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

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

Media invite from PCVC Ron Hogg **New**

RURAL COMMUNITIES have seen enhanced policing during the last year, and this is set to continue, according to a new Statement published today [Friday].

A new Rural Policing Statement ‘One Year On’ highlights the additional resources that have been implemented over the last 12 months to address rural concerns, and as well as setting out plans for the future.

The Statement, issued jointly by Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, and Chief Constable Mike Barton, explains how the concerns of residents have been listened to and the steps that have been put into place to improve services to rural communities.

Past concerns included theft of livestock and equipment from farms, worrying livestock, fly-tipping, speeding and unsafe driving, poaching, trading in endangered species and damage of protected sites and habitats.

Enhanced ways of working to tackle local issues included the introduction of Community Safety Responders, cross-border working, Community Speedwatch initiatives, an additional police vehicle, additional staff training, use of mobile tablet technology and greater partnership working.
When: 2.00pm on Friday 24th March 2017.
Where: Garthorne Farm, Archdeacon Newton, Darlington, DL2 2YB (known as Acorn Organic Dairy)
Who: Interviews are available with:
PCVC Ron Hogg
Cllr Gerald Lee
Graham Tweddle (farm owner, Acorn Organic Dairy)
Durham Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner issue key publications **Current**
Ron Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, has published two quarterly documents online - the Public Performance Report and the latest edition of his magazine HoggWatch. 
To view please click on the links below:
If you require hard copies of the publications please email Nyama Johnson and this can be arranged. 


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:

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.  

Volunteers needed to review domestic abuse investigations **Current**

VOLUNTEERS are being sought to join a brand new Scrutiny Panel, which will review the investigation and handling of cases of domestic abuse.

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, included the objective to ‘Address the incidence and impact of domestic abuse and sexual violence in all its forms’ in his Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan last year.  He is now looking for volunteers who may wish to be members of the Panel.
The Panel will be independent of the Police and will review a series of investigations by the Police, into cases of domestic abuse in County Durham and Darlington.

This should lead to further improvements in police performance, better support for victims and increased confidence in policing. In turn, that should mean that victims feel more comfortable in reporting cases of domestic abuse, therefore more offenders should be brought to justice.

Ron said: “Domestic abuse is an abhorrent crime and is taken very seriously. The volunteers on the new Panel will critically examine cases to ensure lessons are learned as part of an ongoing and independent review. Their feedback will lead to improved investigations, better services for victims, and it will build the confidence of communities in how the Police handle reported cases of domestic abuse.

“The Panel will review cases where the victim is male or female. It will be interested in cases involving heterosexual victims, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.”
Chief Constable, Michael Barton said: “Volunteers should be reassured they will be listened to and I expect their involvement to improve the way we investigate crime and support victims.”
If you are interested in joining the Panel, application forms are available on Ron’s website at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk, or for more information, please call:  0191 375 2001.

The closing date for applications is midday on Monday 13th March 2017.

Nhwn Our News - E-Newsletter Latest Edition *

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.


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**

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.

Disrespect Nobody campaign **Current**

The  second phase of the Home Office Disrespect Nobody campaign will run from 2 February until the end of March 2017. The campaign is focussed on digital and mobile first and will also run on TV aimed at young people, such as The Brit Awards and the Big Bang Theory, on radio, Spotify, cinema and online including catch up TV, X-Box, YouTube and Snapchat.  The first TV advert will run in the evening of Thursday 2 February in the Hollyoaks advertising break.
The aim of the Disrespect NoBody campaign is to prevent young people, both boys and girls aged 12 to 18 years old from becoming perpetrators and victims of abusive relationships.
For 2017 the focus of the campaign will be consent and sexting, which are both issues where many young people need more education and information. The campaign advertising directs young people to the website www.disrespectnobody.co.uk where they can get further information and signposts them to organisations who can provide support.
We have produced a range of partner support materials to help you use the resources with the young people that you work with and promote it within your local area. These include a teaching resource with lesson plans, posters, online adverts and social media assets. We also have materials developed specifically for LGBT young people.
Please click on the link below to download the partner brief and campaign materials.
We will be tweeting about the campaign on Thursday 2 February using the hashtag #disrespectnobody, so please re-tweet us, or use the infographic and the suggested tweets in the partner brief and materials pack.
If you would like to contact us please email  VAWGCampaigns@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk

Thinkuknow News - February 2017 **Current**
Safer Internet Day and what’s coming soon from Thinkuknow
Safer Internet Day 2017
On Tuesday 7th February it is Safer Internet Day 2017! This year’s theme is ‘Be the change: unite for a better internet’ .. Are you ready?
How you can support #SID17
If you work with primary aged children you can join us in delivering the first of three lessons of Play Like Share, our latest resource for eight-to-ten year olds. Play Like Share is a three-episode animated series and accompanying resource pack that aims to help this age group learn how to stay safe from sexual abuse, exploitation and other risks they might encounter online such as sharing content. Since its launch in November, Thinkuknow users have downloaded Play Like Share in their thousands. If you are yet to get involved, further information can be found here.
Support #SID17 on Social Media
We would love to hear and see what you are up to on the day. The easiest way to do this is via our social media channels – you can find us at: @CEOPUK (Twitter) or ClickCEOP (Facebook).
We will also be promoting Thinkuknow safety messages for children, young people, parents and carers throughout the day/week. Please share anything you feel is relevant with your audiences.
If you have not done so already, we would like to encourage you to sign up to the @UKSIC #SID2017 supporters list - www.saferinternet.org.uk. It’s a great way to showcase your plans and show how the UK is uniting for SID’17.
Remember, that whilst SID itself is a great way to engage your work setting in online safety, this should always be part of on-going education and messaging. Start planning your next steps as soon as possible, for example delivering the remainder of the Play Like Share sessions, or use a recent media story to engage those you work with in wider conversations about online activity.
Coming soon…
The Education Team are currently working on a number of exciting projects. These new additions to Thinkuknow aim to:
Simplify your user experience with Thinkuknow - New and improved professionals site
Expand our offer to eight-to-ten year olds - New game based website
Update training delivered by Ambassadors -  NEW module based training materials
Keep an eye out for our next global in early March for further details about these projects including launch dates!
Thank you for your continued support.
Kind regards,
The CEOP Education Team

Ron Hogg calls for harsher penalties for causing death by dangerous driving **Current**
People convicted of causing death by dangerous driving should receive harsher penalties, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, has said.
Responding to a Government consultation exercise, Ron said: “People who kill someone as a consequence of very bad driving such as racing in the street, deliberately under-taking, or driving when they know they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, are committing a similar offence to manslaughter in my opinion. It is only right that they should face a similar penalty, and for me that means a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.”
The Ministry of Justice is currently consulting on the following issues:
·        The distinction between 'careless' and 'dangerous' driving
·        A perceived 'gap in the law' for causing serious injury by careless driving
·        Maximum penalties for causing death
·        Driving disqualifications
Ron added: “I also think that the minimum period of disqualification should be extended from one year to five years. When I think of the harm caused to families by the actions of people who know the risks they are taking, a year seems to me to be far too short. And anyone who is convicted twice should lose their licence for life.”
The consultation is open to anyone who wishes to respond before Wednesday 1 February, and can be found on the Ministry of Justice website.
The Ministry of Justice consultation document Driving offences and penalties relating to causing death or serious injury can be found on-line at: https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/driving-offences-causing-death-or-serious-injury/

