Crime Prevention & Safety

Safe Durham Partnership Website  - Click Here   Durham County Council Crime Prevention pages - Click here

Durham Police Web Site - www.durham.police.uk -  Durham Police Facebook Page

Durham Agency Against Crime www.daac.org.uk/

How To Keep The Cyber-Criminals Out

Cyber-criminals use weaknesses in software and apps to attack your devices and steal your identity. Software updates are designed to fix these weaknesses and installing them as soon as possible will keep your devices & data secure. Software updates don’t have to get in the way of what you’re doing. You can choose to install them at night, when your device is plugged in and connected to wi-fi. You can also configure most devices to automatically install software and app updates. 

For more information on how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk or follow @Cyberprotectuk on Twitter.

Cyber criminals send victims their own passwords in extortion scam 

Cyber criminals are attempting to blackmail unsuspecting victims by claiming to have used the victims' password to install spying malware on the victims' computer. The criminals claim they’ve recorded videos of the victim watching adult material by activating their webcam when they visit these websites. What makes this scam so convincing is that the email usually includes a genuine password the victim has used for one of their online accounts. We believe criminals obtain the passwords from data breaches. 

What to do if you get one of these emails? Don’t reply to the email, or be pressured into paying. The police advise that you do not pay criminals. Try flagging the email as spam/junk if you receive it multiple times. Perform a password reset as soon as possible on any accounts where you’ve used the password mentioned in the email. Always use a strong, separate password for important accounts, such as your email. Where available, enable two-factor authentication (2FA). Always install the latest software and app updates. Install, or enable, anti-virus software on your laptops and computers and keep it updated. 

If you receive one of these emails, report it to Action Fraud’s phishing reporting tool. If you have received one of these emails and paid the ransom, report it to your local police force.

Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter

Here's the latest, bumper edition of our popular e-newsletter Our News from Neighbourhood Watch. Read about our new report on what makes a good neighbour in modern Britain and find lots of fantastic advice on keeping you safe. There's also member offers and lots more! Click here to read it on-line

NEW YOUNG POLICE, CRIME AND VICTIMS’ COMMISSIONER ELECTED 

16 Year Ellen Terry has been elected as Young Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington for 2018-19. Members of the press are invited to meet with the new Young Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, accompanied by Ron Hogg, Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner. 

For more information please contact Sarah Harris, Media and Engagement Officer at the Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner on: • PCVC.Media@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

Durham County Council’s proposed county-wide licencing scheme for private landlords would reduce crime and anti-social behaviour 

Areas of County Durham where a lot of people live in private-rented accommodation will be less likely to suffer crime and anti-social behaviour if Durham County Council’s proposal to prepare a business case to seek Government approval to introduce County-wide licencing for private landlords is approved by the Council’s Cabinet next week. 

Commenting on the proposal, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said “When Police are carrying out investigations, so much time can be lost trying to identify who owns the property where suspects are living. A County-wide licencing scheme for private landlords would make a significant difference to resolving crimes, and I believe it would also act as a deterrent because offenders would know there would be a greater likelihood of them being caught.” Ron added “This is an issue that I promised to campaign on two years ago, and now, with the support of Phil Wilson MP and Durham County Council we are within touching distance of dealing more effectively with rogue landlords.”

Durham County Council’s proposals follow up a Private Member’s Bill which Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, is trying to persuade Parliament to make law. The Bill would make it compulsory for all private landlords to sign up to a national register. One key benefit of this would be that the Police, Local Authorities and other service providers would know who to contact when there are issues with environmental damage, anti-social behaviour and crime locally. Mandatory registers are already in place in Scotland and Wales, and some Local Authorities have also introduced mandatory schemes across their area. 

Phil Wilson said “Ron Hogg and I have been talking with Councillors in Durham for some time about the benefits of a mandatory national register. I am delighted that subject to necessary government approval, they are proposing to introduce a County-wide scheme, which would make a real difference to communities in the County”.

Watch out for these fake Netflix emails. **New**

We’ve seen an increase in reports about fake Netflix emails claiming that there’s an issue with your account, or that your account has been suspended. The email states that you need to “update” your account details in order to resolve the problem. The link in the emails leads to genuine-looking Netflix phishing websites designed to steal your username and password, as well as payment details. 

Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. 
Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
For more information on how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk

Nfib Alert - Bogus Overseas Officers **New**

Fraudsters are contacting overseas students and visitors who are in the UK via their mobile phone or social network account and purporting to represent UK or foreign law enforcement. After fraudsters have claimed to work with their respective embassy or government, they tell the victim that there is evidence in the form of forged documentation or parcels which implicate them in a crime such as money laundering, fraud or immigration offences. 

After demanding further personal details from the victim such as their name, current address and copies of personal documentation, they threaten the victim by suggesting a warrant exists for their arrest which will result in their deportation and imprisonment unless they transfer a payment to them in order to cancel the arrest or pay a fine. Once the money is transferred, all contact between the victim and the fraudster is severed. 

What You Need To Do: Police will never ask you to withdraw to transfer money so “it can be checked”, neither would they demand money to in order to cancel an arrest. Do not be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details no matter who they say they are; protect your information and have the confidence to question and refuse unusual requests. 

If you have made a payment to someone claiming to be the police or government department, and you think you might be a victim of fraud, you can report it to Action Fraud any time of the day or night using our online fraud reporting tool. You can also get advice about fraud or cyber-crime by calling 0300 123 2040. If you are a student you can ask your Student Union or University for advice, help and support.


Durham Constabulary plans to use naloxone in custody suites, as drug deaths rise again **New**

6 August 2018 Heroin users will be able to be given injections of the life-saving antidote, naloxone, in police custody suites in County Durham and Darlington from later this year, under plans announced today. Naloxone is the emergency antidote for overdoses caused by heroin and other opiates such as methadone, morphine and fentanyl. Currently, people employed or engaged in the provision of drug treatment services can, as part of their role, supply naloxone as long as it is supplied for the purpose of being available to save life in emergencies. If the plan goes ahead, Durham will be one of the first police forces in the country to introduce it into custody suites. Officers are being trained to enable its introduction later this year, and the guidelines for when naloxone should be used are currently being finalised. 

Commenting on the initiative, Inspector Jason Meecham who runs the custody suites said “Many of the individuals who we care for in custody throughout County Durham and Darlington unfortunately suffer from problematic drug issues. These frequently relate to opiate use, which on occasion results in our NHS colleagues using Naloxone when detainees experience an overdose. “The new training would enable our custody officers to inject naloxone in emergencies, when someone who has taken an overdose of opiates is in custody and their life is at risk. They would still need specialist medical aftercare, but it would provide an additional opportunity to save someone’s life” This announcement comes on the day that the Office of National Statistics has released the latest drug related deaths statistics for England and Wales. The highest mortality rate was seen in the North East, with 83.2 deaths per 1 million population, a 7.5% increase from 2016, compared to 42.7 deaths per million population in England. 

Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said: “I am really disappointed to see the new figures today. They are a true reflection of a drug policy that isn’t working. Drug users should be able to seek medical treatment without fear of being criminalised. I have called on the Government to review the current UK drug policy, as it urgently needs to do more to save lives and reduce drug related-harm.” Ron added “the plans to introduce of naloxone in Durham are part of the sensible, radical approach which we are taking to reduce harm and save the lives of drug users”. For more information and arrange an interview with Ron Hogg, please call 07814 174417 or email pcvc.media@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

My next Rural Statement will draw on NFU Mutual rural crime report, says Ron Hogg **New**

The priorities for increasing community safety in rural communities will be informed by NFU Mutual’s Rural Crime Report, according to Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) Ron Hogg. The NFU Mutual report, released this week, draws on claims data to give an insight into crime in the countryside and helps to identify issues and trends affecting rural communities. 

The report shows that, nationally, the cost of rural crime rose by 13.4% in 2017, to £44.5million. The increase in Durham is about half as much, with the value of claims being 7.4% higher than in the previous year. Crimes such as theft of agricultural vehicles and livestock are highlighted in the report. Commenting on the report, Durham and Darlington’s PCVC, Ron Hogg, said: “This report from NFU Mutual will form another piece of evidence to support the next Rural Statement, which I will be publishing with the Chief Constable in the autumn. I am talking to people in rural areas about their experiences of rural crime and its impact, and I will use that information to set out priorities for the Police, our partners and for my office in 2019. Ron added “with my staff, I will be seeking further views throughout the summer, by attending a number of agricultural shows. This will add to the evidence base. We will work through the NFU Mutual report very carefully and use it to help us develop priorities for reducing crime and improving community safety in our rural areas.” 

Watch out for these fake British Gas refund emails. **New**

We’ve had an increase in reports about fake British Gas emails claiming to offer refunds. The links provided in the emails lead to genuine-looking British Gas phishing websites that are designed to steal the usernames and passwords for British Gas accounts. Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

For more information on how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk

North East Criminal Justice Ebulletin **New**


This is the latest criminal justice news for charities from VONNE, the regional support body for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the North East, and CLINKS.


New survey will inform my next Rural Statement, says Ron Hogg **New**

Rural communities in County Durham and Darlington are more satisfied with policing than those in many other parts of the country, but there is more to do, according to the 2018 National Rural Crime Survey. The survey was conducted in spring 2018, and 20,000 people took place nationally, including nearly 600 locally – up from fewer than 100 when the survey was last conducted, in 2015. It finds that, in answer to questions about satisfaction with policing, and about preventing and reducing crime, people were up to 50% more likely to be positive than the national averages. Commenting on the findings, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said “I’m very grateful to everyone who took the time to respond to this survey. Whilst the Durham Constabulary area comes out comparatively well, there is no room for complacency. I am working with the Chief Constable to develop our 2018 Rural Policing Statement, for publication later this year. 

Ron added “with my staff, I am listening and talking to people in rural communities throughout the summer, including at a number of agricultural shows. This will add to the information which the survey is telling us. We will work through the survey report very carefully and use it to help us develop priorities for reducing crime and improving community safety in our rural areas.” 

Notes to editors: The 2018 National Rural Crime Survey was conducted by the National Rural Crime Network, in spring 2018. The report of the survey can be found online here: http://www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net/research/internal/2018survey/ 
The National Rural Crime Network has produced ten recommendations, at national level, as a result of the survey: 
1. We need Chief Constables to change the policing of rural communities 
2. We need to do more to understand rural crime and its impact 
3. We need to put that understanding into practice 
4. We need to put more focus on farmers and specific rural businesses 
5. We need to work together on organised crime 
6. We need the criminal justice system to understand rural communities 
7. We need justice to be done and be seen to be done for rural communities 
8. We need to make reporting crimes easier 
9. We need to do more to help rural residents and businesses with crime prevention 
10. We need to ensure victims of fly-tipping are not left to pay the price of others’ actions 

For more information contact Jon Carling on 07814 174417 or email pcvc.media@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk

Latest Edition Of National Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter **New**

Here's the latest edition of our popular e-newsletter Our News. Inside there's lots of advice on keeping you safe, member offers and news on how our members are shaping the future of Neighbourhood Watch. 

Click here to read it on our website. https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/knowledge/news-read-latest-e-newsletter/

Community Peer Mentor Training for July to October 2018 **New**

Come and be part of a great team supporting vulnerable and isolated people across County Durham and Darlington – You can make a real and positive difference 

2 Day Training Package – Peterlee 11th & 12th July 2018 To be held in East Durham College, Peterlee, SR8 2RN 
2 Day Training Package – Consett & Stanley 21st & 22nd August 2018 To be held at ‘The Greenhouse’ Business Centre, Greencroft Industrial Estate, Annfield Plain, Stanley DH9 7XN 
5 Week Training Package – Durham 5, 12, 19 September and 3 and 10 October 2018 Every Wednesday evening from 6 till 8.30pm To be held at ‘Police HQ’ Aykley Heads, Durham, DH1 5TT 

Once you have completed the training you choose where in County Durham you would like to support clients; you will always support a client in pairs. We need people with life experiences so whatever your background or whatever has happened in your life do not let this be a barrier to YOU applying. 
 No age limits on people who wish to be Community Peer Mentors. 
 Travel and out of pocket expenses will be paid to volunteers when dealing with cases.
 Ongoing and additional training is provided free.
 No set hours you give what you can. 
 Become a member of a brilliant network of volunteers. 

For further information please contact the Community Peer Mentor Office on 0300 003 1818 or email: Community.PeerMentors@durham.pnn.police.uk

New Hidden Voices resource shares children’s experiences of their dads going to prison **New**

Children whose dads are sent to prison are rarely given the opportunity to share what for them is a deep emotional experience where they bear no blame - but a new pack of arts activities, Hidden Voices, is designed to help others understand exactly what children can face when they find themselves in this situation. The pack has been co-produced with talented artists, with children whose dads are in custody – and with men in prison whose children are back at home. 

Nepacs and Helix Arts jointly developed Hidden Voices. Nepacs is a long standing charity which works across the north east region to help support a positive future for prisoners and their families through their work in prisoners, visitors’ centres and in the community. Helix Arts has been co-producing great art with diverse communities for more than 35 years and is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. Children in North East England whose dads are in custody, have worked with professional musicians to co-create songs which openly share their experiences of seeing their dads go to prison and living with that situation day in day out. The Hidden Voices ‘kit bag’ of activities has been designed with the involvement of local children and prisoners from HMP Kirklevington Grange to help dads in prison to reflect on the impact of their offending on their children at home. It’s anticipated that this programme will encourage men to turn their back on crime and reduce reoffending. 

