River Severn in Worcestershire – Flooding is possible be prepared – Wednesday 23 December 2020

River levels remain high at all gauges as a result of recent heavy rainfall. Flooding is affecting roads & farmland. We expect flooding to low lying land & roads adjacent to the river from Highley to Tewkesbury, including Stourport, Holt Fleet, Worcester, Kempsey, Severn Stoke, Upton, South Quay, Diglis Parade & Hylton Road towpath. B4195 Stourport Rd, Dog Lane Bewdley. Flooded drains may affect the racecourse & Worcester County cricket ground. New Street gate Upton is closed. Predicted peak levels are based on todays forecast rainfall; Bewdley 3.8 to 4.3m early morning 24/12/20 Diglis 4.3 to 4.7m, 24/12/20 Worcester 4.9 to 5.4m, 24/12/20 Kempsey 6.7 to 7.2m, 24/12/20 Saxons Lode 4.8 to 5.3m, overnight 25/12/20 into 26/12/20 Further heavy rainfall is forecast today, 23/12/20. We expect river levels to rise further & remain high into the weekend. We are monitoring the situation & checking defences. This message will be updated by 6pm, 23/12/20, or as the situation changes.

This information was last updated at 

Making a Christmas bubble with friends and family Updated -19 December 2020

It is vital that we each take personal responsibility this Christmas to limit the spread of the virus and protect our loved ones, particularly if they are vulnerable. One in three people with coronavirus (COVID-19) have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it. So the safest way to celebrate Christmas this year is with your household or existing support bubble in your home. The more people you see, the more likely it is that you will catch or spread coronavirus.

Areas in Tier 4 If you live in a Tier 4 area, you must follow the rules in your tier over the Christmas period. This means that you cannot meet other people indoors, unless you ordinarily live with them, or they are part of your existing support bubble. Outdoors, you can only meet one person from another household.

Areas not in Tier 4 If you do not live in a Tier 4 area, you may see a maximum of two other households (your ‘Christmas bubble’) on Christmas Day (25 December). You cannot see anyone from a Tier 4 area.

You should think very carefully about the risks and only form a Christmas bubble if you feel you absolutely need to. Wherever possible, discuss alternatives to meeting up in person.

1. Forming a Christmas bubble

Christmas bubbles, support bubbles and childcare bubbles are all different things and have their own specific rules.

The rules on Christmas bubbles will be put into law. Once in force, you must follow the rules to minimise the spread of infection.

You can only form a Christmas bubble if you do not live in a Tier 4 area. If you are permitted to form a Christmas bubble and choose to do so:

  • keep your Christmas bubble as small as possible. Two other households is a maximum, not a target
  • do not join a Christmas bubble with anyone from a Tier 4 area
  • stop all unnecessary social contact outside your immediate household as soon as possible and for at least five days before you meet other households in your bubble
  • only meet your Christmas bubble in private homes or in your garden, places of worship, or public outdoor spaces
  • only see your bubble on Christmas Day. Do not stay overnight and keep your visits as short as possible
  • stay local where possible. Avoid travelling from a high prevalence to a low prevalence area
  • only meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you live in (unless coming from a lower to a higher tier) and do not meet socially with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble

When seeing your Christmas bubble, you should keep taking steps to reduce the spread of the virus. This includes meeting outdoors where possible, ensuring indoor spaces get as much fresh air as possible, making space between members of different households wherever you can, washing your hands regularly and for 20 seconds, and following rules on self-isolation if you develop symptoms or test positive for coronavirus.

You must not visit another household if you, or anyone in your household, is feeling unwell or self-isolating. You should get a free NHS test if you have symptoms, have been asked to by your local council or your hospital, or are taking part in a government pilot project.

2. If you are over 70 or clinically extremely vulnerable

It is particularly important to think about the greater risks to more vulnerable people whilst recognising how hard it can be to maintain good physical and mental health without essential contact with family and friends.

