Astley and Dunley Neighbourhood Watch Annual Report – April 2016 – 2017

It was another steady year for the local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, with several new households joining the messaging system in the Astley area making the number of members up slightly on last year. West Mercia Police have amalgamated many police functions with the Warwickshire force meaning a new messaging system was introduced in the autumn. This was implemented in order to get the messages out to co-ordinators from all the different areas in a timely manner. The new scheme was introduced and ran fairly smoothly after those registered got used to the new verification process. Messages are sent directly to those co-ordinators in specific areas, via e-mail, to forward on to others in their neighbourhood in the scheme.

The local Martley police team continues to be our two long serving Police Community Support officers Teresa and Vanessa, whom have currently been joined by PC Steve Elcocks. Response/Emergency policing continues to be provided from Kidderminster Police station which remains a 24/7 station, open to the public.

During last year the Parish Council kindly provided funding for a number of sturdy neighbourhood watch signs, as requested by active co-ordinators across the area. These have been prominently displayed in areas of specific need of signage; I still have a couple spare so as older signs fade they will be replaced. The signage was low cost and the first time I have applied for funds since becoming area co-ordinator, as I appreciate money is tight for all areas of council business.

The main crime issue in our area continues to be thefts from sheds, garages and outbuildings, of tools, gardening and maintenance equipment. Suspicious people, vehicles and incidents make up the majority of the local messages passed in the area and, with vigilance, we can prevent further crimes occurring.
I will be attending the Regional NHW AGM on 3rd May at Police Headquarters at Hindlip Hall and will pass on the key points and issues to the local members and co-ordinators via e-mail.

I thank the local residents and co-ordinators for their continued involvement in NHW, and the Parish Council for their funding and support of the scheme. Sarah Beard, Area Co-ordinator

Neighbourhood Watch Annual Report 2015/16 12th Annual Report – Astley & Dunley Parish Council

Wednesday, 27th April 2016 – This is my third annual report as Area co-ordinator. Neighbourhood Watch continues to run steadily in the Parish area with the continued support of the co-ordinators. My thanks go out to those that run each of the areas: Derek Humphries, Francesca Llewellyn, Gail Dawson, Iris Swingler, Jane Scott, Dave Bradley, Jill Chew, John Hoare, Mark Seabright, Stuart Andrews, and Vic Powell.

I also wish to thank Hilary Crook who has been running the Burnthorne Lane area. Unfortunately, despite her efforts this area is no longer viable as she has received no response or support from the current members. She is staying within the scheme along with two residents from Dunley Road who will now be incorporated under my area, so they still receive NHW notifications. This means there is now one less route, and 8 less members. There are now 11 routes and still about 180 local members of the scheme. A growing area of interest though is the Horse Watch scheme, which has introduced new members into the area. Although they don’t necessarily live in the parish their horses and ponies are in the area, meaning they are keen to be updated on what is happening locally, with particular emphasis around Equine information.

The local police team recently ran a property marking event and although it was widely advertised it was not supported with only one local resident from Astley attending but Shrawley was more successful as nine people attended. The local policing team have not given up on us but any future initiatives will be in conjunction with other local events of existing clubs, such as coffee mornings, meetings, shows, fêtes etc.

Modern technology has changed life and NHW with the majority of messages now managed by e-mail. The messages are sent by the police and forwarded onto members. The main crime issues in our area are fly-tipping, shed and out-building break-ins and thefts. Crime prevention measures include devices such as shed alarms and protection of oil tanks after a series of heating oil thefts. The emphasis is on preventing crime and using a multi agency approach, so the agencies work alongside each other to solve issues. Fly-tipping is a problem which needs local residents to report the location and the council to use their powers and action in the removal and prevention of further issues. Locally they have used CCTV and covert cameras to try and capture offenders and the cooperation of local land owners to prevent further problems. Tree trunks, gates and straw bales have all been used to try and deter further problems.