Dads at HMP Kirklevington Grange listened closely to the songs and were inspired to work with them to co-design a ‘kitbag’ of creative activities based around the songs. In turn these activities will be used with other dads in prison to stimulate conversations about underlying issues, reflect on behaviours, promote empathy, increase understanding and ultimately help rebuild family relationships and resilience. The workshops were co-produced with the artists, with the young people, with prisoners and with staff from Nepacs and Helix Arts. Catherine Hearne is CEO Helix Arts: “Working with the song-writers and musicians was a completely fresh way for the children to find the words to express the feelings they had been burying or ignoring. The children began to see themselves as artists channelling their emotions into a great piece of art – just like the professionals do. The process helped them feel very differently about their experiences – it helped them come to terms with their situation and prepare for a different future.” The flexibility of the Hidden Voices resource means it can be used by Nepacs and others working with prisoners in a variety of ways. The arts-based activities have also been designed to slot into the Nepacs’ Heading Home programme. Through Heading Home Nepacs staff and volunteers provide help to prisoners, offenders, their families or friends prepare for release and resettlement across north east prisons and in the community.

Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs said: “Hidden Voices has been an inspirational project for Nepacs. Helix Arts’ practitioners have been able to draw out the emotional impact of having a parent in prison through engaging young people in music and song. They have combined empathy and creativity to produce materials that will have a profound effect on attitudes and awareness. “By including Hidden Voices in our highly regarded Heading Home programme we can encourage prisoners or offenders to think about how their children are feeling and the impact of their crime and the sentence on them.” Hidden Voices was made possible with grant funding from the Ministry of Justice and with the support of the Tees and Wear Prisons Group. Nepacs has a small number of kitbags to give away to organisations working with prisoners or offenders. A request form is available on their website and materials can be downloaded for free. http://nepacs.co.uk/page/hidden-voices

PCVC hosts specialist conference to tackling Hate Crime **New**

Practitioners across County Durham and Darlington were planning their future work together for tackling hate crime at a conference held in Newton Aycliffe today. Over 100 delegates attended the conference, which was hosted by the Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC). Hate Crime remains a key priority for the PCVC, and has been throughout his tenure. Mr Hogg said: "Reducing the impact of Hate Crime remains one of my priorities. Today’s Conference builds upon my previous seminars on hate crime. We have listened to what people have said and I am pleased that good progress has been made towards tackling hate crime locally. However I recognise that there is still much to do. I note that the number of recorded hate crimes has risen, and am pleased this appears largely to be because victims are increasingly confident to report incidents to the Police. People in this area continues to show higher levels of confidence in policing than in many other parts of the country. Today we have focused on how we can further develop joint working to improve community cohesion and tackle hate crime. Through a range of workshops we have identified a series of projects to help us to understand and reduce the true level of hate crime and incidents, increase reporting of hate incidents, provide effective support for victims and ensure that we get effective prosecutions. I am looking forward to seeing these ideas translate into an action plan to tackle and reduce hate crime.” The conference was opened by Mr Hogg, and chaired by James Kingett, from Show Racism the Red Card. Delegates were delighted to receive a speech from Stephen Miller, the Paralympic Gold Medallist as the key note speaker. Stephen Miller said: It was great to be back to address the Hate Crime Conference today. It is great to be back today, and whilst there is always more to do, it was good to see what has already been achieved. It is so important that we continue to address this big issue. I often remind people that respect is the highest currency we have. I believe events like today help to strengthening the message that hate crime won’t be tolerated.” The conference heard four brave hate crime victims share their stories, to show the positive and negative aspects of their experience. In addition a video was also show which highlighted the prejudice which a Syrian refugee family faced after being housed and settled in the North East. These presentations showed that despite a low number of reported incidents across county Durham and Darlington, hate crime is happening within our communities and that victims need support. Students from the Hermitage Academy Chester Le Street were in attendance. They delivered a powerful presentation on the holocaust. Graham Hall, Head of Community Safety, Darlington Borough Council said: “Today serves as a great reminder of the enormous impact hate crime can have on people within our communities. Lots has already been achieved however there is always more that can be done. The agencies across County Durham and Darlington, and the wider region remain committed to working together in partnership to tackle this issue.”

Scam Alert - Fake Argos Texts **New**

Watch out for these fake Argos texts offering refunds These fake text messages purport to be from Argos and claim that you’re owed a refund. The link in the messages lead to phishing websites designed to steal your personal information, as well as payment details. Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

Working together to combat crime, support victims and tackle the challenges ahead 

IMPROVED SERVICES for residents, businesses and victims of crime during 2017-18, have been highlighted in a new report published today. The latest Annual Report by Ron Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) for County Durham and Darlington, sets out for the public how the Police and other partner organisations met the objectives which Ron set in 2017-18. 

The report highlights the importance of joint-working between organisations to deliver services to combat crime, support victims and reduce re-offending in Durham and Darlington. The Cleveland and Durham Local Criminal Justice Plan, for example, brings together agencies with responsibility for delivering criminal justice, and demonstrates a commitment to achieving an end-to-end service for victims of crime and anti-social behaviour, and a joined-up process for rehabilitating offenders and reducing reoffending. Another key priority during the year was services for victims. Ron launched a Hate Crime Advocacy Service, which helps victims of hate crime to have a voice and make it more likely that offenders are brought to justice. A similar service was launched to support victims with mental ill-health. 

Ron said: “Being accountable to the public is important. I use the Annual Report to let the public know how my objectives, based on their priorities, were achieved over the past year. “2017-18 has been a satisfying and successful year but crime has been rising and there are still challenges ahead. The Force now has 400 fewer officers than in 2010, and there have also been reductions in the number of police staff and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). I will continue to campaign to Government to ensure that we receive a fair funding settlement for County Durham and Darlington. “Durham Constabulary continues to be the most effective and efficient force in the country, and research shows that local people have greater confidence in the Police than almost anywhere else in the country. They can be confident that when they report a crime or incident, it will be taken seriously.” 

To find out about other key achievements, services for victims, projects funded through the Community Safety Fund, and how Ron has scrutinised police performance during 2017-18, view the Annual Report at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk, or search for Durham PCC on Facebook and Twitter.

Local people can be confident that crimes and incidents will be taken seriously **New**

REPORTED CRIMES in County Durham and Darlington increased over the past year, according to the latest Performance Report from Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg. The report indicates that the number of reported victim-based crimes rose by 32%, whilst levels of anti-social behaviour reduced by 11% over the twelve months to March 2018. At the same time, residents of Durham and Darlington have greater confidence in the Police than almost anywhere else in the country. 84% of people agree that ‘taking everything into account I have confidence in the police’, whilst Durham is rated higher than any other force for ‘community understanding’. 

Commenting on the report, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said “There have been real increases in crimes such as theft, robbery and arson, but the increase is also due to changes to the national requirements for crime recording: more incidents such as harassment are now recorded as crimes, for example. He added “The Sunday Times reported last weekend that Durham has the highest ‘solved rate’ for crimes of any force in England and Wales, mainly because of the Constabulary’s on-going commitment to neighbourhood policing. Victims of crime can be confident to come forward and report their experiences, knowing that the Force will take them seriously”. The number of Police Officers in County Durham and Darlington has dropped by 400 Officers since 2010, following reductions in Government funding. Ron continues to call on the Government to ensure that Police have the resources they need to protect the public. 

Ron’s Public Performance Report is available on his website at www.durham-pcc.gov.uk . Further crime prevention advice is available on the Durham Constabulary website at www.durham.police.uk .

Follow Up Calls Computer Software Service Fraud **New**

There is concern that victims of previous Computer Software Service Fraud (CSSF) are being re-targeted for “owed money”. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reports that CSSF scammers are returning to contact previous victims, requesting that they pay money owed for a fake malware protection service they had provided. Alternatively, the fraudster will ask for a new subscription fee in return for protection from a new threat. The victims that have made payments to the fraudsters have done so via credit/debit card payments. In some instances threatening and aggressive language has been used against victims, as part of the attempt to coerce them into sending money. 

Computer Software Service Fraud involves the victim being contacted, told that there is a problem with their computer, and that for a fee this issue can be resolved. The aim of the fraudster at this point is usually to gain remote access to the victim’s computer and, subsequently, access to their online banking account. No fix actually occurs. The victims will often be cold-called or will receive a pop-up on their computer, prompting them to phone the suspect. 

Since the beginning of this year (2018), the total loss for repeat victims of CSSF has been reported as £16,712.85. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has noticed an increase in such reports since the beginning of May.

For more information about how to protect yourself online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk and takefive-stopfraud.org.uk

New Ways To Protect You This National Neighbourhood Watch Week **New**

It’s National Neighbourhood Watch Week 2018 (NNWW18) and we’ve got some exciting news to share with you! This year to mark NNWW18 we’ve created a fantastic, brand new section of our popular website to share new and important information on keeping you and your neighbours safe. Because crime is changing and we want to do our bit to make all communities safer and stronger across England and Wales . Click here to look at all the new information we’re sharing about crimes and modern issues that cause such significant harm in our communities. NNWW18 runs until next Sunday, June 24– it’s our annual week of social action across our network of 2.3 million member households - so it’s a perfect time to take a look and share the knowledge! 

On our website you’ll find new information, statistics and practical Toolkits that you can share on: • Domestic Abuse – which we know affects all communities • Serious Violence – particularly knife crime • Vulnerability and loneliness – affecting more people as families become more mobile • Fraud and scams – electronic and traditional • High harm crimes – Modern Slavery, Child Sexual Exploitation etc. 

Please do tell us what you’re doing to mark NNWW18 – email Lisa Parker lisa.parker@ourwatch.org.uk so we can showcase your good work across our media channels! The Twitter hashtag for the week is #NNWW18 and you can follow us at @N_Watch

MEN CAN BE VICTIMS TOO, SAYS YOUNG PCVC **New**

MALE VICTIMS of domestic abuse are encouraged to seek support in a new campaign launched in Durham today. The #NOLESSOFAMAN campaign is aimed at men who are victims of domestic abuse. There are over 2.5 million cases of domestic abuse against men reported in the UK each year. Domestic abuse can be psychological, physical, sexual financial or emotional. A key message is that there is help and support available for male victims through Harbour, a service commissioned to provide assistance to individuals and families affected by domestic abuse. The new campaign is spearheaded by Libby Wright, the Young Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington. Libby was elected by the Police Cadets last year on a manifesto which included a commitment to promote the rights and interests of male victims of domestic abuse. Libby said: “Research suggests that one in six men are victims of physical violence from an intimate partner. Men are also two times less likely to tell anyone about the domestic abuse they are suffering. “I want to empower men to seek help and reassure them that help and support is available. Men should feel free to seek help. They shouldn’t view the situation they find themselves in as a sign of weakness; it doesn’t make them any less of a man.” Speaking at the launch, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said: “Libby is absolutely right to raise this issue. For too long, this issue has remained hidden and under reported. I hope this campaign will encourage men to come forward and seek support.” 

Copies of the hard-hitting poster will be distributed through a variety of places including colleges, universities, GP surgeries, pubs, and more. If you would like copies of the poster to distribute in your workplace, contact general.enquiries@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk. Harbour can be contacted on 03000 202525 or via myharbour.org.uk

Courier Fraud **New**

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has identified an increasing number of reports submitted to Action Fraud from the public concerning courier fraud. Fraudsters are contacting victims by telephone and purporting to be a police officer or bank official. To substantiate this claim, the caller might be able to confirm some easily obtainable basic details about the victim such as their full name and address. They may also offer a telephone number for the victim to call to check that they are genuine; this number is not genuine and simply redirects to the fraudster who pretends to be a different person. After some trust has been established, the fraudster will then, for example, suggest;
 - Some money has been removed from a victim’s bank account and staff at their local bank branch are responsible. - Suspects have already been arrested but the “police” need money for evidence. - A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is operating fraudulently and they require assistance to help secure evidence. 

Victims are then asked to cooperate in an investigation by attending their bank and withdrawing money, withdrawing foreign currency from an exchange or purchasing an expensive item to hand over to a courier for examination who will also be a fraudster. Again, to reassure the victim, a safe word might be communicated to the victim so the courier appears genuine. At the time of handover, unsuspecting victims are promised the money they’ve handed over or spent will be reimbursed but in reality there is no further contact and the money is never seen again. 

Protect Yourself Your bank or the police will never: - Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password. - Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping, or send someone to your home to collect cash, PIN, cards or cheque books if you are a victim of fraud. Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Be mindful of who you trust – criminals may try and trick you into their confidence by telling you that you’ve been a victim of fraud Stay in control If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. For more information about how to protect yourself online visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk and www.takefive.stopfraud.org.uk

North East Criminal Justice Ebulletin **New**

This is the latest criminal justice news for charities from VONNE, the regional support body for the voluntary, community and social enterprise sector in the North East, and CLINKS.

Click for the Newsletter

Residents of County Durham and Darlington invited to comment on new plan to reduce crime and improve community safety **New**

Local people across County Durham and Darlington are invited to give their views on a new plan launched today. This week marks the mid-point in Ron Hogg’s second term of office as Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner. Ron has taken the opportunity to refresh his Police, Crime and Victims Plan – the key document which sets out his aims and priorities to reduce crime and improve the safety of local communities.

Commenting on the new draft Plan, Ron said: “I want levels of crime to fall, and for local people to feel safe. It is also important that victims of crime and vulnerable people feel supported so that they can cope and recover from their experience; and re-offenders should be rehabilitated into society where appropriate, so that re-offending is reduced. I believe that these factors will help people to have confidence in policing and the criminal justice system.” Ron added: “My new plan highlights a series of priorities which I intend that Durham Constabulary, and our partner organisations in the criminal justice system, take into account when delivering their services. I will hold them to account and publish progress reports on my website every quarter.” 