If you are over 70 or clinically extremely vulnerable think carefully about the risks. The safest approach may be not to form a Christmas bubble

If you are permitted to form a Christmas bubble and choose to do so, be especially careful to observe the guidance:

  • meet outdoors where possible
  • wash your hands regularly
  • keep a distance from those you do not live with
  • if you meet indoors, ensure good ventilation by letting in fresh air

If you are in an existing household or support bubble with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, the safest approach would be not to join a wider Christmas bubble to help reduce the risks to their health.

2.1 If you’re in a support bubble

If you are in an existing support bubble with someone who lives in a Tier 4 area, you can see each other on Christmas Day. If you choose to do so, you must not join a Christmas bubble with anyone else.

Existing support bubbles count as one household towards the three household limit. This means that if you are in a support bubble outside a Tier 4 area, you can collectively form a Christmas bubble with two other households. This applies only to support bubbles as set out in law. You should, however, consider the risks of doing so and keep your Christmas bubble as small as possible.

If you are in a support bubble with someone who is over 70 or clinically extremely vulnerable, think carefully. To help reduce the risks to their health, the safest approach would be to celebrate with your household or support bubble and not with others.

Outside of Tier 4, the two households in a support bubble can choose to join separate Christmas bubbles, but should avoid contact with each other both before and after Christmas Day.

Read guidance on making and using a support bubble

2.2 If you’re in a childcare bubble

You can continue to use a childcare bubble on 25 December, including in a Tier 4 area, but only if reasonably necessary for the purposes of childcare and where there are no reasonable alternatives. If you want to meet socially with the other household in your childcare bubble, you should include them in your Christmas bubble, but can only do so if neither of you live in a Tier 4 area. You and the other household in your childcare bubble would count as two households towards the three household limit for Christmas bubbles.

Read guidance on making and using a childcare bubble

2.3 Separated parents of children under 18

Children (under-18) whose parents do not live together may be part of both parents’ Christmas bubbles, if their parents choose to form separate bubbles. Nobody else should be in two bubbles.

If one or both parents live in a Tier 4 area, children may continue to move between their parents’ houses, but neither household is permitted to join a Christmas bubble with others.

2.4 Forming a different Christmas bubble to the people you live with normally

If you are permitted to form a Christmas bubble, you are allowed to form a different Christmas bubble from the people you live with normally. If you and the people you are living with want to be in different Christmas bubbles, you can form a Christmas bubble with that household and one other household (this will count as three households). You should check the guidance on households where everybody is not in the same Christmas bubble below.

2.5 If you’re a student who’s moved home from university for the holidays

If you are a student who has moved home for the university holidays, you are considered to be part of the household to which you have returned. You are not treated as part of your term-time household for this period.

3. Meeting with your Christmas bubble, and other friends and family

To protect you and your loved ones, think carefully about the risks of forming a bubble. Only do so if you feel you need to. One in three people who have coronavirus (COVID-19) have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it. Everybody in a Christmas bubble is responsible for taking clear steps to prevent catching and spreading the virus. If you do not follow these rules, you increase the risk of catching the virus, and spreading it to your friends and family.

You should take particular care to follow this advice if you are in a Christmas bubble with anybody who is vulnerable or clinically extremely vulnerable. There is further advice on what to do if you are clinically extremely vulnerable further down this page.

3.1 Before forming and meeting your Christmas bubble

If you are permitted to form a Christmas bubble and decide to do so, take precautions to minimise risk by stopping unnecessary social contact outside your immediate household as soon as possible and for at least five days before meeting your Christmas bubble. Workers who cannot work from home may continue to go to their place of work. Any increase in contact with other people increases the risk you will catch or spread coronavirus.

3.2 Meeting your Christmas bubble indoors

If someone is in your Christmas bubble, you can visit each other’s homes on 25 December, but must not stay overnight. You can also go to a place of worship together, or meet in public outdoor spaces. You cannot meet your Christmas bubble in any other indoor setting, such as a pub, hotel, shop, theatre, or restaurant. In these settings, rules on who you can and cannot meet depend on your tier.

Do not meet with friends and family that you do not live with in your home or garden unless they are part of your Christmas bubble. You can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you live in, but should aim to minimise all non-essential contact. If you travel to a tier with stricter rules than the one you have come from, you should follow the stricter rules that are in place.

