Welcome to Durham Voice

Information Sharing Across County Durham


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/

DBS News October 2017 **New**

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 **New**

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.

VONNE 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.

Illegal Money lending Conference and Charter Signing Invite 18th October **
Current**

Hello All I would like to formally invite you to our Conference which is taking place at Bishop Auckland Football Club on the 18th October at 1pm until 4pm. 

To book your place which is a first come first served please click on the Eventbrite link below: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/illegal-money-lending-team-conference-and-charter-signing-tickets-37303582018 

Thanks Natalie Barker – North East Region Liaise Officer England Illegal Money Lending Team,

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.
Restorative Hub expands, seeking twenty five new volunteers **Current**

DEDICATED local residents, who are committed to helping to solve conflict and neighbourhood disputes, are being sought as part of new volunteering opportunities. The Restorative Hub is seeking twenty five volunteers throughout County Durham and Darlington, who have a keen interest in mediation. 

These new volunteer roles will help those suffering conflict to resolve their own problems. Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner said: “Officers from local Neighbourhood Policing Teams can sometimes spend the vast majority of their shift responding to low-level neighbourhood disputes, conflict and similar issues, which diverts them from their primary duty to protect neighbourhoods and catch criminals. “To address this, these new voluntary roles will enhance the capacity within the Restorative Hub, and will provide specialist help and support to people who find themselves involved in an upsetting dispute. The team will be fully trained in negotiation, arbitration and problem-solving, and will use these skills to help people in conflict find a satisfactory conclusion to the issues they’re facing.” 

 Applications are invited from people across the Durham force area to join the team, who should have a keen interest in working in a supportive way with diverse people and be committed to the project. They should have excellent personal qualities, such as a caring patient approach, a good listening ear, and the ability to remain calm and completely impartial. Applicants must also be able to dedicate on average 3 hours a week to the role, though this can easily fit around work and other existing commitments. Volunteer mediator Jim Firstbrook said: “The role is demanding and has been a steep learning curve for me. We assist people facing complex, entrenched disputes. Often they’re desperate, vulnerable, and emotionally drained by the issue; while others seem to thrive on the confrontation – digging their heels in and refusing to budge. But I love the challenge! “It definitely demands creativity, patience, and your best powers of persuasion – and at times you’ll want to tear your hair out in sheer frustration, but it is also immensely rewarding. One lady broke down in tears the other day, and couldn’t stop thanking me for being such a lifeline to her during one of the darkest periods of her life. It’s so satisfying to help people find solutions to an issue that has plagued them for years, and I’d highly recommend it (though not for the faint-hearted)!” Full training will be provided, and will be held at various locations across the county during the month of June. 

Applicants can choose to do an intensive midweek course (Monday – Friday), or complete their training over five consecutive Saturdays. Further details and an application form can be requested by emailing volunteer@restorativehub.org.uk or by calling 0300 003 1818. The closing date for applications is Friday 26th May.

Tourists Targeted By Fake Police Officers **New**

There has been a series of recent incidents reported to Action Fraud where a lone fraudster has approached victims whom they believe to be unfamiliar with the local area. They make an excuse to talk to the victims such as enquiring about directions or offering a recommendation for a good hotel. 

After this interaction, several other fraudsters will intervene purporting to be police officers in plain clothes and will sometimes present false identification as proof. The fake officers will then give a reason to examine the victims’ wallet, purse or personal items. They may also examine the first fraudster’s items or try to tell victims that the first fraudster is suspicious in order to gain victim trust and appear more realistic in their guise. 

After all the fake police ‘checks’ are finished, victims have then reported being handed back their personal items only to later realise that a quantity of money or valuables were missing. 

How to protect yourself: If an individual claims to be a police officer ask for their name and rank, force, and examine any identification presented; this is always good practice but especially important if they are not wearing a uniform. The Police will never ask for your passwords or PIN details. Do not give this information to anyone. The Police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them or to a ‘safe’ account. If you have been affected by this, or any other fraud, report it to Action Fraud by visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

Chester-Le-Street Safeguarding Neighbourhoods Policing Team **Current**

I have attached the newsletter can you spread out as some of it is competitions and other good news. It is public so spread around your groups.  