You can view the draft of the plan at www.durham-pcc.gov.uk. Local people are invited to submit their comments to Ron by Monday 28 May 2018.

Ron Hogg considering challenge to Bede Kirk decision **New**

The decision to accept an application to turn land next to a former Police Station site into a village green may not be the end of the matter, according to Durham’s Police, Crime and Victim’s Commissioner (PCVC). The decision to give the site at Bede Kirk, Barnard Castle, the status of a village green was taken by Durham County Council’s Highways Committee at a meeting in Barnard Castle today. 

Commenting on the decision, PCVC Ron Hogg said “I am disappointed in the outcome of this hearing. I have a duty to make best use of the assets available to me. This setback will cost the better part of one third of this year’s increase in precept. This is a lot of money to make up within our capital budget. “From the information available at the moment, it appears to me that the site did not fully meet the tests of having regular leisure usage by a significant number of local people for a period of at least twenty years. I am taking legal advice on the next steps and strongly considering a legal challenge. “At the same time I will be considering alternative options for the site of the former Police station building, which is next to the land that was under consideration today”.

Have your say, make your voice heard – The 2018 National Rural Crime Survey **Updated**

Local residents have a brand new opportunity to have a say about rural crime in the 2018 National Rural Crime Survey, launched today. The survey is now available at www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net and is open until Sunday 10 June 2018. It is three years since the last National Rural Crime Survey. It highlighted the cost of crime to our rural communities. This cost isn’t just financial, it showed that there can be a greater fear of crime, along with chronic under-reporting as well as anger and frustration at the police and government. 

In response to community concerns and the recommendations made by the National Rural Crime Network following the 2015 survey, Ron Hogg Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner worked with the Chief Constable, Mike Barton to produce and implement the Rural Policing Statement. The statement explains how the concerns of residents have been listened to and the steps that have been put into place to improve services to rural communities. Improvements include the introduction of the Rural Specials Unit, Community Safety Responders, cross-border working, Community SpeedWatch initiatives, an additional police vehicle, additional staff training, use of mobile tablet technology and greater partnership working. All of which contribute to enhancing the services delivered to our rural communities. 

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington said: “I encourage anyone living or working in a rural community to take a few minutes to complete our survey. By using your voice, you can give us a true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in our rural communities across county Durham and Darlington. It is important for us to see what has changed since the 2015 survey. It will help to provide a clear picture of what has improved, what challenges remain and what more we can do to make a difference to the lives of those who live and work in our rural communities.” “I will be using the results of the 2018 survey to help me to formulate the next Rural Crime Statement which I plan to publish in the autumn. This will help us to deliver effective, appropriate and efficient services to our Rural Communities. 

The results will also feed into the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Rural Affairs National Strategy for 2018-2021 which is also due to be launched later this year.” The survey is being carried out by the National Rural Crime Network. The organisation brings together Police and Crime Commissioners, police forces and organisations that play a key role in rural communities – like the Country Land and Business Association, the National Farmers Union, Neighbourhood Watch, Crimestoppers, Historic England and the Countryside Alliance. 

 The Network’s Chair is Julia Mulligan, Police and Crime Commissioner for North Yorkshire. She said: “The aim of the National Rural Crime Network is to see greater recognition and understanding of the problems and impact of crime in rural communities so more can be done to help them be safe – and feel safe. In order to achieve that, we need to know the true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour that residents and businesses face.” “The 2015 findings uncovered some difficult truths for all those involved in protecting rural areas and now is the right time to see whether lessons have been learnt, whether people are more willing to report the crime they are victims of and if they do indeed feel safer.”

NEW LEGISLATION TO REGULATE PRIVATE LANDLORDS WOULD REDUCE CRIME AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR **New**

Areas where a lot of people live in private-rented accommodation will be less likely to suffer crime and anti-social behaviour if new legislation to regulate private landlords is approved by Parliament this week. A Private Member’s Bill tabled by Phil Wilson, MP for Sedgefield, would make it compulsory for all private landlords to sign up to a national register. One key benefit of this would be that the Police, Local Authorities and other service providers would know who to contact when there are issues with environmental damage, anti-social behaviour and crime locally.

Commenting on the draft legislation, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said “When Police are carrying out investigations, so much time can be lost trying to identify who owns the property where suspects are living. A mandatory registration scheme for private landlords would make a significant difference to resolving crimes, and I believe it would also act as a deterrent because offenders would know there would be a greater likelihood of them being caught.” Mandatory registers are already in place in Scotland and Wales, and some Local Authorities have also introduced mandatory schemes across their area

What is phishing? **New**

Fraudulently sending emails purporting to be from reputable companies in order to trick individuals into revealing personal information, such as passwords and financial information. 
Phishing can also be carried out over text messages (smishing) and phone calls (vishing). 
Links Don’t click on the links in unsolicited emails and texts. 
Attachments Don’t open the attachments in unsolicited emails. 
Your information Don’t reveal personal or financial information as a result of unsolicited emails, texts or calls.

Message Type Icon TV Providers Discount Fraud **New**

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) have noticed an increase in Action Fraud reports where fraudsters are offering a discount on Television service provider subscriptions. Fraudsters are cold-calling victims, purporting to be from a Television (TV) provider offering a discount on their monthly subscription. Victims have been told the following: their subscription needs to be renewed; that part or all, of the TV equipment has expired and they are due an upgrade on the equipment/subscription. In order to falsely process the discount, the fraudster asks victims to confirm or provide their bank account details. 

The scammers may also request the victim’s identification documents, such as scanned copies of passports. The fraudsters are using the following telephone numbers: “08447111444”, “02035190197” and “08001514141”. The fraudster’s voices are reported to sound feminine and have an Asian accent. Later victims make enquiries and then discover that their TV service provider did not call them and that the fraudster has made transactions using the victim’s bank account details. This type of fraud is nationwide. Since the beginning of this year (2018), there have been 300 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud. From the reports received, victims aged over 66 seem to be the most targeted. 

What you need to do • Don’t assume a phone call or email is authentic: Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and address or even your mother’s maiden name), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Criminals can exploit the names of well-known companies in order to make their scams appear genuine. • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: a genuine company won’t force you to make a financial decisions on the spot. Always be wary if you’re pressured to purchase a product or service quickly, and don’t hesitate to question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. • Stay in control: Have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for personal or financial information. Always contact the company yourself using a known email or phone number, such as the one written on a bank statement or bill. 

Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online. 

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Mini police ride high for Durham Constabulary in London **New**

A celebration assembly took place this morning to mark the achievements of the Mini Police of Ebchester Primary School, after they sent representatives to London on behalf of Durham Constabulary last week. The trip combined two prestigious invitations, one from the Home Office and one from the Crimebeat Awards. The Ebchester Mini Police had met staff from the Home Office when they recently visited the school to learn more about the Mini Police Programme. They were so impressed that the children were invited to London to present their work. This co-ordinated perfectly with the National Crimebeat Awards which the children were attending on behalf of Durham Constabulary. Today the children shared their experience in London with their peers. 

The children had a very busy schedule in the capital. Not only did they go to the Home Office and Crimebeat Awards, they also visited New Scotland Yard, and they had a surprise trip to the Houses of Parliament, where they met both the Home Secretary Amber Rudd and Policing Minister Nick Hurd. They also got to ride on the London Eye and as it was a clear night they could see for miles. Durham Constabulary were nominated for the Crimebeat Award by the former High Sheriff Mrs Caroline Peacock. The children had the responsibility of collecting the award, on behalf of Durham Constabulary. This was a special award, which is only given in execptional circumstances. It was awarded for ‘inventing the mini police scheme and encouraging its adoption by other police forces”. Craig Johnson, Mini Police Coordinator said: “When I developed the mini police programme in County Durham, I had no idea that it would grow to be the success it is now. I am very lucky that I now get to help other forces across the country implement the programme. I am very proud of how it has changed the way we work with young people and the skills it gives them.” “The children were fantastic ambassadors for the programme, their school, the Constabulary and County Durham. Nothing phased them at all; they took it all in their stride. It was a great experience, one which they will remember for a very long time.” 

Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said: “I was very proud to be with the children on their trip as they were amazing ambassadors. It was brilliant to see them share their experience and enthusiasm with their fellow students today. Receiving the award on the trip made it even more special for them. It is fabulous that the work Craig has done with the mini police has been recognised through this special award from Crimebeat. His commitment and passion for the programme has driven our approach to engaging with young people. We now have more mini police than regular cops. I truly look forward to the day we get our first fully warranted Police Officer who started their police journey as a member of the mini police.”

Fifa World Cup 2018 Ticket Alert **New**

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place from 14th June – 15th July 2018. The worldwide demand for match tickets is expected to be significant. Action Fraud have been alerted to several websites which are offering World Cup Tickets for sale, some at highly inflated prices. A FIFA spokesperson said: “FIFA regards the illicit sale and distribution of tickets as a very serious issue and it has been reminding all football fans that FIFA.com/tickets is the only official and legitimate website on which to buy 2018 FIFA World Cup tickets.” “FIFA has received various complaints and enquiries by customers of non-authorised ticket sales platforms, and has consistently confirmed that these companies cannot guarantee access to the stadiums as the respective tickets may be cancelled. Insofar customers are at risk of investing a high amount of money (also for travelling and accommodation) without having the certainty to actually be able to attend the matches.

” FIFA have also warned that “any tickets obtained from any other source, such as ticket brokers, internet auctions or unofficial ticket exchange platforms, will be automatically rendered void and invalid”. Action Fraud received over six hundred reports and intelligence submissions in relation to the previous World Cup so it’s vital that football fans exercise caution when considering a purchase or making a transaction.

Protect yourself: 
• Don’t take the risk. Tickets for the World Cup 2018 can only be purchased directly from FIFA. For more information, please visit www.FIFA.com/tickets. 
• A FAN ID is required for fans to be able to enter the 2018 FIFA World Cup stadiums. Exercise caution if using a third party to obtain your FAN ID for you. You may be charged inflated costs for the service and your personal details may be compromised. For more information, please visit www.fan-id.ru. 
• Visit the Take Five website for the latest guidance on how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. 
• For useful advice and information on the World Cup please visit the Government Guidance Pages; https://www.gov.uk/guidance/be-on-the-ball-world-cup-2018

.North East crime reduction awards re-named in honour of Nepacs’ patron **Current**

Professionals working with prisoners, ex-prisoners or those sentenced to community punishments in the North East are being given the chance to get recognition for their efforts to reduce re-offending by entering the 2018 Nepacs Awards. 

2018 is a special year for the Nepacs awards as they have now been renamed in honour of long standing Nepacs’ patron Ruth Cranfield but will continue to recognise the innovative work taking place across the North East to help offenders to resettle in the community and rebuild their lives. Since the 80s Ruth Cranfield has exerted an enormous effect on Nepacs’ development, and has been a key member of the Board of Trustees. She organised and inspired a small voluntary committee to review the work of Nepacs and look at opening the first visitors’ centre in the north east at HMP Durham. 

Her commitment, drive and dedication has inspired many to join Nepacs and continue to build her vision of a volunteer-based society dedicated to improving the support given to offenders and their family and friends, in order that they have a better chance of successfully rehabilitating themselves in society. Nepacs is commemorating her contribution by renaming the annual Nepacs award for outstanding contributions to the rehabilitation of offenders within the North East as the Nepacs Ruth Cranfield Awards, and elevating her status to patron. Dame Glenys Stacey DBE, HM chief inspector of probation, will present this year’s awards and certificates at an event taking place in September at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. The awards celebrate projects that support prisoners planning for their release, and afterwards, working with agencies to help promote purposeful and communal activity and build self-belief, helping them re-establish themselves outside, securing accommodation, work and positive family relationships. It is usually when this resettlement fails that ex-offenders turn back to crime and inflict more damage on the community. 

The awards are open to individuals or teams who work in probation/CRCs, prisons and youth offender institutions, the voluntary sector or other agencies working within criminal justice across the North East. Nominations will be accepted from anyone working within these organisations. Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “Nepacs Ruth Cranfield Awards reflect the spirit and dedication shown by our patron in challenging entrenched beliefs about crime and offending. Ruth strongly advocates that ex-prisoners can and do turn their lives around with the right support and help from criminal justice staff and volunteers.

If people have housing, a steady income and their health, and especially if they feel their responsibilities as a family member, then there is every chance of a crime free life on release. “Nepacs Ruth Cranfield Awards pay tribute to those staff and volunteers working within the criminal justice system who go above and beyond in helping prisoners and their families get through a very difficult time, giving them the tools and motivation to stay clear of crime in the future.” 

For details on how to make a nomination visit the Nepacs website www.nepacs.co.uk The closing date for nominations is Monday 21 May 2018.

Home Office Disrespect NoBody Campaign 2018 **Current**

The third phase of the Home Office Disrespect Nobody campaign will run from today, 29 March, to the beginning of May 2018. The aim of the campaign is to prevent young people, both boys and girls aged 12 to 18 years old, from becoming perpetrators and victims of abusive relationships.

For 2018, the focus of the campaign will be consent, sexting and personal boundaries, which are the issues many young people need more education and information on. All campaign advertising including radio, video-on-demand and social media, directs young people to the website www.disrespectnobody.co.uk where they can get further information and the details of organisations which can provide help and support. 

We have produced a range of partner support materials to help you use the resources with the young people that you work with and promote it within your local area. These include posters, social media assets and materials developed specifically for LGBT young people. Campaign assets are available to download here on gov.uk. We have also produced a DVD containing the campaign adverts, you can order up to 10 copies of the DVD by emailing VAWGCampaigns@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk 

Thank you for your support.