The biggest growing area of national crime is Cybercrime which includes lots of different offences but primarily focuses on the internet and mobile devices. There have been scams including courier fraud which is where someone is tricked into giving their bank card PIN number: identity theft and unauthorised use of bank and credit card details. The Police are trying to encourage and educate people in protection of personal details, care when using devices and use of security software.

Despite the changes in technology and life-styles, I feel strongly that NHW is still very relevant to local residents, which is why I still support and encourage people to be aware of their neighbourhood and keep information flowing.

If you are aware of any current or new residents wishing to join or receive NHW messages or Horse watch information please let me know.

Email: sarahlbeard111@hotmail.com Sarah Beard 

Distraction Burglary and Bogus Callers

From West Mercia Police

DISTRACTION BURGLARY AND BOGUS CALLERS

Burglars won’t go to the trouble of breaking in if they can just knock and be invited in. So always be on your guard when anyone you’re not expecting – a man, a woman or even a child – turns up at your door.

Bogus ‘officials’ may be smartly dressed and claim to be from the council, gas board, health authority or other organisation. Bogus ‘dealers’ may offer to buy your antiques, furniture or jewellery, at what seems to be a good price.

If you want to sell something, choose one or two genuine dealers to value it or ask a friend or relative for their advice.

Bogus ‘workmen’ may say that they need to come in to check something or make urgent repairs. You also need to be careful of callers who offer to make building repairs or tarmac your drive. Often they’ll ask for money in advance; they may even offer to drive you to the bank to withdraw money to pay them.

If you need any building work done, get several written quotes from reputable firms, then decide which one is best. If in doubt, talk it through with a neighbour or someone in your family.

Genuine callers will normally make an appointment first and will carry identification with their photograph on.

ALWAYS PUT THE CHAIN ON 
If someone calls at your door:

• Check to see who it is by using the spy hole if you have one, or look through a front window.

• Always put the chain on before you open the door. (If you don’t have a chain it’s a good idea to get one – they don’t cost much)

• With PVC doors, it can be difficult and costly to fit a door chain. Check with the manufacturer before you buy a PVC door, that a chain will be fitted.

• FIRE SAFETY – only put on your door chain as you answer the door – don’t keep it on all the time as this could delay your exit in case of fire.

• Look at their clothing. Some official callers will have a uniform bearing their organisation’s name or symbol.

• If you don’t know the caller, ask to see their identity card. Check it carefully, and keep the chain on while you do this. Genuine callers won’t mind if you close the door while you do this.

• Some public utility services (e.g. water, electricity, gas) operate a password system. Contact your local branch to find out more.

• If you’re still not sure, ask the caller to come back later. You can then check their story by phoning the organisation or company they claim to represent. Look up the number in your own telephone directory. Don’t rely on the telephone number on their card – it may be the number of a crook’s partner.

• Bogus callers sometimes work in pairs. Beware of one distracting you while the other steals your property. The best practice is not to let them in.

• Ensure your back door is locked if you are answering the door to someone you don’t know.

• Watch out for anyone who says they’re in a hurry. Don’t let them pressure you. If in doubt, call a neighbour or friend.

• If you have any suspicions at all, don’t let them in.

• If you’re still not happy, phone the police – dial 101 and tell them what’s happened or if you think a crime is in progress 999. Also tell your neighbours.

Always put the chain on and use the spy-hole before you open the door.
Never let anyone in unless you are absolutely sure they are genuine.

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WARNING

Police forces have become aware of a fraud circulating targeting elderly and vulnerable members of the community. Some older people have received telephone calls from a Caller who purports to be from the GP surgery and is asking for an appointment to discuss the person’s mobility needs. During the appointment, the older person is persuaded to buy mobility aids which are either unnecessary or inappropriate and always expensive. If you receive a call like this, please check with your GP surgery first before agreeing to a visit.