There are specific guidelines for those who have chosen to form a different Christmas bubble from the people they normally live with, and for those who choose not to form a Christmas bubble.

We know that it’s easier to catch and spread the virus in an indoor space, especially if there is little flow of fresh air. Therefore, when meeting your Christmas bubble you should take these measures to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • keep your visits short because the risk of transmission increases the longer you stay
  • wash your hands frequently
  • clean touch points regularly, such as door handles and surfaces
  • keep socially distanced from anybody you do not live with as much as possible
  • make sure you let as much fresh air in as you can during a visit and after visitors have left, without getting cold, by opening windows and doors

People may continue to work in other people’s homes where necessary, such as for nannies, cleaners or tradespeople. To reduce risk, they should observe social distancing wherever possible, and where it can be avoided should not go into homes that are hosting Christmas bubbles.

3.3 Meeting your Christmas bubble outdoors

You can be with your Christmas bubble in your garden or an outdoor public place. You can continue to meet people who are not in your Christmas bubble outside your home according to the rules in the tier you are meeting in, but should aim to avoid all unnecessary contact during this period.

Outdoor public places include:

  • parks, beaches, parts of the countryside open to the general public
  • public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
  • allotments
  • playgrounds

4. Households where everybody is not in the same Christmas bubble

If you have chosen to form a different Christmas bubble from other people in your household – the people you live with normally – you should take additional steps to prevent the opportunity for the virus to spread within your household, and between bubbles.

This might include: taking extra precautions such as cleaning surfaces and contact points like door handles and letting in as much fresh air as possible after someone has visited your househol

5. If you choose not to form a Christmas bubble

If you choose not to form a Christmas bubble, you must continue to follow the rules in your area. In a tier 1 area this would mean that you can see others inside a private dwelling in a group of no more than six, provided that they too are from a tier 1 area and have not formed a Christmas bubble.

You can also continue to see your support bubble if you have one.

6. Self-isolation and Christmas bubbles

You must also follow rules on self-isolation, which apply if either you, someone you live with, someone in your childcare or support bubble, or someone you have been in contact with, has symptoms or has tested positive for coronavirus. This means you must not form a Christmas bubble if you have coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating. These rules are the law and you must follow them even if it means not meeting with friends or family for Christmas Day.

If a member of your Christmas bubble tests positive for coronavirus or develops coronavirus symptoms on 25 December, or up to 48 hours after members of the bubble last met, all members of the bubble must self-isolate as if they were members of the same household.

7. If you are clinically extremely vulnerable

It is particularly important that we all think about the risks to more vulnerable people, whilst recognising how hard it can be to maintain good physical and mental health without essential contact with family and friends. If you do decide to form a Christmas bubble you should take extra precautions set out in Guidance for the Clinically Extremely Vulnerable. Others in your bubble should be mindful of your increased risks and be extra vigilant in the days before you get together.

If you are in an existing household or support bubble with someone who is clinically extremely vulnerable, think carefully. To help reduce the risks to their health, the safest approach would be to celebrate with your household or support bubble and not with others.

8. If you are a care home resident

The guidance on care homes applies to England – see guidance for WalesScotland, and Northern Ireland.

Spending time with others outside the care home will increase risk of exposure to coronavirus for the resident and the other residents in their home on their return, and is likely to place an additional burden on the care home. Given this, visits out of care homes should only be considered for care home residents of working age. Residents, their families and care homes should very carefully consider whether this is the right thing to do, or whether visiting at the care home would provide meaningful contact in a safer way. Guidance on care home visits is available.

Some residents of working age may be able to leave their care home to form a bubble, in agreement with the home and subject to individual risk assessments. A care home resident may form a bubble with one other household, and should not form a three-household Christmas bubble at any point.

If a care home resident does join a household for Christmas they should maintain social distance, wash hands regularly, and let plenty of fresh air into rooms by opening windows and doors.

