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Essex Police & Crime

Local news from Essex Police and other criminal justice agencies

The Future of Essex Police, Fire & Rescue?

Police & Crime CommissionerThe Future of Essex Police, Fire & Rescue?

The people of Essex are being urged to have their say in the potential change in the way Essex Police and Essex County Fire & Rescue Service is governed.  To have your say respond to the consultation that ends on Wednesday 10th May.

The Policing and Crime Act 2017 enables police and crime commissioners to become the fire and rescue authority where a strong local case is made. The Government has also created a statutory duty to collaborate.

Police and Crime Commissioner Roger Hirst said: Continue reading

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The Future of Essex Policing

Essex-PoliceThe Future of Essex Policing

The future of policing in Essex will be the subject of a public lecture given later this month by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex.

In a public lecture as he approaches the end of his term in office PCC Nick Alston will reflect on his time as PCC as he looks ahead to how Essex police will need to respond to the changes in crime across Essex and to the many other demands on police resources.

The lecture, entitled “Policing in Essex: The way ahead and the role of the PCC”, will also look at the developing role of the PCC and at the crucial links between Essex Police and other agencies in seeking to prevent crime and bring offenders to justice.

The event takes place on Thursday March 17 from 6.30pm to 7.30pm at Chelmsford’s Anglia Ruskin University.
The lecture will take place in the Lord Ashcroft building at Anglia Ruskin University in Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford, CM1 1SQ.

Refreshments will be available from 6pm with the lecture beginning at 6.30pm.

The event is free and open to all. To book your place visit the EventBrite website.  If you have any questions please contact pcc@essex.pnn.police.uk

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Parish Safety Volunteers

Parish Safety VolunteerParish Safety Volunteers

Essex Police and Essex County Fire & Rescue Service are working together to help make a difference in local communities, helping people to live & feel safer.  They are launching a brand new volunteer scheme and are looking to recruit two Parish Safety Volunteers per Parish in Essex, tasked with arranging and conducting home safety visits.  These volunteers will deliver crucial fire and crime prevention advice, extensive knowledge of local support services and the ability to fit smoke detectors directly into the homes of those most in need.

If you’re interested, you’ll need to apply for interview and be required to undertake Essex Police vetting. You will receive comprehensive training from both Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police, a full uniform and all equipment required to carry out the role. To ensure volunteers are well supported, Parish Safety Volunteers from across the county will be invited to on-going training and networking opportunities throughout the year.

Scheme Information

1. What is the purpose of the Parish Safety Volunteer Scheme?

The purpose of this initiative is to make local communities safer, more resilient and better protected from fire and crime. It will do this by:

  • Reducing accidental dwelling fires in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.
  • Reducing burglaries in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.
  • Making people feel safer in the parishes in which Parish Safety Volunteers operate.

2. Why are Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service working together on this?

Essex County Fire and Rescue Service alongside Essex Police have a joint desire to increase community resilience and support the building of stronger communities in Essex.

2. What will Parish Safety Volunteers deliver in their Parishes?

Parish Safety Volunteers will be required to…

  • Conduct Parish Safety Visits and deliver Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service approved advice and support.
  • Have a comprehensive understanding of what support is already offered in the Parish and be able to signpost accordingly.
  • Be able to fit smoke detectors in the homes of local residents.
  • Participate in activities in order to generate Parish Safety Visits and promote awareness of the scheme in their Parish.

4. What else will Parish Safety Volunteers be expected to do whilst volunteering?

Parish Safety Volunteers will be expected to…

  • Liaise with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service in order to arrange visits and confirm volunteering availability.
  • Keep and maintain the Parish Safety Volunteer equipment provided by Essex Police and Essex County Fire and Rescue Service.
  • Attend Parish Safety Volunteer group information, training, review and update sessions
  • Complete the paperwork required of Parish Safety Volunteers and return it within the agreed timeframe.
  • Adhere to the policies, expectations and procedures required by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police at all times.

5. How will Parish Safety Volunteers find individuals requiring a visit?

Referrals will be generated by Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police, through the processes already used by the organisations to arrange home safety visits.