Derek Briggs Chairman Chester-Le-street Central Residents Association

Wonga Data Breach **Current**

Wonga has confirmed a data breach where up to 250,000 accounts have been compromised. The incident is now being investigated by the police and has been reported to the Financial Conduct Authority. 

Wonga has updated their website with further information and confirmed that they are contacting all those affected and are taking steps to protect them, but there are also some things you can do to keep your information secure. 

Here’s what you can do to make yourself safer: If any of your financial details were compromised, notify your bank or card company as soon as possible. Review your financial statements regularly for any unusual activity. Criminals can use personal data obtained from a data breach to commit identity fraud. Consider using credit reference agencies, such as Experian or Equifax, to regularly monitor your credit file for unusual activity. Be suspicious of any unsolicited calls, emails or texts, even if it appears to be from a company you know of. Don’t open the attachments or click on links within unsolicited emails, and never disclose any personal or financial details during a cold call. If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, please report it to us: http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud

Beat the Scammers - Derwent Valley **Current**

Beat The Scammers – a project to protect older people from telephone fraud 

Please take a look at the attached referral pack which has information on our project. It includes a form to book a presentation for your group. 
These can be booked by telephone, post or email to bts@ageukcountydurham.org.uk The talk lasts around 45 minutes to an hour and raises awareness about telephone scams and fraud. 
Some people in Derwent Valley area will be eligible for a call blocker which prevents unwanted telephone calls. These are installed free of charge by volunteers working for Age UK County Durham. 

Please contact George Barber, the project Development Worker if you have any queries or wish to book a presentation. His telephone number is 0191 374 6568 or bts@ageukcountydurham.org.uk 
Kindest regards 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

VONNE Criminal Justice Ebulletin 26th April 2017 **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 March Issue **Current**

Please take a look at our March 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: 

Minister's visit to DBS Barring 

Police Liaison Customer Satisfaction 

Law Abiding Citizen Alert **Current**

Fraudsters are sending out a high volume of phishing emails to personal and business email addresses, pretending to come from various email addresses, which have been compromised. 

 The subject line contains the recipient’s name, and the main body of text is as below:

“Hi, [name]! I am disturbing you for a very serious reason. Although we are not familiar, but I have significant amount of individual info concerning you. The thing is that, most likely mistakenly, the data of your account has been emailed to me. For instance, your address is: [real home address] I am a law-abiding citizen, so I decided to personal data may have been hacked. I attached the file – [surname].dot that I received, that you could explore what info has become obtainable for scammers. File password is – 2811 Best Wishes,” 

The emails include an attachment – a ‘.dot’ file usually titled with the recipient’s name.Fraudsters are sending out a high volume of phishing emails to personal and business email addresses, pretending to come from various email addresses, which have been compromised. The subject line contains the recipient’s name, and the main body of text is as below: “Hi, [name]! I am disturbing you for a very serious reason. Although we are not familiar, but I have significant amount of individual info concerning you. The thing is that, most likely mistakenly, the data of your account has been emailed to me. For instance, your address is: [real home address] I am a law-abiding citizen, so I decided to personal data may have been hacked. I attached the file – [surname].dot that I received, that you could explore what info has become obtainable for scammers. File password is – 2811 Best Wishes,” The emails include an attachment – a ‘.dot’ file usually titled with the recipient’s name.

This attachment is thought to contain the Banking Trojan Ursniff/Gozi, hidden within an image in the document. The Ursniff Banking Trojan attempts to obtain sensitive data from victims, such as banking credentials and passwords. The data is subsequently used by criminals for monetary gain. 