Others in the household should take steps to minimise the risk to the care home resident and others in the care home, recognising that introducing coronavirus to a care home puts all those who live and work there at risk. All members of the bubble should:

  • take steps to minimise their potential exposure to coronavirus by limiting the number of people they meet for two weeks prior to allowing a care home resident into their household
  • talk to the care home about getting tested prior to meeting the care home resident outside the care home. In order to safely return to the care home, the resident will need to be tested and isolated. We will provide further details shortly through the publication of relevant guidance

In order to safely return to the care home, the resident will need to be tested and isolated. We will provide further details shortly through the publication of relevant guidance.

In order to safely return to the care home, the resident will need to be tested and isolated. [Further Guidance is available

9. Travel and overnight stays with your Christmas bubble

You must not visit or leave a Tier 4 area in order to see others over Christmas or on Christmas Day.

If you are in Tier 3 or lower and choose to form a Christmas bubble and choose to do so, you should consider carefully the risks of travelling at all. If you live in an area with the highest level of protection, for example, tier 3 in England, you should avoid travelling to lower prevalence areas where possible.

If you have to travel, book ahead to enable you and others to travel safely and plan your outward and return journeys carefully.

If you plan to travel to Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to form a Christmas bubble, you must follow the rules of that country and should read guidance from ScotlandWales or Northern Ireland before you travel. You cannot leave a Tier 4 area to join a Christmas bubble in a Devolved Administration.

You cannot mix with the other households in your Christmas bubble (unless otherwise permitted by your tier rules) before or after the 25 December except in exceptional circumstances (for example, in the event of unforeseen travel disruption, or if a member of your Christmas bubble develops symptoms of coronavirus and you are required to self-isolate). This includes anyone travelling to or from Northern Ireland.

Transport routes may be busier than normal. If you do need to travel, you should:

  • plan ahead, check for disruption before you leave, and avoid the busiest routes, as well as busy times
  • avoid making unnecessary stops during your journey
  • avoid sharing a car with people not in your household or Christmas bubble
  • keep your distance from other people when you travel, where possible
  • wash or sanitise your hands regularly

If you need to travel with your Christmas bubble, wherever you are, you should follow Safer travel guidance.

Access further information on travel

Outside a Tier 4 area, you can stay in private rented accommodation, a hotel, hostel or B&B in England over Christmas, in line with the social gathering rules in your tier. This includes in a tier 3: Very High alert area between 24 and 26 December, as long as you are staying by yourself, or with other members of your household and it is necessary for the purposes of seeing your Christmas bubble on Christmas Day. If necessary, you can stay in private rented accommodation with members of your household, or your Christmas bubble.

You should not gather as a Christmas bubble in a hotel, hostel or B&B in any tier unless a member of your bubble lives there permanently. This is also the case for other types of non-private residence (for example an educational establishment or Bed & Breakfast). If this applies to you, do not mix with your Christmas bubble in any shared facilities or spaces, like a restaurant.

If you are travelling to the UK from abroad you and your household may join a Christmas bubble on Christmas Day. However if you normally live abroad and arrive to join friends and family in the UK, you will count as a separate household for the purposes of forming a Christmas bubble.

If you arrive in the UK from or have travelled through a non-travel corridor country or territory you will need to self-isolate for 10 days, or may take a test after 5 days of isolation and end your self-isolation after a negative result.

10. After meeting your Christmas bubble

After meeting your Christmas bubble on 25 December, you should reduce your contact with people you do not live with as much as possible. While the rules relevant to your local tier will apply, you should exercise extra caution, and think carefully about whether to meet up with friends or family outside your household. This includes not meeting up with them for New Years Eve, even if you feel well. Around one in three people with coronavirus don’t have symptoms, and can still pass it on.

You can go to work if you cannot work from home, but you should avoid unnecessary social interaction. Any increase in contact with other people increases the risk you will catch or spread coronavirus.

IMPORTANT News Release from Public Health England and Worcestershire County Council

Public Health partners urge people not to touch sick or dead birds

Public Health England (PHE) Midlands and Worcestershire County Council public health colleagues are urging people, including members of voluntary wildlife organisations, not to touch sick or dead wild birds.

