Crime Prevention & Safety

Safe Durham Partnership Website - Click Here

Durham County Council Crime Prevention pages - Click here

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

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

The North East Regional Cyber Crime Unit (NERCCU)

Today (19.07.2019), an introductory newsletter produced by the North East Regional Cyber Crime Unit (@NERCCU) has been released. We hope for this to be the first of many.

I have attached a link to the newslette for you to  share or take whatever information you need from this.

We have tweeted asking people to email us if they would like to receive the newsletter and also released this information on our website, the link to the tweet and website can be found below:

Cuts in public health spending will impact on crime, says Ron Hogg

Government cuts in public health funding will lead to increases in demand for policing in some of the UK’s poorest communities, according to Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg.

Commenting on the report commissioned by Camurus, Ron said ”I have concerns regarding the future allocation of public health funding in Durham, via the Public Health Grant, and the knock-on effect for policing”.

The report, ‘Towards Sustainable Drug Treatment Services’ outlines the consequences for other services of reduced funding for Public Health.

Ron added “I am fearful that I will face the triple-whammy of a reduction in police funding, a further reduction due to changes in the funding formula, and the consequences of a decrease in public health funding. Public Health cuts will affect the safeguarding of young people and if drug and alcohol services are reduced, the police will have to deal with an even greater problem of rising crime. We need a commitment from the Government to increasing public health funding in line with need; an extension to public health funding to be used in areas where the grant has been utilised effectively; and clarity on the timescale for decisions. We have already seen concerns in County Durham about future funding, especially from the voluntary sector organisations that do much of the heavy lifting in terms of providing services to improve public health outcomes.”

Ron concluded “I always look at public health as an investment in our local communities to ensure not only that we have good public health outcomes, but that we reduce demand elsewhere in the system”.

Action Week on Loan Sharks

To round off our week of action against Loan sharks we have a short video with the new Chief Constable offering support for our Durham savers project and the Campaign against Loan sharks.

Please share

https://youtu.be/GzvWsfn6DpM

Our News - The Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter

The latest edition of Our News – the Neighbourhood Watch e-newsletter – is out now.

In this issue, we round up events from Neighbourhood Watch week and hear about the launch a new good practice database entitled Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration.

We also hear about a short film featuring a Neighbourhood Watch group for the newly launched Co-operate 2022 campaign which aims to save, improve and protect 2,000 public spaces over the next three years. 

All this and more in the latest edition of Our News.

The newsletter is available to download ifrom our website at: www.ourwatch.org.uk/knowledge/news-read-latest-e-newsletter/

Victims of honour based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation will be taken seriously, says Ron Hogg

Communities should feel reassured that concerns will be taken seriously when they report cases of honour based violence, forced marriage and female genital mutilation, according to Ron Hogg.

Ron was speaking on the day before the anniversary of the death of Shafilea Ahmed who was murdered by her parents in 2003, after suffering years of abuse.

Ron is Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington. He said “there is still a long way to go to ensure this abuse is stamped out. We need to encourage more people to report this kind of incident. The Police, working with partner organisations, want to be able to provide an effective response on every occasion, and help to keep victims safe.

“If anyone is aware of a victim, or potential victim, of these appalling activities, they should feel able to report them to the Police. Alternatively, HALO is a charity that can provide comprehensive and meaningful support to victims. All contact can be anonymous, at the victim’s request”.

Ron added “working together, we can help to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice.”

A conference entitled It’s Not Culture, It’s Abuse takes place in Middlesbrough on Thursday, the anniversary of Shafilea’s death.

Decisions about police collaboration are best taken locally, says Ron Hogg

Decisions about policing, and how best to achieve maximum effectiveness and efficiency, are best taken at local level according to Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg.

Mr Hogg was speaking on the day that Sir Tom Winsor, HM Chief Inspector of Policing, Fire and Rescue Services released his annual State of Policing Report. The report praises forces for maintaining high standards of policing, and calls for greater cooperation between the different criminal justice agencies. It also calls for the Government to recognise the disproportionate effects on less affluent communities of reductions in police funding, and goes on to suggest that the Government could require greater collaboration between police forces.

Ron Hogg said “There is much in Sir Tom Winsor’s report that I support. He is right to give credit to the many hard-working Police Officers who do an excellent job in difficult circumstances. He is also right to suggest that there is real scope for closer working between criminal justice agencies. In Durham and Cleveland we have a well-established Local Criminal Justice Partnership with a clear plan to tackle shared outcomes and develop an end-to-end system to support victims and witnesses, whilst also reducing re-offending and rehabilitating offenders.”

Ron added “I also support the call made in the State of Policing report for longer-term funding settlements, and his clear acknowledgement that the increased onus on Police and Crime Commissioners to raise funding from Council tax payers puts an unfair burden on poorer areas. For the past two years I have had to increase the precept by the maximum Government allows me to, just to maintain Police Officer numbers. At the same time, PCCs in more affluent parts of the country (where there are many more houses in the higher Council tax bands) have not needed to do this, and some have been able to increase Officer numbers. Around half of the properties in Durham and Darlington are in the lowest Council tax band, and so a rise in the precept for them yields a smaller amount of revenue for policing. This is an unfair situation and Sir Tom is right to say that it shouldn’t continue.”

