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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
  • 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

Alcester South SNT Update

Welford Incidents
  • Theft. Barton Road. Offenders have forced their way through two sets of gates at the property. A two horse Ifor Williams Trailer (double doors at the back) has then been stolen. Between 8pm 19th & 9am 20th April. 0086 20/04/2020

Alcester South SNT Update

Crime Prevention

Since the government guidelines regards social distancing and isolation have come into force the number of incidents that would normally be included in our weekly reports have obviously slightly decreased. Unfortunately though criminals will need to find ways to fund their lifestyle and we are still seeing a small number of burglary and vehicle crime offences on our patch.

For Burglary Crime Prevention Advice click here – https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/non-residential-burglary/

For Vehicle Crime Prevention Advice click here – https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/theft-from-a-vehicle/

Taking the above into consideration, we have seen an increase in the number of scam type text messages, emails and automated phone calls received. It’s very important to keep up to date with the ways fraudsters try to take your money. You may already know some of the tricks they use, but the internet means that new ones can be invented all the time, and huge amounts of money can be taken. Whether it’s dating fraud, banking fraud, identity theft or even people knocking on your door. Click on this link to find out how modern fraud works, what you can do to guard against it and how to report it – https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/fa/fraud/personal-fraud/

Door-to-door and courier fraud

Many legitimate businesses sell products door-to-door; gas, electricity and water companies need to visit to read your meters; and charities will often call seeking donations. But fraudsters may also knock on your door to part you from your money, or get into your home to steal from you.  Most door-to-door scams involve selling goods or services that are either not delivered or are very poor quality. You won’t get value for money and you may get billed for work you didn’t want or agree to.

Some scammers conduct surveys just to get your personal details or as a cover to sell you goods or services you don’t want or need, such as roofing work or patio replacement. Unscrupulous employees sometimes still act illegally even when selling a genuine product by a genuine business. If someone knocks at your front door claiming to be from a company, first check their ID. If you’re not happy, don’t let them in. Never call the phone number on their ID card to check them out. Ask the salesperson to wait outside, shut the door and find the company number on the internet. If they’re genuine, they’ll understand.

Courier fraud: conning people out of PINs and credit card details

In most cases of courier fraud, a fraudster phones their victim and claims to be from their bank, the police or other law enforcement authority. They then con the victim into revealing their PIN and credit or debit card details. Sadly, the most common victims of courier fraud are the elderly.

Examples of courier fraud

A scammer calls you, claiming to be from your bank or a police officer. They tell you either that:

  • •a fraudulent payment has been spotted on your card that needs sorting out
  • •someone has been arrested using your details and cards

You may be asked to call your bank using the phone number on the back of your card. This convinces you that the call is genuine. But the scammer has kept the line open at their end, so when you make the call, you’re unknowingly connected straight back to them or their friends. They’ll either ask you for your PIN or ask you to key it into your phone. No bank or other legitimate service will ever ask you for your PIN. The scammer then sends a courier or taxi to pick up the card from your home. Even the driver may not know they’re being used as part of the scam. Once the scammer has both your card and PIN they can spend your money. A different version of this scam is where you’re contacted and told there’s a corrupt member of staff at your bank, post office or bureau de change and the police need your help to identify them. They ask you to withdraw a large sum of your money, which the police or bank will mark, then put back into the banking system. They say this will help them identify the corrupt person. Once you hand the cash over, the scammers simply take it. Another example is when a fake police officer phones or approaches you and asks you to buy an expensive watch or other high-value item, to try to find out if counterfeit goods are being sold. Once you’ve bought the item, the scammer tells you to hand it to a taxi driver for transfer to the police. The expensive item is, of course, taken instead to the scammer’s partner. The latest variation is where the scammer contacts you and says your bank account has been taken over and you need to transfer all the funds into a ‘safe account’. Of course, the new account is operated by the scammers, who then steal the funds.

For more information and help or to report this and many other types of fraud, go to Action Fraud the UK’s national fraud and cybercrime reporting centre – https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

Alcester South SNT Update

Reporting COVID related incidents

Over the last week we have again had a large number of incidents reported to us on the Alcester South area from members of the public who are concerned that the government guidelines are not being followed. This relates to a number of circumstances, for example,  people gathering in parks and open spaces, dwellings having visitors or parties for non-family members, non-essential businesses serving the general public and people travelling for non-essential purposes. Members of the Alcester South SNT and local Patrol Officers will continue to attend and monitor these calls when possible, dealing with any infringements appropriately. We do not monitor the local social media sites, so please contact us direct before posting.