The call comes as PHE and the local authority work together after confirmed avian influenza A(H5N8) diagnosed in a number of swans in Evesham and following reports of a growing number of sick and dead swans around the Diglis area of Worcester.

With an increasing number of cases of the infection being seen across the country, on 11 November Defra declared the whole of England as an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ), to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading to poultry and captive birds. This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures and from 14 December all poultry and captive birds will need to be housed.

The A(H5N8) strain is highly pathogenic to other birds, however there have been no human cases of infection reported. While the risk to human health is considered very low, it is still vital that people do not touch sick live birds or bird carcasses, and infection control measures may be necessary if they do.

Dr James Chipwete, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control with PHE in the West Midlands, and lead consultant for flu, said: “During the last week there have been confirmed cases of avian influenza A(H5N8) in swans in Evesham, and we are receiving an increasing number of reports of sick and dead swans in the Diglis area of Worcester. We are awaiting results of investigations currently being undertaken by the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

“We know that people are concerned for the welfare of the swans, especially ensuring they are fed in these colder months, however it is important that people avoid contact with these sick or dead birds. Even though no cases of human infection have been associated with this strain of avian flu, as a precaution, anyone who was not wearing appropriate PPE while in contact with the droppings or birds in an area where the infection has been confirmed, will require close monitoring and a course of antiviral medication for 10 days from last contact with infected birds.

“We have seen a number of avian flu cases in poultry and captive birds across the country – with confirmed cases of A(H5N8) in Herefordshire last month, and suspected cases now in Warwickshire. People must avoid touching potentially infected birds at all costs, and if you do see any sick or dead birds by waterways or on your private land, please leave them and call the Defra helpline on 03459 335577. In areas where the infection has been confirmed, anyone who has been in contact with sick or dead birds or their droppings, while not wearing the correct PPE, should make sure any footwear is properly cleaned and thoroughly wash their hands in soap and water. They should then notify Public Health England’s Health Protection Team on 0344 225 3560 to arrange for antiviral medication and active surveillance of their condition. If someone handled infected birds while wearing adequate PPE, they must still undergo active surveillance.”

Dr Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire, said: “We’re continuing to work Public Health England Midlands to monitor this outbreak of avian influenza. It’s really important that we do all we can to protect both humans and birds throughout this outbreak of avian influenza in wild birds and keep the case numbers as low as we can in Worcestershire. The bigger risk is to birds rather than people. The risk of transmission to people is low and there is guidance that all keepers must follow to help keep both themselves and their birds safe.”

River Severn in Worcestershire – Flooding is possible be prepared

River levels have risen at Diglis, Worcester (Barbourne), Kempsey & Saxons Lode gauges as a result of heavy rainfall. Further heavy showers are forecast over the weekend. Flooding of roads & farmland is expected. We expect flooding to affect low lying land & roads adjacent to the river from Highley to Tewkesbury, including Stourport, Holt Fleet, Worcester, Kempsey, Severn Stoke, Upton, South Quay, Diglis Parade and Hylton Road towpath. Flooded drains may also affect the racecourse & Worcester County cricket ground. Predicted peaks – Diglis 3.7 ? 4.1m, 22/12/20 Worcester 4.1 – 4.5m, 22/12/20 Kempsey 5.7 ? 6.2m, 20/12/20 Saxons Lode 4.2 – 4.7m, 22/12/20 We are monitoring the situation. Our incident response staff are checking defences. Please avoid contact with flood water.

This information was last updated at 

River Severn in Worcestershire – Flooding is possible be prepared

Flooding is possible – be prepared

River levels are rising slowly at Diglis, Kempsey Yacht Club & Saxons Lode river gauges due to heavy rainfall. Flooding of roads and farmland is expected to continue. We expect flooding to affect low lying land & roads next to the river from Highley to Tewkesbury. Stourport, Holt Fleet, Worcester, Kempsey, Severn Stoke, Upton upon Severn, South Quay, Diglis Parade & Hylton Road towpath may be affected. Flooded drains may affect Worcester racecourse & County cricket ground. New street Gate, Upton upon Severn is closed. New Street Upton may be affected by flooding. Predicted peaks- Diglis 2.9-3.0 m & Kempsey Yacht Club 5.3-5.5m Thursday evening 17/12/20, Saxons Lode 3.6-3.8 m on Thursday afternoon. Further rainfall is forecast over the next 3 days, which may cause river levels to rise further. We are closely monitoring the situation & our staff are checking defences. Avoid contact with flood water.