Two projects to be awarded for services to victims and the vulnerable **Current**
Two local projects are to receive a Community Pride Award to recognise the commitment they make to local communities, by helping to improve people’s quality of life.
The projects receiving the awards are:
·         The Restorative Hub (through restorative justice processes, the Hub supports victims of crime and those suffering from anti-social behaviour or neighbourhood disputes),
·         Community Peer Mentor Project (supports residents in our communities who feel vulnerable or isolated)
Volunteers are integral to both projects, and alongside staff, they work hard to make a difference to those in need across County Durham and Darlington.
The Community Pride Awards are organised by the Community Environmental Care Agency, and are presented to people that work or volunteer in the community, and services that work with people in the community that go beyond the role or duty. The categories are Services, Volunteers and Staff Members.
Aaron Jack, Chief Executive of the Community Environmental Care Agency said: “Volunteers and staff are an integral part of a charity or organisation some organisations would not be able to run without them. Volunteers and staff that go beyond their role need to be awarded. The Community Pride Awards have been running since November and will run till 31st May 2017.”
Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, said: “I’m delighted that these projects are receiving recognition for the work they do. I know that a lot of hard work and dedication takes place behind the scenes, from staff and volunteers, and I’d like to take this opportunity to give my congratulations to all involved.”
When: 12.00 noon on Friday 20th January 2016
Where: Central House Annexe, Gladstone Street, Darlington, DL3 6JX
Who: You are welcome to attend a press call. 

Photographs and interviews will be available with:
·         Award winners (individual and service awards – details confidential. This is a surprise and therefore the winners are unaware of they are receiving an award)
·         Aaron Jack, organiser of the Community Pride Awards
·         Ron Hogg - Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner County Durham and Darlington
·         Service volunteers
·         Award winners
Expanding Mentor Scheme Is Calling For More Volunteers **Current**
KIND-HEARTED residents that are keen to give back to the community are being sought to help vulnerable and isolated people.
The Community Peer Mentor project is growing bigger and bigger and therefore is seeking more volunteers in the Spennymoor, Newton Aycliffe and Ferryhill areas; the scheme has been a great success in the Darlington and Bishop Auckland areas following its launch in September last year.
Free-of-charge training will take place in February and March this year, so that volunteers can gain new skills, interests and experiences leading to new qualifications.
Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) Ron Hogg said: “This project is really going from strength to strength which is fantastic news. This means that even more people in our communities who feel vulnerable or isolated can receive the support they need to improve their lives.”
There are two training courses available, both of which will be held at Spennymoor Community Fire Station. Both courses offer the same training content, just with different time durations to meet different people’s needs:
5 week Course – 01FEB-01MAR17 - every Wednesday night. The training lasts 2 ½ hours starting at 1800hrs (6pm);
2 day Course - 22-23MAR17 – this will run from 0930 to 1630hrs. You will be required to attend both days.
No previous experience in volunteering or supporting people is needed as training is provided. There is no upper age restriction and relevant travel expenses will be paid.
Once trained, Community Peer Mentors will work in pairs with individuals to find the reasons behind their behaviour or why they feel the way they do and encourage them to find ways to get the help and support they need. Existing volunteers within this unique project who have completed their training have found it a rewarding experience to help others when they need it the most.
Applicants are invited to contact Jim Cunningham for more information or to register their interest on Tel: 0300 003 1818 or email: jim.cunningham@restorativehub.org.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.

Residents to have their say on police funding **Current**

Durham's Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg is seeking views from members of the community as part of his annual public consultation on the police budget.
To help address further cuts to police funding, Ron intends to increase the amount of Council Tax which goes to the police service, known as the precept, by 1.98%. This equates to just £2.20 over the year, or 4p a week, for a property in Council Tax Band A.
Ron Hogg said: “In the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), the Government stated that they will protect the overall policing budget. Ministers have chosen to allocate some of this money to national priorities like counter-terrorism, but they have also cut the money available for local policing in order to fund organisations like the Independent Police Complaints Commission. Furthermore, they have increased the amount of police money which we can only get back if we bid for it.
“This means that 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.”
Ron added: “I am therefore consulting residents on a proposal to increase their contribution to local policing, which for most people will mean paying 4 to 6 pence more a week. Despite the reductions in officer numbers since 2010, I remain fully committed to maintaining neighbourhood policing and keeping Durham Constabulary as the best police force in the country.  The increase I am proposing would raise enough money to keep approximately 11 police officers on our streets, compared to freezing the precept at its current level.
“We know that the Government is considering making changes to the way police forces are funded, and are concerned our budgets may reduce further in the future. If I do not ask local people to make an additional contribution, the force will be less resilient to future budget reductions.
“Your views are important, so please take a few minutes to complete the survey before it closes later in January.”
The public consultation is open until Sunday 29th January. Residents are can provide their views in a number of ways, including through the survey on Ron Hogg's website at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk, by Facebook or Twitter (search for Durham PCC), or by telephone on: 0191 3752001.

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.

December 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.


Fake Bank Letters **Current**

Lloyds customers should be on the lookout for a new sophisticated fraud that involves fraudsters sending fake bank letters. 
The convincing letters being sent are a replica template from Lloyds and include their logo, address and signature from a customer service representative.  

The letter tells recipients that there have been some “unusual transactions” on their personal account and asks them to call a number highlighted in bold to confirm they are genuine. 

When victims call the number, an automated welcome message is played and the caller is asked to enter their card number, account number and sort code followed by their date of birth.Victims are then instructed to enter the first and last digit of their security number.
The fraud was spotted by the Daily Telegraph who was alerted to it by a reader who had three identical letters sent to an office address. On separate occasions the Daily Telegraph ran some tests using fake details and were passed to fraudsters who claimed to be from a Lloyds contact centre. The bank has confirmed that the phone number and letters are fake. 
The letters are essentially a sophisticated phishing attempt and serves as a warning to consumers to question written correspondence from their banks. 

If you are ever suspicious about correspondence from your bank you should call the customer serviced number on the back of their card. 
To report a fraud and cyber crime, call us on 0300 123 2040 or visit http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/report_fraud


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.


December Edition Of Our E-Newsletter Our News **Current**

Please see the attached link to the December edition of our e-newsletter Our News

Inside this edition you'll find: 

A Christmas message to all our valued members from our chair Lynn Farrar.
A fantastic competition to win one of FIVE FakeTVs from our sponsor ERA Home Security. 
News of how our sponsor the Co-op Insurance is working with the British Red Cross to help prevent loneliness this winter.
he importance of wearing reflective clothing for cyclists this winter.
And much more!