Ron concluded by saying “The report’s suggestion that Government should make collaboration between forces compulsory is deeply flawed however. PCCs working closely with Chief Constables, are best-placed to know where collaboration is needed, based on a comprehensive understanding of local needs and conditions. In Durham we have a number of cooperation agreements in place with neighbouring forces, and partners across the country, covering anything from roads policing to counter-terrorism. I agree with Sir Tom that collaboration is germane to efficient and effective policing, but to suggest that the Home Office can impose it in a top-down way is to misunderstand the benefits of local-decision-making, drawing strongly on public opinion.”

Drivers Targeted With Fake Fines

What you need to know

Action Fraud have received an increase in reports and intelligence where elderly victims are being targeted by individuals purporting to be police officers or traffic wardens. The victims are being approached whilst parked in a car park and are told by the suspect that they have parked illegally or broken a speed limit and a photo has been taken of their car for ‘evidence’.

Victims are advised that they will face a substantial penalty fine unless they pay a smaller upfront fee immediately. Victims, who opt for paying the smaller penalty, will be directed to a parking meter and asked to enter their card and PIN. These parking meters have been tampered with by the suspect in order to retain the card.

Once the victim inserts their card and are asked for their PIN, the victims are shoulder surfed for their PIN by the suspect. Once victims input their PIN, the card is retained by the machine and victims are told by the suspect to seek help from the company who operates the parking meter or their bank.

What you need to do

If you are suspicious about the authenticity of the fine, do not pay it until you have verified it with your local council.

Always shield your PIN from view when using an ATM machine, and never share your PIN with anyone.

If your bank card is retained by an ATM machine, contact your bank immediately to inform them.

Clinks State of the Sector

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

Neighbourhood Watch Week 2019

Today marks the start of Neighbourhood Watch Week 2019 where we’ll be celebrating the amazing work our volunteers do in their communities. We’ll be looking at areas where you expect Neighbourhood Watch to operate in and around (burglary) as well as some more unexpected ones (knife violence and social isolation).

Our message this year is that when it comes to Neighbourhood Watch, there is #MoreThanYouExpect.

To kick start the week we have today launched Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration, a collection of the most innovative work being undertaken by our volunteers across England and Wales.

The database contains examples of how Neighbourhood Watch groups are changing their communities for the better. In each case, volunteers explain how they developed their project, the impact it had on their community and how they overcame any challenges.

Neighbourhood Watch Inspiration allows users to contact the author of each example with the hope of generating fruitful conversations between members

PCVC encourages families to come and meet real life superheroes

FAMILIES can once again find out more about the work of our real-life superheroes at a free family fun day at the end of this month.

The ‘PCVC Celebration of Local Superheroes’ event is back for 2019 will showcase and raise awareness of all the good work that is happening in our local communities, thanking those who go above and beyond to help others in our local area. 

Hosted by Ron Hogg, the Durham Police, Crime and Victims' Commissioner, the family event has been brought forward to the summer, is free to attend, and will be held on Saturday 29th June 2019 at Locomotion, in Shildon from 10am – 3pm

Ron said: “This annual event is now a firm family favourite. I have brought the event forward to the summer period in the hope of good weather, although there’s lots to do indoors and the event will be happening come rain or shine.” 

“A lot of the work organisations do is hidden so this is a great way for us to show the hidden things which they do. I encourage people to come along and have a free day out with all of the family. It is autism friendly as the event is inclusive to all.”

There will be some familiar faces from the emergency services including, the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Teesdale and Weardale Search and Mountain Rescue, Jet and Ben, Bloodbikes along with many local community and voluntary organisations. The public will have the opportunity to get involved with various interactive activities.

One of the highlights of the day is the fancy dress competition at 12.00pm noon, where children can come as their favourite character, local superhero, or wearing any of their favourite outfits.

The Durham Police cadets will be competing in a range of activities to be crowned the winners of the annual Ron Hogg Cadet Cup throughout the day.

Adults are being encouraged to share their comments, photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #CelebrateLocalSuperheroes

Picnic areas are also available for families to bring their own food with them, and catering is available on site.

There’s no need to book, just turn up on the day (either with, or without, fancy dress!)

For updates, find us on Facebook (search for Durham PCC), or visit: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk

HMRC Alert

What you need to know

  • Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls and voicemails, to members of the public purporting to be from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs (HMRC).
  • Fraudsters are spoofing genuine HMRC telephone numbers to deceive their victims over the phone. The fraudsters state that as a result of the victim’s non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable for prosecution or other legal proceedings in order to settle the balance. The fraudsters suggest victims can avoid this, by arranging payment to be made immediately by methods such as bank transfer or by purchasing iTunes gift cards.
  • If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, sending bailiffs to the victim’s address or, in some cases, deportation.
  • Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact with the victim.
  • In genuine cases, HMRC will initially make direct contact with you via post/letter and potentially follow up that letter with a phone call at a later date.
  • If HMRC contact you via telephone they will quote the reference number on the initial letter you should have received. HMRC will not discuss something you are not already aware of, like a tax investigation, and will NOT demand immediate payment.

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.

What you need to do

  • Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.
  • Legitimate organisations wouldn’t ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using an iTunes gift card, or any other type of voucher. If you’re contacted by anyone that asks you to do this, you’re likely the target of a scam
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.
  • Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, you can report this as phishing to Action Fraud

Ron Hogg calls for review of drug policy, after more Government Ministers admit to having taken drugs

The current exposure of drug-taking by senior national politicians highlights the need for a national debate on drug policy reform, according to Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg.

In the light of admissions this weekend of the use of illegal drugs by contenders for the position of Prime Minister and leader of the Conservative Party, Ron Hogg said “Government policy is allowing powerful, faceless drug dealers to control the supply of drugs, using threatening and harmful behaviour. This is likely to continue unless we can take the power out of the hands of the dealers.”