This information was last updated at 

Flood alert in force now River Severn in Worcestershire

Flooding is possible – be prepared

River levels are rising slowly at Diglis, Kempsey Yacht Club & Saxons Lode river gauges due to heavy rainfall. Flooding is expected to start tonight, 16/12/20. We expect flooding to affect low lying land & roads next to the river from Highley to Tewkesbury. Stourport, Holt Fleet, Worcester, Kempsey, Severn Stoke, Upton upon Severn, South Quay, Diglis Parade & Hylton Road towpath may be affected. Flooded drains may also affect Worcester racecourse & County cricket ground. New street Gate at Upton upon Severn is closed. New Street Upton is flooding & may be impassable.Predicted peaks- Diglis 2.8-3.0m & Kempsey Yacht Club 5.0-5.2m both Thursday morning 17/12/20, Saxons Lode 3.7-3.9m on Thursday evening. Further rainfall is forecast over the next 3 days, which may cause river levels to rise further. We are closely monitoring the situation & our staff are checking defences. Avoid contact with flood water.

This information was last updated at 

Update from West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner

Hello and welcome to my latest newsletter…

This edition includes: another opportunity to have YOUR say directly with me; my call for clarity around West Mercia Police’s approach to COVID-19 enforcement, more county lines arrests in the fight to tackle drug offences; the release of my official Christmas crime prevention playlist and a round up of my special edition White Ribbon Day podcasts.

Due to the new COVID-19 government guidelines, my office is mainly working from home and, whilst we are able to take phone calls to our usual OPCC number, I would encourage you to contact us by emailing opcc@westmercia.pnn.police.uk or by using our social pages ‘westmerciapcc’ on Facebook and twitter. Any members of the public needing to call the office can do so between 09:00 and 17:00, Monday – Friday. Please stay safe and look out for each other.

What matters to you? Have YOUR say with me directly…
With COVID-19 continuing to impact how I engage with communities, I have been hosting a series of online events for the public to raise concerns with me directly – and I want to hear YOUR views.

The online sessions are being conducted via Zoom and have so far covered Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire, with a number of issues being raised such as speeding, anti-social behaviour & officer visibility.

On the back of this, I am working to address these concerns and several attendees have been provided with useful information. This has included how to apply for funding to purchase road safety equipment and contact details for the people and teams best placed to deal with the specific problems raised.

The final session, focusing on Telford & Wrekin, will take place at 6pm on Wednesday 16th December.

Register for the event here »
Further information here »

I have asked for clarity on West Mercia Police’s approach to COVID-19 enforcement…
As part of my role of holding the Chief Constable to account, and with COVID-19 set to remain in 2021, I have asked the force for greater clarity on the effectiveness of its enforcement activity

We are now seeing some light at the end of the tunnel with the roll out of the vaccine, but we cannot afford to become complacent. The force still has a duty to uphold the current restrictions in a proportionate way that maintains the consent of the public, and this is likely to remain the case well into next year.

Full story here »

The Christmas period is now upon us, and this year it looks and feels vastly different to any Christmas we might ever have experienced. In November, we moved as a country into a new lock down. Having rediscovered some degree of the freedoms we had once unthinkingly enjoyed over summer, We understand when some of us might be feeling we are slowly being dragged back towards the deeply worrying days of March and April. Sadly, Covid-19 remains with us.