Thank you for your continued support of Neighbourhood Watch.

Please note if you need to update your contact details on Neighbourhood Alert please login to Neighbourhood Alert and change them. Or for technical Neighbourhood Alert support contact 

Promotion of cyber advent calendar **Current**

Sometimes Christmas shopping can be quicker and easier online.  Make sure you shop safely by following the handy tips on our cyber safety advent calendar.

November 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.

"Cyber Crime Awareness for Businesses"Enterprise Evening **Current**

Please find a link to Eventbrite for an Enterprise Evening being held at Innovation House on the 8/12/16 from 18:00-20:00. The session is centred on Cybercrime.
The session will be delivered by DC Stoker of the Durham Constabulary Cybercrime prevention unit who is keen to engage with businesses from the South Durham Area.
I would be grateful if you could share the link below with any members of your network or interested parties who may wish to attend.
Places are limited so please advise any interested businesses to  book via Eventbrite asap to avoid disappointment.

November Edition Of Our E-Newsletter Our News **Current**

Please see the attached link to the November edition of our e-newsletter Our News

Inside this edition you'll find: 

•               Advice on how to shop safely on-line this Christmas.
•               Interesting findings from a new report into neighbourliness from our partner the Co-op Insurance.
•               Details of a fantastic competition to win three ERA Wireless Video Door Intercom Systems from our sponsor ERA Home Security
•               News from our members across England and Wales
•               And much more!

Thank you for your continued support of Neighbourhood Watch.

Please note if you need to update your contact details on Neighbourhood Alert please login to Neighbourhood Alert and change them. Or for technical Neighbourhood Alert support contact 

CPS Consultation: Crimes Against Disabled People **Current**

Those of you who attended the last CIPs meeting will recall that we are now consulting on a new CPS Policy on Crimes Against Disabled People. I have now arranged two consultation events – one in Gosforth and one in Darlington.
Attached is further information about the events, and a booking form, and below is the text of the e-mail I am sending out to organisations. I would be grateful if you would pass on this information to anyone you think may be interested. Hopefully some of you will make it to one of the events as well.
Apologies – I suspect some of you are going to receive this more than once – but I’d rather people had the information several times than didn’t get it at all, and I really am trying to send it out to as many relevant organisations as I can think of! Even if you think I will already have sent the information to a group or organisation – please don’t let that put you off sending it as well – I may well have sent it to the wrong person and you may have better contacts.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is consulting on a new policy on prosecuting Crimes Against Disabled People, by which we mean any crime in which disability is a factor. “Disability” refers to any physical or mental impairment. The consultation document is available on the CPS website at 

CPS North East is running two consultation events as follows:

Friday 16th December 10.00 – 12.30: Disability North, Gosforth
Monday 19th December 1.00 – 3.30: Dolphin Centre, Darlington
Please find attached further information about the consultation, together with a booking form for these events.
The closing date for the consultation is 9th January.
The closing date for booking for the consultation events is 1st December.

‘Cyber Essentials’ Scheme **Current**

Following the hugely successful community Cyber Crime event advertised through Voice, the Safe Durham Partnership is keen to share an opportunity for organisations, big or small, to gain protection from Cyber-attack. Cyber Essentials is a Government and cyber security industry backed framework to help organisations combat the growing threat of internet based threats. 
Cyber Essentials is for any organisation, whether it has five or 500 employees. It’s not just for private sector companies either, charities can also benefit as they are not immune and often hold sensitive information about their beneficiaries and clients.  

Cyber Essentials offers a foundation of basic hygiene measures that can reduce an organisation's vulnerability to Cyber Attacks.  Once an organisation has been successfully assessed or tested through the scheme’s assurance framework it will be awarded a Cyber Essentials badge which can be displayed as a sign of good practice.  

The scheme costs in the region of £300.


Victims’ Commissioner Baroness Newlove welcomes new service for victims in Durham and Cleveland**Current**

The Government’s principal advocate for victims of crime and anti-social behaviour will give the keynote address at the launch of the new Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS). The launch event will take place on Friday 11 November at the Northern Echo Arena in Darlington. Members of the press and broadcast media are invited to attend, and to interview the speakers and victims who are using the service.
VCAS is a free, confidential and independent service for victims. Most people who are victims have never been in that position before and find that sympathetic, personalised support is vital to them as they work their way through the criminal justice system. VCAS ensures that each client has a case worker who provides them with access to the best support available to them, from a range of public and voluntary sector organisations. The service was commissioned by Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, and Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland.
In addition to Baroness Newlove, the launch event will be addressed by Ron Hogg and Barry Coppinger. The VCAS Manager, Graham Strange, will give an overview of the service.
Baroness Newlove said “The criminal justice system is bureaucratic and process-driven and sometimes forgets that police interview rooms and court rooms can be frightening and intimidating places for victims. I want to see victims of crime receiving the support and advice they need - at whatever stage of the criminal justice process.
“A coordinated and flexible service for victims is something that is very close to my heart; the Victim Care and Advice Service allows criminal justice agencies to work together, with the interests of victims in mind.”
Ron Hogg said “Victims don’t ask to be victims. For the vast majority of them the experience is completely unexpected. That’s why I have made ‘support for victims and vulnerable people’ one of the central aims of my new Police, Crime and Victim’s Plan. I am commissioning new advocacy services for victims of hate crime, and victims with mental health problems.”
Barry Coppinger said “Ensuring a better deal for victims is an integral part of my new Police and Crime Plan. The official launch of the Victim Care and Advice Service reaffirms my on-going commitment to ensure victims receive a service that meets their individual needs and ensures victims don’t suffer in silence”.

Launch of the Police, Crime and Victims' Plan 2016-2021**Current**

I am writing to let you know that I have launched, today, my Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan for the period 2016-2021.
The Plan is an important document required by statute. It sets out my objectives for Durham Constabulary, my own Office, and for the work I do with partner organisations over that period. When I was re-elected in May, I changed by job title so that it includes ‘Victims’. I did this because I want to really focus on improving services for victims of crime and anti-social behaviour over the next few years, and the plan reflects this. I have commissioned three new victims’ services this year: a Hate Crime Advocacy Service, a Mental Health Advocacy Service, and the Victim Care and Advice Service which works with all victims and helps them to find the support they need. The Plan indicates that I will look for opportunities to develop more services, customised to the needs of individuals and specific groups, over the coming years.
As well as services for victims, I am putting a lot of emphasis on the role I share with Barry Coppinger, Police and Crime Commissioner in Cleveland, chairing the Local Criminal Justice Board. The Plan emphasises the work of colleagues across the Criminal Justice System to ensure that the services we all provide to victims and their families are effective, efficient, and as sympathetic as they possibly can be – and that agencies within the criminal justice system work together to improve efficiency and reduce reoffending.
The Plan also asserts the importance of tackling crime and anti-social behaviour. Durham Constabulary has received some outstanding ratings from HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in recent years, and I know that Chief Constable Mike Barton is working hard with his colleagues to ensure that these standards can be maintained. I meet the Chief every month to review the Police’s performance, and we have agreed a detailed business plan to translate the aims and objectives in the Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan into practices within operational policing.
I will continue to give priority to improving road safety, reducing the harm caused by alcohol and drugs, and to reducing the impact of hate crime. All of these are important objectives within the Plan. I have also included objectives around safeguarding vulnerable people, addressing domestic abuse and sexual violence, and tackling crime in rural communities. I will be working with partner organisations to deliver strong outcomes for all our communities.
I have also placed an emphasis on new kinds of crime in the Plan. We need to be alert to emerging threats such as the potential of terrorist activity and cybercrime, and we also need to be increasingly focused on vulnerable people, subject to exploitation, at all ages and from different backgrounds. This kind of activity will help to develop the confidence of communities in local policing.
I am grateful to everyone who responded to the consultation exercise on the Police, Crime and Victims’ Plan. Your support is highly valued and I look forward to working with you over the coming years.