Referrals will also be generated by Parish Safety Volunteers themselves, as they will be promoting the service and already have some local knowledge of areas and individuals that would benefit from a PSV visit.

6. How will Parish Safety Volunteers interact with the Parish Council?

Parish Safety Volunteers will not require co-ordination or management from Parish Councils as Essex County Fire and Rescue Service will provide all support needed.

However, we will set up a direct line of communication between Parish Safety Volunteers and Parish Councils. This could mean that volunteers attend Parish Council Meetings to update on progress and activity. It could also mean a telephone or email update from volunteers. This will be a local arrangement tailored to the needs of the Parish Council in question and established when the scheme is introduced to the Parish.

7. How will Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and Essex Police keep Parish Councils updated on the PSV Scheme?

ECFRS will send a bi-monthly progress update to all Parish Councils for whom the Parish Safety Co-ordinator holds contact details. This will be sent on approximately the final day of the month.

8. How will we know what impact the Parish Safety Volunteers have on their Parish?

The Parish Safety Volunteer Co-ordinator will carry out a robust evaluation of the PSV scheme. This will be completed in by October 2016.

9. Key Contact

Parish Safety Volunteer Co-ordinator: Essex County Fire and Rescue Service – Kieron Moir.

No: 01376 576237

Interested?

Please complete an application form, or get in touch using PSV@essex-fire.gov.uk.

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Crime Prevention Update

essex-policeNovember 2015 Crime Prevention Update

Quite a few bits of advice from Essex Police this month so a handy link list to find what might interest you:

ChristFather-Christmasmas Tips

With the Christmas holiday season almost upon us, now is a good time to remind ourselves to take steps to make sure our Christmas isn’t spoiled by criminals.

It creates opportunities for criminals.   The hustle and bustle of town centres as we rush around, the value of the goods we buy as presents and store in our homes until the big day. We might also be more trusting and generous at Christmas when requests for charity are made, giving the unscrupulous a chance to collect for their own causes.

So what can we do?

The advice below is often common sense, but you might overlook it in your haste to get everything ready.

Out Shopping

When the shops are crowded, the pickpocket has more chance to steal from you. If you can’t arrange to shop during less busy times, make sure you stay alert and be extra careful with your wallet or purse. When carrying  many bags, you will be too busy trying to hold on to these to be aware of anyone stealing from you. You could try to make smaller shopping trips rather than do it all at once and carry too much. Have your purse/wallet close to your body and don’t carry too much cash. The same applies to travelling on crowded buses or trains. If you travel by car, make sure you park in a well- lit area, lock all doors and windows and do not leave presents in view. Try not to return to your car to leave purchases in the boot before continuing with your shopping trip as thieves may well watch car parks for just such a chance. Arrange to collect heavy items from stores when you have finished all of your shopping.   Always keep your chequebook and cheque card separately and never keep a note of your pin number with any of your credit or debit cards.

If you need to use an ATM (cash machine), try to use one which is either inside a bank or store, or one that is in a well-lit area, away from nooks and crannies.  Be aware of who and what is close by, if the ATM looks as though it has been tampered with, do not use it (and report it to the Bank or store a.s.a.p.).   Never use an ATM if someone is using a mobile phone behind you, or close by. (They could be tapping your pin number into their phone memory).  It is often a safer option to use a supermarket, shop or store that offers cash-back.

At Home

Having bought all those wonderful presents, don’t make it easy for someone to steal from your home. Keep them out of sight until last thing on Christmas Eve and if you ‘hide’ or store larger items such as bicycles in the shed or outbuildings, make sure they are very secure. Now is a good time to check that you know what you have both normally (TV, Video etc) and with the extra presents you have bought. You may well find you need to check your insurance to make sure you are covered for the value of goods in your home. Take the frame numbers of new cycles and the serial numbers of new electrical equipment for future reference. Remember, empty boxes left outside advertise that you have new goods inside – dispose of packaging carefully.

If you go out for the eveningmake it look like someone is at home by turning on lamps or house lights and, the radio. Don’t leave curtains open so people can see your decorations, potential thieves can also see in. Be extra careful about locking doors and windows. As a fire precaution, don’t leave ‘Christmas lights’ on in the house whilst you are out.

