Welcome to Issue 81 of the LNWA Newsletter – produced to maintain your contact with us and e-mailed to all 32 Boroughs plus the City. Single Points of Contact (SPOCs) are regularly updated so, if you are receiving this for the first time, it’s because you are identified as the Neighbourhood Watch Contact for your Borough. LNWA is anxious information reaches the grassroots so please ensure everyone in a Watch in your Borough is encouraged to read this Newsletter which is also accessible via our website, www.lnwa.net
STAY SAFE – GUIDE TO CRIME PREVENTION & SAFETY
In Issue 77, I mentioned NHWN had published a comprehensive collection of crime prevention and safety advice that was, at the time, only available to download. I’m please to say LNWA acquired 2,000 of these booklets, printed in colour in A5 format. These are currently being held at Empress State Building and can be delivered to a Police Station of your choice. Depending on the number of responses, Boroughs will receive upwards of 60 copies so, if you’d like your allocation, please e-mail me at “alfredkennedylnwa.org” and specify the Police Station for delivery. I’ll collect the responses and pass them on in 21 days.
NEIGHBOURHOOD & HOME WATCH NETWORK (NHWN)
If you haven’t signed up to receive a direct copy direct, read the latest NHWN newsletter at:
Meanwhile, volunteers from England and Wales were rewarded at a ceremony in London for their efforts in reducing crime. Attended by dignitaries from the Home Office, Cabinet Office and Police Service, the awards were held as part of National Neighbourhood and Home Watch Week and organised by NHWN. Jim Maddan, Chairman, said: “It’s always an honour to celebrate the work of our exceptional Neighbourhood and Home Watch volunteers who contribute and work tirelessly day in and day out to the collective monetary value of £1 billion per year fighting crime in their neighbourhoods. This year’s Awards highlighted exemplary individuals and schemes from across the movement who have made a huge impact on their community above and beyond anyone’s expectations.”
DCC Michael Banks from ACPO voiced his support for the winners, saying: “Neighbourhood Watch volunteers play a vital part in keeping communities safe and reducing crime. Police colleagues up and down the country are delighted to work with residents to make their areas safe places to live and really appreciate the hard work that people put in.”
A full list of winners and runners up can be found at www.ourwatch.org.uk
CRIMESTOPPERS SCRATCH-N-SNIFF CAMPAIGN
From 26 June, Neighbourhood Watch is supporting a Crimestoppers ‘Scratch-n-Sniff’ Campaign to tackle Commercial Cannabis Cultivation, which is seen by organised criminals as a high profit, low risk venture and is increasingly taking place in residential properties. This puts a premium on local intelligence from members of the public who know how to recognise the signs of a commercial cannabis farm. More information on the signs of a cannabis farm and the campaign can be found at: www.crimestoppers-uk.org/scratchandsniff
17 forces, including the Metropolitan Police, will be taking part in the campaign that aims to increase information received by Crimestoppers from members of the public relating to Commercial Cannabis Cultivation (CCC). In addition, the campaign aims to raise awareness of the links of CCC to Serious/Organised Crime and Human Trafficking. Crimestoppers will work with participating forces to identify ‘hot-spot’ areas using police intelligence. ‘Scratch and sniff’ cards will be distributed in those areas, highlighting ‘signs-to-spot’ of CCC and containing a ‘scratch and sniff’ panel to help identify the smell of cannabis cultivation which is different to the smell of cannabis when smoked. Police will use the intelligence received from Crimestoppers to target enforcement activity.
Neighbourhood Watch members/coordinators are not being asked to engage with the public on the campaign. LNWA is making members aware the campaign is happening within our area and where they can go for more information. If you would like to support the campaign via social media, please like, share or retweet posts made by Crimestoppers (@crimestoppersuk<http://www.twitter.com/crimestoppersuk>) over the course of the campaign. The Home Office is backing the campaign and will mention Neighbourhood Watch as a partner within its national press releases as will Crimestoppers.
BOROUGH POLICE WEBSITES
The update of all 32 Borough Police websites is now complete. To access the Neighbourhood Watch page, go to your local Borough Police website (e.g. http://content.met.police.uk/Borough/Bromley), click on “Get involved” in the menu on the right, then click on the Neighbourhood Watch logo that appears on the next page. If “Contacts” details change, please let me know and I’ll arrange for them to be updated.
Speaking on surging cyber-crime, Detective Superintendent Pete O’Doherty, head of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau said: “From what I see day in and day out, cyber-crime is rapidly increasing, both in volume and in complexity not only as a pure crime, but also as facilitator for other crimes. It is evolving at a rapid pace.”
Reflecting these comments, Justin Davenport, of the Evening Standard reported that cyber-crime is driving a huge surge in fraud offences, with 7 out of 10 scams now involving an IT element. Statistics further support this, with the total number of fraud offences reported to Police nearly doubling in the last financial year. There were 230,845 frauds recorded in 2013/14 – more than 630 a day – compared to 122,240 the previous year, an 89 per cent increase. With cyber-crime on the rise so rapidly, it just cannot be ignored. To help you keep your identity safe here are the top 5 things that fraudsters look for:
1. A bank/credit card statement – file or shred financial documentation after use. When banking online, use strong passwords (a different one for each site), opt for two-factor authentication where possible and log out when finished.
2. Your mobile phone – don’t store account names and passwords on your smartphone. Don’t take or share digital pictures of your passport. Remember public Wi-Fi networks are riskier than private networks, so be careful with information you share.
3. Access to your social networking page – consider about how much information you really need to share. Be cautious and don’t add people you don’t know.
4. The security code on the back of your credit card – when using your debit or credit card online, always be sure the browser you’re using is secure (indicated by the padlock symbol) and that the site you’re paying is legitimate. Be very cautious before sharing as a result of an unsolicited phone call.
5. Access to your email account – avoid sharing sensitive information via email. Be aware of phishing emails – if it seems suspicious, don’t open it and don’t click on any links. Contact the relevant organisation instead.
That’s it for this month. As usual, on behalf of LNWA, thank you for your work and support.