The plan can be found on-line at www.durham-pcc.gov.uk

Cyber Crime websites **Current**
Cyber Essentials
Cyber Essentials is a new Government-backed and industry supported scheme to guide businesses in protecting themselves against cyber threats.  Cyber Essentials documents are free to download and any organisation can use the guidance to implement essential security controls.

https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/cyberessentials/  (Personal / Business)
Get Safe Online
Get Safe Online: Durham provides practical advice on how to protect yourself, your computers and mobile devices and your business against fraud, identity theft, viruses and many other problems encountered online.

Nhwn October Our News E-Newsletter **Current**

Please click here to read the October edition of our e-newsletter Our News. Inside you'll find:
Our popular No Trick or Treaters sticker to use on Halloween.
Details of a fantastic discount on the miGuard Wireless Alarm from our sponsor ERA Home Security.
News from members across England and Wales.
Details of the £11billion lost to cybercrime and fraud last year.
And much more!

Thank you for your continued support of Neighbourhood Watch.

Presentation evening for volunteer Mentors in Bishop Auckland **Current**

Volunteers enrolled in the Community Peer Mentors project are to be awarded their certificates after completing their training to support vulnerable people in the community – the first of its kind in the Bishop Auckland area.
The Community Peer Mentors project began in Darlington, and supports those suffering from anti-social behaviour or neighbourhood disputes, perceived or real. It also aims to help reduce the pressure on frontline services by engaging with individuals who make frequent calls and demands on services.
A volunteer, Hannah, who is already trained as a Mentor spoke about how her training has made a difference: “It’s a really satisfying feeling knowing you’re making a positive impact on another person’s life. It’s a role that so far has raised my confidence and made me feel I have such a good purpose for the community.”

What: You are invited to the presentation evening whereby volunteers will receive their certificates, and become trained mentors. Photograph and interview opportunities will be available.
Where: Bishop Auckland Community Fire Station, Green Lane, Bishop Auckland, DL14 6RS
When: 6.00 p.m. on Wednesday 2 November 2016
Who: Photographs and interviews will be available with:

Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner
David Flemming, Deputy Mayor for Bishop Auckland
Cllr Joy Allen, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities
Superintendent Steve Ball, Durham Constabulary
Jim Cunningham, Project Co-ordinator
Volunteer mentors

Note: Please confirm that you will be attending by contacting Nyama Johnson, at nyama.johnson@durham-pcc.gov.uk or 07584 581633 by 5pm on Monday 31 November.

Innovative advocacy service to support victims with mental health needs **Current**

A GROUND-BREAKING advocacy service has been commissioned to support victims of crime with mental health needs.
The contract to deliver the service has been awarded to Advocacy Centre North.

The service, launching later this year, will focus on early access to independent advocacy, specifically for people with mental health needs, who become a victim of crime. This support will assist the victim at key decision-making points during their journey across 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, Direct 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.”
National and local research has identified the obstacles often faced by victims with mental health needs when attempting to navigate the processes involved in coping with the immediate aftermath of a crime, long term recovery and engagement with Criminal Justice System processes.

The date for the commencement of the new service will be announced shortly.

Ron Hogg welcomes Scottish Court ruling on minimum unit pricing **Current**
The Scottish Court of Session has ruled today in favour of the introduction of a minimum unit price for alcohol.
County Durham and Darlington’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, has been campaigning for minimum unit pricing in England since coming into office in 2012. Ron commented: “I am delighted that that the Scottish Government has achieved the go-ahead to introduce minimum unit pricing north of the border. I hope that the UK Government will now feel able to adopt a minimum unit price in England and Wales.”

Ron added: “Alcohol is the drug which causes the most harm in our society, and that drinking excessively can cause terrible health problems for people. It is also behind many of the crimes which we see on our streets, and in people’s homes. It is a major factor behind violent behaviour and domestic abuse, for example.

“Whilst a minimum unit price would not put a stop to these kinds of crimes, I believe that it would limit the amount of alcohol consumed. Modelling by Sheffield University suggests that a minimum unit price of 50p in Scotland would lead to 60 fewer deaths per year, 1300 fewer hospital admissions, and 3500 fewer crimes after one year”.

Pioneering new service supports hate crime victims **Current**

VICTIMS of hate crime will have unique access to a ground-breaking service launching this year.
The first of its kind in the country, the new Hate Crime Advocacy Service will support victims that experience crimes motivated by prejudice.

The service, put in place by Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, is made up of a trio of organisations that will provide advocacy support across County Durham and Darlington.
It will support victims to ensure their rights are safeguarded and they are empowered to make informed choices and decisions about their recovery.

Ron said: “A crime that is motivated by hostility or prejudice towards the victim is particularly destructive and can have devastating consequences for that victim, those closest to them and the wider community.
“This is a unique service, whereby three different organisations are collaborating as one, to meet the specific needs of victims affected by the different strands of hate crime.”

Show Racism the Red Card, Darlington Association on Disability and Gay Advice Darlington and Durham will work together to support anyone suffering from hate crime, or possible hate crime, right throughout the criminal justice process. This includes harassment and bullying, as well as financial, physical or other forms of abuse or criminal activity.
Lauren Robinson Chief Executive Officer at Darlington Association on Disability (DAD) said: “We have been working to raise the issues that affect victims of disability hate crime and crimes against vulnerable people for several years. We are very pleased that the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, has recognised that disabled people need additional support as victims of hate crime.

“This new project will help disabled people recognise when they have been a victim of hate crime and feel confident in reporting it. They will be able to access Advocacy Support throughout the Criminal Justice System.
“DAD is looking forward to working in this unique partnership with GADD and Show Racism the Red Card on this ground breaking project.”