Ron added “what’s needed is a health-focussed approach, so that drug users feel able to speak to their GP and take advice, rather than fearing that they will be reported for criminal behaviour. That would remove control by the dealers and enable sensible regulation of the drugs market by the state.”

Ron concluded “Government Ministers who are expressing regret about taking drugs in the past should recognise the hypocrisy of their position when they argue that drugs policy is working. Only by reform will we be in a position to reduce the harm caused by drugs.” 

Notes for Editors

Jo Farrell confirmed as new Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary

The appointment of Jo Farrell as the new Chief Constable of Durham Constabulary was confirmed today.

The announcement follows a Confirmation Hearing – a statutory process where members of the independent Police and Crime Panel have the opportunity to question the preferred candidate, and to endorse the appointment. Jo Farrell was the preferred candidate of Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for Durham and Darlington.

Speaking before the hearing, Ron said “I organised a thorough recruitment exercise for the best person to be Chief Constable, and was very pleased that Durham Constabulary’s Deputy Chief Constable, Jo Farrell, was my preferred candidate”. 

Jo first became a police officer in 1991 and joined Durham Constabulary in November 2016 as Deputy Chief Constable. She said: “I am both delighted and privileged to be appointed as Chief Constable of Durham. I very much look forward to leading this outstanding force from strength to strength”.

Cllr Lucy Hovvels MBE, Chair of the Police and Crime Panel, said: “The Panel was impressed with the quality of the answers provided by Deputy Chief Constabulary Jo Farrell and the breadth of her experience and was, therefore, pleased to endorse her appointment.” 

Chief Constable Farrell formally assumes her new role on Saturday 8 June.

Courier Fraud, Bogus Police and Bank Officials Alert

What you need to know
Individuals have been receiving phone calls from people claiming to be a police officer or banking official
The suspect will say either:

  • There has been fraudulent activity at the victims’ bank and the staff at the bank are involved, the victim is then asked to withdraw money to either keep it safe or assist the police with their investigation
  • A business such as a jewellers or currency exchange is fraudulent and they require the victims’ assistance to help secure evidence by purchasing jewellery or exchange a large amount of currency to hand over to the police
  • The victims’ card has been compromised and used to purchase goods by a suspect, the victim is requested to withdraw their money to keep it safe or hand over their bank card to the police

Occasionally the victim will be told to dial a non-emergency extension of ‘161’ to receive confirmation of the individual’s bogus identity, the bogus official will advise the victim to lie about the reason for the withdrawal or purchase if challenged by staff, as the staff member is involved in the fraud
A courier attends the victim’s home address to collect the goods the same day Often the victim is given a code word for the courier as a way of authentication

What you need to do
 ​​Your bank or the police will never:

  • Phone and ask you for your PIN or full banking password
  • Ask you to withdraw money to hand over to them for safe-keeping
  • Ask you to transfer money out of your account
  • Send someone to your home to collect cash, PINs, cards to cheque books

NE Criminal Justice Bulletin - May 2019

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

Watch out for these FAKE TalkTalk emails about a refund

Action Fraud has received over 100 reports this week about fake emails purporting to be from TalkTalk. The emails state that the recipient’s TalkTalk account is in credit and that they’re owed a refund. The links in the emails lead to malicious websites.

Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.

Neighbourhood Watch is supporting The Big Lunch 2019

On the first weekend of June, communities across the UK will be coming together for a day of food, friendship and fun with The Big Lunch. Last year, over 6 million people took part, so don’t miss out - get together with your neighbours and community this summer!

Big Lunches take place in streets, gardens, parks and community spaces. They can be big or small, inside or outside, casual or filled with games, activities and excitement. The most important thing is that people share good food, good company and good fun: small acts of connection that we know can make a big difference.

Get your free Big Lunch starter pack, full of information to help you plan your Big Lunch, as well as posters, invites and other handy resources. Head to www.thebiglunch.com for more inspiration, ideas and support.

North East’s PCCs call on Government to consider wider implications of alcohol consumption

The North East’s three Police and Crime Commissioners are calling on Government to focus on the wider implications of alcohol use, in the Prevention green paper when it is published later this year.

The green paper will propose a number of actions to help people from falling into ill-health as a consequence of drinking, obesity, social isolation or other dangers to their health. The North East’s three Police and Crime Commissioners, Dame Vera Baird, Barry Coppinger and Ron Hogg have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock MP to make the case that the impact of alcohol on society extends beyond the harm it causes to individuals, to increased levels of crime, sub-optimum economic performance, and costs to the public purse. 

Speaking as the letter is being sent to Mr Hancock, Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg said ‘more than one in four adults in the North East are drinking at levels which put them at risk of illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, early onset dementia and cancer, and people in routine occupations are at greater risk than those in managerial positions. That means that the North East is particularly at risk, impacting on all emergency services.

Northumbria’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird, added ‘40% of crime is linked to alcohol. There is a real responsibility on Government to take measures to reduce alcohol consumption because doing so will make a real difference to the level of crime in our society, and to the well-being of everyone’.

Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, said: “Alcohol costs the NHS £3.5 billion every year, but what is less well-recognised are the wider costs to society. Public Health England have estimated these costs to be up to £52billion a year, money which could be so much better spent on delivering vital public services including policing. That’s why I’m supportive of a public health approach to tackling violence, including alcohol abuse and the wider problems associated with alcohol harm. By working with other agencies we have more chance of limiting the harm caused by addictive substances.”