Magazine Advertise Debt Alert  **Current**

Victims receive a telephone call from someone purporting to be a bailiff enforcing a court judgement, attempting to recover funds for a non-existent debt. The fraudsters state the debt originates from the victim not paying a magazine advertisement subscription. A variety of magazine names and publishers are being used by the fraudsters, who also commonly use the names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents such “Scott Davis”, “Stephen King” and “Mark Taylor”. These are names of certified Bailiff Enforcement Agents employed by debt enforcement companies. The fraudsters request that the debt be repaid by bank transfer. If the victim refuses, they threaten to visit the victim’s home or place of work to recover the debt that is owed. Once the money has been transferred, victims are not provided with receipt details of the payment or contact details. Later when victims make enquiries, they’ll discover that the debt did not exist, and often that no advertisement was placed. This type of fraud is nationwide. Since 2017, there have been 52 Action Fraud Reports relating to this fraud. From the reports received, there are a range of different businesses and individuals being targeted. 

Protection Advice: 
1. Listen to your instinct: just because someone knows your basic details, such as your name and address, it doesn’t mean they are genuine. 
2. Stay in control: always question cold callers: always contact the companies directly using a known email or phone number. 
3. Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision: a legitimate company will be prepared to wait whilst you verify information. 

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Online Marketplace Fraud Advice For Sellers *Current**

Action Fraud has received several reports indicating that sellers of items on online marketplace websites are falling victim to fraud by bogus buyers. Typically, the bogus buyers contact the seller wanting to purchase the item for sale and advise they will be sending the requested amount via PayPal or other electronic payment method. The seller then receives a fake, but official looking email stating they have been paid more than the asking price and to send the difference back to the buyer’s bank account. In reality, no money has ever been sent to the seller; the bogus buyer has spoofed an email and purported to be an online payment company. All contact is then severed with the seller. It is important to remember that selling anything could make you a target to these fraudsters however the NFIB has identified that those offering sofas, large furniture and homeware are particularly vulnerable. 

Protection Advice • Don’t assume an email or phone call is authentic. Remember criminals can imitate any email address. Stay in control. Always use a trusted payment method online, such as Paypal, and have the confidence to refuse unusual requests for payment like bank transfers. • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Always verify that you have received payment from the buyer before completing a sale. • Listen to your instincts. Criminals will try and make unusual behaviour, like overpaying, seem like a genuine mistake. Visit Take Five (takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/advice/) and Cyber Aware (cyberaware.gov.uk) for more information about how to protect yourself online. 

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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Where Next for the Voluntary Sector in Criminal Justice? **Current**

3rd May, Durham, 9.30am - 1.30pm What are the needs or issues that you see emerging from your work? What hopes and ideas do you have for change? What might Clinks be able to do to help you or to represent your experience to government or to funders? The findings will feed into Clinks' strategy and activities programme for 2019-21. Clinks is your organisation. Your expertise is vital for us to continue working towards our vision of a vibrant, independent and resilient voluntary sector that enables people to transform their lives. 

 Find out more and book your place.

Fraudsters Targeting Elderly Or Vulnerable People In The East And West Of County **Current**

We have received numerous calls today from members of the public who are being targeted by scammers - in particular elderly or vulnerable people. Here's what to do: If you get a cold call from an individual purporting to be HMRC asking for payment in iTunes Vouchers, then hang up. Officers are asking people to share this advice with any elderly friends or relatives who may be targeted. 

Message Sent By Hannah Bryan (Police, Media, HQ)

Crime is still rising, anti-social behaviour is falling, as Police Officer numbers have dropped **Current**

REPORTED CRIMES in County Durham and Darlington increased over the past year, according to the latest Performance Report from Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg. The report indicates that the number of reported victim-based crimes rose by 35%, whilst levels of anti-social behaviour reduced by 14% over the twelve months to December 2017. At the same time, residents of Durham and Darlington have greater confidence in the Police than almost anywhere else in the country. 85% of people agree that ‘taking everything into account I have confidence in the police’ – the third highest level for any force in the country.

Commenting on the report, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said “There have been real increases in crimes such as theft, robbery and arson, but the increase is also due to changes to the national requirements for crime recording: more incidents such as harassment are now recorded as crimes, for example. He added “The high level of confidence in policing means that local people are reporting more crimes and incidents. It is reassuring that victims appear to be increasingly confident to come forward and report their experiences, especially victims of sexual offences and hate crime”. “Our police officers do an excellent job of keeping the public safe, and Durham Constabulary is still the most effective and efficient police force in the country. We also have some evidence that suggests that the rise in recorded crime figures will level off in the coming months.” 

The number of Police Officers in County Durham and Darlington has dropped by 400 Officers since 2010, following reductions in Government funding. Ron continues to call on the Government to ensure that Police have the resources they need to protect the public. 

Ron’s Public Performance Report is available on his website at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk . Further crime prevention advice is available on the Durham Constabulary website at www.durham.police.uk .

Durham and Cleveland Local Criminal Justice Partnership Plan 2018 – 2021 **Current**

The plan sets out an ambitious programme of partnership working in order to deliver: An end-to-end service for supporting victims and witnesses; An end-to-end system for rehabilitating offenders and reducing reoffending; The most efficient and integrated local criminal justice system in the country. The plan sets out the commitment to working in partnership, including working together to solve problems, sharing information, and jointly commissioning services when possible, to improve local communities. 

The plan is available to download here.

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Neighbourhood Watch e-newsletter - latest edition **Current*

Here’s our latest e-newsletter Our News. .

This edition contains some great advice including a new campaign from Dogs Trust to help stop dog theft keeping your email secure plus lots of news from across our network.

Best wishes, the Neighbourhood Watch Network

Flight Ticket Fraud Alert **Current**

Fraudsters are attempting to entice victims who are looking for cheap flights abroad. Victims have reported booking tickets via websites or a “popular” ticket broker, only to discover that after payment via bank transfer or electronic wire transfer, the tickets/booking references received are counterfeit. In some cases, all communications between the company or broker and the victim have been severed. Fraudsters are targeting individuals who are seeking to travel to African nations and the Middle East, particularly those wishing to travel in time for popular public and religious holidays.

Prevention Advice: 

Pay safe: Be cautious if you're asked to pay directly into a private individual’s bank account. Paying by direct bank transfer is like paying by cash – the money is very difficult to trace and is not refundable. Wherever possible, pay by credit card or a debit card. 
Conduct research on any company you’re considering purchasing tickets from; for example, are there any negative reviews or forum posts by previous customers online? Don’t just rely on one review - do a thorough online search to check the company’s credentials. 
Check any company website thoroughly; does it look professional? Are there any spelling mistakes or irregularities? There should be a valid landline phone number and a full postal address so that the company can be contacted. Avoid using the site if there is only a PO Box address and mobile phone number, as it could be difficult to get in touch after you buy tickets. PO Box addresses and mobile phone numbers are easy to change and difficult to trace. 
Be aware that purchasing tickets from a third party, particularly when initial contact has been made via a social media platform can be incredibly risky. If tickets to your intended destination appear cheaper than any other vendor, always consider this; if it looks too good to be true, it probably is! 
Look for the logo: Check whether the company is a member of a recognised trade body such as ABTA or ATOL. You can verify membership of ABTA online, at www.abta.com. 

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk. 

Increase in police element of Council Tax to go ahead **Current**

The amount of Council Tax the public pay for the police service, known as the police precept, will increase for 2018-19 by 7.09% in County Durham and Darlington. This equates to an increase of £8 a year, or 15p a week for a property in Council Tax Band A. The increase follows a period of engagement across County Durham and Darlington and was supported by the Police and Crime Panel this morning. In December 2017 the Government announced a change to the cap on the increase which Police and Crime Commissioners can add to the precept. The new cap permits increases of up to £12 per year for a property in Council Tax Band D. In Durham, this equates to a 7.09% increase.

Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner presented his decision, along with his rationale for the increase, to the Police and Crime Panel this morning. The Panel supported his decision. Ron Hogg said: “I have been put in a position where I have to do this because the Government has decided not increase its grant to Police forces for next year. I am committed to maximising the safety of our communities and I do not wish to see the number of Police Officers fall. This increase is the only way I can avoid that. I will continue to lobby Government for a fair funding settlement for future years.” “We have been to all parts of County Durham and in Darlington to explain the reasons for the increase. Residents have been very understanding of the situation and they have been supportive of the increase in order to protect our police force. ” “Durham Constabulary is strongly committed to innovation and efficiency and we continue to challenge every aspect of the business. HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services rank Durham Constabulary as the most efficient force in the country.” 

Durham County Councillor Lucy Hovvels MBE, Chair of the Durham Police and Crime Panel, said: “Panel Members from all parties support the Commissioner’s decision. There are extreme financial pressures on our Police force. This decision is a consequence of the Government’s decision to transfer responsibility for funding from Whitehall to Police and Crime Commissioners. I’m pleased that it means that there will be no decrease in Police Officer numbers over the next 12 months.” 

Durham Savers heads to Spennymoor **Current**

Financial advice and practical support will be available to Spennymoor residents when the NEFirst Credit Union sets up shop at the Spennymoor Youth and Community Association. The Durham Savers project (as part of one of Spennymoor Area Action Partnership’s initiatives), will be bringing the credit union to the Youth and Community Association every Thursday, between 2.30pm and 4pm, from Thursday 1 February projects. NEFirst Credit Union is a not-for-profit organisation that offers community-focussed banking services such as savings and loans, in an attempt to tackle poverty and debt culture in County Durham. 

Cllr Jane Brown, our Cabinet member for social inclusion, said: "Over the last three years NEFirst have helped many people save, but also borrow at a fair interest rate, so avoiding the online payday lenders who charge much more in interest. "For example, a year-long loan of £500 from a long established high-cost lender, could cost borrowers over £400 in interest, whereas through NEFirst Credit Union, the total cost of the loan would only be £49 in interest With these high cost lenders and weekly payment stores still overused, the credit union is a welcome service; helping people to avoid getting into deeper debt. "When money is saved into the credit union, that money can be used to help people in the community borrow at a fair interest rate. "Any profit or surplus the organisation makes during the financial year is shared with members as a dividend." 

The Stop Loan Sharks Team is also offering a limited number of £25 incentives, on a first-come-first-served basis, for people who join the credit union and save for 12 weeks. This follows a number of successful campaigns throughout Durham that have led to a number of 'loan shark' prosecutions and a reduction of loan shark practice. NEFirst is regulated by The Bank of England and, like high street banks, savings are protected under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (up to £85,000). 

For more information about Durham Savers visit: www.durham.gov.uk/DurhamSavers

Phantom Debt Fraud **Currrent**

Action Fraud has recently experienced an increase in the number of calls to members of the public by fraudsters requesting payments for a “phantom” debt. The fraud involves being cold-called by someone purporting to be a debt collector, bailiff or other type of enforcement agent. The fraudster may claim to be working under instruction of a court, business or other body and suggest they are recovering funds for a non-existent debt. The fraudsters are requesting payment, sometimes by bank transfer and if refused, they threaten to visit homes or workplaces in order to recover the supposed debt that is owed. In some cases, the victim is also threatened with arrest. From the reports Action Fraud has received, this type of fraud is presently occurring throughout the UK. It is important to recognise that there are key differences between the various entities who seek to settle debts or outstanding fees in England and Wales. These differences range from the type of debt they will enforce to the legal powers they possess. To learn more, please take a look at some of the helpful information and links on the Step Change Debt Charity website; https://www.stepchange.org/debt-info/debt-collection/bailiffs-and-debt-collectors-differences.aspx 

Protect Yourself 
  • Make vigorous checks if you ever get a cold call. Bailiffs for example, should always be able to provide you with a case number and warrant number, along with their name and the court they are calling from; make a note of all details provided to you. 
  • If you receive a visit from a bailiff, they must always identify themselves as a Court Bailiff at the earliest possible opportunity. Ask to see their identity card which they must carry to prove who they are, this card shows their photograph and identity number. They will also carry the physical warrant showing the debt and endorsed with a court seal.
  • If you work for a business and receive a call or visit, be sure to speak with your manager or business owner first. Never pay the debts yourself on behalf of the business you work for; some fraudsters have suggested employees make payment suggesting they can then be reimbursed by their employer when in reality the debt is non-existent. 
  • Exercise caution believing someone is genuine because you’ve found something on the internet; fraudsters could easily create fake online profiles to make you believe them. 
  • Double check with the court, company or public body they claim to work for to confirm whether the call is legitimate; if you use a landline make sure you hear the dialling tone prior to dialling as the caller could still be on the line and you could potentially speak to the fraudster(s) to confirm the non-existent debt. Also be sure to independently search for a telephone number to call; never use a number provided by the caller without carrying out your own research. 
  • Do not feel rushed or intimidated to make a decision based on a phone call. Take five and listen to your instincts. 
  • If you know you have a debt, keep in regular contact with your creditor and be sure to establish the debt type at the earliest opportunity if you are not aware. This will help you to understand who might be in contact with you regarding any repayments or arrears. 
You can report suspicious calls like these to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfaud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

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Really Useful Advice From Take Five To Stop Fraud Week **Current**

Neighbourhood Watch is proud to be supporting Take Five To Stop Fraud Week. Take Five To Stop Fraud Week is part of the national campaign from Financial Fraud Action UK and the Government, backed by the banking industry coming together to tackle fraud. The advice being issued this week is really simple but it can stop you becoming a victim of fraud. 

A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by. Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text. Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number. 

Please share the attached with friends and family and together we can help stop fraud.

Beat the Scammers - Welcomes referrals for call blockers for older people in need of help **Current**

Beat the Scammers has directly talked to 329 older people in Stanley AAP area. We have installed 50 call blockers which are working very well and we are receiving positive feedback. We have call blockers still available for older people. We are keen to reach older people who are not active in groups and may be homebound. We are circulating the attached letter and referral pack to agencies and partners to encourage them to refer to us. 

Please would you circulate to the AAP contacts to help us get the word out. We are happy to come and give a Beat the Scammers talk to any groups who have missed out so far. 

Many thanks Christine Christine Fletcher Development Manager T: 0191 374 6564 (Direct line) or 0191 386 3856 (General) E: Christine.fletcher@ageukcountydurham.org.uk 
Age UK House, Belmont Business Park, Durham, DH1 1TW Visit our website at www.ageukcountydurham.org.uk

Three years success for Slow to 20 campaign **Current**

The 'Slow to 20 for Safer Streets' campaign is celebrating three years of making the roads outside County Durham's nurseries, primary and secondary schools a safer place. 

Slow to 20 We implement 20mph speed limits around schools and nurseries, as well as providing road safety education, training and publicity, as part of our Slow to 20 for safer streets project. So far, we have introduced 20mph speed limits at 65 schools across the county, with a further 22 schools to benefit over the next 18 months.

AAP funding
In addition to the schemes prioritised and funded by the council, Area Action Partnerships (AAP) have also funded a number of 20mph speed limits outside of schools. These include: " Bowburn Junior School - East Durham Rural Corridor AAP " Coxhoe Primary School - East Durham Rural Corridor AAP " Middlestone Moor Primary/The Oaks and Rainbow Nursery School - Spennymoor AAP " Park View School, North Lodge site - Chester-le-Street and District AAP " Langley Moor Primary School and Langley Moor Nursery School - Mid Durham AAP " West Rainton Primary School - Durham AAP " North Park Primary School - Spennymoor AAP " Tudhoe Colliery Primary School - Spennymoor AAP " Silver Tree Primary School and St Joseph's RC Primary School in Ushaw Moor - Mid Durham AAP 

Further schools are being funded monthly through the AAPs - please check the councils website for the most up-to-date schemes. 

Other measures to keep children safe As part of the 20mph part-time speed limits project our Road Safety Team deliver a package of road safety education and training measures. These include publicity and marketing materials for schools to distribute to parents/carers, resources to support the Junior Road Safety Officer scheme as well as practical training schemes such as the child pedestrian training and bikeability cycle training courses. 

Cllr Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: "The purpose of the 20mph part-time speed limits project is to reduce traffic speeds around the schools during drop off and pick up times, which will help to improve road safety for all road users as well as making walking, cycling and outdoor play more attractive. "By taking part in our road safety programme in schools children will gain the knowledge and skills they need to enable them to be safer pedestrians and cyclists." Other projects include road-safety-themed poetry workshops, and story writing workshops have also been delivered in primary schools. Secondary schools have benefited from drama performances and workshops as well as working with a theatre company to develop road safety videos. Sustainable travel initiatives have also been introduced into schools to promote active school journeys 

For further updates and information about the 20s project please visit: www.durham.gov.uk/slowto20

Local Criminal Justice Partnership welcomes Victim Commissioner’s latest review **Current**

A review of the provision of Registered Intermediaries (RIs) for children and vulnerable victims and witnesses ‘A Voice for the Voiceless’, has been warmly welcomed by the Cleveland and Durham Local Criminal Justice Partnership. RIs are specialists in communication, provided to children and vulnerable victims to enable them to have a voice in the criminal justice system. This review published by the Victims Commissioner, Baroness Newlove considers the operation of the Witness Intermediary Scheme, which is responsible for the provision of RIs as set out in the entitlements under the Victims’ Code. 

Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said: “Registered intermediaries are essential in supporting vulnerable victims and children and empowering them to have a voice and enabling them to get the justice they deserve. “The partnership has long been highlighting the lack of Registered Intermediaries in our area to the Ministry of Justice and we have actively discussed options in relation to this provision. “We look forward to working with the Victims Commissioner to make much needed improvements to the system.” The timing of the review dovetails with the release of the Cleveland and Durham Local Criminal Justice Partnership’s new five year plan. The plan sets an objective of having an ‘end-to-end service for victims and witnesses’. This includes the provision of effective and efficient services such as Registered Intermediaries. The partnership believe that Baroness Newlove’s recommendations will greatly improve the services available across Cleveland and County Durham. 

Barry Coppinger, Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner said: “As a partnership we strive for improvements to the criminal justice system and we have a new innovative plan in place to help us deliver needed improvements. “As highlighted in the report, nationally there is a shortage of Registered Intermediaries. Whilst the partnership actively supported the last recruitment campaign across our area, more can always be done. “We welcome the recommendations regarding training, as the currently all training is carried out in London, this proves to be a huge barrier for those wanting to be part of the scheme. “As a partnership we welcome the review and look forward to seeing positive changes which will improve the services for victims and witnesses.”

PCVC to increase Police element of Council tax by less than £1 a month on average **Current**

In response to pressure from Government, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg has decided to increase the amount of Council Tax which goes to the police service, known as the precept, by 7.09%. This equates to an increase of £8 a year, or 15p a week for a property in Council Tax Band A. Members of the public are being asked to comment. 

Ron Hogg said: “The Government has reduced the funding for policing in Durham and Darlington every year since 2010. We now have around 360 fewer officers than in 2010 – a reduction of 1 in 4.” “I have been lobbying the Government for some years, to fund policing fairly. I did not expect the Government to respond by placing an additional burden on Council Tax payers. However, in my view they are abdicating their responsibility to protect our communities. This has put me in a position where, if I do not introduce this increase, I will be reducing the income of Durham Constabulary this year, and for every year afterwards. It will inevitably mean fewer Police Officers in the community, preventing and solving crime. I cannot do that without risking the safety of the community. 

The Government’s decision to relax the cap on the precept equates to an extra 15p per week for a property in Council Tax Band A.” “Durham Constabulary is already the most efficient force in the country according to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services. That’s a consequence of the force’s commitment to innovation, making the very best use of the money available. We continue to challenge every facet of our business in order to find further efficiencies, but this gets harder every year. I welcomed the Government’s recent announcement of pay rises for Police Officers, but they have not provided me with the funding for this.” 

Councillor Lucy Hovvels, Chair of the Police and Crime Panel said: Page 1 of 2 “Panel Members understand current financial pressures placed on policing budgets and support the Commissioner’s approach to seek comment from residents on this proposal”



Businesses which support victims of domestic violence can make a big difference **Current**

Employers in Darlington are encouraged to support employees who may be affected by domestic violence, in a new leaflet launched today. Entitled ‘Domestic violence and your workplace’, the leaflet describes how businesses can really benefit if they help their employees to address domestic violence. It shows that businesses with effective domestic abuse policies can reduce sickness, stress and staff turnover amongst their employees. Darlington Partnership Director, Seth Pearson said “businesses tell me that the business case for doing this is clear: firms which show concern for their employees will have more effective staff and people with greater commitment to their organisation”. 

Darlington’s Director of Public Health, Miriam Davidson, said: “Domestic violence is a serious public health issue. The impact it has on a person and their family cannot be over-estimated. “The focus of this initiative is to raise awareness amongst employers. Helping employers to recognise when an employee might be suffering domestic violence and having practical measures in place to support them to stay safe and in work can be immensely important to their health and wellbeing.” Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg added: “I would encourage any victims of domestic violence to talk to someone. Employers who put up posters indicating their support, or who provide counselling for victims, can really helping their employees to deal with the situation they are in”. 

Victims of violence abuse are encouraged to obtain specialist support from Harbour on 03000 202525. 

The new leaflet is being distributed to businesses. For help to ensure your company can provide the best support for any of your employees suffering domestic violence contact Holly Dobson by email at: noexcuse@durham.pnn.police.uk

New Media Contact for Office for the Durham Police Crime and Victims' Commissioner **Current**

I am writing to introduce myself as the new Engagement and Media Officer for Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner. I have replaced Nyama Johnson as she has recently left the organisation and therefore I would be grateful if you could update your contact lists with my details. 

The best way to contact me is via our media email PCVC.Media@durham.pcc.pnn.gov.uk or and designated media number 07814 174417, as someone will pick these messages up even if I am out of the office. I am looking forward to getting to know you all and working with you in the future.

Sarah Harris Engagement and Media Officer Office of Durham Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner

Neighbourhood Watch Newsletter **Current**

Click here to read the latest December 2017 edition of our e-newsletter Our News 

We hope you enjoy it!

Fake Government Grants Fraud Alert **current**

Individuals and businesses are being warned to watch out for cold calls and online contact from fraudsters who are offering victims the opportunity to apply for Government grants for an advance fee. To make the grants look legitimate fraudsters have set up bogus companies and convincing looking websites that claim to be operating on behalf of the UK Government. Fraudsters cold call businesses and individuals offering the grant and if they’re interested direct them to fill out an online application form with their personal information. Once the fraudsters have that information they’ll contact back victims and congratulate them on being accepted onto the grant programme. 

Pre-paid credit cards

Applicants are then asked to provide identification and are instructed to get a pre-paid credit card to deposit their own contribution to the fake Government grant scheme. Fraudsters will then contact victims on the phone or are emailed and asked for the details of their pre-paid credit card and copies of statements to in order for them to add the grant funds. Of course the grant funds are never given by the fraudsters and the money that’s been loaded by the victim onto the card is stolen. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately and report it to us. We’ve already taken down one website fraudsters have been using to commit this fraud and are working with Companies House to combat this issue. How to protect yourself: Be wary of unsolicited callers implying that you can apply for grants. You should never have to pay to receive a government grant, and they definitely won’t instruct you to obtain a pre-paid credit card. The government should have all the information they need if a genuine grant application was submitted, therefore any requests for personal or banking information either over the phone or online should be refused. 

What to do if you’re a victim:
• If you think your bank or personal details have been compromised or if you believe you have been defrauded contact your bank immediately. • Stop all communication with the ‘agency’ but make a note of their details and report it to Action Fraud.
• If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040. The information contained within this alert is based on information from gathered by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB). The purpose of this alert is to increase awareness of this type of fraud. 

The alert is aimed at members of the public, local police forces, businesses and governmental agencies.

Farmers Grant Fraud Alert **Current**

Payment Diversion Fraud
The purpose of this alert is to provide knowledge and prevention advice to farmers in order to protect themselves from falling victim to ‘Payment Diversion Fraud’. CAP (Common Agricultural Policy) payments are expected to be paid to farmers in December 2017. Information on last year’s payments are easily obtained via the government website allowing fraudsters to know when and how much potential targets will receive. 

Fraudsters who purport to be a trusted senior colleague or established customer may request that you change their direct debit, standing order or amend a bank transfer so that the payment can be diverted to a bank account which is in control of the fraudster. Fraudsters will often make the request under the pretence of a highly sensitive or urgent transaction. Contact is made via phone, letter but most commonly via email (personal or work address) used by the organisation or employee (which has either been spoofed or hacked). The fraudster then provides bank account details into which the monies should be paid. 

PROTECTION AND PREVENTION ADVICE: 
• Ensure all staff, not just finance teams are aware of this fraud. 
• Always verify email payment changes to financial agreements with the organisation directly using established contact details you have on file. If called ask the caller to give you a main switchboard number for you to be routed back to them. Alternatively, hang up and call them back using established contact details you have on file.
• Have a system in place which allows staff to properly verify contact from their CEO or senior members of staff; for example having two points of contact so that the staff can check that the instruction which they have received from their CEO is legitimate. 
• Always review requests to change ‘one off’ payment requests. Check for inconsistencies or grammatical errors, such as a misspelt company name or a slightly different email address. Ensure computer systems are secure and that antivirus software is up to date. 

Shopping Online Safely **Current**

How To Shop Online Safely 

Check the web address Always check you’re on the correct website. Criminals can set up fake websites that have a similar design and web address to the genuine site.

Is it a secure connection? Web pages you enter personal or financial details into should display a locked padlock sign and have a web address that starts with https. This means your connection to the website is secure. 

Phishing Don't click on links or attachments within unsolicited emails. The number of online shopping related phishing emails increases significantly during the holiday period. 

Bank transfers 65% of Action Fraud reports during the 2016 Christmas period were linked to online auction sites. Don’t pay for goods or services by bank transfer unless you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.

Criminal Justice Forum - The role of the voluntary sector and PCCs in reducing reoffending **Current**

This forum will focus on how Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and the voluntary sector can work in partnership together to reduce reoffending. You will have the opportunity to hear about what PCCs are doing in the North East, and discuss opportunities for the voluntary sector to be involved. Speakers will include representatives from the Office for PCCs for Cleveland and Durham. Clinks coordinate quarterly forums to provide the opportunity for members to keep up to speed with new developments or step back from the crucial day-to-day work to see the bigger picture, along with improving access to decision makers and allowing time for all-important networking.

This forum will give local and regional organisations the opportunity to: · Discuss the role of the voluntary sector and Police and Crime Commissioners in reducing reoffending, · Share good practice and network with other organisations working in your region, · Discuss the challenges and opportunities your organisation is currently facing, · Influence Clinks’ national policy work through shared experience, · Hear the latest national developments in criminal justice. 

Click here for the full agenda. For more information or to book your place please visit the Clinks website.

A committee of young people has funded projects to combat crime and improve community safety **Current**

YOUNG people from across County Durham and Darlington will benefit from funding to support projects aimed at reducing crime, allocated by the Young Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner. Today, 17 year old Libby Wright from Stanley took on the duties of Ron Hogg, the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, as part of Takeover Challenge.

Libby was elected as the Young Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) by her fellow Police Cadets. On Monday she chaired a committee meeting of Police Cadets and Mini Police at Darlington Town Hall. The committee agreed to fund the following projects: - a website for schools, to help teachers plan lessons on topics such as road safety, internet safety and reducing crime - a project to enable young people to be involved in a samba band, giving young people confidence and a stake in society - 7 fun sessions involving motorbike activities, such as graphic design for motorbikes and looking after motorbikes. The sessions will be aimed at young people who have been in trouble - a series of projects for disabled teenagers, looking at topics such as alcohol, drugs, bullying, hate crime - youth club sessions to help young people learn to be safe when using the internet 

Libby said: “I’m pleased that the Committee has funded some projects which will make a real difference to people’s lives. I really want to give young people a voice during my time as Young PCVC and I will continue to ask how the Police, and other service providers, are prioritising the things which young people feel strongly about” During her Takeover Challenge Day, Libby also spent time with the Police and Crime Panel and met the Chief Constable.

NE Criminal Justice Ebulletin **Current**

This is the latest criminal justice news for charities from VONNE, the regional support body for the North East Voluntary and Community Sector, and CLINKS.

Modelling Jobs Advanced Fee Fraud **Current**

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently noticed that Fraudsters have been setting up fake adverts on social media (including Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and job browsing websites to dupe people into believing they are recruiting for prospective models. Once victims show interest in the job, the fraudsters contact potential victims on the false promise of a modelling career and subsequently advise the victims to come in for a test shoot. 

The fraud can then potentially be carried out in two ways; Firstly, the fraudsters can pressurise the victims in sending an upfront fee to book a slot for the test shoot. Once they have received the upfront fee, the victim will never hear from the fraudsters again. The second possible method is that the fraudsters will take the advance fee that the victim sends for a photo shoot and arrange a photo shoot with the victim. After the photo shoot, the fraudsters will contact the victim after a few days and convince them that their shoot was successful and offer them a job as a model. 

The victim will then be asked to sign a contract and pay another upfront fee, usually to secure the modelling contract. Fraudsters are also creating fake adverts for supposed modelling opportunities for children which do not exist. Fraudsters will inform parents or guardians that a potential career in modelling awaits their child. This tactic convinces the parent or guardian to sign up their child and send an advance fee. The suspects will also convince the victim that in order to become a model, they will need to have a portfolio. The fraudsters will recommend a number of packages and stress that if a package is not paid for in advance, the process of becoming a model cannot continue. 

Over a two year period (September 2015 – August 2017), an average of 28 reports of advance fee modelling frauds have been received per month by the NFIB. In August 2017, 49 Action Fraud reports of this fraud type were received and may continue to rise. The total loss in August 2017 alone was over £71,000.

Tips for staying safe: Carry out your own research prior to paying any type of advance or upfront fee. Be wary if you are asked to pay for a portfolio, as many legitimate agencies will cover that cost. Don't give your bank account details or sensitive information to anyone without carrying out your own research on the relevant agency.

If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter October Edition **Current**

Here’s the latest October edition of our popular e-newsletter Our News. 


DBS  News October 2017 **Current**

Please take a look at our latest issue of DBS News. 

We have included a mixture of news and updates to interest our wide range of stakeholders. This issue of the newletter includes: Release 1 (R1) Important update for Basic Responsible Organisations RB Compliance Customer Satisfaction SAFERjobs 

We publish regular news and policy updates on our website -

Neighbourhood Watch National Survey **Current**

Dear Neighbourhood Watch supporter, Tackling Domestic Abuse is a national priority for the Home Office, Police, Neighbourhood Watch and Crimestoppers. Neighbourhood Watch is working with Crimestoppers to raise awareness about domestic abuse and what our supporters and volunteers can do to help prevent and report it. We would be grateful if you could spend just 3 minutes completing this survey, the results of which will help us to signpost people to the right place to report their concerns. Your responses are completely anonymous. 

You can complete the survey by clicking on the link below. https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/NWN-DV-Survey

Illegal Money Lending Team Newsletter 2017 **Current**

Please find attached our latest Newsletter which details our recent prosecutions and proceeds of crime hearing result. It’s also has lots of good stories about how our proceeds of crime has been spent Nationally. Please feel free to circulate this to contacts and colleagues.

Police newsletter October **Current**

Please find attached the latest Police Newsletter for the Town Centre

Creative designs welcomed for Christmas card competition **Current**

PRIMARY aged children are being encouraged to get creative whilst thinking about safety, for a competition launched earlier today. The theme of this year’s competition is ‘staying safe during winter nights’ and is being promoted through junior and primary schools throughout County Durham and Darlington. Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, announced his competition at Ox Close Primary School in Spennymoor. He said: “It is important that young people are encouraged think about the environment around them and how they can stay safe. The designs can be anything from wearing visible clothing on dark nights to locking property, or keeping lights on when the house is empty.

“This is a great opportunity for children to get creative, whilst having those important conversations with adults, and their peers, about how to stay safe.” Daniel Harrison, Headteacher at Ox Close Primary School said: “Keeping the children safe is something which we absolutely emphasise at Ox Close and it is the most important aspect of my job as Headteacher. Having Ron attend Ox Close was a tremendous honour for us. It helped to re-emphasise key messages that both Ron in his role as Police and Crime Commissioner and Ox Close as a school wish to get across. “Staying safe as the dark nights of the autumn and winter become a reality is crucial and we are also delighted to be able to celebrate diversity and to try to help to promote unity, especially in these times of division and disharmony in the World at large.”

Entries should be up to A4 in size and composed in pen, pencil or crayon, and be either landscape or portrait in style. Individual competition entries completed outside of school can be handed in, in person, at Ron’s free family fun day held on Saturday 28th October at Locomotion, The National Railway Museum in Shildon (between 10am-3pm), which is being held to celebrate the work of local superheroes. A competition design template is also available on Ron’s website at www.durham-pcc.gov.uk to download, for individual entries to be handed in at the Superheroes event later this month. 

The competition closes on Saturday 28th October 2017 and the winner will be announced early in November during Ron’s Winter Nights campaign.

Illegal Money Lending: A guide for health and social care professionals **Current**

I have attached a new leaflet from the illegal money lending team, specifically for health and social care staff.

Reported crime is increasing and police resources are getting tighter  **Current**

The number of reported crimes in County Durham and Darlington is on the increase, according to the latest Performance Report from Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg. The report indicates that whilst levels of anti-social behaviour reduced by 10% over the twelve months to June 2017, reported crime rose by 31%. 

“Some of the increase in reported crime is due to the re-classification of harassment from anti-social behaviour to crime”, said Ron. “However, the bulk of the increase is reflected in traditional crime areas such as the numbers of reported burglaries, car crimes, criminal damage and arson attacks”. “There has also been an increase in the number of reported sexual offences. It is vital that victims come forward and have the confidence to report their experiences.” Ron added “Durham Constabulary is still the best and most efficient police force in the country. Our police officers do an excellent job, every day, keeping the public safe. However, the number of Police Officers in County Durham and Darlington has dropped by 400 since 2010 and I am concerned that the budget for local policing continues to reduce. I have called on the Home Secretary to fulfil her commitment to ensure that Police have the resources they need to protect the public.” Anti-social behaviour reduced in every part of the Force area except Darlington over the past year. 

Ron’s Public Performance Report is available on his website at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk . Further crime prevention advice is available on the Durham Constabulary website at www.durham.police.uk .

Awards for North East work in crime reduction  **Current**

Professionals working with prisoners, ex-prisoners or those sentenced to community punishments have been presented with awards for their efforts to reduce reoffending by long standing north east charity Nepacs. 

This is the 13th year of the awards, which are presented by Nepacs to individuals, teams or organisations in the north east for helping prisoners or ex-offenders to resettle in the community and rebuild their lives. This year’s awards and certificates were presented by Nepacs Patron The Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham, at an event on Tuesday 19 September 2017 at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. The awards celebrate projects that support prisoners planning for their release, and afterwards, working with agencies to help promote purposeful and communal activity and build self-belief, helping them re-establish themselves outside prison, securing accommodation, work and positive family relationships. It is usually when this resettlement fails that ex-offenders turn back to crime and inflict more damage on the community. 

The six main Nepacs awards this year were presented to:

Mark Lowery - Checkpoint is a voluntary, multi-agency diversion scheme working with Durham Constabulary which offers low and medium level offenders an alternative to prosecution, addressing their behaviour and its underlying causes. Mark, seconded from National Probation Service, has worked as a Checkpoint Navigator for the last two years, during which time he has worked on over 100 cases, resulting in a very low re-offending rate by the individuals concerned. 

Donna Pearson - has been acting head of offender management at Low Newton for several months, in addition to her public protection duties there. Embracing the many recent changes at Low Newton, she has become a crucial member of the children and family pathway, giving significant support to child/parent and family days and implementing recommendations. 

Kirklevington Harrogate Garden Show Team - A collaboration of staff and men designed and constructed the ‘Garden of Reform’ for Harrogate Show, going on to win the Bronze Prize for a concept garden and Best in Show community award. A work-based horticultural course ran concurrently, and staff put in a huge amount of effort and a lot of their own time. The garden is to be rebuilt at James Cook Hospital, leading to a close partnership with the hospital, with men taking on community work there. 

Linda Cummings - works across HMPs Holme House, Kirklevington Grange, Deerbolt and Northumberland supporting mental health resettlement through the gate, providing a seamless connection with outside services. She has also established user forums to shape service delivery, and introduced a peer mentor scheme as well as other innovations including PAT (Pets as Therapy) within the prisons. 

John Traynor - has been a peer mentor with Durham Tees Valley CRC for the last three years. During this time he has used his own past experiences to engage with offenders to help turn round their own lives. He is a welcoming and encouraging presence at the community service hub, making it a place where participants feel safe and supported in discussing their issues, empowering them to make positive changes and some have become peer mentors themselves. 

Progression Team, Westgate Unit, HMP Frankland - The Westgate Unit is an assessment and treatment service for high risk men with personality disorder/psychopathy. The progression team, together with a working party of both staff and prisoners, have developed a rolling programme which is a new and creative way of engaging the prisoner in his own treatment pathway. Meeting weekly they have produced a draft document based on prisoners’ own inputs, to develop and facilitate assessment, treatment and monitoring during and after their time in the Westgate unit. 

Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “The difficulties of working within the prison system have been clearly highlighted by the media in recent months. The challenges faced by prison-based staff are mirrored in the community, where clients’ problems around substance misuse, mental health, relationship breakdowns and unemployment can continue to put obstacles in the way of fulfilling crime free lives. “It is for this reason that offenders need a great deal of help and support from a range of agencies to help them prepare for their release and to aid successful rehabilitation in the community. “Our Nepacs’ awards are a way of paying tribute to the resilience and determination of staff and volunteers working within the criminal justice system who inspire hope for a better future in the people they work with, as well as offering practical support and help.” Bishop Paul said: “I am delighted to be presenting these awards. 

The work done by these projects is really important in helping prisoners and their families. I am proud to be Patron for Nepacs, whose committed team of volunteers are helping people through a difficult time in their lives and making a real difference.” For more information on the Nepacs awards and previous winners visit our website www.nepacs.co.uk

Reducing anti-social behaviour in the car park at Asda Peterlee  **Current**

The number of incidents of ‘boy racers’ causing anti-social behaviour at ASDA in Peterlee has reduced significantly, thanks to an initiative between ASDA and Durham Constabulary. A barrier was erected at the entrance to the car park, and is routinely used every night, to stop people from driving into the car park and driving dangerously. ASDA’s People Trading Manager, Julie Pearson, said “We’ve always been pleased to work with the Police to deal with incidents. Since the barrier was put in place, the number of complaints has gone down. There used to be several every month, but now there are very few indeed.“ Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington said “I’d really like to thank ASDA for putting the barrier in place. It has obviously made a difference to the area, to the benefit of local people”. 

Grahame Morris MP said “This is a great example of partnership working between ASDA and Durham Police to address a serious and ongoing community issue. I would like to thank ASDA and the Police for doing all they can to stop ‘boy racers’ and dangerous driving in Peterlee”.

Neighbourhood Watch newsletter August edition  **Current**

Here’s the latest edition of Neighbourhood Watch’s e-newsletter Our News.

Click here to read it and find out why Neighbourhood Watch is the largest grassroots crime prevention movement in England and Wales. Neighbourhood Watch is proud to be supported by the Co-op Insurance and ERA Home Security.

LANDMARK REVIEW PLACES FAMILY TIES AT THE HEART OF PRISON REFORM  **Current**

 

  • New study by Lord Michael Farmer calls family relationships “the golden thread’ to help reduce reoffending.
  • Research shows prisoners who receive visits from a family member are 39 per cent* less likely to reoffend.
  • Ministry of Justice welcomes the recommendations by Lord Farmer to strengthen family ties in order to help offenders turn their lives around and protect public safety.

 

Research has shown close ties between prisoners and key family members can significantly reduce the risk of reoffending – which costs society £15billion every year.

 

 In a landmark review published today Lord Farmer has identified family as the “golden thread” running through the reforms across the prison estate.

 

 In September 2016 Lord Farmer, in partnership with the membership charity Clinks, was commissioned by the Government to investigate how connecting prisoners with their families can improve offender wellbeing, assist in keeping the public safe and reduce reoffending.

 

 Lord Farmer said:

 

 “My report is not sentimental about prisoners’ families, as if they can, simply by their presence, alchemise a disposition to commit crime into one that is law abiding.

 

 “However, I do want to hammer home a very simple principle of reform that needs to be a golden thread running through the prison system and the agencies that surround it. That principle is that relationships are fundamentally important if people are to change.”