Emma Roebuck, Chief Executive Officer at Gay Advice Darlington and Durham commented that GADD is proud to be part of this innovative new project. She said: “By working as partners with Ron, Show Racism the Red Card and Darlington Association on Disability, we can work together with communities and build positive outcomes for those who feel lost or ignored by the criminal justice system.
“All strands of hate crime will be brought under the umbrella of one partnership, and advocates will work together for the first time on all the key components of hate and bigotry. It will be a mechanism to create cohesive communities in County Durham & Darlington.”
Laura Pidcock, North East Education Team Manager at Show Racism the Red Card said: “Show Racism the Red Card is acutely aware that in some places there exists a hostile environment for Black, Asian and other Minority communities.
“The climate post-Brexit has brought to the surface anti-immigrant sentiment, anti-Muslim prejudice and other discriminatory behaviours, meaning that the profile of hate crime has risen. Worryingly we know that hate crime is vastly under-reported. There are many pressures on those who are targeted, and they may fear things getting worse. Some people are also fearful of the repercussions if they report what happened.

“Having a Hate Crime Advocate for Race and Faith related hate crime is an extremely positive step in ensuring that victims of hate crime have equal access to justice.”
The bespoke Hate Crime Advocacy Service will be available later this year.

Better services to benefit victims of crime **Current**
A PLEDGE to turn promises of improved support for victims, into reality, is the cornerstone of a report published today.
The report ‘Delivering change for victims and witnesses: from policy to reality’, outlines ambitious plans by Ron Hogg, Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ commissioner, to improve the experience of victims and witnesses and ensure their voices are heard.

Ron said: “Over the course of my career I have gained first-hand experience of the often devastating impact that crime has on victims, those closest to them and our wider communities.  For this reason I am determined to ensure that the needs of victims and witnesses are central both to the work of the police and to the rest of the criminal justice system.”

The report outlines the progress that has been made in making more services available to victims and witnesses across County Durham and Darlington, and sets out Ron’s plans for the future. This includes his commitment to working with partners throughout the criminal justice system, to ensure victims and witnesses to a crime receive the support they need.
Ron recognises individuals are likely to require individual support, based on their own needs and circumstances. “It is important that each person receives high quality support that is tailored to their circumstances, and that it is provided at the right time and is delivered in a sensitive and respectful manner” he said. “I am committed to ensuring this is delivered across the whole of County Durham and Darlington.”

Ron will be announcing brand new support services for victims over the coming weeks.
A copy of the report can be found at www.durham-pcc.gov.uk.

Durham Chief Constable’s contract to be extended **Current**
The Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary, Michael Barton QPM, will have his contract extended for a further three years, it was announced earlier today.
Initially appointed to the role in February 2013, Mr Barton’s term of office was due to end in February 2018. Ron Hogg, Durham’s Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, who appointed Mr Barton, has decided to extend the contract to February 2021.
Ron said: “Mike Barton is one of the outstanding Police leaders of his generation.
“I have carefully considered the extension of his appointment, and taken into account a number of factors before confirming this decision.
“Mr Barton has demonstrated successful leadership since he took up his post, particularly during a period of uncertainty and change. He has tackled cuts to police budgets by being innovative and has shown that Durham Constabulary can do more with less.
“Under Mr Barton’s leadership, Durham Constabulary was recognised as outstanding for effectiveness and efficiency by HMIC, receiving the best ratings of any force in the country. I am confident further achievements can be gained during his extended term, by continuing to innovate and solve problems to help tackle crime, support victims and keep people safe. Such leadership qualities will be vital to successfully steering Durham Constabulary through the challenges which will face policing over the next few years.”
Councillor Joy Allen, Chair of the Durham Police and Crime Panel, added: “Recent independent inspections have demonstrated that under Mike Barton's leadership, Durham Constabulary was judged as the best Force in the Country for efficiency and effectiveness.
“The challenge now is to build upon these impressive achievements. To do this the Force must continue to innovate and collaborate with other forces against a background of significant financial challenges. Extending the Chief Constable’s contract will provide the Force with stability and continuity during these turbulent times.”
Mike Barton said: “I feel honoured and privileged to have the opportunity to extend my stay at such an outstanding force.
“The key ingredient to our success at Durham Constabulary is the people; the family of dedicated individuals who work tirelessly to make County Durham and Darlington a safer place to live and work.
“There will be challenges ahead as we work hard to maintain our position as the country’s leading force, but I am delighted to continue to be a part of the team that meets those challenges and continues to improve.”
Full details of the decision are available to view on Ron’s website, at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk.

Police Cadets elect Young Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner **Current**

A 15-year-old school pupil has been elected Young Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington.

Nathan Gaskill was voted into office by his fellow members of the Police Cadets.
Nathan is from Crook and attends Parkside Academy in Willington. He will shadow the Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg, for the day on 15 November.

Police Cadets, Fire Cadets and the Mini-Police will be asked to submit proposals to allocate a budget of £10,000 to spend on a project to improve community safety. Towards the end of October, Nathan will chair a group of Police Cadets, Fire Service Cadets and the Mini Police, who will assess the proposals and decide which one should go ahead.

Nathan, along with two other candidates, was asked to tell the Cadets why they should vote for him as the Young PCVC. In his presentation, Nathan explained that he is currently Deputy Head Boy at Parkside Academy, and he chairs the school’s Community Relations Panel. He went on to emphasise that he would like to help develop a positive perception of the Police amongst young people, and also to help to raise awareness of the harm that can be caused by drugs and alcohol.
Speaking after the result was announced, Nathan said: "I am very pleased and look forward to working with Ron and with young people. I will take the opportunity to put them first."

Ron Hogg said "Many congratulations to Nathan on his success. I look forward to working with him and helping to make a difference for young people in County Durham and Darlington”.

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

Here's the link to our latest edition of the NHWN e-newsletter Our News.

Constabulary ‘top of the league’ for victim satisfaction **Current**
New data indicates that victims of crime and anti-social behaviour in County Durham and Darlington are more satisfied with the service they receive than victims elsewhere in the country.
The Victim Satisfaction Survey, which is carried out on behalf of Police Forces, shows that 91 per cent of victims were satisfied with their whole experience in the quarter to end of June, after receiving support from the Police to help them cope and recover from their ordeal.
This news comes only months after Ron Hogg was re-elected and changed his job title to Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner. Ron said ‘I would like to offer Chief Constable Mike Barton, and the rest of the Constabulary, my strongest congratulations. These results show that they are supporting victims in a sympathetic and comprehensive way.
It is right that a victim is put first, and I will be looking for additional ways to ensure victims’ specific needs are met.’
Earlier this year Ron and Barry Coppinger, the PCC for Cleveland, commissioned the Victim Care and Advice Service (VCAS) to support victims of crime, and refer them to organisations that can cater for their individual needs. This service is available whether the victim has contacted the police or not. Ron has promised to commission other services which are customised to the circumstances of individual victims, which will be launched later this year.
Responding to the result announced today, Chief Constable Mike Barton said “Being a victim of crime is not a pleasant experience and therefore it is vital we give them the care and support they deserve. Every day we endeavour to place victims at the heart of everything we do. These latest results show we are moving in the right direction but we certainly won’t be resting on our laurels.”

