Update from West Mercia Police & Crime Commissioner

Hello and welcome to my latest newsletter. This edition includes: celebrating Remembrance Day differently; tackling and preventing crime in our community; continuing to support victims; a warning of the dangers of scams and a series of podcasts to keep you busy this lockdown, as I discuss a range of topics from Domestic Abuse to careers at West Mercia Police.

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.

Myself and my office remembered those who gave their lives for our freedom, as we marked Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day differently this year.

I want to hear your stories and what the days mean to you…

Thinking of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice, celebrating relatives who fought valiantly and remembering those who served at home are all close to our hearts.

Remembrance Sunday is a poignant event at West Mercia Police, and I am proud to have a number of reservists and veterans in the force.

And on the anniversary of the end of the First World War, myself and my office also observed the two-minute silence at 11am.

But what do the days specifically mean to you? What do you think of when you hear Remembrance Sunday and Armistice Day? Do you have any family members who served at home or abroad?

It isn’t too late to share your thoughts and stories on my Facebook page, as we celebrate and remember the days together.

Tell us your story here »

Thank you to those who had their say on key issues impacting you…

Around 1500 people participated in the survey below.

With the help of your Council Tax, I will set the police and victim services budget next year, and I ran a public survey to gather your views.

Thank you to those who let me know your concerns, what your priorities are, what it’s like where you live from a policing perspective and which areas of policing you would choose to spend more or less of your money. This helps shape the budget.

Whilst the survey is now closed, others have had their say on my Facebook page, click here and have yours!

Latest news…
As part of my commitment to tackling Serious and Organised Crime, I am pleased to work with the force as we continue to tackle the issue through Operation Protect

In the past week, a county line drug dealer – Robin Naughton, 41, from the West Midlands – was jailed for 28 months on two counts of possession of class A drugs with intent to supply. He was caught with heroin and crack cocaine in Commercial Road, Hereford.
Read more here »

Another man was also sentenced to 39 months in prison for dealing drugs and carrying a knife.
Read more here »

The impact of crimes such as child sexual abuse, county lines drug trades, modern slavery and human trafficking can be devastating and destroy individuals and damage entire communities.

Read my commitment to tackling Serious and Organised Crime here »

I gave a round of ap-paws as the Government backed the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill

The Bill, aka Finn’s law, will mean animal abusers could face up to five years in prison, and is now onto the committee stage after passing its second stage in the UK House of Commons.

Find out more about Finn and how this will help him and his furry friends »

I am pleased to fund 116 more officers in the region compared to this time last year

As part of the national campaign to recruit 20,000 additional police officers over the next three years, it is great that West Mercia is ahead of schedule.

Read more here, as I continue to deliver on my pledge to increase officer visibility »

I am proud to fund the force’s Inclusion Volunteers project

It is fantastic to see students of New College Worcester flourish by joining the Inclusion Volunteers.

Not only do the students develop valuable skills for the future, but the positive impact they have had on Worcester Police Station highlights the importance of partners working together.

Read the full story here »

I am running another FREE online driver awareness session

Can you remember what every sign means? Can you tell what the speed limits are without signs? Can you spot hazards?

As part of my safer roads commitment, and following the success of the first session, the second FREE online driver awareness session will take place on Wednesday 18th November.

Sign up here »

I am proud to fund and work with the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ team, who do a brilliant job in tackling and deterring criminal behaviour…
I met with Ram, Estelle and Frank of ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ as they showed off three newly branded vehicles

It is great that they will be visible throughout West Mercia, helping to deter criminals and celebrate the areas already protected by the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ scheme.

Head to the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ website to learn how the initiative protects our community »

More than 200 people given advice on how to keep their homes, sheds and bikes secure

South Worcestershire’s rural & business crime team recently ran bike and home crime prevention events in Worcester City Centre.

Over 70 bikes were protectively marked and over 200 Smartwater kits for homes were distributed during the two outdoor events.

Read more here »

I received a touching letter from Montford Parish Council

It thanked West Mercia Police, the ‘We Don’t Buy Crime’ team and myself for keeping residents safe and preventing burglaries in their homes.

A lovely reminder of the success of Smartwater technology and the difference we can make by working together.

See the full letter on my Facebook page »

I echo West Mercia Police’s request to report crimes online

The pandemic is placing 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.