Protect Yourself:

Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always prevent your device(s) from becoming infected. Please consider the following actions: Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages: Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication (you can find out how by searching the internet for relevant advice for your email provider). Do not enable macros in downloads; enabling macros will allow Trojan/malware to be installed onto your device. Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities. Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It is important that the device you back up to is not connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that as well. If you think your bank details have been compromised, you should contact your bank immediately.Having up-to-date virus protection is essential; however it will not always prevent your device(s) from becoming infected. Please consider the following actions: Don’t click on links or open any attachments you receive in unsolicited emails or SMS messages: Remember that fraudsters can ‘spoof’ an email address to make it look like one used by someone you trust. If you are unsure, check the email header to identify the true source of communication (you can find out how by searching the internet for relevant advice for your email provider). Do not enable macros in downloads; enabling macros will allow Trojan/malware to be installed onto your device. Always install software updates as soon as they become available. Whether you are updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities. Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It is important that the device you back up to is not connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that as well. If you think your bank details have been compromised, you should contact your bank immediately.

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

Dont Fall Victim to a Loan Shark - Report Them Now!**Current*

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) are urging residents in Co Durham to come forward and report a loan shark if they or someone they know (a colleague, family member or friend) has been a victim.

A loan shark is someone who lends money illegally without the correct authorisation from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Loan sharks normally appear friendly at first, but this behaviour soon changes once monies are owed.

It’s easy to fall in to the grips of a loan shark, they seem like friendly people at first, someone who you might refer to as a ‘mate’ or a ‘close colleague’. If you are struggling to pay a bill, or need a bit of extra cash to fix a broken appliance, they are the first to cover your back and offer you a quick cash loan. The truth is that once you take out this cash loan, you may end up paying back significantly more than you think. You will left in the dark, not knowing much how much money you owe or the amount of interest you’re being charged on that particular loan as often no paperwork is given.

Mike was only 17 when he first got involved with a loan shark. He borrowed £250 from Peter to purchase his first car, and made an agreement to pay Peter back in instalments until the loan was repaid.  It was only after Mike made a few payments that Peter mentioned additional interest. Mike wasn’t expecting the extra charges and found it difficult to repay Peter, so Peter offered him a further loan to pay off the first.

This became a cycle and continued over the next two decades, which Mike described as ‘sheer hell’. He was trapped by Peter in a never ending spiral of debt, and struggled to support his family, despite working two jobs. Mike would attempt to make large repayments but his outstanding balance would never drop below £9000. Mike is a prime example of how loan sharks can have a hugely detrimental impact on the lives of victims, causing them untold misery. Over the years, Mike paid a staggering £90,000 to the loan shark, all from an initial loan of £250.

“Being involved with a loan shark affected my relationship with my wife and kids. We were left with nothing after paying back Peter. Every Friday and Saturday he was sat outside my work, demanding repayments. If I finished work later than usual, the loan shark would text me saying ‘It’s payday, where are you?’ The whole experience was a living nightmare.”

– Mike, A loan shark victim supported by the England Illegal Money Lending Team.

We know it can sometimes be scary to ask for help, but if you call the England Illegal Money Lending Team’s hotline on 0300 555 2222, you can speak to a member of the team anonymously or in confidence. They are there to help, not judge, and will let you know what your options are so you can decide what to do.

In some cases, loan sharks have been known to resort to the most extreme methods to enforce repayment from borrowers. This has involved victims being subject to intimidation, threats and violence, leaving many frightened to leave their own home.

The England Illegal Money Lending Team (IMLT) can help people who have been a victim of a loan shark. The national team are a law enforcement agency who work with local Trading Standards authorities across the country to investigate and prosecute illegal money lending and related offences. The team have previously prosecuted loan sharks for other forms of criminality, including drug offences, kidnap and even rape.

The 50-strong team are made up of Investigators who work endlessly to bring loan sharks to justice and LIAISE officers who protect and support victims, and work with a number of partner agencies to raise general awareness of the issue.

IMLT have secured more than 370 prosecutions for illegal money lending and related activity, leading to nearly 320 years’ worth of custodial sentences. They have written off nearly £72 million worth of illegal debt and have helped over 27,000 victims.

Residents are urged to never borrow money from someone if they:

                        Have been provided with no or very little paperwork on loans

                        Have had debts randomly increase or have had additional amounts added to a loan unexpectedly.