North East Criminal Justice Bulletin - September 2016 **Current**

Click here for the Latest Bulletin

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 have been presented with awards for their efforts to support rehabilitation and reduce re-offending.
The awards for helping people resettle in the community and rebuild their lives are given annually by Nepacs, the North East charity that works to support positive futures for prisoners and their families.
This year’s awards and certificates were presented by Paul Foweather, deputy director of custody for the National Offender Management Service North East and Yorkshire region, at an event on Tuesday 20 September 2016 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 four main Nepacs awards this year were presented to:
Free the Way - a charity based in Seaham which helps and supports recovering addicts, offering accommodation, support and development, enabling them to escape the trap of dependence and to move on to independent living. Many recovered clients retain links with the          organisation to become volunteers themselves.
‘The true and total understanding of addiction is what makes Free the Way so successful.’
Jane Rayner - has been acting Activity Hub Manager at HMP Durham for the last year, managing and streamlining the organisation of activities within the prison, and forming strong relationships between partner agencies and the prison community. Not only has she given inspirational support to colleagues and staff, but also offered advice to other establishments, for which the Durham Hub has a national reputation for excellence.
They say some people shape your life, and as my manager Jane most certainly did.’
Peter Currah - a Recovery Coach for the Northern Engagement for Recovery from Addiction Foundation as part of Northumbria CRC service. Beginning as a volunteer, he progressed to becoming a full time paid recovery coach. His own experience has made him an excellent mentor of new volunteers, as well as fostering excellent working relationships with both North Tyneside and Gateshead IOM teams.
‘He has a truly holistic approach to his work, and always places the needs of the service user and protection of the public first. His efforts and dedication go way above that which might be expected of him.’
Ian Currie - a prison officer at HMP Kirklevington who is very involved in family activities there. He is an ever-present at family days, involving himself in the entire process from preparing the space to engaging with the families and giving the men relaxation time afterwards, often in addition to his other prison duties. He has made innovative contributions to the content of father/child visits, and is also involved in the development of a new parenting course, at which he will deliver several sessions.
‘Ian is an asset to the prison service, a support to staff, and a facilitator who reassures children that not all prisons are scary and officers are people too.’ 
25 certificates of high commendation were also presented to the following individuals or teams who work in within criminal justice across the north east:
Joanne O’Connor and Peter Grant - for their work setting up the Connect Network in the North East
Joanne Pendelton and Sonia Moody - for their work in mental health care at HMP&YOI Low Newton
Laura Bowie - National Careers Service Advisor, HMP&YOI Kirklevington Grange
Northumberland Youth Offending Court Services Team 
Rachel Mackay - Resolve Treatment Manager, HMP Holme House
Third Sector Team, HMP Northumberland
Rob Stone - Mentor for CFO3, helping offenders into education and work across the North East
Simon Stoker - for his work with Middlesbrough Troubled Families Team
Sunderland Youth Offending Service 
Donna Pearson, Rob Garbutt, Gill Ismail, Susan Archer, Gareth Swan - for their collaborative work in final contact visits at HMP&YOI Low Newton
DTV CRC Through the Gate Teams:

HMP Durham
HMP Holme House
HMP&YOI Kirklevington Grange
HMP&YOI Low Newton
    The Wise Group Through the Gate Team, HMP Durham
    The Wise Group Through the Gate Team, HMP Low Newton
    Rachel Richardson (DTV CRC), David Macdonald (Veterans’ Officer) and Tom Wilde (Northern Learning Trust Veterans’ Support Officer)  - for collaborative work in HMP Durham in helping prisoners’ positive engagement with the prison system

    Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “Many of the people held in our prisons, or who are supervised in the community, have experienced multiple problems in their lives.  Many have addictions, have experienced homelessness, suffer poor mental health, or have themselves been victims of violent or sexual crime. 


    “The move from custody to community can be a particularly difficult time for prisoners and their families as they attempt to establish a life free from offending.  It is at this point that prisoners need a great deal of help and support to help them prepare for their release and to aid successful rehabilitation in the community.


    “The Nepacs awards are our way of honouring the dedicated professionals working across the north east to make the difference to the safety of our society through reducing the risk of reoffending. As a result of the Transforming Rehabilitation programme, this year we were delighted to see an increase in nominations from a more diverse range of organisations, including the voluntary sector, who are all working together to reduce reoffending and support resettlement of prisoners in the north east.”


    For more information on the Nepacs awards and previous winners visit our website www.nepacs.co.uk

    Phishing Email Alert **Current**

    There is a phishing email currently in circulation that claims to be from the City of London Police. The departments that it claims to represent include the ‘Fraud Intelligence Unit’ and the ‘National Fraud Intelligence Bureau’. The email is titled ‘compensation fund’ and has a letter attachment that claims to be offering financial compensation to victims of fraud. The letter uses the City of London Police logo. 
    The letter states that in order for compensation to be arranged, the receiver of the email should reply disclosing personal information. It states that HSBC and the South African Reserve Bank have been chosen to handle the compensation claims. All of these claims are false.
    The email and letter are fraudulent and should not be replied to. 
    Protect Yourself
    • Opening attachments or clicking links contained within emails from unknown sources could result in your device being infected with malware or a virus.
    • The City of London Police and the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau will never email you asking for you to disclose personal information.
    • If you believe you have become a victim of this fraudulent email get your device checked by a professional and make a report to Action Fraud, the UK’s national fraud and cyber crime reporting centre:  http://www.actionfraud.police.uk

    A Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for Young People **Current**
    Police Cadets from across County Durham and Darlington will be invited to choose a Young Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) from their own ranks at a Cadets meeting next week.
    The Young PCVC will lead a group of young people, select a project to reduce offending and improve community safety, and will be responsible for a budget of £10,000 to deliver this.
    Members of the Police Cadets, Fire Service Cadets and Mini Police will be able to submit proposals for spending the money, and the Young PCVC will then chair a committee of young people who will select the winning project.
    The Young PCVC will also shadow Ron Hogg, Police Crime and Victims Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, as part of Takeover Challenge in November.
    Ron said: “The Cadets and the Mini Police are already very well placed to suggest how to improve community safety. I am making £10,000 available to give them an opportunity to make real decisions.
    “I am really keen to work with them and to encourage these young people to identify community needs. I want them to have the ability to decide how to allocate a significant amount of money to help improve young people’s lives”.
    Bryan Russell, manager of Durham Agency Against Crime, which runs the Police Cadets, said: "The cadets help support police events, volunteer in the community and help us problem-solve local issues. In doing so, they are having fun, gaining valuable life experience and increase the positive perception of young people."
    More detail and the identity of the Young PCVC will be made available next week.

    Don't Be A Money Mule **Current**

    Students are being recruited, sometimes unwittingly, as “mules” by criminals to transfer illegally obtained money between different bank accounts.


    What is a money mule?