We understand people may be worried and seeking advice and information. We’d like to assure you that we are working to keep you safe, we are still responding to emergency and high priority calls. We’d urge you, if it’s not an emergency or urgent, to use our online services instead of calling 101. The online form for reported COVID related incidents can be accessed here – https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/c19/tell-us-about-possible-breach-coronavirus-measures/

To help us keep our resources focused where they are most needed, we’re asking everyone to please follow the ‘stay at home’ measures set out by the government, and use our online services where possible.

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • •shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • •going out for one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household – once a day
  • •any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • •travelling only where essential – which includes to and from work, if you’re unable to work from home

These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these things, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household and washing your hands when you return home. We understand it can be difficult to know what to do, or not do; this situation does need all of us to take a moment and think about what we’re doing and to assess the potential risk. This is a virus that spreads by human physical contact. It’s sensible to do everything you can to minimise the amount of physical contact that you have with other people. We appreciate that the vast majority of people are following the stay at home measures and we’re very grateful to them for doing so. We’d encourage you to continue to follow the measures; we are patrolling and advising people if we see them doing things which are contrary to the government advice. Enforcement is a last resort for us and we’d prefer to work with the public to resolve situations through clear communication and explaining why they might want to behave differently first.

Alcester South SNT Update

Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Advice and information about the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and the measures we’re taking to keep the public safe.

We understand people may be worried and seeking advice and information. We’d like to assure you that we are working to keep you safe, we are still responding to emergency and high priority calls. We’d urge you, if it’s not an emergency or urgent, to use our online services instead of calling 101.  To help us keep our resources focused where they are most needed, we’re asking everyone to please follow the ‘stay at home’ measures set out by the Government and use our online services where possible.

You should only leave the house for one of four reasons:

  • •shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • •going out for one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household – once a day
  • •any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • •travelling only where essential – which includes to and from work, if you’re unable to work from home

These four reasons are exceptions – even when doing these things, you should be minimising time spent outside of the home and ensuring you are two metres apart from anyone outside of your household and washing your hands when you return home.

We understand it can be difficult to know what to do, or not do; this situation does need all of us to take a moment and think about what we’re doing and to assess the potential risk. This is a virus that spreads by human physical contact. It’s sensible to do everything you can to minimise the amount of physical contact that you have with other people. We appreciate that the vast majority of people are following the stay at home measures and we’re very grateful to them for doing so. We’d encourage you to continue to follow the measures; we are patrolling and advising people if we see them doing things which are contrary to the government advice. Enforcement is a last resort for us and we’d prefer to work with the public to resolve situations through clear communication and explaining why they might want to behave differently first.

The new police powers

New public health regulations have been put in place to strengthen the powers the police have to reduce the spread of the virus.

Individuals will only be allowed to leave their home for the following very limited purposes:

  • •shopping for basic necessities, for example food and medicine, which must be as infrequent as possible
  • •going out for one form of exercise a day, for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household
  • •any medical need, or to provide care or to help a vulnerable person
  • •travelling to and from work, but only where you cannot work from home

Participating in gatherings of more than two people in public spaces is also not permitted except in very limited circumstances, for example, where it is for essential work purposes.

To ensure people stay at home and avoid non-essential travel, if members of the public do not comply the police may:

  • •instruct them to go home, leave an area or disperse
  • •ensure parents are taking necessary steps to stop their children breaking these rules
  • •issue a fixed penalty notice of £60, which will be lowered to £30 if paid within 14 days
  • •issue a fixed penalty notice of £120 for second time offenders, doubling on each further repeat offence

Individuals who do not pay a fixed penalty notice under the regulations could be taken to court, with magistrates able to impose unlimited fines. If an individual continues to refuse to comply, they will be acting unlawfully, and the police may arrest them where deemed proportionate and necessary. We’re following ‘The 4 E’s’: Engage. Explain. Encourage. Enforce. We will, in the first instance, try to engage with someone who appears to be contravening the guidance and explain why and how they might want to adjust their behaviour to reduce the risk to public safety and health.

Tell us about a possible breach of coronavirus (Covid-19) measures

Is it an emergency?  If so, please call 999 now.

  • •is there a threat to life (including road traffic incidents where someone is injured or the road is blocked)
  • •does it feel like the situation could get heated or violent very soon
  • •is there a risk of serious damage to property
  • •is a serious offence in progress
  • •there’s serious disruption to the public or there could be

If you’re concerned about a business or venue that’s open and you don’t think it should be, please check the guidance on this first. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close/further-businesses-and-premises-to-close-guidance

We’re seeking to resolve situations where people appear to be or are contravening the government advice on physical social distancing and the stay at home measures without resorting to enforcement and issuing fines. Please only tell us about something if you feel there is a significant issue or breach which you think we need to know about.  This can be done online – https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/tua/tell-us-about/c19/tell-us-about-possible-breach-coronavirus-measures/

HM Government Guidance – Coronavirus outbreak FAQs: what you can and can’t do – Published 29 March 2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do