If you go away for the holiday period – use an automatic timer for lights and ask a trusted neighbour to watch your home. Don’t forget to cancel newspapers and milk if you have them delivered and either redirect your mail through the Post Office or have your neighbour take mail into the house – unopened Christmas cards and mail, are a sure sign that a house is empty.

Strangers at the door – genuine delivery personnel, usually have uniforms and liveried vehicles and should not need to come into your home. Charity collectors will have identification and will not be offended if you ask to see it. If you are not sure but want to make a donation, ask whether these can be made in other ways, perhaps through a bank.

Out on the town

  • With office parties and general Christmas celebrations, pubs, restaurants and other venues are often crowded.
  • Don’t leave bags over the back of your chair and keep wallets and purses close to your body to make it more difficult for the pickpocket.
  • Busy places make it easier for the sneak thief, so be alert at all times.
  • Make prior arrangements as to how you will get home, perhaps nominating a ‘Designated Driver.’
  • Avoid any potential disturbances on the street. Stay with friends if you can.
  • Avoid the temptation to take a minicab on the street even if you are having difficulty getting a cab – it is illegal for minicabs to take passengers who have not pre-booked.

Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be back. Don’t drink too much – you could become a target for thieves.

Fire-KillsFire Kills

  • Never place candles near your Christmas tree or materials that can catch light easily.
  • Check your Christmas tree lights carry the British Safety Standard sign.
  • Test the batteries in your smoke alarm every week. Never remove them.
  • Make sure cigarettes are put out properly.
  • Make sure your family and visitors know how to escape in an emergency.
  • Most fires start in the kitchen. Avoid leaving a cooker unattended.
  • Never overload electrical sockets. Always switch Christmas lights off and unplug them before you go to bed.
  • Keep candles, lighters and matches out of children’s reach. Never leave burning candles unattended.
  • Decorations can burn easily – so don’t attach them to lights or heaters.
  • Store fireworks safely:   Never go back to a lit firework and keep a bucket of water nearby.
  • Take care around open fireplaces as clothes may catch fire.
  • Take time to check on elderly relatives and neighbours this Christmas as they are at greater risk from fire.


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Car Thefts

We all do it, walk away from the car and with our back turned to the car press the button on the key to lock it, never thinking that it may not lock. Yet a simple thing like looking at the car as you press that button to get the confirmation of it locking with lights flashing, or just pulling the handle to check it is locked can prevent a lot of thefts of or from motor vehicles. Why does it not always lock, it could be fault, battery running low, user error or some individual with device to block your signal nearby. In any case Lock it, Check it and we can prevent some crimes.

If you have cars of different values, where possible park the higher value car in your garage. When parking a car on your driveway ensure it is well lit and park the lower value car in front of the higher value car, as the thieves are more likely to target high value cars and will be deterred if they can’t easily drive such a car away from the scene. Locked gates and collapsible posts on the driveway will also deter the thief.  With high value cars consider the fitting of a tracking system.

As cars become more and more advanced and rely more and more on computers to manage their systems our thieves become more technical too. To cater for both the technical and less technical thief use the locking system on your vehicle and look to the good old fashioned “Krook Lock”, steering wheel, or pedal lock to supplement it, it has a great visual deterrent.

Lastly before you turn in for the night check that all doors, ground floor windows and easily accessible windows are closed and locked. PVCu doors – don’t forget that the door is not fully locked until you have lifted the inside handle and turned the key. If you have an intruder alarm and can do so activate the downstairs zone. To stop the burglar getting to the vulnerable windows and doors to the rear ensure that side gates are closed and locked.

Please also ensure that you put your car keys somewhere safe and out of sight, when you return home. Put your car keys in a drawer (preferably one that is noisy to open) or some other secure place, but don’t take them up to the bedroom with you.

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Car Park Thefts

There is an increase in items being stolen from cars in car parks at this time of year whilst drivers are distracted loading purchases into their vehicles.