    A money mule is someone who is recruited by those needing to launder money obtained illegally. Criminals advertise fake jobs in newspapers and on the internet in a number of ways, usually offering opportunities to make money quickly, in order to lure potential money mule recruits. These include:


    Social media posts

    Copying genuine company’s websites to create impression of legitimacy

    Sending mass emails offering employment

    Targeting individuals that have posted their CVs on employment websites


    Students are particularly susceptible to adverts of this nature. For someone in full-time education, the opportunity for making money quickly can understandably be an attractive one. The mule will accept money into their bank account, before following further instructions on what to do with the funds. Instructions could include transferring the money into a separate specified account or withdrawing the cash and forwarding it on via money transfer service companies like Western Union or MoneyGram. The mule is generally paid a small percentage of the funds as they pass through their account. 


    Money Laundering is a criminal offence which can lead to prosecution and a custodial sentence. Furthermore, it can lead to the mule being unable to obtain credit in the UK and prevented from holding a bank account.



    Protect Yourself

    Be aware that the offence of money laundering carries a maximum prison sentence, in the UK, of 14 years.

    Never give the details of your bank account to anyone that you do not trust.

    No legitimate company will ever ask you to use your own bank account to transfer their money. Don’t accept any job offers that ask you to do this.

    Be wary of unsolicited emails or social media posts promising ways of earning easy money. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

    Don’t be afraid to question the legitimacy of any businesses that make you a job offer, especially if the recruitment procedure strays from the conventional. 


    Rental Fraud In Student Accommodation **Current**

    Seasonal rental fraud is an emerging trend with students looking for suitable accommodation around August, before the start of the new term. Fraudsters use a variety of websites to advertise available properties to rent, often at attractive rates and convenient locations. Adverts will seem genuine, accompanied by a number of photos and contact information to discuss your interest. 
    Due to demand, students will often agree to pay upfront fees to secure the property quickly, without viewing the property, only to discover that the fraudster posing as the landlord does not have ownership of the property, or often there are already tenants living there. 

    Protect Yourself
    Only use reputable letting companies.
    Do some online research such as using Google maps to check the property does exist.
    Make an appointment to view the property in person.
    Always view the property prior to paying any advance fees.
    Look out for warning signs, such as landlords requesting a ‘holding deposit’ due to the property being in high demand.
    A landlord will usually conduct some due diligence on any successful applicant. Be wary of handing over cash without the landlord requesting employment or character references.

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

    Nhwn Our News Newsletter August Edition **Current**

    Here's your August edition of the Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network monthly newsletter Our News.

    Inside you'll find 11 pages of news, pictures and advice.
    We've got a welcome message from our new chair Lynn Farrar
    An exclusive offer to Neighbourhood Watch members from our sponsor ERA Home Security.
    A fun story from our sponsor the Co-op Insurance about the strange places people are keeping their bikes to keep them safe.
    A round-up of pictures from National Neighbourhood Watch Week.
    Advice on keeping your pet cats safe.
    Plus lots more.

    Fraudsters Selling Non-Existent Drones **

    Online shopping websites are being utilised by fraudsters to advertise nonexistent drones of various specifications for competitive prices.
    Drones are personal flying devices that often carry cameras and can be navigated remotely by smartphones or hand-held controllers. Fraudsters are capitalising on their recent popularity and advertising non-existent drones at a lower value than their recommended retail price to tempt buyers. 
    After victims agree to purchase the drone, the fraudsters request payment to be paid via bank transfer saying that it will quicken the delivery process. After transferring the money the buyers never receive the drone and the fraudster blocks the victim to prevent further conversation. 
    How to protect yourself:
    Check the validity of the post.
    Avoid paying by bank transfer and instead use an online payment option such as PayPal, which helps to protect you.Check feedback online by searching the associated phone numbers or email addresses of the seller. Feedback will give you useful information about recent transactions other buyers may have made.
    If the item is below market value consider whether this is an opportunity too good to be true.

    • If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk
    'Innovative services help to improve lives and keep people safe'**Current**

    RESIDENTS, businesses and victims of crime have more opportunities to access services and support, than in previous years, in a report published today.
    The development of a new Victim Care and Advice Service across County Durham and Darlington, a new Live Link system for victims to give evidence by video in court, without being face to face with the perpetrator, and a new Community Peer Mentors Project are just some of the initiatives of the last financial year.
    In the latest Annual Report for 2015-16 published by Ron Hogg, the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) for County Durham and Darlington, Ron encourages victims of crime or anti-social behaviour to seek the support available to them.
    Ron said: “It was a really successful year for instance implementing new services for victims and the vulnerable and improving engagement with communities. I have worked closely with partners and I would like to thank them for the tremendous effort they have put into helping improving the lives of our residents.
    “Support has been made available for those suffering from long-term neighbour disputes or anti-social behaviour, vulnerable people can seek help from isolation and victims of crime can get support from the recently commissioned Victim Care and Advice Service.
    “My annual report also provides information about how I have spent my budget, including the £150,000 I awarded, jointly with County Durham Community Foundation, to local projects. These projects included services to young people, victims and offenders.
    “I am also working with partners and the business community across the region to help businesses to stay protected from threats such as cyber crime.”
    Another successful initiative last year aimed at reducing re-offending in the community is the voluntary adult offender scheme Checkpoint, which has seen a 90 per cent success rate in its first phase.
    “This scheme targets low and medium level offenders at the earliest stage of the criminal justice process” said Ron. “As well as offering them an alternative to prosecution and giving them the opportunity to turn their lives around, this scheme also helps reduce the number of future victims of crime throughout County Durham and Darlington.”
    To view Ron’s Annual Report, and find out more about how you can access the services available, visit: http://www.durham-pcc.gov.uk.


    Action Fraud **Current**
    With summer holidays fast approaching, individuals are often more exposed to travel booking frauds when looking for last minute package deals / cheap flights. Whether paying upfront for a family holiday or simply booking a flight, payments are transferred only to discover that the holiday / airline ticket does not exist and was sold to you by a bogus travel company. Fraudsters will often lure in potential customers with low prices and ‘one time only’ offers that are simply too good to pass up, requesting payment by the preferred method of direct bank transfer.

    Fraudsters are impersonating telephone service providers and contacting their clients offering a phone upgrade on a low monthly payment contract. The fraudsters will glean all your personal and financial details which will then be used to contact the genuine phone provider and order a new mobile phone handset. The fraudsters will either intercept the delivery before it reaches the victim’s address or order the handset to a different address.