Christmas is always a special time of year, where we see family, crowd round dinner tables, and enjoy time with friends. This year, while we are social distancing and unable to meet others outside of our own households yet again, we can still retain that special closeness. Many of us might look forward to special phone calls with loved ones or having our first ‘zoom’ family Christmas. We can still take a moment out of our days to see our neighbours, especially those living alone or shielding, and spread that cheer that is more important to us now than ever.

This message of festive cheer is even more important for the current circumstances. With Covid-19 resurgent in communities right across the country, we must also restate the commitments so many of us made early on in this pandemic to watch over and support the most vulnerable members of our community. This means checking on neighbours, offering to do some shopping, collecting a prescription, or simply being friendly – these days a smile, even behind a mask, goes a long way.

Thankfully due to the incredible work carried out by all those who have been involved in the development of the Covid-19 vaccine, we can now look forward with renewed hope.

Please continue to look after one another, enjoy the company you can keep in the settings you can keep it in, and continue to follow the guidance set out by the Government. We very much hope for a 2021 that is brighter than 2020.

All that remains for us to say is stay safe, stay well and spread happiness wherever you can. Have a wonderful, fulfilling, and happy Christmas, followed by a happy and prosperous New Year.

Forming a Christmas bubble

Christmas Bubble

Between 23 and 27 December you may choose to form a Christmas bubble of up to three households.

Read more about forming a Christmas bubble.

We know how important it is to meet up with family at this time of year but please consider the rules carefully and what you do as a result of them.

It is still advisable to avoid a large family gathering indoors as the virus spreads more easily. Consider using virtual games and technology to connect with each other or meet up outside and go for a Christmas walk.

Here is a list of virtual Christmas activity ideas for you to consider.

There are also many festive themed outdoor attractions for you to enjoy. Try searching online.

You can start by taking on our Christmas Shop Window Trails.

Download your trail map and find out more about Christmas activities in the district.

Whatever you do, be safe and have a great Christmas.

Update from West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner

Hello and welcome to my latest newsletter. This edition includes: a welcome spending review from the Chancellor; an opportunity to have YOUR say directly with me; more county lines arrests in the fight against Serious & Organised Crime and my support for White Ribbon Day, as I released a special series of podcasts alongside securing more funding to help raise awareness and tackle the issue of domestic abuse.

Due to the new COVID-19 government guidelines, my office is mainly working from home and, whilst we are able to take phone calls to our usual OPCC number, I would encourage you to contact us by emailing opcc@westmercia.pnn.police.uk or by using our social pages ‘westmerciapcc’ on Facebook and twitter. Any members of the public needing to call the office can do so between 09:00 and 17:00, Monday – Friday. Please stay safe and look out for each other.

I welcome the Chancellor’s one-year spending review… 
What matters to you? Have YOUR say with me directly…
With COVID-19 continuing to impact how I engage with communities, I am hosting a series of online events for the public to raise concerns with me directly – and I want to hear YOUR views.

The four online sessions are being conducted via Zoom and will each focus on Herefordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Telford & Wrekin specifically.

Following on from the first session focusing on Herefordshire, the next sessions are due to take place as follows:

Shropshire – Thursday 3rd December, 6-7pm (register below)
Worcestershire – Wednesday 9th December, 6-7pm
Telford & Wrekin – Wednesday 16th December, 6-7pm

Register for the Shropshire event here »
Further information here »

It has now been confirmed that all areas of the West Mercia Police force area will be in tier 2 from next week, and we must continue to pull together as a community. Guidelines below…
I proudly supported White Ribbon Day, which continues to help victims of domestic abuse…
I released a special series of podcasts to raise awareness of the issue. Find each episode below…
1) The Hollie Gazzard Trust – This first episode features Nick Gazzard, who talks about his daughter, how he came to set up the Hollie Gazard Trust and how he hopes to help young people spot signs of abuse.

2) Spotting the signs of DA – I also spoke to Domestic Abuse Risk Officer, Donna Wailes, who talks about how she protects victims & how family and friends are key to spotting the signs.

3) The history of White Ribbon Day – I spoke to the Chief Executive of White Ribbon UK, Anthea Sully, who talks about the incredible history around White Ribbon Day, and the importance of men reaching out to their friends for help if they are behaving in a way that concerns them.