                        Have personal items taken as security on a loan (passport, driving license, bank cards)

                        Have received intimidation and threats by a money lender.

Residents can check if someone is authorised to lend money by visiting the Financial Conduct Authority’s website and searching for a company, person or postcode through their Financial Services Register

To report a loan shark:

                        Call the 24-hour confidential hotline on 0300 555 2222

                        Text a report to 078600 22116

                        Visit the website http://www.stoploansharks.co.uk

                        Email reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk

                        Private message the team at http://www.facebook.com/stoploansharksproject       


Illegal Money Lending Team Q1 National Newsletter 2017 **Current**

Please find attached our most recent Newsletter which is jam packed full of stories of our latest prosecutions.

Police Newsletter Chester Le Street **Current**

Please find attached the latest Police newsletter for Chester-le-Street for your information.  

Nhwn Our News - E-Newsletter Latest Edition ***Current**

 Inside this edition you'll find: 

A special feature on padlocks from our sponsor ERA Home Security. 

News of how our sponsor the Co-op Insurance is working hard to tackle loneliness.

Shocking research showing almost half of householders are NOT locking their doors when they leave the house.

How to stop nuisance phone calls.

A new NW app in Rutland.

Don’t forget Our News is about you - our valued Neighbourhood Watch members. If you’ve got something to share about Neighbourhood Watch in your area then email lisa.parker@ourwatch.org.uk and share your good news with Our News readers! 

CYP Now Youth Justice News **Current**

Youth Justice News from Children & Young People Now brings you the top stories from youth offending teams and others in the youth justice sector.

Police bosses hold high-level talks at Westminster to safeguard future funding **Current**

A DELEGATION from Durham Constabulary travelled to London yesterday to hold talks with the Policing Minister in an attempt to safeguard funding for the force.

Ron Hogg, Durham Constabulary’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC), and Chief Constable Mike Barton, met Home Office Minister Brandon Lewis MP to raise issues which could detrimentally affect the amount of money the force receives.

Durham Constabulary is currently the top performing force in the country. It has been rated by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) as “outstanding” at both tackling crime and being efficient.

The Home Office are currently reviewing the funding formula after an aborted attempt in 2015. Given that the force has already been rated as outstandingly efficient, any significant reduction in funding is likely to have an impact on its effectiveness.

 Mr Hogg and Chief Constable Barton highlighted four particular areas with the Minister. They were:

Council Tax Precepts

This varies across the country depending on the number of properties in higher council tax bands. An area which has lots of Band D-H properties proportionately will raise substantially more income than an area which has proportionately more Band A-D properties. 55% of properties in Durham and Darlington are in Band A, which means that the yield from that precept is very low – accounting for only about 25% of the total budget. Consequently, a cut in the grant would affect the force more greatly than it would in an affluent area.

Deprivation and alcohol

Because of Durham’s rural post-industrial character, its deprivation is of a different nature to the deprivation factors contained in the 2015 formula proposal, which centred around the urban adversity found in some of the major cities. The formula should be based on factors which reflect the type of deprivation found in areas like County Durham as well. Separately, the Government had proposed to use the number of bars and pubs in an area to account for alcohol-related demand. This fails to recognise alcohol which is consumed at home or anywhere other than in a pub or bar. The North East has the highest proportion of alcohol-related deaths in the country, and much of that alcohol is not purchased in bars but in off licences and shops.

Demand

The funding formula needs to attempt to reflect demand on the police which is not crime, such as safeguarding, preventative work, mental health and people missing from home. Durham is increasingly looking to invest more resources upstream to solve problems early and prevent escalation into larger and more complex issues which ultimately cost society and the taxpayer more to fix. Any formula must allow for the capacity to be innovative and creative as well as responding to calls for service from the public.

Cuts to other services

The formula needs to take into account the impact of cuts to other public services. At the moment, decisions appear to be taken in isolation in central Government, without regard, for instance, to the impact that cuts to local authority or health budgets may have on the police and other services. Other organisations may have less available to invest in those services which support long term, cost effective community safety objectives, such as drug and alcohol treatment. These are services which prevent problems from escalating, and save money in the long run. Such reductions would result in increased demand on the police force.