 

 The Ministry of Justice has already started developing a strategy which will take forward recommendations from the review.

 

 Progress is being made on a number of the recommendations, including giving governors the budget and flexibility to spend their resources appropriately in order to help prisoners keep important family ties.

 

Alongside this the Government has started piloting significant relationship performance measures which will provide crucial guidance to deliver more consistent services in areas such as visitations across the entire prisons estate.

 

The recommendations have been welcomed by Justice Secretary David Lidington who has set out his commitment to creating calm and ordered prison environments to deliver more effective rehabilitation. 

 

Speaking today, he echoed Lord Farmer’s view that family relationships are essential to reducing reoffending.

 

Justice Secretary David Lidington said:

 

 “Families can play a significant role in supporting an offender and I am grateful to Lord Farmer for his dedication and research on this important issue.

 

 “We are committed to transforming prisons into places of safety and reform and we recognise the need to provide those in our care with stable environments, and opportunities to change their behaviour.

 

“There are numerous examples of good practice in this area, and we will continue work on a strategy to best support offender needs. That has to start with the numbers of prison officers available to support offenders which is why we are increasing staffing number by 2,500.”

 

Lord Farmer’s review reflects on progress that has been made in this area over recent years, with many prisons already having defined programmes which puts family relationships at the centre.

 

Innovative schemes and partnerships with local organisations are also vital vehicles for preparing men for release, and there are already proven partnerships in this area such as Storybook Dads, who help fathers keep in contact with their children, and Partners of Prisoners, who work with prisons to deliver more welcoming visitor environments.

 

Clinks CEO & Deputy Chair of the Farmer Review, Anne Fox said:

 

 “The Farmer Review listened to over 1,000 men in prison and their families, voluntary organisations across the UK, prison staff and academics. 

 

 “The review concludes that quality family services will help people turn away from crime and it will support families to cope. Voluntary organisations have pioneered best practice for decades and now is the time to spread it far and wide.”

 

The Government has secured an additional £100 million a year investment for an extra 2,500 prison officers. With the increasing numbers of prison officers there will be more time available to directly supervise offenders, provide one-to-one support and increase the number of visits.

 

This, alongside the creation of Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, will put offender management at the centre of our reform agenda and create a necessary cultural change, bringing with it stability and security - and ultimately reducing the risk of reoffending.


Child arrest figures fall to new low  **Current**

The number of arrests of children in England and Wales have fallen to a new low - with a drop of 13.9 per cent in the space of a year.

More Information

Youth Justice News from Children & Young People Now  **Current**

Brings you the top stories from youth offending teams and others in the youth justice sector.

Nepacs E-News July * **Current**

Welcome to Nepacs news - bringing you regular updates on the work of Nepacs in the north east of England. Nepacs has worked in the north east for over 135 years - focussed on supporting a positive future for prisoners, ex-offenders, their families and significant others.

Click here for the Newsletter
 
PCVC HoggWatch Magazine - Summer edition  **Current**

Please find below the link to the newest edition of the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner’s Magazine for your information.  We would be most grateful if you would circulate to your colleagues and networks on behalf of Ron Hogg.   

 

http://issuu.com/durham_pcc/docs/pcvc_hoggwatch_magazine_summer_2017


Ron Hogg calls on Government to save more lives  **Current**

DRUG-RELATED deaths are at the highest level ever, and Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg is calling upon the Government to radically rethink its current approach to drug policy. The Office of National Statistics has released the latest drug related deaths statistics for England and Wales. The highest mortality rate was seen in the North East, with 77.4 deaths per 1 million population, a 13% increase from 2015, compared to 42.9 deaths per million population in England. 

Ron said: “I am deeply disappointed and saddened to see the results today. “They are a true reflection of our failing drug policy. It does not reduce the harm caused by drugs and it does not save the lives of vulnerable people who use drugs. I have called on the Government to review the current UK drug policy, as it urgently needs to do more to save lives and reduce drug related-harm.” 

Ron recently published the ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’ report, which sets out six policies aimed at reducing drug-related harm: 
• Hold a fundamental review of UK Drugs Policy
• Ensure the approach is firmly based on evidence 
• Support fully funded effective education and intervention 
• Develop effective responses to reduce the harm 
• Promote cost-effective specialist drug treatment and recovery as a proven way to reduce crime and make communities safer 
• Protect the vulnerable by supporting alternatives to the criminalisation of people who use drugs and focus efforts on tackling the organised crime groups 

 “The only way to stop people dying from drugs” said Ron “is to reduce the harms that accompany drug use. Harms that at present, are greatly increased by the law as it stands.” Ron believes that the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, the main law regulating drug control in the UK, is out of date and in need of a fundamental review. 

Ron commented: “To reduce harmful drug use, we need to solve the problems that lead people into problematic patterns of use with these drugs in the first place and look to unlock the complexity of substance misuse. This requires a cultural shift in order to raise awareness about the devastating impact that drugs and alcohol can have on individuals, families and communities. “If the Government is truly committed to evidence-based policy, it must look at the evidence and listen to its own expert body, the Advisory Council on Drug Misuse, which has already advised the Government on how to prevent drug-related deaths, in a report it released in December 2016.”


North East Criminal Justice eBulletin  **Current**

This is the latest criminal justice news for charities from VONNE, the regional support body for the North East Voluntary and Community Sector, and CLINKS.

DBS News July 2017  **Current**

Please take a look at our July issue of DBS News. 

We have included a mixture of news and updates to interest our wide range of stakeholders. 

This issue of the newsletter includes: 

Release 1 (R1) 
new Director for Safeguarding, Strategy & Quality 
Metropolitan Police 
Update Service 
Customer Satisfaction 
ISO 9001

Time for a radical new approach to drugs in the UK  **Current**

 RADICAL call for a safer UK drug policy will be published at an international symposium taking place in Durham today. UK drugs policy has failed and is continuing to fail our communities. It does not reduce the harm caused by drugs. That is the clear conclusion which Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, draws in ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’. Ron said: “I have assessed the impact and cost of drugs on society, and on individuals. England and Wales has one of the highest rates of drug-related deaths in Europe. Also, it has the highest rates of heroin use, cocaine use and ecstasy use, whilst research[1] shows that every year Class A drugs cost society £15.4billion. This includes costs to the public, to businesses, to the NHS and to the criminal justice system.

” “I have spoken to too many grieving families who lost their children to drug addiction” Said Ron. “These kinds of devastating incidents have the power to bring about change and we should all care enough to want to help.” ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’ focuses on the need to reduce harm, and to focus on improving the health of drug users. Ron added: ”The continuing description of drug addicts as criminals rather than people who are unhealthy or sick prevents them from getting well and can consign their family to years of misery.” 

Ron recognises that effective reform will need to be embraced by a range of different organisations, and in particular the Government. ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’ sets out six areas for review: · Hold a fundamental review of UK Drugs Policy · Ensure the approach is firmly based on evidence · Support fully funded effective education and intervention · Develop effective responses to reduce the harm · Promote cost-effective specialist drug treatment and recovery as a proven way to reduce crime and make communities safer · Protect the vulnerable by supporting alternatives to the criminalisation of people who use drugs and focus efforts on tackling the organised crime groups 

Ron will launch ‘Towards a Safer Drug Policy’ at a major symposium about UK drug policy on Friday 14 July. He will also make it available on his website, at www.durham-pcc.gov.uk .

More services for residents and victims, despite recent funding challenges  **Current**

Improved services of support, safety and guidance for residents, businesses and victims of crime implemented during 2016-17, have been highlighted in my latest Annual Report. The report sets out for the public how the Police and other partner organisations met the objectives which I have set for them. 

The Report highlights a bespoke Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS) launched on behalf of victims, a Restorative Justice pilot supporting victims in Durham Crown Court as well as the Checkpoint Programme, which has won a national Howard League for Penal Reform Award. After being re-elected to this role in May 2016, I decided to change my job title to Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner in order to emphasise the priority I want to give to victims of crime and anti-social behaviour in my second term. I released my new Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan in November2016. This followed extensive consultation with local people, which enabled me to get a really good understanding of local issues. My key objectives for 2016-17 were to tackle crime and keep communities safe, support victims and the vulnerable, and inspire confidence in policing and the criminal justice system. 

The report shows that 73% of people surveyed had confidence in policing (a slight decrease compared to the previous year), but that 87% of victims were satisfied with the whole experience from the support they received. The report also describes the outcomes of assessments by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), whereby Durham Constabulary is currently the best police force in the country for the third year running. Being accountable to the public is important. I use the Annual Report to let the public know how the objectives which I set, based on their priorities, were delivered over the past year. 2016-17 has been a satisfying and successful year but there are still challenges ahead. The Force now has 400 fewer officers than in 2010, and there have also been reductions in the number of police staff and Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs). I will continue to campaign to Government to ensure that we receive a fair funding settlement for County Durham and Darlington. 

To find out about other key achievements, services for victims, projects funded through the Community Safety Fund, and how I have scrutinised police performance during 2016-17, view the Annual Report at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk, or search for Durham PCC on Facebook and Twitter.

Pet - Fraud Alert  **Current**

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have recently noticed a rise in the reporting of pets, and in particular puppies and kittens, being advertised for sale via popular online auction websites. The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, often claiming that the pet is currently held somewhere less accessible or overseas. Upon agreement of a sale, the suspect will usually request an advance payment by money transfer or bank transfer. However, the pet does not materialise and the fraudster will subsequently ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees and additional transportation costs. Even if further payments are made, the pet will still not materialise as it is likely to not exist. Tips to staying safe when purchasing pets: Stay within auction guidelines. Be cautious if the seller initially requests payment via one method, but later claims that due to ‘issues with their account’ they will need to take the payment via an alternative method such as a bank transfer. Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller, for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with the number/email address online. Request details of the courier company being used and consider researching it. Agree a suitable time to meet face-to-face to agree the purchase and to collect the pet. If the seller is reluctant to meet then it could be an indication that the pet does not exist. A genuine seller should be keen to ensure that the pet is going to a caring and loving new home. If the seller does not express any interest in you and the pet’s new home, be wary. If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then it probably is, especially if the pet is advertised as a pure-breed. Do not be afraid to request copies of the pet’s inoculation history, breed paperwork and certification prior to agreeing a sale. If the seller is reluctant or unable to provide this information it could be an indication that either the pet does not exist or the pet has been illegally bred e.g. it originates from a ‘puppy farm’. A ‘puppy farm’ is a commercial dog breeding enterprise where the sole aim is to maximise profit for the least investment. Commercial dog breeders must be registered with their local authority and undergo regular inspections to ensure that the puppies are bred responsibly and are in turn fit and healthy. Illegally farmed puppies will often be kept in inadequate conditions and are more likely to suffer from ailments and illnesses associated with irresponsible breeding. When thinking of buying a pet, consider buying them in person from rescue centres or from reputable breeders. If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Twenty one local projects benefit from £150,000 funding  **Current**

LOCAL community groups and voluntary organisations are set to benefit from £150,000, of grant funding across the area. Applications, managed by County Durham Community Foundation (CDCF), were submitted before Sunday 29 April this year to Ron Hogg, the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner’s (PCVC’s) Community Safety Fund, for projects aiming to reduce crime and improve community safety. 

This year, the fund is supporting projects and initiatives around the following key themes: 
· Encourage diversionary activities, 
· Tackle anti-social behaviour, 
· Tackle harm caused by alcohol, drugs, and violence. 

Ron provided £100,000 of funding for 2017-18, with an additional contribution of £50,000 from CDCF. This means £150,000 is available for local projects. One of the organisations to benefit from the fund is the 700 Club in Darlington, a charity which supports those who are homeless, dependent on drugs or alcohol, or suffering with a mental health issue. Dr John Elliston, 700 Club CEO said: “The 700 Club is a homelessness charity that helps individuals to regain control of their lives and recover their housing independence. I’m delighted that our charity was awarded £7,500 from the PCVC Community Safety Fund; the money will underwrite an initiative to encourage people who are begging off the streets by helping them to address the often complex reasons behind the need to beg.

” Ron said: “In a continued era of reduced funding, I’m pleased this funding will help to improve the lives of local people. The funding round this year was once again very popular, and whilst we cannot fund every organisation that applied, I am confident the 21 awarded projects will make a positive impact in our communities.” 

Margaret Vaughan, our Chief Operations Officer at County Durham Community Foundation said: “We are delighted to be working with the Police, Crime and Victim’s Commissioner, Ron Hogg, and his team again to support these very important initiatives in County Durham and in Darlington. County Durham Community Foundation has been able to contribute match funding to the Community Safety Fund to increase the reach from the fund which makes a real difference to groups and to individuals in their local communities.”

New report shows confidence in the Police is on the rise  **Current**

Confidence in Policing is high in Durham and Darlington, according the latest Performance Report published today by Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg. According to the Crime Survey for England and Wales, 83% of residents of the Durham Constabulary area have confidence in the Police – the sixth highest in the country – and confidence has risen by 5% over the previous 12 months. 

The report, which covers the period between April 2016 and March 2017, also reveals that 87% of victims of crime are satisfied with their experience with the Police. Ron Hogg commented “This is the third highest level of victim satisfaction in the country, and shows that our approach to supporting victims is succeeding. We will continue to act on evidence to improve the service further, so that every victims receives an outstanding service. The high level of confidence in our officers is great news, because it indicates that when people report an incident they know that it will be taken seriously.” The Performance Report also announces reductions in anti-social behaviour in every part of the Constabulary’s area, including a 30% fall in Crook and a reduction of 24% in Barnard Castle. 