Full statement here »

I have made resources available to make it easier for communities to stay connected

From video calls with our loved ones to clapping for our carers, the solidarity shown throughout the pandemic has been truly heartwarming

The new measures are a reminder to continue looking out for our most vulnerable.

Resources to download here »

Continuing to deliver on my commitment to victims…
Recently I called on the Government for urgent support to maintain virtual remand hearings. To continue delivering on my commitment to victims, we must ensure the justice system works for them.

Full story here »

I reaffirm my commitment to thousands of domestic abuse victims

I have finalised my domestic abuse plan which aims to reduce the number of people who suffer from DA, whilst ensuring that the right support is provided locally to victims & survivors.

Read more on my website »

Support for victims of sexual abuse now easier to access

Victims of sexual assault and abuse in West Mercia will now be able to access support services more easily, thanks to funding from NHS England.

Read the full story here »

It is vital to raise awareness of the support available to Domestic Abuse victims

Please don’t suffer alone, reach out and seek support, and make sure your friends and loved ones know that charities like WMWA are still there.

More information here »

It is vital to be aware of ongoing scams…
Courier Fraud

There has been a spate of courier fraud offences happening across West Mercia, with Shropshire seeing a recent increase in the number of people conned out of thousands of pounds.

Anyone who receives these calls should hang up and report it immediately to Action Fraud online (link below) or by ringing 0300 123 2040.

ActionFraud.police.uk »

Fake PayPal emails

This year, fake PayPal emails have lead to the loss of over £8 million. The emails trick victims into believing they have received payment for items they’re selling on the platform.

We are warning people selling items online to be on the lookout for criminals sending the fake emails.

More information on how to protect yourself »

We must all be careful when shopping online this Christmas

As well as avoiding scam websites and messages, follow the tips below to minimise any fallout should you be unlucky enough to fall victim to online crime.

Check out the tips on how to shop online safely »

Confidence up as crime down, but there is more to do…
Continuing my commitment to road safety in West Mercia

I am supporting the NPCC’s (National Police Chiefs’ Council) national campaign to protect vulnerable road users.

People must be sensible on our roads, and the large increase in those caught speeding cannot continue.

Facebook »
Twitter »
Instagram »

I am pleased to see drink driving offences fall, but there is more to do.

100+ offences a month is unacceptable, especially given COVID19 restrictions around pubs.

Too many lives are lost on our roads and families impacted, even without drink driving. Stay alive, don’t drink and drive.

Facebook »
Twitter »
Instagram »

The Safer West Mercia Podcast continues to grow and now has over 500 downloads!
Latest episodes…

1) Domestic Abuse – Are you or someone you know suffering at the hands of an abusive partner? I spoke to Sue Coleman from West Mercia Women’s Aid about the services available for those in need of help.

2) A career in policing? – I sat down with student officer Simon Redman as we covered his reason for joining the force, an insight into his training and what advice he would give to someone thinking of a career at West Mercia Police.

3) Safer Roads – I talked to Lee and Nigel from West Mercia Police about how Op Snap has enabled the public to help make West Mercia’s roads safer.

4) The Drive project – Rosie Jarvis from ‘Safe Lives’ and Lisa Ignoscia from Cranstoun joined me to discuss the Drive project which works to end domestic abuse by challenging and changing perpetrator behaviour.

And finally, some things to watch…
Making sure the community work done by volunteers doesn’t go unnoticed

Deputy PCC Tracey Onslow thanked Independent Custody Visitor (ICV) John Cairns for his 25 years service as a volunteer. John recalled his time of being an ICV and said he thoroughly enjoyed the role, which involves visiting custody suites and making sure detainees are being looked after.

Watch the full story here »

We must continue to adhere to the COVID guidelines.

Christmas is a time for friends and family. But, the message is loud and clear – we need to do everything we can to make sure we reduce COVID infection if we’re to celebrate Christmas with our loved ones.

Wash your hands, cover your face and make space, and we will get through this together.

Watch my plea to you »

Important changes to your bin collections

Important changes to your bin collections

green binWe are making some changes to the way we collect your waste and recycling.

To make sure we continue to operate a Covid-19 Secure workplace, and to keep our collection crews safe, we will be starting collections at staggered times from next week.

