Crime Prevention & Safety

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Durham Agency Against Crime

Farmers Grant Fraud Alert **New**

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. 

• 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 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.

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 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: . Further crime prevention advice is available on the Durham Constabulary website at .

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

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.



  • 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.

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 .

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:, 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 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: . Further crime prevention advice is available on the Durham Constabulary website at .
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, 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:, 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:

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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 ‘’, 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 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
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:

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.