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Cold mornings – Don’t give car thieves an easv ride!
Although vehicle crime is low across West Mercia, every winter the force receives a number of reports from drivers who have had their cars stolen after leaving the engine running, while they wait in the warmth of their home for it to heat up and defrost the windscreen.

Some vehicle owners nip inside forjust a few seconds to collect a bag or finish the last mouthful of their breakfast coffee – but that’s all the time an opportunist thief needs.

To ‘freeze out‘ the thieves, West Mercia Police advises motorists to:
Clear windscreens with de-icer and a scraper
Sit in vehicles while the heater de-mists the windscreen

Drivers who ignore this advice are taking big risks. Thieves will drive around residential areas looking for likely targets. When they spot a vehicle with its engine left running on a drive or outside a home, it’s there for the taking.

One person will be dropped off, get into the target vehicle and simply drive away.
Many of the vehicles are never recovered, and some – especially high value models such as Mercedes, BMW and Audi- may be shipped overseas. It is also worth remembering if your car is stolen when keys have been left in it, you may find your insurance will not cover you. If your house keys are stolen along with your car, your home is then vulnerable too. So, this winter, don’t give criminals an easy ride by leaving your car running unattended.
February 2016 Issue of Parish Magazine

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Neighbourhood Watch is the largest voluntary organisation in the country and is playing an increasingly important role in helping to reduce crime and the fear of crime. The objective of Neighbourhood Watch is to promote public participation in the development of a safer and healthier environment and some of the responsibilities rest with the community, but an active partnership with the police is essential.

We are part of the Teme Valley Central Area Neighbourhood Watch Association and the coordinators meet regularly to discuss problems and opportunities, and to liaise with the police. It is important that you make your voice heard if you have any concerns or suggestions, so please contact your coordinator or Sarah Beard.

Your Role as a Member of Neighbourhood Watch

The idea of the Neighbourhood Watch is just that – to watch, NOT to accost possible or actual villains, and to pass on information that could be helpful to the Police, our neighbours, or both.

Being a good neighbour, and by keeping an eye open for anything suspicious, you can help to make your community more secure. Being a good neighbour is nothing to do with being nosey. Help your neighbour, and your neighbour will help you.

These are some of the things you should report to the Police Station right away:

1. Strangers knocking on front doors or peering through windows and then disappearing around the back or loitering suspiciously.

2. Strangers hanging around the school, playing fields etc. and approaching children.

3. Open windows or doors in houses where owners are out or on holiday.

4. Strangers trying car doors.

5. Anything you believe is suspicious, like a suspicious caller to your door, or someone acting as a window cleaner asking if people are in or out during the day.

6. Strange vans or cars parked in unexpected places.

Incidents or concerns should be reported to the Police no matter how trivial they may be. Someone else may have the same shifty caller. If possible an accurate description of the people or cars e.g. registration number and colour, would be of great help. The telephone number to ring is 101 or 999 in real emergencies. All members who tell the call taker on the 101 number that they are part of NHW will be contacted by their local policing team and provided with an update on the result of the incident.

West Mercia Police now have NHW Pledge, details of which can be found on their Web Site. On the Home page enter NHW in the Search Query box then click on Watch Schemes. There is also a lot of other interesting information on the main site.

If You Want An Immediate Police Response For An Emergency Or Criminal Situation Dial 999.

In the event of an “incident” the first step is to telephone the Local Police 101 and then telephone either your group or local coordinator.

If you see cars abandoned telephone 01684 862351

If you see tipping telephone 01684 862151. If you see this actually happening try to get the vehicle description and number together with a description of the driver.

If you see a suspicious lorry/truck in any of our lanes after dark try and take a note of its number and pass this information on to your coordinator straight away. This will help if there is a subsequent tipping incident.

Your coordinator receives e-mail messages from the police and if a scam warning is received, or bogus caller activity, etc, those at risk will be selectively contacted.

If it is felt that it is appropriate to warn everyone or a part of the village, your group or local coordinator will either e-mail where appropriate, drop a note through your door or telephone.