
  • Sound equipment and marquees or tents being set up
  • Power generators being hired and bought onto land/rural locations
  • Flattened or disturbed hedgerows
  • Loud music and sound checks in locations where this would not be expected

If it’s not 999, try going online

Warwickshire Police is encouraging the public to try reporting non-emergency crime online, by using the force’s website. Currently the vast majority of non-emergency reports come into the force via the 101 telephone line. However, since the force moved to the Single Online Home website platform in September last year (part of a national project to standardise police websites across the country), the public are now able to report incidents online at https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/ro/report/

The benefits of using the website are:

  • Incidents or crimes which don’t require an immediate police response can be reported in a user’s own time and at their own pace.
  • It offers exactly the same service as calling 101 – the force has a dedicated Digital Desk team who work on online reports.
  • It can save callers waiting in a queue to speak to someone on 101 – which unfortunately can sometimes get busy during peak periods.
  • It helps to keep resources free for emergency 999 calls.
  • When a report is submitted, the user will receive an email with all of their submitted details for reference.
  • As well as the online reporting feature, the website also contains lots of information and guidance, including advice on who you should report specific matters to.

Supt Emma Bastone, who oversees the force’s Operational Communications Centre (OCC), said: “Although our ‘new’ website was launched last September, we have seen a relatively low number of reports via the online system, and this is a feature we would really like to encourage the use of. “Not only does it help to keep our lines free for the most urgent calls, but for the public reporting online will also mean not having to wait to speak to someone (via 101), and the report can be filled out in your own time. The online form is very intuitive and straightforward, with specific short questions asked to help provide the answers we need. “Once a report is submitted, the information goes through to the force’s Digital Desk, where a dedicated team will make an assessment of the information and decide whether more details are needed. Users will then receive a reference number and will be contacted back with the next steps. “All reports which come into the force are THRIVE-assessed (which standards for Threat, Harm and Risk), which means that whichever way you report an incident to us, it will be graded and responded to accordingly, irrespective of whether it is called in or reported online. “For those who do not have access to the internet or do not feel confident using it, please be assured that our 101 number is still available 24/7, but we do ask that if it’s not an emergency and you are able to, please visit our website in the first instance.”

Alcester South SNT Update

Nitrous Oxide

We have over the last few weeks had reports of the small silver Nitrous Oxide canisters being found in car parks and park areas. The contents of these canisters are being inhaled as a drug. The Talk To Frank website https://www.talktofrank.com/drug/nitrous-oxide#how-it-feels has the following information and guidance:-

  • Nitrous oxide is a colourless gas that’s most commonly found in pressurised metal canisters.
  • You may have seen these metal canisters lying around in streets outside bars and nightclubs.
  • Some people say that the gas has a slightly sweet smell and taste
  • Nitrous oxide is inhaled.
  • People open the canister, transfer the gas into a container (usually a balloon), then inhale from the balloon.
  • Inhaling nitrous oxide directly from the canister is very dangerous because the gas is under such high pressure. It can cause a spasm of the throat muscle and stop a person breathing.
  • How long the effects last and the drug stays in your system depends on how much you’ve taken, your size, whether you’ve eaten and what other drugs you may have also taken.
  • Nitrous oxide is often taken in combination with other drugs. So its effects can be unpredictable, as it depends on what other drugs are being taken with it.
  • It is very dangerous to inhale nitrous oxide directly from the canister, and doing it in an enclosed space is also very dangerous.
  • If you take too much nitrous oxide you risk falling unconscious and/or suffocating from the lack of oxygen. People have died this way.
  • Dizziness, which might make you act carelessly or dangerously.
  • Heavy regular use of nitrous oxide can lead to a deficiency of vitamin B12 and to a form of anaemia. Severe B12 deficiency can lead to serious nerve damage, causing tingling and numbness in the fingers and toes. This can be very painful and make walking difficult.
  • Regular use can stop you forming white blood cells properly.
  • It can be hard to judge the amount to use safely. If you have too much you can end up fainting, having an accident or worse.
  • Mixing nitrous oxide with alcohol is especially dangerous as it can increase the risks associated with both substances and can lead to an increased risk of accidents.
  • It may be possible to become psychologically dependent on nitrous oxide, meaning that users develop an increased desire to keep using it despite the harm it may cause, but the evidence on this is limited.
  • In anecdotal reports, some people have reported developing cravings or feelings that they want to continue using nitrous oxide.

The Law on Nitrous Oxide –

  • This is a psychoactive drug and is covered by the 2016 Psychoactive Substances Act, which means it’s illegal to give away or sell.
  • There’s no penalty for possession, unless you’re in prison.
  • Supply and production can get you up to 7 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
  • Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.
  • If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.
  • As of 2016, nitrous oxide is covered by the Psychoactive Substances Act and is illegal to supply for its psychoactive effect.

Reporting Anti-Social Behaviour Online

You can now report Anti-Social Behaviour online via our website – https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/ro/report/asb/asb-b/report-antisocial-behaviour/

The website also has a number of different topics that can reported this way.

Alcester South SNT Update

Special Constabulary – Could you be a local hero and become a Special Constable?