This may mean your bin or sacks get collected slightly earlier or later than usual. This will affect both black bin/sack and green bin/cherry sack collections.

It is also possible your bin/sacks may be collected slightly before 7am. If you can, please leave your bin/sacks out the night before your day of collection to make sure we do not miss you.

Next week we will be collecting green bins/cherry sacks.

View our 2020 collection calendar 

If you have any questions please email depotadmin@malvernhills.gov.uk

Parish Council Meeting dates 2021

Parish Council Meeting dates 2021

 

February 10th 2021

March 24th 2021

April 21st 2021 (Annual Parish)

May 12th 2021 (Council meeting and AGM)

June 23rd 2021

August 11th 2021

September 22nd 2021

November 10th 2021

 

All meetings begin at 7:15PM

 

In order to comply with the Coronavirus Act 2020 meetings are being held remotely. Please contact Pam Perfect for joining details. Hopefully in the new year things start to return to normality.

 

 

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Even in lockdown, if you have a symptom, you need to be tested.

England is under Government lockdown restrictions until December 2nd 2020.

 

This means we are all being asked to stay at home wherever possible.

It is though, very important that anyone with any symptoms of Covid-19, still gets a test.

Worcestershire has plenty of testing capacity for anyone who needs a Covid-19 test and it can be booked online.

The county has some new local test centres opening, which are also providing more local provision, and easier access to testing, for people who do not have a car.
Testing is available anyone with one or more of the coronavirus symptoms; a high temperature, a new, continuous cough, or a loss or change to sense of smell or taste. You should get a test even if you feel well and your symptoms are mild. Testing is also available for anyone who has been told officially to get a test.

To get an appointment at any of the testing sites in Worcestershire book a test at nhs.uk/coronavirus or by calling 119.

Dr. Kathryn Cobain, Director of Public Health for Worcestershire said: “In previous winters, we have all been used to struggling on with coughs and colds. However, this year we need to take notice of our symptoms, however mild you think they may be. Ask yourself, could this be a symptom of Covid-19.
“Spotting the signs of Covid-19 early will help limit the spread of the virus. As soon as you get even a mild symptom, you should self-isolate, keeping away from everyone and book a test.

“If you think you may have even one of the symptoms, there is no reason to hesitate in getting a test and being certain. Our testing capacity is now good in Worcestershire and you can go online and book a test. If your test is negative, you can carry on with your day to day life. If it’s positive, you should self-isolate and in doing so you will be helping to stop the spread of the virus.”

 

Guidance on Remembrance Sunday

The Government has published guidance on Remembrance Sunday. It states that the COVID Alert Levels, across all tiers, provide for a specific exception for Remembrance Sunday events for participants and spectators, provided appropriate precautions are undertaken by the event organiser. So local authorities in England can organise outdoor Remembrance Sunday events at a public war memorial or cenotaph, if they complete a COVID-19 risk assessment and take all reasonable measures to limit the risk of transmission of the virus. They must also take into account the national guidance on outdoor events, including all cleaning and hygiene precautions. It also provides information on what activities can be involved, who can attend, test and trace requirements and communal worship

Self-isolation support payment

From Monday, 28 September 2020, you are required by law to self-isolate if you are told to do so by NHS Test and Trace.

The Government has introduced a £500 support payment to help people on low incomes who have to self-isolate. The scheme will run until 31 January 2021 but is being kept under review by the Government. We are responsible for making the payments. Please read all of the information on this page before applying.

Do I qualify for this scheme?

To qualify for the payment, you will need to meet all of the criteria below:

  • you have been asked to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace on or after 28 September, 2020
  • you are employed or self-employed
  • you cannot work from home and will lose money as a result
  • you are claiming at least one of the following benefits: Universal Credit, Working Tax Credits, income-related Employment and Support Allowance, income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Pension Credit or Housing Benefit

Who cannot apply for a payment?

You cannot apply for this scheme if:

  • You do not have a valid notification from NHS Test and Trace
  • You have been told to self-isolate before the 28 September, 2020. This applies even if your period of self-isolation overlaps this date
  • You are self-isolating after returning from abroad (unless you have tested positive for Covid-19 and been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace)
  • You can work from home while self-isolating
  • You are not claiming one of the benefits listed. You may qualify for help from the local discretionary self-isolation support scheme.