When you have finished your shopping please:

  • If you are on your own or need to leave your vehicle, perhaps to return a trolley, lock your car and  try to keep it in sight.
  • Do not leave handbags, laptops or mobile phones on the seat at any time even when loading your boot or just returning your trolley. Keep your car door locked when travelling slowly through car parks, in traffic queues or at traffic lights.
  • Keep high value items covered or in your boot out of sight. Boxes of cigarettes are particularly desirable due to their high value and ease of resale.
  • Remove all high value items from your vehicle immediately when you get to your destination.
  • Please always be aware of who is around you and keep safe.

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Top ten online safety tips.

Watch your back

Whenever you’re about to post something online, pause and just imagine someone in authority, someone you respect, reading that post or looking at that photo.  If that feels uncomfortable, don’t do it.

Got a nickname?

Think about using a nickname instead of your real name if you’re signing up to a microblogging site like Twitter.

Consider setting up a separate, personal email account to use with social media sites, rather than using your work, or even your main personal email. Remember, only connect to people you know.

Check your settings

Use the privacy and security settings on social media sites so that only friends and family can see your pages.

Then speak to friends and family and encourage them to tighten their privacy settings too as they could affect you.

Even if your account is locked as private, personal information you have shared with others could still be accessed through their pages.

Mother’s maiden name

Don’t use your mother’s real maiden name as a password or as a bank security answer.  It doesn’t really matter whether you use the real one so make up a name that only you know.  Just make sure you remember it.

Guard personal information

Don’t post any personal information – your address, email address or mobile number – publicly online. Just one piece of personal information could be used by a complete stranger to find out even more. If you want to include your birthday in your profile it’s safer not to actually display it publicly – providing your full date of birth makes you more vulnerable to identity fraud.

Photos and videos

Be careful about which photos and videos you share on social media sites – avoid photos of your home, work, school or places you’re associated with.  Remember, once you’ve put a picture of yourself online, other people may be able to see it and download it – it may not just be yours anymore.

Check what’s needed

Don’t give out information online simply because it’s asked for – think whether whoever is asking for it, really needs it. When you’re filling in forms online, for example to register with a website or sign up for a newsletter, always provide the minimum information possible.

Direct message if you can

It’s almost always possible to send a direct message or private message on social media platforms. If you’re having a personal chat, this is the best option to go for – unless you don’t mind sharing your conversation with millions of other users. Alternatively, send an email from a private account.

Delete old accounts

If you’ve stopped using a social media site or forum, then close your account down. There’s no point in leaving personal information out there unnecessarily.

Get anti-virus software

Make sure you have anti-virus software installed on your computer and be careful what you download or install on your computer.

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Safe internet shopping

Taken from GetSafeOnline.org
  • Ensure that any online retailer unfamiliar to you is reputable by researching them. Establish a physical address and telephone contact details. Remember that the best way to find a reputable retailer is via recommendation from a trusted source.
  • Remember that paying by credit card offers greater protection than with other methods in terms of fraud, guarantees and non-delivery.
  • Double check all details of your purchase before confirming payment.
  • Do not reply to unsolicited emails from companies you don’t recognise.
  • Before entering payment card details on a website, ensure that the link is secure, in three ways:
    • There should be a padlock symbol in the browser window frame, which appears when you attempt to log in or register. Be sure that the padlock is not on the page itself … this will probably indicate a fraudulent site.
    • The web address should begin with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’.
    • If using the latest version of your browser, the address bar or the name of the site owner will turn green.
  • Some websites will redirect you to a third-party payment service (such as WorldPay). Ensure that these sites are secure before you make your payment.
  • Do not pay for goods when using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
  • Safeguard and remember the password you have chosen for the extra verification services used on some websites, such as Verified by Visa.
  • When making a payment to an individual, never transfer the money directly into their bank account but use a secure payment site such as PayPal, where money is transferred between two electronic accounts.
  • Check sellers’ privacy policy and returns policy.
  • Always log out of sites into which you have logged in or registered details. Simply closing your browser is not enough to ensure privacy.
  • Keep receipts.
  • Check credit card and bank statements carefully after shopping to ensure that the correct amount has been debited and also that no fraud has taken place as a result of the transaction.
  • Ensure you have effective and updated antivirus/antispyware software and firewall running before you go online.
  • Where possible, check that the price listed by the retailer on your browser is the same as that quoted on other people’s browsers, to ensure you are not being monitored and overcharged.