Our Special Constables are voluntary, part-time police officers who work in some of the most important areas of modern policing. Would you be willing to make a real difference to communities in the Leamington, Stratford, Rugby, Nuneaton and North Warwickshire areas? As a fully-trained Special Constable, you will have full police powers, wear a police uniform and work alongside regular police officers and police staff, with opportunities for promotion and to develop your leadership and management skills. In return, you will be required to commit a minimum of 16 hours a month, although many people do significantly more as the hours can be flexible to fit around your work and home life commitments.

Benefits

As a Special Constable, you’ll learn about policing, develop new skills, meet people, enjoy new experiences and protect people from harm. You will be fully trained to give you the knowledge, skills and confidence to handle even the most difficult of situations. It includes learning:

  • about the police service and the duties of a police officer
  • the powers of arrest
  • common crimes
  • personal protection
  • problem solve
  • how to prepare evidence for court
  • how to deal with difficult situations or people.

As a result, our Special Constables discover new things about themselves and the depths of their capabilities. Special Constables are unpaid, but you are entitled to certain allowances, including travel to and from your place of duty, boot allowance and compensation for any loss of earnings if you are required to attend court. The uniform is provided free of charge and includes kit such as radio, baton, handcuffs and Body Worn Video to help keep you safe. The experience gained as a Special Constable is invaluable and can be a great stepping stone for furthering your career, whether in the police or developing your role elsewhere. Many new Special Constables hope to move on to become a regular police officer, either with Warwickshire Police or with another UK force. Being a Special Constable is a long-term commitment: there are several Special Constables in Warwickshire Police who have completed over ten years’ service and have made a real difference to people’s lives.

Roles and responsibilities

Special Constables work across a variety of policing teams, and when fully-trained can do everything that a regular police officer does, including:

  • patrols on foot and in police vehicles
  • roads policing
  • searching people, vehicles and premises
  • investigating crime, arresting suspects and taking statements from witnesses
  • policing major events, such as festivals, marches and football matches
  • tackling local issues, such as anti-social behaviour and harassment.

After initial training, you’ll be attached to a Tutor Constable for approximately 9-12 months. During this time, you will complete a personal development portfolio covering various aspects of policing, and you are then signed off for independent patrol. For those officers who commit the time and dedication, there are many opportunities available, and you are able to apply to work with the following teams when vacancies are available:

Patrol: these are the frontline, uniformed teams that respond to 999 and 101 calls, as well as proactively patrolling and dealing with any crimes they come across.

Safer Neighbourhoods Teams: these teams are based at local police stations across Warwickshire. They deal with community issues, anti-social behaviour and long-term problems in specific areas.

Operational Policing Units: these contain Roads Policing Officers working on the frontline, as well as being deployed with pre-planned operations.

Police Support Units: these are the public order units that support other police services at football matches, protests and marches. They also respond to incidents of major disorder.

Warwickshire are currently recruiting new Special Constables in our area. For more information – https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/police-forces/warwickshire-police/areas/warwickshire-police/ca/careers/volunteers/special-constabulary/

Alcester South SNT Update

VE Day Celebrations. A message from the Team

We have seen the plans and social media comments in relation to the VE Day celebrations around our area and it is obviously understandable that all the public events have been sadly cancelled or postponed. It is great though that you will still have the opportunity to commemorate from home. There are no issues with people sitting in their own front gardens to mark this special occasion as long as they are complying with the current government guidelines and are considerate to their neighbours.

People must remember that there are very limited reasons for travelling and going out, such as exercise, shopping, caring for the vulnerable or work (where this can’t be done from home). Bearing this in mind we would like to remind people not to travel to places just to take part in celebrations. Please do not be tempted to join friends and family at their houses or on land nearby. Hopefully when the current restrictions are lifted the postponed commemorations can take place.

We hope that you have an enjoyable and safe day Bank Holiday and VE Day. For more information on the current guidelines on travelling and social distancing, visit – https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Doorstep Crime and Rogue Traders

Doorstep crime includes traders cold calling at your door and claiming that work needs doing to your home or garden. They may prey on insecurities by saying there is a safety risk if you leave the work undone. If you agree to let them go ahead, the work is usually badly done and the price is put up because they pretend to have found extra things that needed doing.

Common types of cold calls include:

  • Your roof or guttering is damaged – when in reality it may not be
  • Trees on your property are unsafe and need attention – they may or may not be unsafe, but consult a qualified tree surgeon to find out
  • Your roof has moss on it which needs cleaning – the National Federation of Roofing Contractors advises that moss on a roof is not a problem and that this service is completely unnecessary
  • Your driveway needs cleaning – if you agree then the trader may persuade you to have other areas cleaned too, pushing up the price from the original estimate

If you think your home or garden needs work, please:

  • Use a recommendation from friends/neighbours or contact the Citizen’s Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 to find a good trader on the Trading Standards ‘Buy With Confidence’ list
  • Obtain three quotes to check if the price is competitive and if the work really needs doing – never rely on the word of a single trader
  • Remember that any contracts over £42 that are agreed in a consumer’s home are subject to a 14 day cooling off rights. The homeowner must be given written information about their right to cancel, about the identity of the trader who is doing the work and the total cost of the work to be carried out. The consumer must authorise the trader in writing if the work is to start within the 14 day cooling off period. Just having a statement on a flyer or business card that there is a 14 day cooling off period is not enough.

Keep an eye out for vulnerable neighbours who may be approached by cold callers. If someone has agreed to work from a cold call and there is no paperwork, it is likely that there will be a problem.  For further advice, visit the Warwickshire County Council Trading Standard website – https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/consumeradvice