What proof do I need to provide?

To prove you are eligible for the scheme, you will need to fill in the online application form on this page and provide the following information:

  • a notification from NHS Test and Trace asking you to self-isolate (this will include a Unique ID number)
  • a bank statement
  • proof of employment, or, if you are self-employed, evidence of self-assessment returns, trading income and proof that your business delivers services which cannot be undertaken without social contact

Local discretionary self-isolation support scheme

If you meet all the other criteria for the self-isolation support payment, but you are not claiming one of the benefits listed and self-isolating will cause you severe financial hardship, then you may still qualify for help from the local discretionary self-isolation support scheme.

If you believe this applies to you, please fill in the application form on this page as normal, but when you get to question 16 about claiming benefits, click ‘none of these’. Carry on and complete and submit the form. We will then assess your circumstances and contact you with our decision.

Can other people I am living with make a claim?

If there are other people living in your household, then they can make their own application to the scheme, as long as they meet the eligibility criteria.

Can I claim on someone else’s behalf?

You can apply on someone else’s behalf, but the £500 must be paid into the bank account in the name of the person you are applying on behalf of. For example, if you are applying on behalf of a parent, the money must be paid into your parent’s bank account.

I have been asked to self-isolate more than once. Can I claim again?

If you are told to self-isolate more than once, you will be able to apply for the payment again, as long as you still meet the eligibility criteria and your periods of self-isolation do not overlap.

Can I claim if I have been furloughed?

You can claim the payment if you have been furloughed, as long as you meet all the other qualifying criteria.

How long do I have to claim?

You can make a claim up to 14 days after your self-isolation period ends, as long as it started on or after 28 September 2020.

Apply for a self-isolation support payment

Self-isolation support payment application

If you are unable to complete this form online, or need help completing it, then please call 01684 862413.

Privacy

Read the  pdfself-isolation support payment privacy notice (107 KB)  to find out how we will use your personal data to process your application.

Other financial support

If you are on a low income but do not qualify for a self-isolation support payment, or the local discretionary scheme, then you may be able to apply for Statutory Sick Pay, Universal Credit or another benefit.

Financial support if you cannot work because of Covid-19

Other help while you are self-isolating

If you need help while you are self-isolating, such as deliveries of food or medicine, then please fill in the Worcestershire Here 2 Help I need help form.

Limited Care Home visits to begin again in Worcestershire

Published Monday, 19th October 2020

 

Families across Worcestershire can now be reunited with loved ones in care homes.

Worcestershire County Council Public Health has considered the current situation and the impact the closure of care homes, is having on families and residents.
The decision has been taken to advise care homes that limited visits to residents can now be arranged, providing strict safety measures are in place to protect vulnerable residents.

Extra Care and Supported Living will also be advised they can open to limited family visits again.

All visitors will be asked to follow strict visiting rules, and individual care homes will need to regularly assess their residents’ needs and vulnerabilities, to ensure visits continue to be conducted as safely as possible.

Dr. Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health for Worcestershire said: “ Our first priority must always be the safety and health of our most vulnerable, poorly and elderly residents. Restricting visits to care homes was a very difficult decision, and we promised we would continue to monitor the impact this would have. It is always a question of balancing protection from Covid-19, with the mental health and emotional wellbeing aspects of restricting family contact. With these considerations in mind, we have decided to advise that care homes can re-open to limited visitors, providing there are stringent safety measures in place. I hope this will ease worry and anxiety for Worcestershire families and I thank our residents, families, and care homes for working with us to protect loved ones.”

Councillor Adrian Hardman, Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Adult Social Care said; “Thank you to every family who has had to sacrifice visiting their loved ones in order to keep them safe. We know this was extremely difficult and upsetting, and we thank you for co-operating fully to protect those we love. I hope the re-opening of care homes for visits will bring comfort and reassurance. When you visit, please follow the rules, they are there to protect everyone. Covid-19 is on the rise still, we must take it as seriously as ever.”

 

 

Christmas Collections

It might still seem some time off (or maybe not if you venture into the supermarkets and see all their festive stuff!) but Christmas is fast approaching and we have just agreed the Christmas collection schedules for refuse, recycling and Garden Waste.