The average reduction across Durham and Darlington is 14%. The report also shows that victim-based recorded crime has increased by 25%. National crime recording guidelines have recently been amended, which has led to cases of harassment being recorded as crimes when they may not have been previously. This has contributed to the increase in levels of recorded crime, and to the drop in Anti-Social Behaviour. There have been increases in burglary, vehicle crime, shoplifting and criminal damage. Ron added: “I would like to assure people that the Constabulary continues to develop and implement plans to tackle these increases. I will continue to monitor all crime, public confidence and victim satisfaction closely, and continue to publish performance information in an open and transparent way.” Ron concluded “It is important to remember that County Durham and Darlington area is one of the safest in the country to live, work, visit and do business”. 

Ron’s Public Performance Report is available on his website at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk . Further crime prevention advice is available on the Durham Constabulary website at www.durham.police.uk .
Vehicle Online Shopping Fraud **Current**

Fraudsters have been advertising vehicles and machinery for sale on various selling platforms online. The victims, after communicating via email with the fraudster, will receive a bogus email which purports to be from an established escrow provider (a third party who will keep the payment until the buying and selling parties are both happy with the deal).

These emails are designed to persuade victims to pay upfront, via bank transfer, before visiting the seller to collect the goods. The emails also claim that the buyer (victim) has a cooling off period to reclaim the payment if they change their mind. This gives victims the false sense of security that their money is being looked after by this trustworthy third party, when in fact it is not and the money has gone straight to the fraudster. 

Protect yourself: 
  • When making a large purchase such as a new car or machinery, always meet the seller face to face first and ask to see the goods before transferring any money. 
  • If you receive a suspicious email asking for payment, check for spelling, grammar, or any other errors, and check who sent the email. If in doubt, check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller. 
  • Contact the third party the fraudsters are purporting to be using to make the transaction. They should be able to confirm whether the email you have received is legitimate or not. 
  • False adverts often offer vehicles or machinery for sale well below market value to entice potential victims; always be cautious. If it looks too good to be true then it probably is.
If you have been affected by this, or any other type of fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.

Chester le Street Police Newsletter **Current**

Please find attached the latest newsletter from the Beat Team at Durham Constabulary for Chester-le-Street

Alcohol issues under the spotlight in month-long campaign **Current**

THE DAMAGING effects that alcohol can have on residents, their families, the surrounding community and the emergency services, come under the spotlight in a new campaign launched today. The month-long campaign, led by Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, will raise awareness and gather public perception on a variety of topical issues around alcohol consumption. 

The four-week campaign has a different theme each week. They are: the impact on emergency services, drink driving, health and well-being, and ending with a focus on young people and retailers. Ron has also published a short, five-question survey, asking adults for their opinion on various alcohol-related matters. Responses are anonymous and will help inform future policy decisions. Ron said: “Not only are the effects of alcohol damaging to an individual’s physical and mental health, they can have a massive negative impact on the lives of others, both within their household and in the neighbouring community. This includes excessive or inappropriate drinking by adults, as well as young people.” 

The campaign will also highlight issues raised by other organisations at local, regional and national levels, around the effects on health, anti-social behaviour (both adults and young people), domestic violence and abuse and underage drinking. It will signpost people to where they can find help and support. “I encourage adults across County Durham and Darlington to complete the survey” said Ron, “and to share the campaign awareness messages with their friends, colleagues or neighbours on Facebook and Twitter.” 

More information about the campaign, including the survey, can be found on Ron’s website at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk, or search for Durham PCC on Facebook and Twitter.

New Advocacy Service **Current**

Advocacy Centre North (part of Newcastle CVS) has just launched an exciting new service to provide a voice for vulnerable people. The new Partners for Justice Advocacy service which is funded for a year by the Office of the Durham Police and Crime Commissioner, will provide support for victims of crime experiencing mental ill-health across County Durham and Darlington and will support and guide victims through the criminal justice system.

Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims Commissioner (PCVC) is committed to putting services in place that assist and enable people to cope and recover from the impact of the crime, to help them regain control of their lives.

Ron said: “Being a victim of crime can impact on many aspects of an individual’s life. While the level of impact will vary depending on the type of crime and an individual’s personal circumstances, victims of crime with mental health needs are deemed to be significantly more likely to report adverse effects than the general population or people with other types of disability.

“That’s why I am delighted to appoint Advocacy Centre North to provide this specialised service across County Durham and Darlington.”

 The new service is not intended to replace existing services, but will enhance support to those with mental health needs.

Jacqui Jobson, Director of Advocacy Centre North, said: “Advocacy Centre North is delighted to be part of this service in County Durham and Darlington. We welcome the pioneering approach by Ron and his team and their willingness to work with vulnerable victims of crime. We support vulnerable people each day to help them have a voice, access services and know their rights.

“Recent work has shown that victims of crime with mental health needs are particularly disadvantaged within both society and the criminal justice system. Our service aims to help them understand the situation they face, weigh up their choices, make decisions, have their voices heard and overcome stigma.”

Information about Advocacy Centre North and how to make a referral to the new services is available at: www.advocacycentrenorth.org.uk

Follow us on twitter             www.twitter.com/AdvocacyCentreN

Follow us on Facebook      www.facebook.com/AdvoacyCentreNorth

Support us                           www.giveasyoulive.com/join/newcastleupontynecouncilforvs

Wedding Services Fraud **Current**

With the upcoming “Wedding Season”, and for those individuals who are considering making plans for next year and beyond, you should be aware of the potential risks of fraud involved.  
 
According to ‘bridesmagazine.co.uk’, in 2017 the average wedding cost spend is approximately £30,111.  This will be paid out to multiple vendors, including; photographers, caterers, reception venues and travel companies, to name a few.  Many of these services will require booking at least several months in advance and you may be obliged to pay a deposit or even the full balance at the time.  
 
Being aware of the potential risks and following the below prevention advice could minimise the likelihood of fraud: 

Paying by Credit Card will provide you with protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, for purchases above £100 and below £30,000. This means that even if a Company goes into liquidation before your big day, you could claim a refund through your Credit Card Company. 
 
Social Media - Some Companies run their businesses entirely via social media sites, offering low cost services.  Whilst many are genuine, some may not be insured or may even be fraudulent. There are a few things you can do to protect yourself;
  •  Ensure you obtain a physical address and contact details for the vendor and verify this information.  Should you experience any problems, you will then be able to make a complaint to Trading Standards or consider pursuing via the Small Claims Court.
  • Ensure you obtain a contract before paying money for services.  Make certain you fully read and understand what you are signing and note the terms of cancellation.  
 
Consider purchasing Wedding Insurance - Policies vary in cover and can be purchased up to two years in advance.  They can protect you from events that would not be covered under the Consumer Credit Act.
 
Complete research on each vendor, ensuring you are dealing with a bona fide person or company.  Explore the internet for reviews and ratings and ask the vendor to provide details of past clients you can speak to. You should do this even if using companies recommended by a trustworthy friend or source.    
 
For services such as wedding photographers, beware of websites using fake images. Look for inconsistencies in style; Meet the photographer in person and ask to view sample albums. If you like an image from a wedding, ask to view the photographs taken of the whole event so you can see the overall quality.     
 
Remember, if something appears too good to be true, it probably is!

Illegal Money Lending Team Quarter 2 Newsletter **Current**

It’s that time when we send you our quarterly Newsletter. We’ve had some brilliant results over the past quarter – many more loan sharks have been identified, arrested, sentenced and ordered to pay back through the power of POCA! 

Please see attached our Q2 newsletter. Please also feel free to circulate and disseminate to all staff and colleagues. As always I ask if you could print a copy out in black and white and place in you staff canteen or kitchen for staff to read as we have found this to be a good way to generate intelligence and raise awareness. 
 Happy reading! 
Natalie Barker – North East Region Liaise Officer 
England Illegal Money Lending Team, PO Box 12971, B33 0TD

Ron Hogg thanks community-spirited volunteers **Current*

 Kind-hearted residents have received praise for the goodwill they give to their community, as national Volunteer Week 2017 draws to a close. A five-week Volunteering Campaign which ran from 2nd May to 7th June featured local volunteers and partner organisations in a series of short videos, from across County Durham and Darlington. Led by Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, the online campaign celebrated the valued work of residents, who go the extra mile to help communities or individuals who need extra support. 

Ron said: “I launched the campaign to celebrate the work of ordinary people, who give up their free time to help others in their community, and to raise the profile of what they do”. Videos from criminal justice organisations, councils, NHS bodies, the voluntary sector, charities and smaller community groups all joined in the campaign. The videos included subjects such as domestic abuse, road safety, support for tourist events and many more. They showed the benefits of helping victims and their families, and other vulnerable or isolated people. “I’d like to thank all the volunteers and organisations that got involved in the campaign. The video messages have been varied, and we still have more to publish on social media over the next few weeks. “Videos either guided victims or the vulnerable towards local support services, thanked hard-working volunteers for their contribution, or promoted new opportunities to get started in volunteering. I encourage people to watch and share the videos if they can.” 

 During the campaign Ron’s YouTube channel has so far received over 4,300 views. The Facebook videos reached almost 20,000 views and over 35,000 views on Twitter. Resident Jon Ullathorne is a local volunteer who goes into schools and works with young people to address road safety. He said: “It’s really important to me that my voluntary work can make a big difference in my local area. By giving back to the community, I can assist children to make important life choices at a young age, which can help to reduce the number of needless accidents or fatalities, on our roads.”

Smishing Fraud Alert **Current**

Smishing – the term used for SMS phishing – is an activity which enables criminals to steal victims’ money or identity, or both, as a result of a response to a text message. Smishing uses your mobile phone (either a smartphone or traditional non-internet connected handset) to manipulate innocent people into taking various actions which can lead to being defrauded.
 
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has received information that fraudsters are targeting victims via text message, purporting to be from their credit card provider, stating a transaction has been approved on their credit card.
 
The text message further states to confirm if the transaction is genuine by replying ‘Y’ for Yes or ‘N’ for No. 
 
Through this method the fraudster would receive confirmation of the victim’s active telephone number and would be able to engage further by asking for the victim’s credit card details, CVV number (the three digits on the back of your bank card) and/or other personal information.
 
Protect yourself:
  • Always check the validity of the text message by contacting your credit card provider through the number provided at the back of the card or on the credit card/bank statement.
  • Beware of cold calls purporting to be from banks and/or credit card providers.
  • If the phone call from the bank seems suspicious, hang up the phone and wait for 10 minutes before calling the bank back. Again, refer to the number at the back of the card or on the bank statement in order to contact your bank.
  • If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to Action Fraud at http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/ or alternatively by calling 0300 123 2040

Awards for North East work in crime reduction **Current**

Professionals working with prisoners, ex-prisoners or those sentenced to community punishments in the North East are being given the chance to get recognition for their efforts to reduce re-offending by entering the 2017 Nepacs’ Awards. 2017 will be the thirteenth year of the Nepacs’ Awards and will once again recognise the innovative work taking place across the North East to help offenders to resettle in the community and rebuild their lives. The Bishop of Durham and Patron of Nepacs, the Rt Rev Paul Butler, will present this year’s awards and certificates at an event taking place in September at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street. 

The awards celebrate projects that support prisoners planning for their release, and afterwards, working with agencies to help promote purposeful and communal activity and build self-belief, helping them re-establish themselves outside, securing accommodation, work and positive family relationships. It is usually when this resettlement fails that ex-offenders turn back to crime and inflict more damage on the community. 

The awards are open to individuals or teams who work in probation/CRCs, prisons and youth offender institutions, the voluntary sector or other agencies working within criminal justice across the North East. Nominations will be accepted from anyone working within these organisations. Last year winners came from HMPs Durham and Kirklevington, Free the Way (a charity based in Seaham) and the Northern Engagement for Recovery from Addiction working as part of Northumbria CRC. Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “The difficulties of working within the prison system have been clearly highlighted by the media in recent months. The challenges faced by prison-based staff are mirrored in the community, where clients’ problems around substance misuse, mental health, relationship breakdowns and unemployment can continue to put obstacles in the way of fulfilling crime free lives.

“Nepacs awards are a way of paying tribute to the resilience and determination of staff and volunteers working within the criminal justice system who inspire hope for a better future within the people they work with, as well as offering practical support and help.” For details on how to make a nomination visit the Nepacs website http://www.nepacs.co.uk/page/nepacs-awards
Ransomware Cyber Attack **Current**

Following the ransomware cyber attack on Friday 12 May which affected the NHS and is believed to have affected other organisations globally, the City of London Police’s National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has issued an alert urging both individuals and businesses to follow protection advice immediately and in the coming days. 

Ransomware is a form of malicious software (Malware) that enables cyber criminals to remotely lock down files on your computer or mobile device. Criminals will use ransomware to extort money from you (a ransom), before they restore access to your files. There are many ways that ransomware can infect your device, whether it be a link to a malicious website in an unsolicited email, or through a security vulnerability in a piece of software you use. 

Key Protect messages for businesses to protect themselves from ransomware: 
Install system and application updates on all devices as soon as they become available. Install anti-virus software on all devices and keep it updated. 
Create regular backups of your important files to a device that isn’t left connected to your network as any malware infection could spread to that too. 

The National Cyber Security Centre’s technical guidance includes specific software patches to use that will prevent uninfected computers on your network from becoming infected with the “WannaCry” Ransomware: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/ransomware-latest-ncsc-guidance

Microsoft Tech-Support Scammers Using Wannacry Attack To Lure Victims **Current**

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

How to protect yourself

  • Don't call numbers from pop-up messages.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer.
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.
  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

If you believe you have already been a victim

  • Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.
  • Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.