You can listen to the podcasts via Spotify, Apple Podcasts & Amazon Alexa, or alternatively on my website here

As well as awareness, the issue needs funding, and I am delighted to provide this alongside local and national partners…
Over half a million of funding to prevent domestic abuse

I secured over £560,000 of funding to support victims and to challenge and change the behaviour of those who are controlling or violent towards loved ones.

Full story here »

I continue to deliver on my commitment to helping victims across West Mercia

I am proud to work with local & national partners, like West Mercia Women’s Aid & Victim Advice Line (VAL), to ensure over £1,000,000 of funding reaches those who need it.

Find out more and access 24 hour helplines »

Latest news…
Op Protect: I am pleased to continue working with the force to tackle Serious and Organised Crime

Another county lines drug dealer has been put behind bars:

David Dudley from Birmingham has been sentenced to 33 months in prison after being caught at Hereford Train Station with crack cocaine and heroin with intent to supply.

Read the full story here »

The impact of Serious and Organised Crime such as this can be devastating to individuals and entire communities, and I remain committed to tackling it.

You can read more about my commitment here »

I am pleased to work with partners to secure Home Office funding for our region

Over £550,000 of Safer Streets Funding secured by West Mercia Police, Telford & Wrekin Council and myself will improve the safety of residents in Brookside, Telford.

Click here for more and have YOUR say on where the money should be spent »

It is great to see partners coming together to create a more inclusive West Mercia

West Mercia Police is helping officers & staff provide an enhanced and more sensitive service to those affected by autism, by supporting the roll-out of Autism West Midlands’ Autism Alert Cards.

Read the full story here and how the cards really make a difference »

I am proud to fund initiatives that reduce the risk of young people being drawn into criminality

For example, I financially support and work with the Children’s Society.

Their Climb programme aims to prevent 10-17 year olds from entering the criminal justice system.

Find out more about the Children’s Society and what they do »

It is vital that the public continues to report crimes online where possible

The pandemic continues to place additional pressure on the control room as staff self-isolate.

It is vital to report crimes online where possible instead of calling 101, and to only dial 999 in an emergency.

How to report online »

There have been plenty of campaigns lately that I am proud to support…
I stand united against bullying – this year’s Anti-Bullying Week theme

This year more than ever, we have seen how society can come together for the common good.

Everyone has a part to play in spotting and tackling bullying, which can have a devastating impact on mental health.

Visit the Anti-Bullying Alliance for more information »

I supported those working in retail on National Respect for Shopworkers Week

During the Covid-19 pandemic, abuse of retail workers has doubled.

I offered a message of support for people working in the retail industry. Abuse is not part of the job and must not be tolerated.

Watch and listen to my message of support here »

I was honoured to contribute to the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims

I was asked by RoadPeace to contribute to an online service remembering those who have lost their lives on our roads.

Head to Facebook to see my message »
Or you can watch the full service on YouTube »

I supported Road Safety Week as part of my ongoing road safety commitment

Too many lives are lost on our roads and families torn apart by the tragedy.

That is why I am proud to work with partners across our region to improve road safety by changing driving behaviour.

Find out more about how we’re working to support those at risk of dangerous driving »

This year’s Alcohol Awareness Week focused on its impact on mental health

Over half of drinkers (53%) said they have drunk alcohol for a mental health reason.

Meanwhile, 20 people a day die as a result of their drinking, this is not inevitable and there are ways we can reduce this.

Find out more about the support available here »

I wished a Happy Diwali to our Hindu, Sikh and Jain communities

It may have been a different experience this year, but let the candles lit be a symbol of hope for the future.

I marked the occasion on FacebookTwitter and Instagram »

International Fraud Awareness Week also reminded us to shop safely online this Black Friday & Christmas…
We must all be careful when shopping online this Christmas

Too many people fall victim to scams & fraud, consequently suffering financially and emotionally.
International Fraud Awareness Week reminds us to look out for our elderly and vulnerable, who are disproportionately targeted, and make them scam aware.

More on how to stay safe online »