    If you have been a victim of fraud report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or http://www.actionfraud.police.uk/

    Holiday Booking Fraud **Current**

    With summer holidays fast approaching, individuals are often more exposed to travel booking frauds when looking for last minute package deals / cheap flights. Whether paying upfront for a family holiday or simply booking a flight, payments are transferred only to discover that the holiday / airline ticket does not exist and was sold to you by a bogus travel company. Fraudsters will often lure in potential customers with low prices and ‘one time only’ offers that are simply too good to pass up, requesting payment by the preferred method of direct bank transfer. 
    Paying for a holiday / airline tickets / accommodation via direct bank transfer. No reputable company will ever request payment via this method. 
    Responding to unsolicited calls, texts or emails offering holidays at incredibly low prices.
    Protect Yourself
    • Whenever possible, pay for your holiday by credit card as it offers increased protection.
    • Always remember to look for the ‘https’ and locked padlock icon in the address bar before entering your payment details
    • Never feel pressured to make a booking for fear that you will miss out on this ‘low price’ opportunity. If you have never used the company before, take your time to do some online research to ensure they are reputable.
    • Should you make a flight or hotel booking through a travel company, feel free to separately check with the hotel / particular airline that your booking does indeed exist.
    If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk

    June's North East Criminal Justice Bulletin **Current**

    Click here for the Latest Bulletin

    • Fake Letter Boxes **Current**
    • The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has noticed an increase in reports of fraudsters placing fake letter boxes on residential properties in an attempt to harvest the mail. Residents are sometimes unaware of the fake letterbox as the fraudsters will periodically remove the item, which may leave notable markings. The mail is then used to open various lines of credit with financial providers in the name of the innocent resident. 
    Protect Yourself
    Be vigilant and check for any suspicious activity, tampering of your post/letterbox or for suspicious glue markings on the wall.
    Check all post received from financial institutions, even if it appears unsolicited.
    Consider reporting theft of mail to your local police force and any cases of identity fraud to Action Fraud.
    If you have been a victim of identity fraud consider Cifas Protection Registration (https://www.cifas.org.uk/protective_registration_form)
    Be Aware Of Spoof Emails Claiming ‘Buyer Protection’ **Current**

    Online shopping websites are being utilised by fraudsters to advertise vehicles for sale which do not exist. After agreeing to purchase the vehicle via email with the fraudsters, buyers then receive emails purporting to be from Amazon Payments and/or Amazon Flexible Payment Service stating that their money will be held in an ‘escrow account’ (a bank account held by a third party, used as a temporary holding account during a transaction between two parties- for a 7 day ‘cooling off’ period). Once happy with the purchase the email indicates the money will be released to the seller, therefore offering ‘buyer protection’. In reality these emails are fraudulent and do not come from Amazon. The bank accounts are controlled by fraudsters. 

    If you, or anyone you know, has been affected by this fraud or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk.

    Nhwn Our News June Edition **Current**
    Please click here to read the latest edition of the Our News e-newsletter.

    We reveal the details of our new window stickers sponsored by Co-op Insurance and the brand new Members Guide packed full of crime prevention advice from burglary to cyber-crime and scams. Half a million of each have been distributed across England and Wales last week so find out how you can get your hands on some. You can view a copy of the Members Guide by clicking here.

    As part of National Neighbourhood Watch Week which is taking place this week, send us your photos of your new stickers and guides for a chance of winning a prize. Follow along on Twitter #NNWW16

    The e-newsletter is packed full of volunteers whom have received Royal Honours and its always delightful to hear that so many of you are recognised at the highest order for all of your hard work over so many years.
    The Co-op Insurance reveals the most common summer security slip-ups and we are delighted to announce our newest sponsor, ERA Home Security. ERA has teamed up with the Master Locksmiths Association to offer free home security surveys.  You can find out more by clicking here.

    Phishing Campaign Targeting University Students **Current**

    A new phishing campaign which has hit students of UK universities claims that the student has been awarded an educational grant by the Department for Education. The email purports to have come from the finance department of the student’s university and tricks the recipient into clicking on a link contained in the message to provide personal and banking details. 
    One victim reported that after submitting their sensitive information (including name, address, date of birth, contact details, telephone provider, bank account details, student ID, National Insurance Number, driving licence number and mother’s maiden name), they were taken to a spoofed website which appeared like a genuine website of their bank, where they were asked to type in their online banking login credentials.
    Protect Yourself: 
    Do not click on any links or open attachments contained within unsolicited emails.
    Do not reply to scam emails or contact the senders in any way.
    If an email appears to have come from a person or organisation you know of but the message is unexpected or unusual, contact them directly via another method to confirm that they sent you the email.
    If you receive an email which asks you to login to an online account via a link provided in the email, instead of clicking on the link, open your browser and go directly to the company’s website yourself.
    If you have clicked on a link in the email, do not supply any information on the website that may open.
    If you think you may have compromised the safety of your bank details and/or have lost money due to fraudulent misuse of your cards, you should immediately contact your bank, and report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk


    Counterfeit Cheques **Current**

    Businesses are being contacted for the sale of goods or services by fraudsters, who request to pay by cheque. The fraudster sends a cheque with a higher value than the amount expected, and then sends the business a request for the difference with instructions on how it should be paid back. This is usually by bank transfer or through a money transfer service, such as Western Union or PaySafe. Once the ‘refund’ has been provided, it is realised that the cheque provided was fraudulent and no funds are credited to the business’s account.
    The NFIB has seen an increase of 84% in the number of counterfeit cheque frauds reported to Action Fraud since November 2015. Criminals are targeting a wide range of services including paintings or other artwork, photography and lessons, with various amounts requested to be refunded.  The average amount requested to be refunded is £1,818. The highest amount requested was over £80,000.
    The suspects have used pressure tactics to persuade victims to refund the amounts immediately prior to the cheques clearing.
    Crime Prevention Advice
    Be cautious of payments where the amount provided is higher than expected. Refuse to provide the service unless the correct balance is received or wait until the cheque has cleared before refunding the difference.
    Always contact banks on a trusted number found on their website or correspondence that is known to be authentic to confirm whether the cheque has cleared.
    Do not feel pressured to provide a refund before the cheque has cleared.
    If you have been affected by this, or any other scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visitingwww.actionfraud.police.uk

    i-HOP E-news June 2016 **Current**
    Supporting all professionals to work with offenders’ children and their families
    Welcome to the 32nd i-HOP e-newsletter! This month we’ll be focussing on health outcomes for offenders’ children and how professionals can improve them with use of our health-focussed resources. We’ll also feature what’s new to the i-HOP website this month.

    Good practice in service user involvement **Current**

    Clinks' have published 'Good practice in service user involvement' featuring six case studies of good practice in service user involvement from the voluntary sector working in criminal justice.

    Engaging with your Police and Crime Commissioner **

    The Clinks publication 'Engaging with Police and Crime Commissioners' provides information about the role of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and how the voluntary sector can engage with them.

    Purchasing Pets Online **Current**

    The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) and Action Fraud have 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 that the pet does not exist.
    Protect Yourself:
    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 scam, report it to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040, or visiting www.actionfraud.police.uk


    Directory of VCS Organisation working in Criminal Justice in the North East **Current**

    directory has been developed to provide information and contact details about VCS organisations working within the criminal justice field. The directory will be used as a tool for the Police and Crime Commissioner to commission community safety services and, in the future, wider criminal justice services. The directory will also be highlighted to police, probation and other agencies working in this field. If you are a VCS organisation working in this field make sure you are on the directory.