PCVC Ron Hogg said: “It is extremely important that the funding from Government is set according to a formula which enables Durham Constabulary to operate effectively. I am writing to all local MPs to make them aware of the issues which I raised with the Minister, and to enable them to make the case for fair funding locally and in Parliament.”

Chief Constable Mike Barton said: “We’re proud that we are able to provide a police service for the people of County Durham and Darlington which is second to none and it’s vital that we do everything we can to maintain that.

“As the country’s top performing force, which has also been credited with using its money wisely, we are in an enviable position.

“It is therefore key that we take our chance to ensure that those with the purse strings produce a funding formula which is fair and enables us to continue to provide the best possible service for those who live and work in our communities.”

Three-quarters of survey respondents in favour of police precept increase **Current**

A Proposal to apply a small increase to the police element (precept) of Council Tax has been supported by the Durham Police and Crime Panel, at the Panel's meeting earlier today. 

This will result in a small rise in the precept of 1.98% from April, equivalent to 4p a week, or £2.20 a year, for households in Council Tax Band A.

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, sought views from residents about the proposed precept increase, as part of his annual consultation. Local people met Ron at events in leisure centres and community meetings, and also responded online and by telephone throughout January. 

Residents from across all twelve neighbourhood policing teams gave their views.  From the 324 valid responses to the consultation, 77 per cent were in favour of Ron’s proposal to increase the precept by 1.98 per cent from April 2017.

Ron said: “Since the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review in 2015, the impact of cuts to police budgets mean the amount of funding coming to local policing from Government is still reducing year on year. In 2017-18 I will receive £1.1m less to fund your local police force than I did in 2016-17.

“I am very conscious of the challenge that people face in terms of their household finances. The Panel today agreed that there was a clear public endorsement to the increase, from the residents who had taken the time to give me their views. Whilst I recognise that some respondents preferred to maintain the current precept level, over three-quarters of respondents did support the increase. This will take place from April 2017.

I remain committed to ensuring the police have the resources they need to ensure the public receive the police service they deserve. This small increase will raise £560,000 for 2017-18, and maintain the equivalent of six Police Officers in post.”

Cllr Joy Allen, Chair of the Panel said: “Any increase less than 1.98% or keeping the precept at the current level would result in lower baseline going forward and would potentially jeopardise front line policing.  Crime and the fear of crime is always a priority for residents and this is reflected in the feedback from majority of respondents who support the proposed increase. 

“The Panel will continue to hold the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner to account. We want Durham to maintain its enviable record as being one of only two forces in the country to be graded as outstanding following the HMIC efficiency inspection.”

Ron continues to monitor the work Durham Constabulary has undertaken to increase value for money and to protect community policing.

DBS News January 2017 **Current**

Please take a look at our January 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:

Looking forward from our Chief Executive

R1 Project Update

Metropolitan Police Update

Policy & guidance updates from Department for Education and the DBS

Registered Body: Compliance Visits

Barring Referral Improvements

DBS maintaining accreditation

Working together to combat fraud

VONNE Criminal Justice Ebulletin January 2017 **Current**

 North East Criminal Justice Ebulletin

If your organisation would like to contribute an article for the next ebulletin contact abi.lunn@clinks.org by Monday 20th February.

Nepacs News - Supporting a positive future **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 130 years - focussed on supporting a positive future for prisoners, ex-offenders, their families and significant others. 

Road-users urged to ‘go the extra mile’ to stay safe **Current** 

DRIVERS and pedestrians are being encouraged to make an extra effort to stay safe on our roads. This is the theme of a month-long campaign this February. 

A variety of road-related issues will be addressed, such as speeding, anti-social and illegal parking near schools and the use of mobile phones when driving.

Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner is leading the campaign in a bid to raise awareness of these issues and encourage drivers and pedestrians to look out for each other. He said:

“It is vitally important that we continue to raise people’s awareness of road safety in our communities. There’s no doubt that our roads are getting busier and I’m encouraging both drivers and pedestrians to take extra care and be responsible for their own safety, and the safety of others.” 