 

This year’s impact is limited to the Friday of each week. Attached are the picture files for domestic and Garden Waste collections

 

christmas domestic collection 2020

christmas garden waste collection 2020

Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know

Local COVID alert levels: what you need to know

Information on local COVID alert levels, including what they mean, why they are being introduced and what the different levels are.

What local COVID alert levels mean

Local COVID alert levels set out information for local authorities, residents and workers about what to do and how to manage the outbreak in their area.

Find out what you can and cannot do if you live, work or travel in each local COVID alert level.

Check the local COVID alert level of your local area to see which level applies to you.

Why the government is introducing local COVID alert levels

The government is committed to ensuring the right levels of intervention in the right places to manage outbreaks. Working with local authorities through the contain framework, our approach has been simplified so that there are now 3 local COVID alert levels.

Local COVID alert level: medium

This is for areas where national restrictions continue to be in place.

This means:

  • you must not socialise in groups larger than 6, indoors or outdoors (other than where a legal exemption applies)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools and universities remain open
  • places of worship remain open, subject to the rule of 6
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on numbers of attendees
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors, or indoors if the rule of 6 is followed

You must:

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • when travelling, plan ahead or avoid busy times and routes. Walk or cycle if you can

Find out more about the measures that apply in medium alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Local COVID alert level: high

This is for areas with a higher level of infections where some additional restrictions are in place.

This means on top of restrictions in alert level medium:

  • you must not socialise with anybody outside of your household or support bubble in any indoor setting, whether at home or in a public place
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 outside, including in a garden or other spaces like beaches or parks (other than where specific exemptions apply in law)
  • businesses and venues can continue to operate, in a COVID-secure manner, other than those that remain closed in law
  • certain businesses are required to ensure customers only consume food and drink while seated, and must close between 10pm and 5am
  • businesses and venues selling food for consumption off the premises can continue to do so after 10pm as long as this is through delivery service, click-and-collect or drive-through
  • schools, universities and places of worship remain open
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with or share a support bubble with, or for youth or disability sport
  • you can continue to travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but should look to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

You must:

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • walk or cycle where possible, or plan ahead and avoid busy times and routes on public transport

Find out more about the measures that apply in high alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Local COVID alert level: very high

This is for areas with a very high level of infections and where tighter restrictions are in place. The restrictions placed on areas with a very high level of infections can vary, and are based on discussions between central and local government. You should therefore check the specific rules in your area.

At a minimum, this means:

  • you must not socialise with anybody you do not live with, or have formed a support bubble with, in any indoor setting or in any private garden or at most outdoor hospitality venues and ticketed events
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in an outdoor public space such as a park or beach, the countryside, a public garden or a sports venue
  • pubs and bars must close. They can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant, which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal
  • schools and universities remain open
  • places of worship remain open, but household mixing is not permitted
  • weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees. However, wedding receptions are not allowed
  • exercise classes and organised sport can continue to take place outdoors. These will only be permitted indoors if it is possible for people to avoid mixing with people they do not live with (or share a support bubble with), or for youth or disability sport
  • you should try to avoid travelling outside the very-high alert level area you are in or entering a very-high alert level area, other than for things like work, education or youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if you are travelling through as part of a longer journey
  • you should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if you are resident in a very-high alert level area, or avoid staying overnight in a very-high alert level area if you are resident elsewhere

You must:

You should continue to:

  • follow social distancing rules
  • work from home where you can effectively do so
  • travel to venues or amenities that are open, for work or to access education, but aim to reduce the number of journeys you make

This is the baseline in very-high alert level areas. The government will also seek to agree additional interventions in consultation with local authorities, in order to drive down transmission of the virus. These could include the following options:

  • restrictions preventing the sale of alcohol in hospitality or closing all hospitality (except takeaway and delivery)
  • closing indoor and outdoor entertainment venues and tourist attractions
  • closing venues such as leisure centres and gyms (while ensuring provision remains available for elite athletes, youth and disabled sport and physical activity)
  • closing public buildings, such as libraries and community centres (while ensuring provision remains available for youth and childcare activities and support groups)
  • closing personal care and close contact services or prohibiting the highest-risk activities
  • closing performing arts venues for the purposes of performing to audiences

You should therefore check whether additional restrictions apply in your area.

Find out more about the measures that apply in very high alert level areas to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.