Ron Hogg endorses NCA call for more resources for policing

Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for County Durham and Darlington, has robustly endorsed calls from the National Crime Agency for increased resources for policing 

The NCA’s Director General, Lynne Owens, called today for a doubling of the organisation’s budget ‘to keep pace with the growing scale and complexity’ of organised crime.

Commenting on Lynne Owens’ remarks, Ron Hogg said  “When the Head of NCA states that she needs her budget doubling we should be concerned and listen carefully. Since 2010 police funding has been drastically and some might say recklessly reduced. The whole police service, and not just the NCA, is under considerable pressure.

“Recently more money has been provided for policing, but it relies heavily on Police and Crime Commissioners to raise local taxes. Such an approach is both unsustainable and unfair to deprived communities. It is vital that any adjustments to police funding in the Comprehensive Spending Review later this year address this 

“However, it is not all about money. Key policies and strategies need to be reviewed. When Vince O’Brien of the NCA says you can get Class A drugs delivered more quickly than a pizza, and that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem, we need to radically review our drugs policy so we can deal with the problem rather than massage it”.

Our News - The Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter

The latest Neighbourhood Watch Network e-newsletter is now available.

In this issue we hear about the three new online toolkits the Network has produced for members and coordinators covering social media, burglary prevention and managing a scheme.

We also hear feedback to Fundraising and Social Media workshops, advice on how to achieve a great working relationship with the Police and a new campaign to tackle scammers.

All this and more in the new issue of Our News - the Neighbourhood Watch Network e-newsletter. The newsletter is attached to this email or alternatively download it from our website at: www.ourwatch.org.uk/new-issue-of-our-news-out-now/ 

North East crime reduction awards 2019 launched

Professionals working with prisoners, ex-prisoners or those sentenced to community punishments in the North East are being given the chance to get recognition for their efforts to reduce re-offending by entering the 2019 Nepacs Ruth Cranfield Awards.

The awards have been running since 2004 and in 2018 were renamed in honour of long standing Nepacs’ patron Ruth Cranfield who had the vision and energy to organise the beginnings of Nepacs in its present day form. Nepacs want to ensure their Awards reward, promote and celebrate that kind of commitment in others working in the difficult climate of today.

Each year the Nepacs Ruth Cranfield Awards recognise north east prison staff, probation/community rehabilitation companies (CRC) staff, voluntary sector and other professionals to highlight the work of exceptional individuals and teams or innovative good practice in promoting rehabilitation of offenders.

Winners last year came from HMP Holme House, HMP Durham, and County Durham Integrated Offender Management Unit staff. Certificate winners came from prisons, probation services, CRCs, local councils and non-statutory organisations right across the region.

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.  These awards pay tribute to those dedicated professionals who work hard to support people to make changes and lead a crime free life.”

This year’s awards and certificates will be presented at an event taking place in September at Lumley Castle in Chester-le-Street.  

For details on how to make a nomination visit the Nepacs website www.nepacs.co.uk

The closing date for nominations is Monday 17 June 2019. 

Graduates from the Young People’s Life Choices Programme recognised

Young people from Elemore Hall School and Bishop Barrington Comprehensive School are well equipped to recognise the dangers of drug and alcohol misuse, as a consequence of the Young People’s Life Choices Programme.

The first graduates of the programme were awarded certificates today.  For the ceremony the twelve Young Ambassadors from Elemore Hall (pictured) delivered a showcase to their peers in school, and to teachers and parents, before being presented with their graduation certificates and badges. The awards were presented by Ellen Terry, Durham’s Young Police, Crime and Victim’s Commissioner and Inspector Rachel Stockdale of Durham Constabulary. 

This programme enables young people to play an ambassadorial role supporting their peers and teaching staff across the whole school community. It enables them to explore and understand the impact of ‘life choices’ on individuals, families and communities, aiming to diverting them away from a life of crime, anti-social behaviour, and harms caused by substance-misuse.

Ellen Terry said “As a young person I know what issues and problems young people face.  The impact that drugs and alcohol can have on young people, and their families can be huge, one decision can change everything.  As young people we can find it hard to know where to go in times of trouble as we worry that we are going to get into more trouble by seeking support.  Having peer Ambassadors within schools will help to break down this barrier.”

The innovative Young People’s Life Choices programme was developed and delivered by George Charlton, an independent trainer and consultant, in partnership with Durham Agency Against Crime.

The training sessions provide the young people with a unique insight into the life and experiences of an individual who spent many years in the grips of addiction whilst also being impacted by significant mental health issues.

George Charlton said “The programme has been really well received by the students. Having lived with a personal addiction to drugs and alcohol and struggled with mental health problems for over a decade, I know what needs to be done.  I can explain how making certain decisions impacted upon my life, my family and community.  I try to be open honest and tell them how it really is.  This programme enables young people to seek support from their respected peers.” 

March Criminal Justice Bulletin

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

Drumming up a positive difference for young people

Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg visited Jack Drum Arts in Crook this week to see for himself the activities that the group makes available for people of all ages particularly those who are disadvantaged or vulnerable. Jack Drum promotes self-expression, well-being and community cohesion. It’s a place where young people can be themselves.

Last year Ron funded the Runaway Samba Group to deliver drumming workshops to a number of groups and individuals who suffer from poor mental health, are victims of bullying, are young carers looked after young people or from the LGBTQ community. The mobile Samba Group workshop was an idea created by Dylan Hoar (third from the left in the photo). Dylan said “attending Jack Drum Arts has helped me become more social and connect with others, and I have really gained confidence.”

Speaking at the event, Ron said “When I see what communities can achieve in projects like this one, it gives me a passion to carry on and ensure that in times when funding continues to be cut, we can ensure we drive the funding that we do have in the right direction”. 

Managing Director Helen Ward added “The Runaway Samba Group is a great example of how an innovative project can really make a positive difference to the young people in this area, and dispel any negative assumptions“.

Fraudsters send fake Virgin Media emails threatening “automatic disconnection”

Action Fraud has received over 100 reports about fake emails that purport to be from Virgin Media. The emails threaten the recipient with “automatic disconnection” due to “invalid billing information”. The links in the emails lead to genuine-looking phishing websites that are designed to steal your Virgin Media account login details.

Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.

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

A wide range of services is in place for victims, but there is always more to do 

Recorded crime levels have been rising, whilst anti-social behaviour (ASB) has decreased, according to the latest quarterly performance report from the Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner.

The report looks at the safety of communities, and finds that the severity of crimes in County Durham and Darlington is similar to the national average, whilst the number of police recorded offences per head of population is higher.

Commenting on the report, Ron Hogg said “many of these differences are due to changes in recording practices. Also, Durham’s ability to record crime accurately is strong. Some incidents which were previously recorded as ASB, such as harassment, are now required to be recorded as crimes. However the force remain vigilant and committed to reducing crime and improving community safety.”

The report shows that the number of casualties on the road fell in 2018 compared to 2017, and notes the benefit to communities of establishing local Community Speed Watch schemes, where local people work with the Police and other agencies to monitor and address speeding issues.

The report also describes the work of the Local Criminal Justice Partnership, and the range of services which are now available to victims from different backgrounds and with different needs.

Ron said “I have made it my business to put in place a wide range of services for victims, and I am pleased that the satisfaction of victims with the work of the Constabulary remains high. My office continue to undertake work to understand the experience of victims, and to see where there is more that can be done to provide support.”

The report also looks at support for vulnerable people, including those with mental ill-health. Following recent legislation prohibiting the detention of under-18s in Police Custody, notes that there were no detentions, for any one of any age, in police custody as a place of safety in 2018. 

Ron’s Public Performance Report is available on his website at: www.durham-pcc.gov.uk .

Further crime prevention advice is available on the Durham Constabulary website at www.durham.police.uk .

Scam Warning - Fake Tv Licensing Emails

An ongoing TV Licensing phishing campaign, first identified by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) in September 2018, continues to be reported to Action Fraud in high numbers. Fraudsters are sending the public fake TV Licensing emails that are designed to steal their personal and financial information. Since April 2018, Action Fraud has received over 900 crime reports with victim losses totalling more than £830,000.

How you can protect yourself:

  • Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails and never respond to messages that ask for your personal or financial details.
  • Don’t assume a phone call or email is authentic, even if someone knows your basic details (such as your name or address). Remember, criminals can spoof phone numbers and email addresses to appear as companies you know and trust, such as TV Licensing.
  • Your bank will never call and ask you for your PIN, full banking password, or ask you to transfer money out of your account.

What to do if you’ve fallen victim:

  • Let your bank know as soon as possible and monitor your bank statements regularly for any unusual activity. 
  • If you suspect your identity may have been stolen you can check your credit file quickly and easily online. Use a reputable service provider and follow up on any unexpected or suspicious results. 
  • If you have been a victim of fraud or cyber crime, report it to Action Fraud at actionfraud.police.uk, or by calling 0300 123 2040.

The need to maintain road safety outside schools

An increasing number of schools are raising concerns about cars parking on double yellow lines and zig-zags outside schools, close to where the children are crossing.

Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner Ron Hogg has visited a number of schools across the county this week to observe traffic congestion and to talk to local people.

Ron Hogg said “Parents always want to put their children’s safety first, and by being cautious and parking slightly further away from the school entrance, children can see clearly to cross the road. However, a number of schools have reported near misses where it was hard to see beyond parked cars but they are finding it hard to eradicate the problem” 

Ron Hogg saw first-hand the issues at schools located in built up areas, where it can be a struggle to accommodate the increasing number of vehicles arriving each morning and afternoon.

Many schools have taken steps to address the issue, sending letters to parents or talking to drivers outside the school, asking them to be more aware of their manoeuvres.

Ron said “I will continue to work with road safety partners including the local authorities on this issue. The recent art competition for primary school pupils in County Durham was a good example of how to engage well with families. I am keen to listen to concerns raised by parents.”

Mike Barton will leave Durham Constabulary in safe hands, says Ron Hogg

Departing Chief Constable Mike Barton’s legacy is an amazing team of Police Officers and staff says Ron Hogg, after Mr Barton announced his decision to retire after 39 years in policing and seven years running Durham Constabulary.

Reflecting on Mr Barton’s period in office, Police Crime and Victims’ Commissioner (PCVC) Ron Hogg said “I have been very fortunate to have had such a dedicated, forward thinking and passionate Chief Constable since being first elected as the PCVC for Durham and Darlington in 2012”.

“Mike Barton will leave Durham Constabulary as the only Police Force in the country that has been rated by Inspectors as ‘outstanding’ for effectiveness and efficiency for the past three years. His impact extends nationally and internationally – a position unprecedented in the history of Durham Constabulary. Mike’s leadership has been unequivocal, bringing about change whilst focusing on the importance of community safety and neighbourhood policing.”

Ron highlighted the partnership that he and Mike Barton established, sharing common views on the importance of reforming drug policy, and on innovative approaches to policing and criminal justice such as the Checkpoint programme. Ron commented “Mike’s support in my endeavours to change Government policy on drugs will no doubt continue so that lasting policy reform is achieved, bringing effective treatment and therefore prevention. We will continue to pursue this locally to prove detractors wrong.”

Ron Hogg will put in place an open recruitment process for the new Chief Constable. He said “they will be most fortunate to have such an amazing team of officers and staff to lead”.

Ron concluded by saying “I am glad you are able to say that you have had fun in this post, and I think it fair to say that with you as Chief Constable, there has rarely been a dull moment! I am grateful to you and your family, and in particular your wife Maggie, for allowing us to borrow you.”

Operation Sceptre - Knife Crime National Week of Action - 11th March 2019 - 17th March 2019

Operation Sceptre the National Week of Action runs from the 11th to the 17th of March. In preparation for this your Cohesion Officers are spending this week talking to children and young people about knife crime and the dangers of carrying knives. We will be in schools throughout Durham and Darlington for the entire week.

Durham County Council and Durham Constabulary.

Criminal Justice ebulletin

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

Police and Crime Commissioners could have greater oversight of probation services, says Ron Hogg

Issued 1 March 2019 

The National Audit Office’s new report ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: Progress Review’, highlights key concerns in the delivery of probation services, according to Durham’s Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, Ron Hogg.

The report indicates that levels of reoffending across the country have not been reduced, despite this being a key objective of the reforms which divided the previous service into Community Rehabilitation Companies and the National Probation Service, in 2013.

Ron Hogg said “The NAO makes a clear case for re-unifying the current operations, with a real focus on partnership working with other local service providers. The failure to reduce reoffending, nationally, results in a situation where victims continue to be at risk. Police and Crime Commissioners are actively involved in discussions with Government about how the probation services can be reformed to perform more effectively in the future, including a possible more formal role for PCCs in local arrangements.”

Visitors to north east prisons invited to have their say

A north east charity is inviting friends and families of prisoners in north east prisons to come along to an event in March to have their say on how well local prisons support family ties, and to work with the charity and local prisons to to make improvements for the future. 

The Visitors' Voice event will take place on Wednesday 13 March 2019 from 10am to 2pm at Bowburn Community Centre, Bowburn, County Durham, DH6 5AT. Free lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Nepacs, a long-standing charity in the north east of England which aims to support a positive future for prisoners and their families, has organised the annual event to give anyone currently visiting a prison in the north east of England a 'voice' about how services they receive when visiting prison can be improved.

Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs said: “Our visitors are ‘experts by experience’ and know better than anyone else what would make keeping in touch and visiting a prison less difficult. At Nepacs we have been working with local prisons to develop action plans to help strengthen family ties for their residents. We need help to think through what else could be done to improve support, particularly at the point at which someone first goes into custody.”

Helen added: “If you have a loved one in prison in the north east please come along to our Visitors’ Voice event. We want to find out what you think about the help and support you are receiving, and how we can make your visit experience better. There will also be an opportunity to talk to prison staff, hear from the education, learning and skills teams within the prisons and help to shape future services to support prisoners and their families or friends during the early days in custody, which can be the most difficult and distressing time for everyone involved.”

For more information about the event or to book a place please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or telephone 0191 332 3810. Alternatively, if you already go to a visitors' centre in the north east you can book your place with the centre manager.

To find out more about the work of Nepacs, including how you can get involved or make a donation please visit www.nepacs.co.uk.

Nepacs E-News February 2019

Welcome to Nepacs news - bringing you regular updates on the work of Nepacs in the north east of England.

Nepacs has worked in the north east for over 135 years - focussed on supporting a positive future for prisoners, ex-offenders, their families and significant others. 

Our News - The Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter

The February 2019 edition of Our News is out now.

In it we reveal the theme of this year's Neighbourhood Watch Week in June. We also report from the pre-launch of a new NW force association that will cover the West Midlands and we round up the national media coverage in recent weeks since we challenged portrayals of our members in the media.

All this and more in the latest edition of Our News. 

Please find the newsletter attached or download it form our website here: https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/new-issue-of-our-news-now-out/

Tenancy Deposit Scheme Alert

Action Fraud have received several reports where fraudsters are claiming to be landlords of properties offered for rent online. Prior to a viewing the suspect requests that the individuals pay a deposit and sometimes a month’s rent upfront, claiming that this money will be put into the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, and is therefore protected under government legislation.

After the individual pays the money, the suspect sends a bogus email purporting to be from the Tenancy Deposit Scheme confirming they have received their deposit. However, this is not the case as the money was sent directly to an account associated with the suspect and the victim is left out of pocket and without the home they had thought to be putting a deposit on.

What You Need To Do

  • Always make sure you, or a reliable contact, has viewed the property with an agent or landlord before agreeing to rent a property.
  • Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Only transfer funds when you’re satisfied a genuine property, safety certificates and valid contract are in place.
  • Only pay for goods or service by bank transfer if you know and trust the person. Payments via bank transfer offer you no protection if you become a victim of fraud.
  • Once you’ve paid your deposit, you can check whether it’s protected by entering your tenancy deposit certificate code on TDS website (www.tenancydepositscheme.com).

Prizes awarded to children from Yohden Primary School as they take part in Safer Internet Day

Pupils from Yohden Primary School learned about e-safety and the importance of using technology responsibly during safer internet day on Tuesday.

The pupils had the opportunity to submit their designs to show the importance of keeping safe whilst using the internet. Prizes were awarded to a winning pupil in each year group during the morning assembly, by Durham Police, Crime & Victims Commissioner, Ron Hogg.

Speaking at the assembly Ron said “The high quality of designs demonstrates the children’s commitment to being safe whilst using computers”.

Deputy Head Teacher Ellen Harrison said “The school has made real efforts to make sure pupils are aware of being safe on the internet and this competition demonstrates that”.

Ron attended the school assembly on Safer Internet Day, Tuesday 5thFebruary 2019.

For more information contact Jon Carling on 07814 174417 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Safer Internet Day – Safer Internet Day 2019 will be celebrated globally with the theme: Together for a better internet. This Safer Internet Day is bigger than ever! With more than 2000organisations and schools across the UK getting involved to help inspire a national conversation about using technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively. More information can be found at www.saferinternet.org.uk

North east charity receives grant to work with prisoners who have experienced being in care

Care Day, the world’s biggest celebration of children and young people with care experience, happening on 15 February 2019, gives an opportunity to illustrate how care experienced people can feel different to others and may need extra support.

Nepacs, a north east charity which supports prisoners and their families, are delighted to announce that they have received funding from HM Prison and Probation Service to develop a new project at two north east prisons to support young men and women who have experienced being in care.

Children in care and care leavers account for less than 1% of the general population (DfE 2013), yet are vastly over-represented in the Criminal Justice System with over 25% of the adult prison population having previously been in care (Berman, G. and Dar, A. 2013).

The Nepacs’ project aims to develop support for young women at HMP&YOI Low Newton (in Durham) and young men at HMP Deerbolt (in Barnard Castle) who have had experience of being in care and may have lost social support networks in the community.

Nepacs was one of only 13 charitable organisations and social enterprises to receive funding through these grants. The aim of the HMPPS grant programme is to improve the lives of offenders by applying the expertise, skills and ideas of voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) organisations.

The Prison Reform Trust: In Care, Out of Trouble 2016 publication states ‘young people leaving care are too often expected to reach independence at a young age and with insufficient information and practical and emotional support, increasing the risk of criminalisation.’  Furthermore a young person with experience of care and the criminal justice system shared that, ‘they often feel isolated and unsupported at critical moments, not least if they have to appear in court or spend time in custody.’

Helen Attewell, chief executive of Nepacs, said: “Many young people in prison have had appalling childhood experiences, and have not been able to rely on a supportive family to help them through tough times.  We are thrilled that we had been successful in receiving this grant to work with young men and women who have experienced being in care, to ensure that we can support them to build successful crime-free lives for the future..

"The principal aim of the project is to improve contact for care experienced residents of Deerbolt and Low Newton with their local authority personal advisors, families, carers  and significant others; and to improve their chances of having a successful resettlement following release from prison by supporting this group of residents to feel connected to their communities.” 

Project workers will work with care experienced young people up to the age of 25 at Low Newton and Deerbolt who are from any part of the north east or beyond, providing one to one support work including listening support and mentoring and encouraging them to identify supportive significant others to come in and visit. They will also trial ‘Family Group Conferences’ to help create a support network for the young person in their home area; to support them whilst serving the sentence but also around the planned release.  

Longer term the project will co-create, with care experienced residents, a group work programme/ resource pack around independent living, building resilience, emotional well-being and building positive relationships.

For more information on Nepacs please visit our website www.nepacs.co.uk or follow us on facebook or twitter.

Are You Part Of A Community Group?

On Wednesday night Durham Cyber Safety had a great time presenting at the Ladies Group at School Aycliffe Community Hall.
The presentation included top tips on how to stay safe in the digital world, along with a summary of current email phishing scams.
If you are part of a community group or organisation and would be interested in a talk from Durham Cyber Safety, please get in touch with us via email atThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thanks,
Katie Bartle
Cyber Harm Reduction Officer

TOP AWARD GIVES REASSURANCE TO VICTIMS OF CRIME

Restorative justice brings victims of crime and offenders into contact with each other, so that those affected by a particular incident can find ways to repair the harm and identify a positive way forward.

The Durham Restorative Hub has been awarded the Restorative Service Quality Mark by the Restorative Justice Council (RJC). The Quality Mark recognises the hard work undertaken by organisations offering a restorative service, and indicates that they follow safe, high quality practice. On Monday, the award will be presented by Chief Constable Mike Barton, in the presence of Police Crime and Victim’s Commissioner Ron Hogg and His Honour Judge Christopher Prince, Resident Judge at Durham Crown Court and Honorary Judicial Recorder of Durham.

A victim of criminal damage, Claire, will also be present and talk about her experiences. Claire benefitted from the services of the Restorative Hub, meeting the 15 year-old perpetrator of the crime she experienced. This helped her to come to terms with the ordeal, and also helped the offender to understand the consequences of his actions.

Certificates of recognition will also be presented to individuals and teams within the Restorative Hub.

Members of the press and broadcast media are invited to attend the award ceremony, and to interview those present.

Who: Interviews will be available with:

-         Ron Hogg, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner

-         Mike Barton Chief Constable, Durham Constabulary

-         Claire, a victim of criminal damage and beneficiary of the services of the Restorative Hub

When: 6.00pm on Monday 14 January 2019

Where: Police HQ, Aykley Heads, Durham DH1 5TT

For more information please contact Jon Carling, Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner, on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    

HM Revenue and Customs Alert

What you need to know
Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or emails to members of the public purporting to be from HMRC.

The fraudsters state that as a result of their non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards.

If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin; deportation.

Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact.

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.

What you need to do
Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn't mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of voucher.

Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, report this as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud.

Alert - Fake Tv Licensing Emails

Action Fraud has received more than 5,000 reports about fake emails and texts purporting to be from TV Licensing. The messages contain links to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information. 

Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

For more information about how to stay safe online, visit cyberaware.gov.uk

HOME SECRETARY FAILS NORTH EAST COMMUNITIES - say North East PCCs

The three Police and Crime Commissioners for the North East have today slammed the Home Secretary for increasing council tax bills to fund policing, instead of the Government providing a fair funding settlement for the communities of Cleveland, Durham & Darlington and Northumbria.

Residents across the North East of England are facing a significant increase to the policing element of council tax as a consequence of the Government announcing that PCCs will be allowed to increase the precept by up to £24 per year for a Band D property.  If this increase does not go ahead, it could mean a funding cut for the region’s three forces.

The three PCCs are once again demanding that the Home Secretary stops making hard working families pay for policing, when it is the duty of the Government to provide effective policing and keep our communities safe – a point with which PCCs from all political parties agree. In simple terms, the Government funding package for each force assumes that PCCs will increase the precept up to £24.  If the PCCs don't it will result in a cut to the funding received to pay for policing in the North East. 

North East police forces are some of the busiest in the country and yet continue to be underfunded by central Government, having all seen funding losses of more than 30 per cent resulting in almost 2,000 fewer police officers on the streets of Northumbria, County Durham, Darlington and Cleveland since 2010.

Commenting on the announcement, Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner for Durham and Darlington, Ron Hogg, said “The Government has not increased the amount it pays for policing – it has put all the burden on council tax payers. In areas like mine, the majority of properties are in Council Tax Band A, which means that those with the lowest incomes are being asked to pay the largest part of the increase. I would compare that to areas like Surrey, where there are many more properties in the top council tax band, lived in by people with very significantly higher incomes.”

Cleveland PCC Barry Coppinger added  "I do not want to increase the precept for residents in Cleveland, but under this settlement I am left with very little choice and it simply isn’t fair. Once again, residents in the most deprived areas are being asked to foot the bill for the country’s underfunded police forces, as the Government once again fail to account for the increasing cost of policing and levels of inflation. I will continue to lobby the Government and push for a fairer deal for all of our forces. Cleveland has some of the highest levels of crime and deprivation in the country, yet our overall level of funding increase for next year is £7.2m and Surrey’s is by £17.6m – over £10m more.  How can an area with 60 per cent higher level of recorded crime be treated so unfairly?”

Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, Dame Vera Baird QC, said: “It is completely wrong for our police forces to be in this position.  I wanted the Government to put in place a fair funding formula - they refused. Once again they are moving the burden of proper police funding onto hard-pressed council tax payers through the police precept.  £24 a year is an increase of a quarter on the burden on local families who deserve better, but we do not want instead to be forced to make yet more cuts to our vital policing services.  I will start 2019 consulting with local residents to see what extra they feel should be implemented in Northumbria.”

The three PCCs will consult with their communities to find out what they think.  None of the region’s PCCs have taken a decision on this matter yet - this will happen after the consultation closes.  In the meantime the three PCCs will seek an urgent meeting with the Home Secretary, speaking up for local residents and demanding change to the funding formula.

Latest Edition Of National Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter

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

Inside you’ll find all the latest news from the Neighbourhood Watch Network, our supporters as well as offers from our sponsors.

Please find the newsletter on our website at: https://www.ourwatch.org.uk/knowledge/news-read-latest-e-newsletter/

Best wishes,
Neighbourhood Watch Network


How To Keep The Cyber-Criminals Out

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

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

Cyber criminals send victims their own passwords in extortion scam

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

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

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

Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter

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

NEW YOUNG POLICE, CRIME AND VICTIMS’ COMMISSIONER ELECTED

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

For more information please contact Sarah Harris, Media and Engagement Officer at the Office of the Durham Police, Crime and Victims’ Commissioner on: • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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

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

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

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

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

Watch out for these fake Netflix emails.

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

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

Nfib Alert - Bogus Overseas Officers*

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Watch out for these fake British Gas refund emails.

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

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

North East Criminal Justice Ebulletin

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

Click for the Newsletter

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

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

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

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

For more information contact Jon Carling on 07814 174417 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Latest Edition Of National Neighbourhood Watch E-Newsletter 

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

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

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

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

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

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

PCVC hosts specialist conference to tackling Hate Crime

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

Scam Alert - Fake Argos Texts 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Up Calls Computer Software Service Fraud 

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

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

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

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

New Ways To Protect You This National Neighbourhood Watch Week

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

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

Please do tell us what you’re doing to mark NNWW18 – email Lisa Parker This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can showcase your good work across our media channels! The Twitter hashtag for the week is #NNWW18 and you can follow us at @N_Watch

MEN CAN BE VICTIMS TOO, SAYS YOUNG PCVC 

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

Copies of the hard-hitting poster will be distributed through a variety of places including colleges, universities, GP surgeries, pubs, and more. If you would like copies of the poster to distribute in your workplace, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Harbour can be contacted on 03000 202525 or via www.myharbour.org.uk

Courier Fraud 

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

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

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

North East Criminal Justice Ebulletin

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

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