The Risks

  • Fraud resulting from making payments over unsecured web pages.
  • Fraud resulting from making payments using an unsecured Wi-Fi connection.
  • Bogus online stores/shops – fake websites and email offers for goods and services that do not exist.
  • Buying fake goods intentionally or unintentionally – finding they are of inferior quality and also possibly funding more serious crimes in the process.
  • Losing your money when you make direct bank payments, only to find that the goods are inferior, or do not exist at all.
  • Receiving goods or services which do not match the advertiser’s description.
  • Being offered tailored prices based on information gathered by the retailer about your online shopping habits and websites visited.

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Restorative Justice

essex-restorative-justiceSuccessful Trial of Restorative Justice Completed

Essex Police have successfully completed a six-months trial in West Essex, which includes the districts of Epping, Brentwood, Harlow and Thurrock.  It is now intended to roll it out to the rest of Essex from October and the Police & Crime Commissioner is inviting those groups and agencies who might be interested in getting involved to attend one of two launch events:

  • 27th October  12.00 – 15.00 at The Rayleigh Club, Hullbridge Road, Rayleigh, SS6 9QS ,
  • 28th October 12.00 – 15.00 at The Essex Golf and Country Club, Colchester, CO6 2JU.

The afternoon will begin with a buffet lunch, followed by talks and presentations focusing on the success of the West Essex RJ pilot, the impact of restorative justice on those that take part, and what the roll-out means for you in your organisation.  

The launch will involve speeches from PCC Nick Alston, members of the RJ Hub and examples from those who have participated in Restorative Justice in Essex.

If you are interested in attending please contact Emma Callaghan, Restorative Justice Hub Development Manager, by email emma.callaghan@essex.pnn.police.uk, before Friday 16th October.

So, What is Restorative Justice About?

Restorative Justice is a process which gives victims the opportunity to meet or communicate with those who have offended against them.  It holds offenders to account and helps them take responsibility for the harm they have caused.  Both parties discuss next steps and the offender can then make amends.

Victims are given the chance to explain to a criminal the impact a crime has had on them, ask questions of the offender and seek an apology.  It enables offenders to be held to account for what they have done but also take responsibility for the harm they have caused.  

If a face-to-face meeting is not appropriate they can do so indirectly via letters or messages. Restorative justice is used for less serious offences or conflicts, such as graffiti or anti-social behaviour.  Everyone involved must consent to take part.

The Benefits are Apparent

  • 85% victims are satisfied following an RJ process.
  • Re-offending is reduced by as much as 27%.
  • 98% direct RJ ends in mutually agreed outcomes.
  • RJ decreases post-traumatic stress and allows victims of crime to return to work more quickly.
  • In neighbour disputes, RJ can help to avoid evictions and help neighbours live in peace.

Read more on the Police & Crime Commissioner’s website or download their information leaflet.  

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Vishing Fraud Alert

serious-crime-directorateVishing Fraud Alert

Please be aware of recent fraud activity that is targeting businesses within our Region.

The Fraud

Fraudsters are ringing up company wage clerks/finance directors claiming to be from Barclay’s Fraud department and gaining permission to remotely access the victim’s computer system.  This is on the pretence that their business account has been compromised. The victim opens up the bank account, the fraudster then transfers the money into what they state will be the company’s new, none compromised account.  The funds are then automatically distributed in seconds. Total regional losses have exceeded £1 million.

Protect your company

  • Do not be afraid to end cold calls.
  • Do not to assume a caller is genuine just because they hold some information about you. Criminals may already have got hold of some basic information about a potential victim, such as a name, address and account details to try to make the call appear legitimate.
  • If in any doubt hang up and call the bank yourself on numbers you know are genuine, however be sure to hang the phone up long enough to prevent the fraudster holding the line open.
  • NEVER call the bank back on the number the caller provides you.
  • The Bank will never call and ask for remote access to your computers or for passwords to access your accounts.

If you are a victim of “Vishing” call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or use our online tool to report the fraud and receive a police crime reference number. DI 3159 Lee Morton Serious Economic Crime Unit

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Essex Police Go App

ecm_1New App from Essex Police

Savvy smartphone users will soon be able to access the latest news from Essex Police through a brand new app.

To mark the first year anniversary of Essex Community Messaging (ECM), the ECM app was launched on Thursday October 1, 2015 and is available to download for iPhone and Android devices.

The app will enable residents to receive localised messages straight to their device, from Essex Police officers, staff and key partners such as Neighbourhood Watch.

Those who sign up will be able to select information on what they would like to receive – based on where they live, work or socialise. A new photo feature will also allow users to view images to identify stolen property and help find missing or wanted people.

In its first year, ECM has already proved useful in alerting residents to crime and missing people in their areas – and even assisted in the conviction of a bogus charity collector. Earlier this year, PC Sam Waters sent out a message to alert Wickford residents about a man who was believed to be knocking on doors requesting sponsorship money for charity and using the money for his own gain. The ECM message led to 12 people coming forward with information.

On the information that was received, a 30-year-old man was arrested and later admitted four counts of fraud by false representation. He received a 12 week suspended sentence at Basildon Magistrates’ Court.

Chief Supt Luke Collison, ECM Project Lead, said:

ECM App Benefit help play an active roleFollowing the success of the initial ECM platform, we were keen to develop a smart phone app version. We recognise that more and more people in Essex use mobile technology and we clearly want to be a part of that in how we deliver modern policing.

We want to share as much information as we can with the public, quickly and efficiently so that communities are up to date on local policing issues. The ECM app allows us to target our messages to ensure we get the right information to the right people.

This is the first smart app that Essex Police has launched and we are convinced it will help many people stay safe across the county.

Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex, said:

ECM App benefit helps to keep you informedWe’re continuing to develop Essex Community Messaging to make it even easier to get key crime and community safety information out to local people faster than ever. It’s also essential that ECM provides a channel for a two-way flow of information between Essex Police, our Watch groups, and the people of Essex.

I encourage everyone to sign up to ECM.  It’s a great way of learning simple measures to prevent crime and it also provides an opportunity to report suspicious behaviour which may help Essex Police to bring criminals to justice.

Information on how to download the app is available on the ECM website: www.essex.police.uk/ecm

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Essex Police & DogLost

Essex Police & DogLost

Essex Police, in collaboration with DogLost are running a campaign to help reunite dogs with their owners however, preventing their loss in the first place is a better outcome all around and so they also offer the following advice:

  • Don’t tie your dog up outside a shop.
  • Don’t leave your dog alone in the car.
  • Make sure your dog has been micro chipped (from April 2016, your dog MUST be chipped).
  • Your dog should always wear a collar and ID tag with your name and address on it.  Avoid putting your dogs name on the disc.
  • Take clear photographs of your dog from various angles, and update them regularly.  Make a note of any distinguishing features.
  • Vary your times of walks and routes; some dogs are actually targeted and snatched during walks.
  • Fit a bell to your garden gate so you hear if anyone opens it.
  • Keep your dog in view in the garden, don’t leave them unsupervised.

If the worst happens and you have a lost or stolen dog:

  • Report stolen dogs to the police as soon as possible by calling 101.
  • Register your lost or stolen dog free of charge with www.doglost.co.uk or call 0844 800 3220 and access their help page for advice.
  • Contact your local dog warden.
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Neighbourhood Watch

Neighbourhood Watch

A special edition Neighbourhood Watch Logo

Interest in Neighbourhood Watch?

Given some unhappy recent experiences it has been suggested that it might be worth considering formally setting up Neighbourhood Watch schemes in our Villages.

Neighbourhood & Home Watch is a voluntary network of schemes where neighbours come together, along with the police and local partners, to build safe and friendly communities.

The aim of the Neighbourhood Watch and Home Watch movement is to bring neighbours together to create strong, friendly, active communities where crime and anti-social behaviour are less likely to happen.

If you would be interested in being involved with this or would like to know more please contact the Parish Council Clerk Sue Pullen on 01206 735 367 or susiepullen@btinternet.com

If enough people are interested we will organise a meeting with a Neighbourhood Watch expert to explore what is involved and what our next steps should be.

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