The campaign aims to raise awareness of road related issues, improve education to help people stay safe on our roads, and sign-post people across County Durham and Darlington to useful information provided by our partner organisations.

 “Our partners already do a lot of good work to educate, and enforce, road safety in our towns and villages” said Ron. “I urge residents of all ages to get involved and share these messages of safety, whether this is out and about on the way to and from school, or through social media. Let’s look out for each other.”

More information about the month-long campaign can be found at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk.

Payment diversion alert  **New**

Fraudsters are emailing members of the public who are expecting to make a payment for property repairs. The fraudsters will purport to be a tradesman who has recently completed work at the property and use a similar email address to that of the genuine tradesman. They will ask for funds to be transferred via bank transfer. Once payment is made the victims of the scam soon realise they have been deceived when the genuine tradesman requests payment for their services.

Protect yourself

Always check the email address is exactly the same as previous correspondence with the genuine contact.

For any request of payment via email verify the validity of the request with a phone call to the person who carried out the work.

Check the email for spelling and grammar as these signs can indicate that the email is not genuine.

Payments via bank transfer offer no financial protection; consider using alternative methods such as a credit card or PayPal which offer protection and an avenue for recompense.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

Amazon Emails Claim You Have Placed An Order **Current**

Action Fraud has received several reports from victims who have been sent convincing looking emails claiming to be from Amazon. The spoofed emails from “service@amazon.co.uk” claim recipients have made an order online and mimic an automatic customer email notification.  

The scam email claims recipients have ordered an expensive vintage chandelier. Other reported examples include: Bose stereos, iPhone’s and luxury watches. 

The emails cleverly state that if recipients haven’t authorised the transaction they can click on the help centre link to receive a full refund. The link leads to an authentic-looking website, which asks victims to confirm their name, address, and bank card information. 

Amazon says that suspicious e-mails will often contain:

Links to websites that look like amazon.co.uk, but aren't

Attachments or prompts to install software on your computer.

Typos or grammatical errors.

Forged (or spoofed) e-mail addresses to make it look like the e-mail is coming from Amazon

Amazon will never ask for personal information to be supplied by e-mail.

You can read more about identifying suspicious emails claiming to be from Amazon by visiting https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=201489210 

To report a fraud or cyber crime, call us on 0300 123 2040.

Cops more efficient thanks to time-saving devices **Current**

FRONT-LINE officers are taking advantage of hand-held technology, as the first phase of a mobile data project comes to an end.

The roll-out of electronic tablets aims to cut down on the amount of paperwork incurred by front-line officers, enabling them to be more mobile and visible in the community. 

Around 500 devices have now been distributed to Durham Constabulary officers, with the next phase of the project due to start early in the new year. Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, monitors productivity and value for money within the force,  in his role of holding the Chief Constable to account. 

Ron said: “In a time of austerity and the long-term impact affecting police budgets, it is important that all forces work in innovative ways to meet the demands on our services.

 “The use of mobile devices has already seen a number of benefits which have improved performance across the force area. Crimes can be logged more quickly so that officers can spend less time doing paperwork. Ultimately this means that officers can provide a better quality of service, spend extra time with the victim and use their time more efficiently by serving the public.” 

Durham Constabulary was the only force in the country to be graded as Outstanding in all three areas of the Efficiency inspection, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in October this year.

Inspector Mick Button, who has been leading on the project from the outset, said: “This initial phase has seen a number of benefits including less duplication, and an improved use of mobile working right at the heart of the community, without the ongoing need for officers to travel back to stations to write up their reports.

“An evaluation report will be completed early in the new year. This will shape how the next phase of the project will be rolled-out over the coming months.”

Ron recently launched his Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan 2016-21 in November. The Plan sets the direction for the Chief Constable over the next four years, and is underpinned by a number of Aims, Objectives and Outcomes. Innovation is one of the Approaches to policing set out in the plan. 

More information about Ron’s Plan can be found at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk.