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- Always be aware of where you are, be familiar with your surroundings (exits etc).
- Be aware of alternative ways to get home from work if using public transport.
- Be aware of how you can walk home from your place of work, the shops or an excursion
- Test your smoke alarm and replace old batteries - replace unit if necessary, they are only £5 !
- Always ensure that uPVC doors are locked correctly
- Keep computer security software up to date on your computer.
- Regularly check bank and credit card statements for fraudulent transactions.
- Shred unwanted bank, credit card and utility statements. Don't just place them in the bin.
- Reduce liklihood of skidding - check that the tread on your car tyres meet the legal depth.
- Always ensure that you home looks occupied, even when you are out. Use a timeswitch on a tablelamp so it lights up when dark.
- Why not at least think about having that free household security check by your local Police
- Don't give any personal details to anyone requesting them, even if they say they are the Police



(The Register, dated 24th December 2015 author Simon Sharwood)


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Hyatt Hotels Corporation says it "recently identified malware on computers that operate the payment processing systems for Hyatt-managed locations."

The hotelier says "As soon as we discovered the activity, we launched an investigation and engaged leading third-party cyber security experts."

The chain's asking customers to keep an eye on their credit card bills, on the off-chance that the folks responsible for the malware injection have gone on a room-booking spree.

(The Register, dated 14th December2015 author John Leyden)

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Crooks appear to be taking advantage of the recent sale of the UK Ministry of Defence's IPv4 address space to run more convincing scams.

They have purportedly bought blocks of IP addresses with previously pristine records to distribute scams. This malfeasance was enabled, in part, because the relevant Whois database entries were not updated. The issue surfaced via a thread on Reddit.

The fraudsters appear to be attempting to boost the credibility of scams and perhaps get past web filters, at least temporarily, by using a previously trusted and clean IP range to pump out invoice scams.

(Computer World, dated 14th December 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

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Twitter has warned some of its users that they may have been targeted in an attack by state-sponsored hackers.

This is the first time that the social media website has issued such an alert, but companies like Google and Facebook have issued similar warnings in the past to their respective users.

"We believe that these actors (possibly associated with a government) may have been trying to obtain information such as email addresses, IP addresses and/or phone numbers," Twitter said in its notification, which some recipients then posted on their Twitter feeds.

It's unclear how many users were warned, but Twitter said that only a "small group of accounts" may have been targeted. Many users who acknowledged having received the message are privacy advocates and security researchers, some of whom tweet under pseudonyms.

(The Register, dated 10th December 2015 auhor Iain Thomson)

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Some of the biggest names in the security software business have been compromised by a serious flaw that could allow a hacker to use the commercial security code to infiltrate computers.

In March, researchers at security firm enSilo found a serious flaw in popular free antivirus engine AVG Internet Security 2015. They found that the software was allocating memory for read, write, and execute (RWX) permissions in a predictable address that an attacker could use to inject code into a target system.

enSilo got in touch with AVG and the flaw was fixed within a couple of days. But the team then went through other security suites and found that McAfee VirusScan Enterprise version 8.8 and Kaspersky Total Security 2015 were also vulnerable.

"We'll continue updating this list as we receive more information," said Tomer Bitton, VP of research at enSilo, in a blog post.

"Given that this is a repetitive coding issue amongst Anti-Virus - an intrusive product, we believe that this vulnerability is also likely to appear in other intrusive products, non-security related, such as application-performing products."

Google's in-house hacker Tavis Ormandy found a similar issue with Kaspersky and wrote a blog post detailing how to exploit the problem.

Given the possible widespread nature of the problem, enSilo has created a free checking utility called AVulnerabilityChecker and stuck it on Github for anyone to use. Intel, owner of McAfee, and Kaspersky have now fixed the issue, but users are advised to check that they have all the latest updates.


(Computer World, dated 8th December 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

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While the power of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks has decreased in recent months, their number has spiked, a trend that could signal trouble for smaller companies and websites.

The number of DDoS attacks recorded in the third quarter of this year has grown by 180 percent compared to Q3 2014, exceeding 1,500, Akamai said in the latest edition of its State of the Internet report published Tuesday.

Despite their large number, the attacks were shorter in duration, had lower bandwidth and smaller volumes compared to both the same period last year and the previous quarter.

Smaller companies' websites are increasingly at risk due to the rising popularity of DDoS-for-hire services and are also a prime target for attackers that use DDoS as an extortion tool.

(Computer World, dated 7th December 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

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The flaws can be exploited remotely through emails, Web pages, MMS and rogue apps

Google has released a new batch of security fixes for its Nexus smartphones and tablets, addressing flaws that could allow attackers to compromise the Android devices via rogue emails, Web pages, and MMS messages.

The updates address five vulnerabilities rated as critical, 12 rated as high and two as moderate. A significant number of flaws were again located in the OS' media processing components, which handle audio and video file playback

uaware comment : When Google released previous security fixes for its own mobiles, the other big Android phone producers released their own security updates a couple of weeks later.


(Computer World, dated 7th December 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

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The number of vulnerabilities discovered in technical support applications installed on PCs by manufacturers keeps piling up. New exploits have been published for flaws in Lenovo Solution Center, Toshiba Service Station and Dell System Detect.

The most serious flaws appear to be in Lenovo Solution Center and could allow a malicious Web page to execute code on Lenovo Windows-based computers with system privileges.

(The Register, dated 4th December 2015 author Alexander J Martin)
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Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has confessed to a data breach in which a third party managed to snag the personal data of 650,000 customers, together with some financial data, through a hack on its old website.

Some of the pub chain's staffers' personal info was also accessed.

A database containing personally identifiable information was accessed, potentially compromising the names, email addresses, dates of birth, and phone numbers of 656,723 customers.

An email to customers stated "very limited credit/debit card information" was stolen from "a tiny number of customers (100), who purchased Wetherspoon vouchers online before August 2014", however 'Spoons was unable to confirm to customers whether they had specifically been affected.

(1st January 2016)


(The Times, dated 30th December 2015 author Graeme Paton) [Option 1]


Parking companies are attempting to trick car owners into paying penalties by "mimicking" official stationery and branding, motoring groups have warned.

Tickets issued for parking on private land are not "fines" and cannot be legally enforced in the same way as those written out by council traffic wardens.

However, it was claimed that some companies call their tickets "parking charge notices", with "PCN" often stamped on the front, mimicking official ones handed out by councils. They can also use similar typefaces, colours and branding used by local authorities, motoring groups said.

The disclosure was made after an investigation by The Times found a sharp increase in the number of tickets issued by parking companies in recent years.

An estimated 3.5 million demands will be made to the DVLA in 2015-16 for vehicle owner addresses, enabling parking companies to chase motorists for payment. This will be up from little over three million a year earlier.

Private car parking companies often operate in supermarkets, retail parks, hospitals and housing estates. Many issue fines of between £85 and £100 for overstaying in parking spaces, compared with about £50 by councils outside London.

Critics have warned that companies go to increasing lengths to trick motorists into paying, particularly since the government banned the clamping of cars on private land in 2012.

In a recent report, the RAC Foundation said that the appearance of tickets was creating confusion. It added: " The parking companies who issue them are in a difficult position: they want their tickets, invoices and letters to be noticed, and for the format to match the seriousness of the content.

"Yet in seeking to achieve this they risk accusations of mimicking official stationary and branding. Letters sent by private parking companies regarding parking charges tend to look official and to use official-sounding language."

Paul Wattes, the head of public affairs at the AA, said :" As always they scare drivers first with their PCNs through the post then usually back off at appeal. It is not acceptable and drivers put to all the hassle should be compensated for foster better practices among the parking companies."

People parking on private land officially enter into a contract with the landowner and can be issued with a ticket - or an invoice - for breach of contract by overstaying. Motorists are not legally obliged to pay, but companies can pursue drivers through the civil courts for non-payment.

David Carrod, of Private Parking Appeals, which helps people to challenge tickets, said that about 90% of court claims were undefended.

(1st January 2016)


(Daily Mail, dated 29th December 2015 author Ian Drury)


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A police database that contains details of 22billion vehicle journeys is illegal, Britain's surveillance tsar has warned.

A network of around 8,300 'Big Brother' spy cameras takes photos of about 30million number plates each day, with senior officers claiming it is invaluable in preventing and solving serious crimes and terrorist attacks.

The Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) technology is also fitted to police vehicles, and is used to find stolen cars and tackle uninsured drivers.

But Tony Porter, the independent surveillance camera commissioner, has questioned the database's legality.

In his report, Mr Porter said: 'There is no statutory authority for the creation of the national ANPR database, its creation was never agreed by Parliament, and no report on its operation has even been laid before Parliament.

'I have referred these concerns over the legality of ANPR to the Home Office. The Government may wish to consider the statutory framework on which ANPR is based.'

Each time a vehicle passes an ANPR camera it takes a picture of the number plate and the front of the car, including the driver's face.

Police say this allows them to track criminals and terrorists in real time as they drive around. But privacy campaigners have long argued that the system, which allows officers to access the mountains of data for up to two years, is intrusive.

Mr Porter's warning is troubling because police want to extend retention of details to seven years and DVLA officials could be permitted access to track down road tax cheats - increasing the risk of data being abused.

While there is almost no chance of the system being shut down, it raises the prospect of motorists - including criminals - taking legal action against the authorities for breaches of privacy.

A source close to the surveillance camera commissioner said: 'Previous home secretaries have been told about this but nothing has been done. Civil liberties groups have told us they might take a test case.'

Daniel Nesbitt, research director of pressure group Big Brother Watch, said: 'If there is to be any confidence in this system the questions about its legality need to be resolved as a matter of urgency.

'It's now virtually impossible for motorists to travel without having their details stored, regardless of whether or not they are doing anything wrong.

'As this report shows, a proper debate about how this technology is used and to what extent it invades the privacy of ordinary motorists is long overdue.'

Bella Sankey, director of policy at Liberty, the civil liberties pressure group, added: 'The slow creep of ANPR use, without public or parliamentary consent, undermines the bedrock principle of policing by consent - how can we consent when we haven't been consulted?'

Police minister Mike Penning said: 'CCTV and ANPR systems are a valuable source of intelligence and evidence for the police to use in both the prevention and detection of crime.

The Government, together with the surveillance camera commissioner, aims to ensure that the public can be confident that surveillance camera systems in public places are there for their personal protection.'

In July 2013, information commissioner Christopher Graham declared that a ring of ANPR cameras installed around the quiet market town of Royston in Hertfordshire was unlawful and excessive. He condemned Hertfordshire Constabulary for failing to justify the extent of the surveillance, as cameras on every major road made it impossible for the town's 16,000 residents to enter or leave without being registered by the system.

(1st January 2016)


(The Guardian, dated 29th December 2015 author Owen Bowcott)

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Coercive or controlling domestic abuse becomes a crime punishable by up to five years in prison from Tuesday, even if it stops short of physical violence.

The Crown Prosecution Service's new powers have been introduced as Citizens Advice reports a steep rise in the number of victims seeking help over the past year.

The charity said it had supported more than 5,400 people suffering from domestic abuse in the 12 months to October 2015, including 3,000 cases of emotional abuse and 900 of financial abuse.

The new legislation will enable the CPS to bring charges where there is evidence of repeated, or continuous, controlling or coercive behaviour within an intimate or family relationship.

The CPS said abuse can include a pattern of threats, humiliation and intimidation, or behaviour such as stopping a partner socialising, controlling their social media accounts, surveillance through apps or dictating what they wear.

Controlling or coercive behaviour is defined under section 76 of the Serious Crime Act 2015 as causing someone to fear that violence will be used against them on at least two occasions, or generating serious alarm or distress that has a substantial effect on their usual day-to-day activities.

The new law is likely to generate complex challenges over precisely what constitutes criminal behaviour. The director of public prosecutions, Alison Saunders, said: "Controlling or coercive behaviour can limit victims' basic human rights, such as their freedom of movement and their independence.

"This behaviour can be incredibly harmful in an abusive relationship where one person holds more power than the other, even if on the face of it, this behaviour might seem playful, innocuous or loving.

"Victims can be frightened of the repercussions of not abiding by someone else's rules. Often they fear that violence will be used against them, or suffer from extreme psychological and emotional abuse.

"Being subjected to repeated humiliation, intimidation or subordination can be as harmful as physical abuse, with many victims stating that trauma from psychological abuse had a more lasting impact than physical abuse."

Cases can be heard in magistrates or crown courts, and the maximum sentence is five years imprisonment. Evidence can include emails, GPS tracking devices installed on mobile phones, bank records, witness statements from family and friends and evidence of isolation.

Polly Neate, the chief executive of Women's Aid, said: "Coercive control is at the heart of domestic abuse. Perpetrators will usually start abusing their victim by limiting her personal freedoms, monitoring her every move and stripping away her control of her life; physical violence often comes later.

"Women's Aid and other organisations campaigned to have this recognised in law, and we are thrilled that this has now happened. It is a landmark moment in the UK's approach to domestic abuse, and must be accompanied by comprehensive professional training and awareness raising among the public."

Louisa Rolfe, the temporary deputy chief constable of Avon and Somerset police and the national police lead on domestic abuse, said: "We have seen a substantial increase in reporting nationally with greater understanding of all forms of abuse, not just physical violence.

"The new domestic abuse offence ... is another tool to help the police service and CPS prosecute perpetrators of domestic abuse and protect victims. It will provide more opportunities to evidence other forms of domestic abuse, beyond physical violence. Not only will this encourage more victims to report, we hope, but also the concerned family and friends of victims."

The College of Policing's head of crime and criminal justice, David Tucker, said: "The new offence of coercive control presents challenges. It demands much fuller understanding of events that led up to a call for assistance and this can make evidence gathering more complex. However, more importantly, it delivers greater opportunities to safeguard victims and achieve successful prosecutions."

According to Citizens Advice, 1,500 people sought help for domestic abuse between July and September 2015, a rise of 24% on the same period in the previous year.

Gillian Guy, the organisation's chief executive, said: "Perpetrators are using coercive control to trap victims in abusive relationships.

"More and more people are coming to Citizens Advice because they are experiencing abuse by a partner or loved one, including restrictions on accessing their own money, forcing them to take on debts and spying on them online.

"The government's change in the law making coercive control a criminal offence is an important step forward in protecting victims of domestic abuse and helping them find a way out.

"It is also important that the government continues to consider whether victims of all forms of abuse are able to get the support they need, including through the justice system and legal aid."

Figures from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary show the number of domestic abuse cases reported to the police in England and Wales rose by 31% between 2013 and 2015.

(1st January 2016)

(The Telegraph, dated 28th December 2015 author Press Association)


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Prisoners in custody for murder and other violent offences are among hundreds who have been released by mistake.

Forty-eight suspected or convicted criminals were freed in England and Wales because of blunders in 2014/15, new figures obtained by the Press Association reveal.

In the last decade 505 prisoners have been let out in error - a rate of just under one every week.

Critics labelled the findings "disturbing", while the Prison Service insisted incidents are "very rare" and have been falling.

In one episode, Martynas Kupstys was let out of HMP Lincoln while on remand for murder in August last year. He waited for three hours at a nearby bus stop before being found and returned to custody.

Kupstys was later jailed after he was convicted of the murder of Ivans Zdanovics, 24, who died in a house fire in January 2014.

In another incident a prisoner was freed from HMP Hewell in Worcestershire in July last year after an apparent mix-up involving another inmate with the same surname. He was brought back to prison a day later.

Tory MP Philip Davies, a member of the Commons justice committee, said: "The first duty of the Prison Service should be protection of the public.

"These disturbing figures show that once a week the Prison Service release the wrong prisoner, and have done so for many years.

"This is nothing more than a shambles which puts the public unnecessarily at risk."

Shadow justice minister Andy Slaughter said the public will be "stunned", adding: "This is a further sign of the crisis in our prisons where overcrowding and violence are rife."

Lucy Hastings, director of charity Victim Support, said victims will be "alarmed and frustrated".

She said: "We know it can be distressing and worrying when offenders are released from custody - releases made in error can make this many times worse."

Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information request show 41 individuals were wrongly released from prison and seven from court custody in 2014/15.

The number, which includes both prisoners who are serving sentences after being convicted and those on remand, was one fewer than the 49 mistakenly freed in the previous year.

Just under a quarter of all those wrongly freed in the two years were serving sentences or charged with robbery or violent offences including assault and battery.

One inmate was in custody on a firearms charge and another was being held for possessing an explosive substance.

Two of those freed in error in 2014/15 had not been returned to custody as of the end of last month, including an alleged sex offender released from court.

Six of those incorrectly released in the previous year had not been brought back to custody as of September.

In FoI responses the MoJ said the fact a prisoner is released in error does not necessarily mean that they will remain unlawfully at large if they are not brought back to custody as there are circumstances where they will not have to return.

The figures show there were three releases in error from HMP Manchester, one from HMP Belmarsh and one from HMP Woodhill over the two years. All three are categorised as high-security prisons.

HMP Bullingdon in Oxfordshire had the highest number of erroneous releases with a total of 10 between 2013 and 2015.

Historical figures dating back to 2005/6 show the number of erroneous releases peaked at 68 in 2009/10, having more than doubled in two years, before falling to the current level.

A Prison Service spokesman said: "Public protection is our top priority. These incidents are very rare but we are not complacent.

"The number of releases in error have fallen by almost a third since 2009 and the vast majority are returned to custody very quickly.

"The Prison Service investigates each incident and they are reported to the police for further action."

(1st January 2016)


(The Telegraph, dated 23rd December 2015 author Danny Boyle)


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Tourists might think sky-high London prices are criminal, but police take a different view.

A woman called 999 because she was angry at seeing a clown selling balloons for £5 each in the capital, which was "much more than other clowns were charging".

She was one of 10 of the worst offenders for time-wasting highlighted by the Metropolitan Police as it urged people not to make unnecessary calls.

Others to ring 999 in London for bogus reasons in the last year included those complaining of having been served a cold kebab, being kept awake by noisy foxes and asking where to get a bacon sandwich.

Scotland Yard said Christmas and New year is the busiest time of year for the emergency services and nuisance calls waste valuable resources.

Ten time-wasting calls to the Met Police

1. A woman who had seen a clown in London selling balloons for £5 each, which was "much more than other clowns were charging"
2. A woman who said she had bought a cold kebab and the shop would not give her a replacement.

3. A man who called 999 as he was advised to phone 111, but did not know the number

4. A caller who dialled 999 at 4am on a Saturday and asked: "Where is the best place to get a bacon sandwich right now?"

5A man who said his 50p coin was stuck in a washing machine at his local launderette and wanted police to retrieve it
6. Callers who missed their alarm and were going to be late for a flight and wanted officers to take them to the airport

7. Callers in distress because their low fuel indicator light had come on
8. A man who did not have change for a parking machine and who claimed staff at a car park had kidnapped him because they were refusing to let him out for free
9. A woman who wanted police to deal with a pair of noisy foxes outside her home as they were preventing her from sleeping

10. A woman who said there were men in her house trying to take her away. The men in question were actually police officers who had come to arrest her

On average, the Met Police receive more than 4.5 million calls a year to the 999 and 101 numbers.

Chief Superintendent Pippa Mills, head of the Met's command and control, said: "This is just a sample of inappropriate calls received by our operators this year.

"Callers who do not have an emergency may prevent others who require our immediate assistance from getting through to us. This presents a real risk to our ability to respond to genuine emergency calls."

She said 999 should only be dialled in an emergency and if the complaint is not an emergency 101 should be called.

(1st January 2016)


(The Telegraph, dated 22nd December 2015 author David Barrett)

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Police are "dismissive" of complaints about crime on social media websites such as Facebook, and often fail to act when serious online crimes are reported, an official watchdog has said.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said it had unearthed "indefensible" attitudes among the police towards online crime on social media.

One police officer told inspectors that online offences were "just kids on Facebook", an attitude described as "disturbing" in the new report.

"The essential point to remember is that the gravity of the offence and its impact on the victim is not lessened because it is carried out online," said the 80-page study.

"In some ways, the vulnerability of the online victim may be increased because the number of people who become aware of the allegation or who read the script of the offender cannot ever be fully known."

It went on: "We found that some police officers and staff were dismissive of complaints about the misuse of social media sites.

"We were met with comments such as 'What do they expect us to do about it?', 1I do not use social media; how am I supposed to investigate it?' and with regard to a domestic abuse incident, we were told that: 'He will not carry out the threat to stab her; otherwise he would not have posted the threat online'."

Such attitudes showed "a worrying lack of understanding both of the threat and risk to the victim and, as a consequence, a failure positively to support them", said inspectors.

It highlighted how police were "frustrated" over a "lack of ability" to deal with investigations involving social media.

There were also worrying gaps over the way police approach financial crimes committed online, often referred to as cyber crimes.

The HMIC study found a lack of clarity over which alleged crimes the police should investigate and which could properly be passed to Action Fraud, the centralised organisation which registers frauds such as online credit card theft.

"In some instances, we were told that the victim had to wait several days before a police officer visited because his or her case was not considered important," said the HMIC report.

"Some victims were passed immediately to Action Fraud, regardless of whether that was the appropriate course of action.

"And other victims commented on what they considered to be a lack of police action once the crime had been reported."

Jane, a victim who lost £6,500 to a fraudster she met through a dating site, said: "The police told me to contact Action Fraud. I never heard anything else from Action Fraud or the police."

Another victim, Simon, who lost £60,000 in a "boiler room" shares fraud, also said he had "no contact whatsoever" from his local force after reporting the crime, and another man lost £18,000 with no follow-up.

"It was a really disappointing and upsetting outcome," said the unnamed victim.

"We thought this would have been easy to solve.

"We had all the evidence and the police never came around to see us."

The HMIC report said chief constables should take action to establish the level of digital crime in their areas and improve training, as well as ensuring staff know when cases should be referred to Action Fraud or given a "more immediate response".

Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh, National Police Chiefs' Council lead on digital intelligence and investigations, said: "The scale of cyber-crime in the UK continues to grow and law enforcement must evolve to meet the threats posed by digital crime.

"The NPCC, College of Policing, Home Office and the National Crime Agency are working in a multi-agency group to make sure that every officer has the skills, knowledge and access to technology to carry out digital investigation.

"Considerable efforts and resources have been allocated to protect vulnerable people, but more still needs to be done.

"We will be allocating funding and resources for digital investigation which will be invested to build the skills, knowledge and capabilities needed to protect all members of the public, including the most vulnerable, from harm."

(1st January 2016)

(London Evening Standard, dated 22nd December 2015 author Nicholas Cecil)

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Britons want thousands of armed police deployed on the streets to protect against a terror attack.

A poll has found that 58 per cent believe officers should be routinely armed, a move which would radically change the face of British policing.

The BMG Research results, which exclude "don't knows", showed that 42 per cent were against ditching the long-held tradition of beat officers not carrying guns.

More worryingly, two thirds of the public voicing a view believe the police and security forces are not sufficiently ready to respond to a Paris-style attack in London or another part of the UK. This stark finding was almost double the 34 per cent who think they are.

"Across all ages, and the entire country, the vast majority of residents feel that officers are not suitably prepared for an attack similar to that seen in Paris," said Michael Turner, research director at BMG Research.

"Consequently, the results also show strong support for officers to be routinely armed in a way that is perhaps most commonly seen by Britons in continental Europe."

Those aged 25 to 44, a group more likely to have young families, are significantly more  supportive of arming officers, the poll suggested.

Women seemed to harbour more doubts than men over whether the police, military and intelligence services are ready to counter a marauding terrorist attack here.

Following the Paris massacre in which at least 130 died, Met Police Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe increased the number of armed officers on patrol in London by a third.

He also signalled that this number could rise while stressing his "confidence" that the force could respond well to a multiple-site terror strike even though "it would be a great challenge".

He believes London is a safe city and has warned against a "knee jerk towards a new type of policing where everyone is armed".

Widespread arming of the police may be seen as a defeat in the battle to protect British values in the face of the threat from Islamic State and other terror groups.

But if more officers were armed, then those deployed first to incidents like the recent knife attack at Leytonstone Tube station could be carrying weapons.

Sir Bernard, though, defended the "fantastic" response by officers who  used Tasers to resolve the situation in about 12 minutes.

The Met's strategy is to respond to alerts with well-trained officers for specific threats, who will arrive in numbers if necessary and be mobile to deal with a moving threat.

Just under a fifth of respondents to the question about arming the police replied "don't know", so if they are included in the results the breakdown is 47 per cent in favour of doing so and 34 per cent against.

On being ready to deal with a Paris-style attack, 23 per cent said "don't know", with 51 per cent believing the police and security forces are not and 26 per cent that they are.

The terror threat level in the UK is currently at severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

Britain is seen as less vulnerable than Paris, Brussels and other European cities because of  the expertise of the police and security services and as it does not have a land border firearms are more difficult to obtain.

However, David Cameron recently stated that there have been seven foiled terror plots in 12 months.

He has also ordered a review of the law to ensure officers using firearms have the necessary legal backing when they make "split second" decisions to shoot.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was hit by a backlash last month after speaking out against "shooting to kill" terrorists carrying out attacks in Britain.

He later said that he supported any "strictly necessary force" needed to protect the UK in such situations.

Question : Do you feel Britains police and security forces are suitably prepared for a Paris style attack ?

(Yes) [No]

Male   : (37%) [63%]
Female : (31%) [69%]

18-24 : (33%) [67%]
25-34 : (30%) [70%]
35-44 : (32%) [68%]
45-54 : (34%) [66%]
55-64 : (37%) [63%]
65+   : (35%) [65%]

Question : Should officer be routinely armed, with thousands on patrol carrying guns, to deal with terror threats ?

(Yes) [No]

Male   : (59%) [41%]
Female : (58%) [42%]

18-24 : (58%) [42%]
25-34 : (67%) [33%]
35-44 : (67%) [33%]
45-54 : (58%) [42%]
55-64 : (53%) [47%]
65+   : (52%) [48%]

uaware comment

A lone police officer carrying a gun would be a target for the weapons theft. Perhaps it should be police vehicles that should be equipped to carry hand guns in a weapon safe with a combination lock. The combination for the safe could then be held by the duty ranking officer who could then pass it on to the attending officers at the emergency requiring arms. This concept would require all police drivers of armed vehicles to be trained in hand guns use.

No one wants to see armed police on UK streets, but needs must. Specialist weapons officers may be tens of minutes away from an incident especially in large conurbations like London due to traffic. Local officers may get to an incident in minutes which is enough time to prevent carnage.

(1st January 2016)

(The Telegraph, dated 21st December 2015 author Agency)

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A third of emergency vehicles kitted out to deal with a "dirty bomb" or other major contamination incidents in England are to be axed within days, according to a leaked document Labour said exposed a serious security risk.

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham said the withdrawal of 22 incident response units (IRU) on December 31, including four of the 10 based in London, was being done without consultation and should be put on hold until ministers explained the implications.

IRUs are equipped to provide mass decontamination facilities at incidents where large numbers of people have been exposed to chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear materials.

Showers, protective clothing and detectors are among the equipment on board the trucks, which are ready at all times to be taken out by specially-trained firefighters from local brigades.

The document, a national resilience information note issued by the Chief Fire Officers Association (CFOS), said the reduction was the result of a review conducted with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG).

It found 43 were sufficient "in order to meet the scale of event identified within the national resilience planning assumptions".

The 22 deemed surplus to requirements need to be taken out of service "almost immediately", it explained, because their power respirator protective suits (PRPS) are about to pass their expiry dates.

A set of the one-piece gas-tight chemical protection suits will be supplied for the remaining appliances.

Central government funding for affected areas will cease from April.

The CFOA said it was in discussions with DCLG to identify a disposal strategy.

Mr Burnham said: "It cannot possibly be the right time to cut, by a third, our ability to respond to serious terrorist incidents.

"Not only is it the wrong time, but it is even worse that these plans are being hatched in secret, without any public information or consultation.

"Ministers must put these plans on hold immediately and make a statement to Parliament as soon as it returns. It is disgraceful that we're days away from this happening without any debate."

A government spokesman said: "Public safety is our number one priority.

"Research and experience shows that speed is of the essence in dealing with major incidents, which is why it is better to issue all frontline responders with the training to begin decontamination rather than wait for specialist services to arrive."

The IRUs being axed are those based in: Alfreton, Derbyshire; Broughton, Buckinghamshire; Blandford, Dorset; Bovey Tracey, Devon and Somerset; Burton, Staffordshire; Canley, West Midlands; Cheltenham, Gloucestershire; East Greenwich, London; Godstone, Surrey; Hereford, Hereford and Worcester; Morecambe, Lancashire; Penzance, Cornwall; Plaistow, London; Slade Park, Oxfordshire; Southern, Leicestershire; St Albans, Hertfordshire; St Neots, Cambridgeshire; Stalybridge, Greater Manchester; Stanmore, London; Walsall, West Midlands; Wimbledon, London; Winsford, Cheshire.

(1st January 2016)

(International Business Times, dated 20th December 2015 author John Hall)

Full article [Option 1]:

Motorists caught using a mobile phone while driving face having four points added to their licence and fixed penalty fines of £150 if new government plans are approved, it has been revealed. The punishments will be even tougher for HGV drivers who will be given six points for driving while using a mobile - a toll that could see them struggle to get the insurance they need to continue working.

The current punishment of three points and a £100 fine are expected to be increased as the government rolls out its so-called Road Safety Plan, which is intended to target repeat offenders. First time offenders are likely to be offered an educational course outlining the dangers of using a mobile while driving, with the stricter punishments introduced if the crime is repeated.

HGV drivers face tougher penalties than ordinary motorists because accidents involving lorries are more severe, the BBC quoted a government spokesperson as saying. Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin told The Independent on Sunday: "Using a mobile phone at the wheel is reckless and costs lives - I want to see it become a social taboo like not wearing a seatbelt."

"The message is clear: keep your hands on the wheel, not your phone. If you keep taking calls while at the wheel, you could end up being banned from the road," McLoughlin went on to say.

Motoring groups have welcomed the news of increased punishments, although some questioned whether they were still too lenient. Others said many offenders simply do not use their phones if marked police cars are nearby, meaning the risk of actually getting caught remains slim.

Tim Shallcross from the Institute of Advanced Motorists told the BBC: "The Department for Transport's own research this year showed that when they doubled the penalty from £50 to £100 in 2013 it made no discernible difference whatsoever." He added: "What deters people from using mobile phones is the fear of being caught and, frankly, with fewer police on the roads that possibility is becoming less and less."

Mobile phones were a contributing factor in 21 fatal and 84 serious road accidents in 2014, according to government figures. In total 1,775 people were killed and 22,807 seriously injured on Britain's roads over the same period.

(1st January 2016)

(London Evening Standard, dated 18th December 2015 author Nicholas Cecil)


Full article [Option 1]:

Defendants who had each already committed more than 100 previous offences pleaded guilty to crimes in nearly 2,000 cases last year, the Standard reveals today.

Prisons minister Andrew Selous admitted the figures, which showed the extraordinary scale of the country's "Crime 100 Club", were shocking.

They sparked fresh concerns over the "revolving door" criminal justice  system and the failure to cut re-offending rates.

There were 755 theft cases in the first half of this year where the defendant pleading guilty had more than 100 previous convictions or  cautions.

There were also 472 such cases for public order offences and 507 for other summary offences, excluding motoring, normally dealt with by magistrates.

For more serious crimes, courts dealt with 31 of these cases involving violence, 24 for drug offences, nine for possession of a weapon, five for sex crimes, four of criminal damage and arson, and three for fraud.

There were also 79 cases where the offences were classed as "miscellaneous crimes against society", as well as five for summary motoring offences, according to the figures for England and Wales from the Ministry of  Justice.

In total there were 1,927 such cases for all crimes.

There were also more than 14,000 where defendants had between 51 and 100 previous convictions or cautions, more than 104,700 with between 16 and 50, and nearly 107,360 between six and 15.

One offender committed more than 560 crimes, according to an earlier report.Just 61,450 were first-time offenders.

Mr Selous said the "shocking" figures showed how reforms were needed to stop prisoners re-offending and  causing "yet more misery to victims, almost as soon as they are released".

He added: "We are determined to provide prisoners with education, work and an opportunity to redeem themselves."

Shadow home secretary Andy Burnham urged the Government to "sit down and think" about the figures, and Sutton and Cheam Tory MP Paul Scully said anti-drug programmes were needed in jails.

(1st January 2016)


(BBC News, dated 18th December 2015)


Full article :


This BBC article gives access to the Police video.


- If there is a safe route, run
- Insist others go with you
- Don't let them slow you down
- Leave your belongings behind


- If you can't run, hide
- Find cover from gunfire
- Lock the door and barricade yourself in
- Move away from the door
- Be very quiet, silence your phone


- Dial 999 only when you are safe
- Give your location
- Give the direction the attacker is moving in
- Give as much information as you can
- Can you safely stop others from entering the area ?

Police have released a video telling people to "run, hide, tell" if they are caught up in a terrorist gun attack.

The four-minute video advises on how to evacuate a building, where to hide, and what information to tell police.

The video says people's first reaction if they hear gunshots should be to run - as long as it will not put them in greater danger - and not to let others' indecision "slow you down".

The terror threat level in the UK is severe, meaning it is "highly likely".

Security services have been on high alert since the attacks in Paris last month.

What should you do in an attack?

'Avoid bottlenecks'

The public information film, released by the National Police Chiefs' Council, tells people to react quickly, first by running for an exit.

"Insist others come with you, but don't let their indecision slow you down," the video says.

"Consider your route as you leave. Will it place you in the line of fire? Is it safer to wait for the attacker to move away before you continue?"

If it is not possible to move to safety, then people are advised to hide.

They should consider their exits and escape routes when choosing a hiding place, avoiding dead ends and bottlenecks and staying away from the door.

Mobile phones should be switched to silent and vibrate turned off, the video says, adding: "The best hiding place with protection from gunfire will have a substantial physical barrier between you and the attacker."

Those able to evacuate should get as far away from the danger area as possible and call the police.

The film says: "When the police arrive they will be armed. The police may be unable to distinguish you from the attacker.

"They may treat you firmly. Do everything they tell you to do. Don't make any sudden movements or gestures that may be perceived as a threat."

'Better prepared'

Police said the advice has already been issued to thousands of people during security training sessions but it is now being rolled out more widely.

Mark Rowley, the country's most senior counter-terrorism officer, said: "Everyone's aware of the terrorist challenges across the world and there have been some awful attacks.

"It's our view that this advice should be rolled out to the public so in the tragic event that anyone gets caught up in a rolling firearms or weapons attack they are better informed and better advised to protect themselves."

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu said the public should not be alarmed by the release of the video.

"While the general level of threat to the UK is severe, the probability of being caught up in a firearms or weapons attack is very, very small," he said.

"However, it is important the public know what to do in the event of getting caught up in such an incident."

Further information (uaware)

National Police Chief's Council originating article :

Telegraph article : Public "may decide to fight" terrorists if faced with no choice

(1st January 2016)


(The Guardian, dated 16th December 2015 author Press Association)

Full article [Option 1]:

The number of Britons identified as victims of human trafficking increased by more than 50% during 2014, the National Crime Agency has revealed.

An NCA report found that traffickers used social media and smartphone apps to recruit British nationals for sexual exploitation, while some victims were being "controlled" by drugs and alcohol.

A total of 3,309 people, including 732 children, were identified as potential victims of human trafficking in the UK - a 21% increase on the previous year. Of that total, 300 were British nationals, 55% more than in 2013.

The report said the UK remained the most prevalent country of origin for potential child victims, with 116 cases.

Caroline Young, the deputy director of the NCA's organised crime command, said the figures showed authorities were "increasingly encountering and recognising examples of trafficking in our society".

"Human trafficking is an insidious and complex crime where much of the exploitation is hidden from view," she said. "The National Crime Agency is committed to continually disrupting this vicious criminal trade in human misery, which exploits the most vulnerable people, both here and abroad, for financial gain.

"Victims are being forced to work in private houses and in hospitality, farming, manufacturing and construction industries. In many cases, threats and violence are used to ensure compliance. The NCA will continue to work closely with a range of partners to help eradicate this vile crime."

Human trafficking is the movement of a person from one place to another, deliberately to exploit them for reasons including labour, sex or crime. Victims are usually deceived or coerced into giving consent to be moved.

In its fourth annual report on human trafficking, the NCA said Romania was the most prevalent country of origin of potential victims of all ages. This had been the case for the previous three years.

The south-east of the UK recorded the highest number of potential British victims, with 51, while there were 34 in the north-east, 31 in the east Midlands and 14 in London.

The NCA report said: "In many cases of UK nationals trafficked internally for sexual exploitation, potential victims report being controlled by the use of drugs and alcohol, stating that they were so 'out of it' at times that they did not know what happened to them.

"Another potential victim reported that those exploiting her had pictures of her that they threatened to 'show around'."

Javed Khan, the chief executive of the children's charity Barnardo's, said there was still much to be done to combat trafficking. "These figures are just the tip of the iceberg," he said. "We are pleased that more children are being identified as trafficked but we know there are many more who are missed.

"There's a long way to go until frontline workers are able to spot the signs and recognise the victims of this terrible crime."

In total, 298 potential victims of human trafficking of all nationalities were identified in London in 2014, followed by 289 in the south-east, 235 in the south-west and 226 in Yorkshire and Humber.

There were 193 potential victims in the West Midlands, 181 in eastern England, 167 in the east Midlands, 133 in the north-west, 67 in Scotland, 66 in Northern Ireland, 54 in the north-east and 16 in Wales.

The remaining potential victims were recorded as being in multiple areas, overseas or their location was unknown.

(1st January 2016)

(London Evening Standard, dated 16th December 2015 author Paul Cheston)


Full article [Option 1]:

A key figure in an organised crime network today admitted plotting a hi-tech scam that netted £1.6 million from high street cash machines across Britain in a single weekend.

Romanian national Teofil Bortos, of Newham, was part of an eastern European gang that inserted "malware" into ATMs to steal cash.

He was seized at Luton airport in the summer and today pleaded guilty at the Old Bailey to conspiracy to defraud.

The gang was able to attack 51 ATMs in a single weekend over the spring bank holiday last year.

The machines were in public places in cities and towns including London, Brighton, Portsmouth, Blackpool, Doncaster, Liverpool and Sheffield.

Each was physically broken into and infected with malware, programs that can attack computers, before large amounts of cash were withdrawn.

Detectives believe that the malware subsequently deleted itself, making it difficult to identify the cause of the attacks.

However, they are confident that the way in which the attacks were mounted meant customer data was not compromised.

Bortos, 36, today entered his guilty plea before Judge Nicholas Cooke, QC, via a videolink from prison. A second charge of conspiracy to steal in May was dropped. Sentencing was adjourned until the New Year.

It is understood that police believe Bortos held a trusted position in the gang carrying out the sophisticated scam.

He was trapped by the use of a combination of car number plate recognition technology and mobile phone cell site evidence.

This evidence placed him at the scene of dozens of ATMs, many of which were stripped of cash.

Bortos was arrested by officers from the London Regional Fraud Team, based at the City of London Police HQ and a part of the London Regional Organised Crime Unit established by the Home Office.

It was set up to target organised crime gangs committing fraud in and around the capital.

The LRFT is made up of detectives from the British Transport Police, the City of London Police and the Met.

In February another member of  the gang, George Paladi, was jailed  for five years by Southwark crown court after admitting his part in the conspiracy to steal the money and physically stealing £554,860 from 15 cash machines.

Paladi was arrested at his home on Old Commercial Road in Portsmouth, in October 2014 following an investigation by detectives from the British Transport Police, the City of London Police and the Metropolitan Police.

Matthew Radstone, defending, said that Paladi's guilty plea had been entered on the grounds of a formal basis of plea document submitted  to prosecutors.

Judge Cooke told the court he took the provisional view that the start- ing point for the sentence, coming before mitigation and reduction for the guilty plea, would be eight years' imprisonment.

He adjourned sentence till January 11 pending more information on Paladi's sentence. The case continues.

(1st January 2016)


(The Register, dated 15th December 2015 author John Leyden)

Full article [Option 1]:

Organisers are praising the success of a multi-nation exercise - hosted by the UK - that aimed to test response to serious cyber crime.

Exercise Silver Shadow, which was run by the National Crime Agency (NCA)'s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and supported by the Home Office, saw officers from eight different countries come together to assess their collective response to a simulated cyber attack on a fictitious international petroleum company.1

The exercise took place over a week, starting on Monday 30 November at the Cabinet Office's Emergency Planning College in North Yorkshire and tested how investigators and prosecutors would work together in the event of a complex criminal incident spanning several different legal jurisdictions.

The exercise was made as realistic as possible by limiting communication between teams, perhaps as if the attack had also affected communications or just to replicate nigh-on inevitable language and logistical barriers.

One aim was to stress test people by putting them through a life-like scenario. Silver Shadow also offered an opportunity to develop stronger operational partnerships between investigation teams and prosecutors. Exercise Silver Shadow follows a pilot event, Exercise Silver Pilot, to test and develop the interoperability between the UK's cyber crime units, and cyber units within the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs), Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) back in October.

In a statement, Jamie Saunders, director of the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit, said: "Together, Silver Pilot and Silver Shadow form an important part of the NCCU's efforts to prepare the UK response - at regional, national and international levels - to the ever-changing cyber crime threat."

"Cyber crime is by its very nature international, with many of the criminals and the technical infrastructure they rely upon based overseas, and yet its impact is felt by real people and real businesses in communities across the UK," he added.

Representatives from Bulgaria; Georgia; Lithuania; Moldova; Romania; Ukraine; the UK, represented by the NCA's NCCU; and the US, represented by the FBI, were all involved in the exercise. A representative from Europol's Joint Cyber Action Taskforce (J-CAT) also took part.

The event platform was a specialist Serco service called cybX, designed to prepare both private and public sector organisations for preventing and respond to serious cyber attacks.

Russia and Ukraine are often seen as global cybercrime hubs. Ukraine was represented but not Russia, an absence that's not difficult to understand in the context of international sanctions against the country over the conflict in the Ukraine. Even before then, co-operation with Russia on cybercrime efforts was irregular but not unprecedented, as evidenced by a successful prosecution of Russian nationals for running a DDoS extortion scam against UK bookmakers back in 2006.

(1st January 2016)

(The Guardian, dated 15th December 2015 author Mark Brown)


Full article [Option 1]:

Postwar public art in England is "disappearing before our eyes", whether through wilful destruction, accidental loss, theft or sale, a heritage body has said.

Historic England (HE) is launching a campaign to raise awareness of how much art is being lost, whether metal sculptures being stolen and sold for scrap or architectural friezes being deliberately ripped down by developers.

While many works have been destroyed, HE hopes some could still be out there and is issuing a public call for information.

The organisation's chief executive, Duncan Wilson, said there was a whole category of art that had been unjustly ignored over the years. He said: "We may have lost more than we know and we feel now is the time to do something about it.

"A lot of these pieces were commissioned against a background of optimism, good intentions, civic values and a lot of them were of very fine quality. Unfortunately, you lose things you don't understand or treasure and perhaps, because nobody was standing up for this kind of art, the result is some of it has been lost. This is a call to arms for all of the public to get involved."

Historic England has listed nearly 40 works that have been lost, destroyed, stolen or sold.

They include famous cases such as the theft 10 years ago of Henry Moore's two-tonne Reclining Figure from the 72-acre Henry Moore Foundation estate in Hertfordshire. The most likely reason for the theft of a work estimated at £3m was that it was melted down for scrap for about £1,500.

Other examples include:

A Bernard Meadows bronze abstract sculpture of a cockerel commissioned in 1959 for a fountain in the grounds of Crown Woods school in Eltham, south London. It was sold at auction in 2004 for £18,800.

The Watchers by Lynn Chadwick, 1960, in the grounds of the University of Roehampton, south-west London. One of three figures that make up the piece was stolen in 2006, with police estimating it would take at least eight people to carry. Its whereabouts are unknown.

Trewin Copplestone's four 2 metre-high fibreglass bulls were placed on the side of Birmingham's Bull Ring shopping centre in 1963. When the centre was rebuilt, the bulls disappeared.

The Cambridge piece by Barry Flanagan, an abstract sculpture installed on Laundress Green in Cambridge in 1972. It was badly received, got a drubbing in the local press and was heavily vandalised by the public, including students. After several attacks it was vandalised beyond repair.

Wilson said the new research may only be the tip of the iceberg. "Part of England's national collection of public artworks is disappearing before our eyes," he said.

"We're making efforts to protect the best examples of post-war public art that still exist, and make sure that it continues to enhance the public realm. But we also want to raise awareness of just how vulnerable these works can be and we want the public to help us track down lost pieces."

The artist William Mitchell has four works on the list, including one which became popularly known in Basildon as the Pineapple. This was a sculptural fountain commissioned for Ford Motor Company's premises Trafford House in 1977. It was last seen in 2011 when it was moved into storage as the building was converted into flats. It was reported missing in 2012.

The other works are an imposing sand-blasted concrete sculpture he made for Churchill Square shopping centre in Brighton; and two works from 1964 - a sculpted concrete sun terrace for Swiss Cottage swimming baths in London; and a sculptural relief for the Northern Polytechnic in Islington, London.

Mitchell admits he was sanguine about their loss. "As far as I'm concerned if they don't want it then they don't have it," he said. "Some of the things have been taken away because the land in London is so expensive; every bit of land has to have a block of flats.

"Of course the public wants the art but it doesn't matter what the public want, it is 'what's the profit?' It is all to do with money, nothing else."

As well as the campaign HE will stage a related exhibition telling the stories behind the lost art at Somerset House in London from 3 February to 10 April.

(1st January 2016)


(The Telegraph, dated 15th December 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

Three quarters of police forces in England and Wales are letting down vulnerable victims of crime, including the elderly and the disabled, a watchdog has warned.

In a major new report Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) named four forces rated "inadequate" in the way they protect the vulnerable.

Only 12 forces out of the 43 were rated "good" with the other 27 judged "requiring improvement". None was ranked "outstanding".

The HMIC said even small failures could have "tragic consequences".

Zoe Billingham, an HMIC inspector, said: "There are a whole range of issues that constitute whether a victim is vulnerable - age is an issue, of course, and so is disability.

"It is these people the police need to move their resources to because they are at highest risk of harm.

"We know that small failings can have tragic consequences."

The inspectors highlighted concerns about special police units, which are designed to protect vulnerable people, being overstretched.

They found teams are understaffed due to large numbers of vacant posts, maternity leave or long-term sickness absence.

Expert officers are also being diverted onto other duties and some forces rely on "on call" personnel at weekends or overnight.

The findings came as a linked inquiry revealed that units dedicated to domestic abuse are on the verge of being overwhelmed.

The HMIC reported a "staggering" 31 per cent surge in reported cases in the 12 months to March, compared with 18 months earlier, mainly because forces are treating reports of abuse in the home more seriously.

Inspectors examined how forces respond to and safeguard those who are vulnerable in some way, with a focus on missing and absent children, victims of domestic abuse and how well prepared they are to tackle child sexual exploitation.

The two linked reports found:

- There is a lack of high quality data across the police service in relation to vulnerable people, with eight forces not collecting information at all.

- Officers are reluctant to use a new power to combat domestic violence prevention orders, introduced last year, because of the "bureaucracy" and time involved in obtaining the civil restriction.

- Risk assessments are not conducted in some cases because staff are given "discretion" over whether they should be completed.

- Processes to identify children at risk in households where domestic abuse takes place are not reliable or effective.

- Victims are not being provided with updates on cases.

- Variations in how forces define and collect data on missing and absent children mean some do not have a good understanding of the nature and scale of the problem in their area.

- Implementation of measures to tackle child sex abuse is "patchy".

Inspectors collected data, reviewed case files, observed meetings and heard from domestic abuse victims before grading forces on their effectiveness at protecting vulnerable people.

Bedfordshire, Essex, Staffordshire and Surrey constabularies were judged to be "inadequate" - meaning there were "serious weaknesses" in their arrangements to safeguard and investigate cases involving vulnerable people.

Inspectors expressed "serious concern" after visiting Essex police's control room and discovering a backlog of 246 domestic violence incidents in which police had not attended or contacted the victim, the report said.

The main report added: "The number of forces judged to be inadequate or to require improvement is high.

"We would stress that ... many forces provide a good service to some vulnerable victims, some of the time; but there are important areas in which the police response needs to improve, and in which small failures may have tragic consequences."

Mark Castle, chief executive of charity Victim Support, said: "This report makes disturbing reading, highlighting widespread failure by the police to identify, assess or support the most vulnerable victims of crime, in particular children."

An NSPCC spokesman said it was "simply not good enough" that police are "failing to properly investigate child sexual abuse and exploitation".

(1st January 2016)



(London Evening Standard, dated 14th December 2015 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

Pickpockets and thieves stole a massive £13 million worth of valuables in London in the past year, it emerged today.

The Met police figures reveal that young women are the most vulnerable to personal theft - with nearly 11,000 reporting they had items stolen, compared with 5,820 men. Mobile phones are by far the most valuable haul - £8 million worth were taken.

Latest police data show snatches in the capital rose by more than nine per cent in the past 12 months, and an alert has been issued over pickpockets targeting Londoners over the festive period.

Westminster police have launched a Christmas blitz on thieves codenamed Operation Blizzard.

In total, there were 34,061 cases of theft in London in the 12 months to the end of September, according to figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request to the Met. The highest number was in Westminster - 6,172 - followed by Islington on 3,847 and Camden on 3,311. Boroughs with the fewest thefts were Sutton, Bexley and Richmond.

After phones, cash was the next most lucrative target of thieves - more than £1.8 million was taken - followed by watches (£667,967), wallets and purses (nearly £400,000), laptops (£212,789) and cameras and photo equipment (£120,339).

Women aged 15 to 29 were the most vulnerable to theft, with 10,773 cases recorded - double the amount of men in the same age bracket.

Women in general were also more likely to be victims - reporting a total of 20,794 cases - compared with 13,458 cases reported by men of all ages.

A recent court case heard how two sisters headed a pickpocket gang from South America who came to the UK to steal from the elderly "as a way of life".

Argentinians Maria Gallardo, 43, and sister Lucrecia 46, plus Chileans Luis Salazar Bravo, 29, and Alfredo Lopez Rojas, 27, stole from women on buses in Westminster and preyed on victims at the London Eye. They were jailed at Blackfriars crown court last month.

A Met spokesman said Operation Blizzard "involves high-visibility policing and plainclothes officers targeting individuals who may try and use the festive season as an opportunity to commit offences such as pickpocketing. It will run into the new year.

"We urge Londoners to stay alert and look out for common tactics used by pickpockets and thieves.

"People can take a few simple measures to prevent this type of crime: make sure bags are fastened, be aware of your surroundings especially when using a phone in public, and plan journeys home in advance using black cabs or pre-booked mini-cabs."

The Freedom of Information request was made by insurance company Policy Expert. Head of operations Adam Powell said: "It's easy to get distracted by the festivities as the streets and public transport get busier over the Christmas period.

"Keep an eye on your shopping, bags and any other valuables and be vigilant around other pedestrians."

Entertainer  and sleight-of-hand artist James Freedman, the self-styled "Man of Steal" who advises the Met on how to tackle theft, said: "Common sense and distance are your best defences, so stay vigilant for distraction techniques and be aware of anyone getting too close.

"Being under the influence will affect anyone's awareness so if you're planning a heavy night out and don't need all your cards, cash or other valuables, leave them at home."

(1st January 2016)

(International Business Times, dated 14th December 2015 author Paul Wright)

Full article [Option 1]:

Councils switching off CCTV cameras in a bid to cope with government cuts are putting the public at greater risk during a time of high security alert, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) has been reported as warning. Local authorities across the country are said to be abandoning cameras in their town centres to save money, effectively leaving public areas "monitored" by dummy machines.

Crimes such as assaults and rape are often reliant on video footage, the NPCC said, with the Met Police claiming 95% of murder trials use CCTV footage as evidence. Counter-terrorism officers also say they count on the country's network of cameras for intelligence gathering.

The NPCC is due to release a report in spring next year which is expected to call for more investment and "better protection" of these services, according to the BBC. The service is not a statutory requirement of councils and detectives now fear the impact cost-cutting may have on crime reduction efforts.

Assistant chief constable Mark Bates, surveillance lead for the NPCC, told the BBC: "CCTV is hugely important, not just in terms of keeping people safe in the night time economy but also in relation to serious crime and terrorism investigations."

The UK, often described as the most surveilled country in the world, is estimated to have between 4m and 6m CCTV cameras. Figures compiled by the the British Security Industry Association say one in 70 of these are publicly owned.

Blackpool Council is one local authority that has severely cut its own CCTV monitoring service in recent years, with cutbacks in 2013 seeing cameras no longer being monitored 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: "Ending the CCTV monitoring service was never something that we were keen to do. We know it was a service that helped people to feel safe. However, the financial reality was that we had very little choice."

But this year the council has now heralded what it called a "new era" of CCTV, bringing some cameras back into use by drafting in volunteers. In a sign of what a future service could look like for many towns across the UK, it has seen unpaid members of the public placed in front of a bank of monitors and given access to live video feeds from across Blackpool.

While the council says its volunteers are vetted by police, the government's surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter, says he has concerns over other local authorities attempting similar schemes. He said some had not taken the proper steps to ensure those watching the public were trained or subject to rigorous background checks.

He told the BBC: "I'm seeing many cameras turned off [and] people taking control of surveillance rooms who don't have the requisite type of training to provide the service. I think the public have genuine concerns as to who is surveilling them, and if they're safe to do that."

Porter has suggested local authorities could in future face greater scrutiny over their use of CCTV, including inspections and enforcement. He has also written to council chief executives to ensure the use of camera surveillance, whether by professionals or volunteers, is run according to the official code of practice. This is, he says, after he found some "shocking" examples of local authorities not following the proper guidelines when it came to what they thought they could and could not do when monitoring the public.

At the same time, he has also issued another warning - that of emerging technologies and their impact on civil liberties. He said: "From Body-Worn Video to drones and facial recognition - technological developments are moving at the speed of light. I'm certainly not a Luddite and believe we should embrace what technology has to offer but this can not be at the expense of our civil liberties - there is a balance to be struck."

(1st January 2016)

(International Business Times, dated 14th December 2015 author Paul Wright)


Full article [Option 1]:

Councils switching off CCTV cameras in a bid to cope with government cuts are putting the public at greater risk during a time of high security alert, the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC) has been reported as warning. Local authorities across the country are said to be abandoning cameras in their town centres to save money, effectively leaving public areas "monitored" by dummy machines.

Crimes such as assaults and rape are often reliant on video footage, the NPCC said, with the Met Police claiming 95% of murder trials use CCTV footage as evidence. Counter-terrorism officers also say they count on the country's network of cameras for intelligence gathering.

The NPCC is due to release a report in spring next year which is expected to call for more investment and "better protection" of these services, according to the BBC. The service is not a statutory requirement of councils and detectives now fear the impact cost-cutting may have on crime reduction efforts.

Assistant chief constable Mark Bates, surveillance lead for the NPCC, told the BBC: "CCTV is hugely important, not just in terms of keeping people safe in the night time economy but also in relation to serious crime and terrorism investigations."

The UK, often described as the most surveilled country in the world, is estimated to have between 4m and 6m CCTV cameras. Figures compiled by the the British Security Industry Association say one in 70 of these are publicly owned.

Blackpool Council is one local authority that has severely cut its own CCTV monitoring service in recent years, with cutbacks in 2013 seeing cameras no longer being monitored 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.

Cllr Gillian Campbell, deputy leader of Blackpool Council, said: "Ending the CCTV monitoring service was never something that we were keen to do. We know it was a service that helped people to feel safe. However, the financial reality was that we had very little choice."

But this year the council has now heralded what it called a "new era" of CCTV, bringing some cameras back into use by drafting in volunteers. In a sign of what a future service could look like for many towns across the UK, it has seen unpaid members of the public placed in front of a bank of monitors and given access to live video feeds from across Blackpool.

While the council says its volunteers are vetted by police, the government's surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter, says he has concerns over other local authorities attempting similar schemes. He said some had not taken the proper steps to ensure those watching the public were trained or subject to rigorous background checks.

He told the BBC: "I'm seeing many cameras turned off [and] people taking control of surveillance rooms who don't have the requisite type of training to provide the service. I think the public have genuine concerns as to who is surveilling them, and if they're safe to do that."

Porter has suggested local authorities could in future face greater scrutiny over their use of CCTV, including inspections and enforcement. He has also written to council chief executives to ensure the use of camera surveillance, whether by professionals or volunteers, is run according to the official code of practice. This is, he says, after he found some "shocking" examples of local authorities not following the proper guidelines when it came to what they thought they could and could not do when monitoring the public.

At the same time, he has also issued another warning - that of emerging technologies and their impact on civil liberties. He said: "From Body-Worn Video to drones and facial recognition - technological developments are moving at the speed of light. I'm certainly not a Luddite and believe we should embrace what technology has to offer but this can not be at the expense of our civil liberties - there is a balance to be struck."

(1st January 2016)


(Computer World, dated 14th December 2015)


Full article [Option 1]:

With security, the more you know, the more comfortable you are - to a point. This is not to suggest that seasoned security pros trust that most security technology (as deployed) is secure. On the contrary, they typically do not. But they have a realistic sense of the overall security picture, knowing that nothing is ever impregnable and that as long as the security approach used is better than most alternatives, that's a pragmatic and comfortable way to go.

What brings this to mind is a report released last week from Deloitte examining quite a few mobile issues. Between the healthy number of participants (49,500 respondents across 31 countries) and the historically high quality of Deloitte reports, this is one of the more exhaustive recent reports on mobile. Note: The Deloitte report was a refreshing change of pace from the mountain of vendor-created research reports, which typically are thinly veiled attempts to answer every question with variations of "and that's why you should send us large checks."

The choices that were actually offered: It is easier for someone to hack into the home system and cause damage; technology may fail, leaving the home vulnerable to damage or theft; smart-home technology reveals too much about your personal life; it allows your usage to be recorded or tracked; it allows manufacturers of smart products to use, sell or distribute your household usage without your control; systems could be set incorrectly in error, leaving the home open to damage or theft.

What I thought was interesting was that younger consumers (ages 18-24) were more afraid of almost every one of those possibilities than the two other age groups (25-34 and 65-74) examined. The only exception was the first option ("easier for someone to hack") and even then, the youngest slice merely matched the oldest segment.

The answers:

It is easier for someone to hack into the home system and cause damage

18-24 - 53%
25-34 - 42%
65-74 - 53%

Technology may fail, leaving the home vulnerable to damage or theft

18-24 - 50%
25-34 - 41%
65-74 - 48%

Smart-home technology reveals too much about your personal life

18-24 - 35%
25-34 - 31%
65-74 - 33%

It allows manufactures of smart products to use, sell or distribute your household usage without your control

18-24 - 36%
25-34 - 27%
65-74 - 35%

Systems could be set incorrectly in error, leaving the home open to damage or theft

18-24 - 41%
25-34 - 33%
65-74 - 37%

This gets us into the interpretation. Why were younger consumers seeing the technology security/privacy threats as greater challenges? Was it ignorance-based fear, making them afraid of high-tech issues that they don't understand? Or was it the opposite, that they understand the systems better and therefore appreciate more the very real data dangers involved?

(1st January 2016)



(The Register, dated 14th December2015 author John Leyden)


Full article [Option 1]:

Crooks appear to be taking advantage of the recent sale of the UK Ministry of Defence's IPv4 address space to run more convincing scams.

They have purportedly bought blocks of IP addresses with previously pristine records to distribute scams. This malfeasance was enabled, in part, because the relevant Whois database entries were not updated. The issue surfaced via a thread on Reddit.

The fraudsters appear to be attempting to boost the credibility of scams and perhaps get past web filters, at least temporarily, by using a previously trusted and clean IP range to pump out invoice scams.

They are then asking people to pay invoices into accounts under their control, apparently maintained at a pre-paid cash-card firm.

Advanced Payment Solutions (APS) told the Register that it was investigating the apparent abuse of its payment facilities.

"As an FCA-regulated institution, APS follows the same robust compliance procedures as a high street bank, when carrying out due diligence on every individual or business customer," Rich Wagner, chief exec of Advanced Payment Solutions, said in a statement. "We take any claims of fraud extremely seriously, and will conduct a thorough investigation of the accounts in question."

An expert in spam and phishing quizzed by The Register noted that hackers had previously re-routed legitimate IP addresses using BGP (Border Gateway Protocol), then used those addresses to conduct their nefarious activities before releasing them again. "It may not be quite the same thing, but definitely sounds like a means of bypassing block-lists," the expert told us.

Tests using an IP address-looking tool suggest the IP address at issue is still allocated to the Ministry of Defence, at Woodstock in Oxfordshire.

The Redditor who reported the problem is adamant that the address isn't faked and that "it shows in the Exchange tracking logs".

The Register raised the issue to the MoD via its official Twitter profile (@DefenceHQ) but is yet to receive a reply.

Fake invoice scams are a growing problem in the UK and prompted a warning in August 2015 from Action Fraud for firms to be on their guard.

(1st January 2016)


(The Telegraph, dated 12th December 2015 author Christopher Hope)


Full article [Option 1]:

Some of the UK's biggest and best known charities are spending less than half of the cash raised every year by members of the public on good works, a new research has found.

The report from the True and Fair Foundation found that one in five of the country's biggest charities spend less than 50 per cent of the cash raised for them on charitable activities.

The news will disappoint the thousands of volunteers who every year put aside time to raise money for the good causes, as well as donors who will expect more cash to go to help those in need.

Some of the worst offenders are some of Britain's best known voluntary organisations such as Cancer Research UK, the Guide Dogs for the Blind and the British Heart Foundation.

Rob Wilson (above), the charities minister, said charities had to "reassure people and make very clear that the money donated to them will be spent on frontline charitable activities".

He told The Telegraph that they had a duty to "eke out every last penny for good causes".

He said: "Giving to charity is one of the greatest expressions of generosity a person can make and it must not be taken for granted.

"It's incredibly important for charities to be as transparent and accountable as possible - so people can make an informed decision about where their money goes.

The foundation analysed the latest official annual report and accounts of the 5,543 charities which last year raise more than £500,000 every year.

Its report - "A Hornets' Nest" published today - found that 1,020 charities, with together raised £6billion in the past 12 months from donors, spent less than 50 per cent on charitable activities.

Spending on "charitable activities" is defined in accounting rules as "all costs incurred by a charity in undertaking activities that further its charitable aims for the benefit of its beneficiaries".

They were obtained by dividing charitable activity spend by their total income.

The British Heart Foundation spent an average of just 46 per cent of its income on charitable activities over the past three years.

The Consumers' Association - which owns the Which? 'best buy' guides - spent just 24 per cent of income on good works while Age UK spent just 48 per cent.

Sue Ryder, which runs a network of second hand shops, spent 46 per cent of its annual income on charitable works over the three years. The Royal Horticultural Society spent 60 per cent of its income on charitable activities over the same period.

Many of the charities are in receipt of millions of pounds of public money on top of the cash they raise from individual donors.

The worst culprit was Lloyd's Register which was found to have spent just 1 per cent of its £1billion income on charitable works on average over the past three years.

Gina Miller the foundation's founder, said: "It is an utter disgrace that so much of the money people generously give is going to feed large charity machines, which are often characterised by obscene overheads and salaries, aggressive fundraising, and bloated marketing and publicity departments; resulting in questionable levels of charitable spending."

Many of the charities disputed the figures. Cancer Research said it had spent 80 per cent of its income on charity if the cost of running its shops was excluded.

A spokesman for Sue Ryder said the research was "misleading in light of the size of our retail chain and the costs at Sue Ryder compare favourably to many other organisations".

She added: "These calculations do not take into consideration the additional benefits that our shops bring to the local community."

A Which? spokesman said: "This is a totally misleading representation of our charitable funding.

"Our charitable arm is fully funded by our successful commercial and publishing businesses and spends 100 per cent of the money it receives on charitable activities and investing for the future benefit of consumers."

A Lloyd's spokesman said: "The Lloyd's Register Foundation is not a publicly funded charity, it is funded by the profits from its trading entity, Lloyd's Register Group Ltd."

"The confusion comes from accounting requirements which require us to list the total turnover of the trading group (Lloyd's Register Group Ltd) as 'income' - whereas in reality the Foundation's income comes from the trading group gift-aiding a proportion of its profits and from investments."

A spokesman for Guide Dogs declined to comment. A source said that the sale of a property last year had had an impact on its income that year.

An Age UK spokesman said the charity had spent nearly 95 per cent of its income on charitable activity taking into account charity and fundraising income and commercial profits.

Martin Miles, Chief Financial Officer at the British Heart Foundation, said the report did not allow "for the very different financial profile of running the UK's largest network of charity shops", adding that 78 per cent of its income was spent on life saving research and improving the lives of heart patients.

He said: "We are committed to spending every penny that is donated in a way that will offer the greatest benefit to heart patients and over the last 50 years people's donations have funded research that has helped to halve death rates for cardiovascular disease in the UK."

A spokesman for the Royal Horticultural Society claimed that its proportion spent on charitable works and building its reserve investiment fund for future charitable works was 77 per cent.

Sir Stephen Bubb, chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations, said: "This is a flawed and simplistic analysis which arbitrarily defines 'charitable activity' to exclude campaigning.

"Yet campaigning is the lifeblood of the great British charitable tradition. We work to alleviate the symptoms of disease and poverty and to tackle the causes of such. Donors give money for both."

A Charity Commission spokesman said: "Donors need to see how charities spend their money. That's why charity accounts are public documents.

"This report has not, however, considered basic information in the charities' accounts, which has led to this flawed analysis.

"The Commission has looked at the accounts of the charities named and we would recommend anyone interested in charity finances does the same."

Further information

The True and Fair Foundation website :

The report the article is based on :

(1st January 2016)


(The Telegraph, dated 11th December 2015 author Ashley Kirk)


Full article [Option 1]:


Murder continues to blight countries in Central and South America, while almost half a

million people lose their lives each year due to intentional homicide, figures reveal.

Central and South American countries had the highest homicide rates in the world, according

to figures published by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Honduras and Venezuela are the most murderous nations on the world, with over one in 1,000

being killed each year.

On the other hand, developed countries in Europe and Asia have the lowest homicide rates -

with Liechtenstein, Singapore and Iceland having homicide rates of lower than 0.3 per


Regarded the world's capital for murders, San Pedro Sula in Honduras is one of the world's

centres for gangs and arms trafficking. Latest estimates reveal there are over 170 murders

per 100,000 people.

The UN's list has Basseterre, the capital of the Federation of Saint Kitts and Nevis in the

West Indies, at the top of the list of cities - with 131.6 homicides per 100,000 people.

The list ranks cities which are the most populous in each country.

The Americas is the most murderous region in the world - with double the average homicide

rate of the next murderous region, Africa.

Europe has the lowest homicide rate of any region, with 2.1 homicide deaths per 100,000


In the United States, the most murderous city is St. Louis - with Detroit, New Orleans and

Baltimore following.

With 122 homicides per 100,000 people, Caracas in Venezuela is the second most murderous

city, followed by Guatemala.

Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, has previously said:

"Too many lives are being tragically cut short, too many families and communities left


"There is an urgent need to understand how violent crime is plaguing countries around the

world, particularly affecting young men but also taking a heavy toll on women."

(1st January 2016)


(The Telegraph, dated 10th December 2015 author Tom Whitehead)

Full article [Option 1]:

Up to one in six child porn suspects are in positions of trust including teachers and medics, figures suggest as a senior officer warned the problem is growing.

A total of 104 people have been arrested in the last nine months for accessing online child pornography who work in sensitive positions, the National Crime Agency revealed.

They also include Government officials, law enforcement staff and military personnel and three of them were still in positions of trust despite having previous convictions or suspicions of child abuse.

The figure represented almost one in six of a total of 682 people arrested for accessing child porn since March this year.

The trend was disclosed as Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the national police lead on child protection, warned the problem of child sexual exploitation was getting worse.

A string of high-profile historic paedophile allegations have emerged in recent years on the back of revelations about the late Jimmy Savile's prolific offending.

But Mr Bailey said: "There can be little doubt in my mind that victims' confidence, society's confidence in the ability of the police service to respond to the threat, has been significantly improved and enhanced since the horrors of Jimmy Savile back in 2012," he said.

"But we now have to ask ourselves, is it simply a case of greater confidence of victims coming forward or is more abuse simply now being perpetrated?"

He added: "Do I professionally think that more abuse is being perpetrated?

"Yes. Have I got the evidence to support that at this moment in time? No. Am I going to try and find it? Yes I am."

The arrests followed co-ordinated activity by the National Crime Agency and 40 police forces and all related to activities in the UK.

Of those held, 32 work in teaching and education, 23 in medical or care work, 15 in law enforcement, criminal justice, armed forces or government roles and 24 are in voluntary positions.

A dozen more were in other, unspecified, positions of trust.

Some 147 have been charged so far and police have been able to protect 399 children, Mr Bailey, the head of Norfolk Police, said.

But he warned that 93 per cent of those held were not previously known to the authorities in relation to child abuse.

"If we hadn't gone out looking for them as we have done, they would have remained under the radar and the nearly 400 children we've safeguarded since then would still be at risk," he said.

"Today's results demonstrate a new level of intent to stop offenders viewing indecent images and abusing children, and a new sophistication in our tactics.

"These operations are directed at those involved in the vile industry built around indecent images of children but this is part of a wider change in approach for the police service."

Johnny Gwynne, of the NCA, also revealed that record numbers of victims captured in indecent images are being identified and protected.

"In 2014-15 this was 177, the highest ever figure, and in the first six months of this year we have already gone well beyond that, with 187 victims identified," he said.

"Ultimately all of this is about keeping children safe."

(1st January 2016)

(International Business Times, dated 10th December 2015 author Mary-Ann Russon)


Full article [Option 1]:

Mysterious hackers are yet again trying to bring down the entire internet by bombarding crucial servers that support it with a gigantic, sustained distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which has caused webpages to load slowly in some locations.

There are 13 internet root name servers in the world that run the internet, and these servers are responsible for helping your web browser to locate top-level domains such as .com, .org, .net or any country-specific top level domains like .uk, .fr, .sg, .de, .ae and .cn. The servers function as a sort of internet address book and they make up what is known as the domain name system (DNS) system.

The 13 root name servers are run by independent organisations in the world, including ICANN, the US Army, the US Department of Defense, Nasa, Europe's internet registry RIPE NCC, the University of Southern California, Japan's Wide Project and Sweden's Netnod. Network infrastructure solutions firm Verisign also operates two of them, namely the "A" and "J" root servers (the 13 servers are named in sequence after the alphabet from A-M). DDoS attack sent 5 million queries per second.

Between 30 November and 1 December, an entity carried out an enormous DDoS attack against these 13 root name servers, flooding them with a deluge of traffic from multiple IPv4 addresses, so that the servers received more than five million queries per second, and more than 50 billion queries in total during the two-day period. To give you context, over the past two years, the most queries Verisign's A root name server received per day on average has never topped more than 10 billion queries.

"While it's common for the root name servers to see anomalous traffic, including high query loads for varying periods of time, this event was large, noticeable via external monitoring systems, and fairly unique in nature,", which is run by the operators of the root name servers, wrote in its incident report.

"The incident traffic saturated network connections near some DNS root name server instances. This resulted in timeouts for valid, normal queries to some DNS root name servers from some locations."

You might think that the servers would be knocked offline by that much traffic, but no, they were saved by the root server operators having enough additional servers on standby that were able to balance the load of traffic.

Although the sustained cyberattack resulted in some real queries from users surfing the web timing out in some locations, there were no complaints that end-users were having severe internet problems, so the root server operators believe that the attack would have been "barely perceptible" and all anyone would have seen was a slight delay in loading webpages in some web browsers.

The root name server operators also stated that since IP source addresses can be easily spoofed and the traffic flooded multiple anycast websites, it is impossible to trace the traffic back to its source, so we have no idea who was behind this.

###Only a government could have this much clout

However, if you use logic, it would take a really powerful entity like a country's government to have the resources to sustain a coordinated cyberattack that lasted 48 hours and was able to keep flooding the root name servers consistently with a high level of traffic at five million queries a second.

This is not the first time this has happened either - on 21 October 2002 a DDoS attack campaign attacked the 13 root name servers for one hour, and on 6 February 2007 a DDoS attack was sustained for 24 hours.

In the first incident, the attackers didn't have enough traffic to fully flood the servers and take them offline, while the second incident saw two root servers suffer badly, while another two servers experienced heavy traffic.

So who could it be? Is it a foreign government, a terrorist group or cybercriminals? Who knows, but they seem to be getting better at it.

(1st January 2016)


(The Guardian, dated 10th December 2015 author Alan Travis)

Full article [Option 1]:

The number of offenders punished for carrying a knife has risen by 7% in the last year as the police and courts take a tougher approach, especially to teenage offenders, new figures show.

The rise coincides with a similar increase in police recorded crime for knife offences across England and Wales and come amid public alarm over 19 teenagers murdered in London so far this year, 15 of whom where killed with knives.

The Office for National Statistics said that the criminal justice system - the police and the courts - formally dealt with 4,547 knife possession offences between July and September this year. This represents a 6% increase on the previous quarter and a rise of 7% compared with the previous year.

"The increase is driven by a steeper rise in the proportion of disposals for juvenile offenders (10%), compared to adult offenders (4%) between the current quarter and the previous quarter," says the ONS knife crime bulletin.

The detailed figures from the Ministry of Justice show that teenagers and young adults found carrying a knife are now more likely to be sent toprison - about one in 10 juvenile offenders are jailed - and are less likely to be cautioned than seven years ago.

The courts are also getting tougher, with the average prison sentence handed out for possessing a knife now standing at 7.3 months, an increase of 1.7 months compared with 2008. Almost three-fifths of those jailed for carrying a knife or other offensive weapon had a previous conviction for carrying a blade.

The rise in fatal stabbings involving teenagers in London this year follows several years in which knife crime had been falling in the capital.

The death toll of 19 murdered teenagers compares with a total of 11 for 2014. Across England and Wales the number of murders involving a knife has fallen from 237 in 2010/11 to 190 in 2014/15 matching a similar fall in all kinds of knife crime.

An MoJ spokesperson commenting on the figures said: "This government is committed to keeping our streets safe from knife crime. Our message is clear - if you carry knives in public you are more likely than ever to be punished."

"Knife crime damages communities, threatens the public and too often causes fatalities. That is why we are taking a tougher stance on knife crime by making punishment against repeat offenders stronger and banning cautions for the most serious offences."

(1st January 2016)

(The Telegraph, dated 10th December 2015 authors Frank Field and Sir Nicholas Soames)


Full article [Option 1]:

In this age of the mass movement of people we simply do not know who is living in the UK. There have been, until very recently, no exit checks in the UK. No checks in fact for nearly twenty years. As a result, the authorities literally have no idea who is still in the country.

The Border Force battles daily to intercept those trying to enter illegally via Calais and elsewhere, but many will get through. Most are simply economic migrants, but some will be involved with organised criminality or worse. They will join the estimated one million illegal immigrants already in the UK.

The introduction of ID cards would definitely make it harder for those here illegally to operate; it might also deter people from trying to breach our borders in the first place. And it would have an impact on those who overstay their visas. There is no question the public are conscious of the extent of illegal immigration and want it tackled. Achieving this is central to any efforts to get a grip of our borders and restore public confidence in our immigration system.

As well as our external borders we need protection for our health system. An ID card, if properly set up, could also act an entitlement card. The NHS is our national health service, not an international one open to abuse. The production of an ID card could be a simple way of establishing the right to free treatment at the point of use. This would deal with complaints from the health profession that they cannot be expected to decide who qualifies for care and who doesn't.

Similarly, landlords and employers could use the ID card as the one document that gives confidence that someone has the right to rent accommodation or to work. Preventing illegal working is one of the best ways of tackling illegal immigration.

An ID card can also help form an "invisible border" around our welfare state and help the much needed transition to a contributory system - one based on fairness where you have to pay in before you take out. Changing to an ID system could also prevent European migrants from accessing tax credits and other benefits almost immediately they start working in the UK - something with which the Prime Minister is currently struggling and looks unlikely to achieve in his tortuous renegotiations with our EU partners.

We quite understand that some of our colleagues oppose as a matter of principle the idea of ID cards although we guess that the numbers are falling, particularly as it is popular with the public. Its introduction will raise concerns about privacy and about the power of the state.

These are important considerations however these should not be overstated. ID cards are widely used throughout the European Union, with 25 out of 28 member states currently operating them, indeed 15 EU countries have mandatory schemes.

We are a welcoming and remarkably tolerant country. To keep it that way, the public need to be confident that the government has control over who enters our country and who remains here. We also need to be confident that the security services have the tools they need to keep us safe in the face of an unprecedented threat to public order.

Now is the time to return to debate the introduction of ID cards.

(1st January 2016)


(BBC News, dated 10th December 2015 author June Kelly)


Full article :

Four men have been convicted over a phone scam carried out across the south of England that defrauded 18 pensioners out of a total of £600,000.

Mohamed Dahir, 23, Sakaria Aden, 22, and Yasser Abukar, 24, were found guilty of conspiring to commit fraud.

Mohammed Sharif Abokar, 28, was convicted at the Old Bailey of converting criminal property. All four are from north London.

The scam involved gang members posing on the phone as police officers.

A fifth man, Ibrahim Farah, 23, also from north London, was acquitted of conspiring to commit fraud.

The Metropolitan Police said the fraud was uncovered after a separate terrorist investigation found payments in a bank account used by someone who later travelled to Syria.

'Vishing' scam

The trial heard how the victims - aged in their 70s, 80s and 90s and from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Bedfordshire, London and Kent - were phoned by men posing as police officers supposedly investigating a fraud at the person's bank.

They were advised to transfer money or hand it over for "safekeeping". The so-called "vishing" scam - or voice phishing - was carried out between May 2014 and May 2015.

Three other men had already pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud before the trial started. Two others had admitted converting the proceeds of crime ahead of the trial.

What was the scam ?

Pretending to be police officers, the fraudsters would phone an elderly person's home and lie to them that their bank account was being defrauded and they should call 999 or their bank's fraud department.

What the victim didn't realise was that the fraudsters stayed on the line after they hung up. The elderly people who thought they were reporting crime were in fact speaking to the criminals.

The pensioners were instructed to go to their banks and withdraw or move thousands of pounds of their savings.

Dahir's defence barrister Patrick Harte told the court his client had a letter from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn "setting out his roots in the area" of Islington.

The letter had been sent as part of Dahir's earlier bail application, Mr Harte told the press.

Judge Anuja Dhir QC remanded all four convicted men in custody ahead of sentencing on a date to be fixed in the new year.

'Beyond belief'

Patricia Burnham, 73, handed over £135,000 before she realised she had been duped.

She told BBC News: "I said to my husband, 'What have I done?'

"I'd better ring fraud line and check, which I did and the person who answered said, 'Yes, ma'am, it's a scam.'

"I just felt devastated, stupid, embarrassed, you know, how could I have been so taken in?"

Commander Richard Walton, of Scotland Yard, said: "These criminals were targeting individuals who were vulnerable and elderly - in their 70s, 80s and 90s - you know, to be honest, the targeting of individuals like that in our society like that is frankly beyond belief."


(The Guardian, dated 10th December 2015 author Damien Gayle)

Full article [Option 1]:

Commander Richard Walton, the head of the Met's counter-terrorism command, said the scam had been uncovered after a 10-month investigation by anti-terror detectives. "We uncovered this fraud after a separate terrorist investigation found suspicious payments into a bank account of an individual who is now believed to have travelled to Syria," he said.

After police linked the gang members together, Walton continued, a fraud on a huge national scale emerged involving 5,695 calls to 3,774 different numbers across the UK. Mohamed Dahir, 23, Shakaria Aden, 21, Yasser Abukar, 23, and Mohammed Abokar, 28, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit fraud between May last year and May this year. Ibrahim Farah, 23, was cleared of the same charge.

Mohammed Abokar was also convicted of converting criminal property - £9,000 belonging to Nanette Goldthorpe - on or around 29 January this year.

A terror suspect who is believed to have travelled to Syria received money from a £600,000 scam which targeted elderly people's life savings, according to police.


See also :

See also :

(1st January 2016)


(The Telegraph, dated 9th December 2015 author David Barrett)


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The Government is to set up an improved helpline for victims of "modern slavery" next year after securing £1m in funding from Google.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, said the new service will also make it easier for the public to report suspected exploitation.

It will be closely based on a hotline operated in the United States by the organisation Polaris, which offers advice to people suffering enforced servitude but also gathers data on crime patterns in a bid to catch offenders.

A British charitable body or non-governmental organisation will run the British helpline, which will be set up with £1 million from, the philanthropic arm of the internet giant.

Mrs May said: "The United Kingdom and United States share a determination to free the victims of modern slavery and ensure those guilty of this despicable crime are swiftly brought to justice.

"Today's commitment by and Polaris will bring world-class experience and years of expertise to the UK in order to help survivors of modern slavery and stamp out this vile form of exploitation.

"Modern slavery is a scourge on our society. By working together, governments, NGOs, law enforcement agencies and businesses can shine a light on this issue and help stop ruthless criminals profiting from their trade in human misery."

Polaris uses cutting-edge software to analyse calls it has received to generate valuable intelligence to help catch and convict criminals and provide early warning of new trends in how human traffickers are operating.

Jacqueline Fuller, director of, said: " is proud to support the launch of an enhanced modern slavery helpline in the UK.

"Connecting and supporting anti-human trafficking helplines not only provides victims access to the services they need, but also helps identify illicit patterns within the business of modern slavery."

(1st January 2016)


(The Telegraph, dated 9th December 2015 author David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

Paedophiles who groomed teenage girls to send them indecent photographs have been let off with a police caution, a new report has disclosed.

A watchdog's report on how the criminal justice system treat victims of crime disclosed police are still using "inappropriate" cautions for serious crimes.

In one case, an 11-year-old girl was being groomed by someone who contacted her through the internet, who was later unmasked as a 62-year-old man using a phoney Facebook profile.

He was identified by an unnamed police force and details were passed to another force, but no action was taken.

The official report went on: "In July 2014, the man's adult daughter found multiple indecent images of children, including self-generated indecent images on his phone.

"The man was arrested and admitted the possession of indecent images of children and was cautioned by police on the same day.

"There was no rationale for the caution."

It added: "There was no evidence of further investigation in relation to the images of other children on his phone or the ongoing risk he posed to children.

"The police did not seize his home computer.

"An investigation of his Facebook page was not pursued on the basis that his profile had been deleted."

In a second case the mother of a 13-year-old girl contacted police in July last year after discovering that a 20-year-old former neighbour, had sent indecent images of himself on the messaging service Snapchat.

He asked the girl to send him similar photos.

"The man disposed of his phone prior to his arrest. During interview he admitted the offences," said the report.

"Records show that in 2012 he had been dealt with by way of a restorative justice disposal for similar offences.

"The officer and supervisor recorded that due to his admissions he was not a sexual predator, and a caution was administered."

The report by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) said: "Inappropriate use of police cautions as alternatives to court was an issue of concern."

The report, which also involved the inspectors of prisons and probation, said cictims of crime are still being let down by the police and courts with some officers showing a "lack of empathy" towards some people who had suffered violent attacks.

Victims also suffer a postcode lottery in relation to how effectively they will be dealt with by the criminal justice system.

Drawing on a number of individual reports published over the last 12 months, the new study highlighted how far too many crimes are being deleted or downgraded by the police and in many cases they are not followed up properly.

The report said: "There were unacceptable inconsistencies in the service provided to victims - depending on the type of offence, where they lived or the degree to which local policies support and reinforce service provision.

"The variation in policies across police forces means that members of the public will receive different responses from the police for the same types of incident or crime, depending on where they live."

Police officers and other criminal justice workers did not always treat victims with appropriate respect, it added.

"There were also particular concerns around crimes not being recorded, the lack of empathy shown by some professionals to some categories of victim, and the inconsistent provision of accurate and timely updates during the victim's journey through the criminal justice system," the document said.

"Far too many reported crimes are either not recorded, or are subsequently 'no crimed'."

Mark Castle, chief executive of the independent charity Victim Support said: "While great strides have been made in ensuring that victims of crime are given the support they need and the respect they deserve, significant shortcomings remain.

"Failure to identify vulnerable victims, particularly those suffering domestic violence, an apparent lack of empathy and inadequate communication all occurring on a significant scale - are of particular concern."

Mark Castle, chief executive of the independent charity Victim Support said: "While great strides have been made in ensuring that victims of crime are given the support they need and the respect they deserve, significant shortcomings remain.

"Failure to identify vulnerable victims, particularly those suffering domestic violence, an apparent lack of empathy and inadequate communication all occurring on a significant scale - are of particular concern.

"The failure of criminal justice agencies to fulfil their duties under the Victims' Code further highlights the need for a Victims' Law, which would give greater protection and rights to victims but must be properly monitored and enforced."

(1st January 2016)



(International Business Times, dated 8th December 2015 author Lewis Dean)


Full article [Option 1]:

Over 60 vehicles a day were stolen across London in five years, with Redbridge the borough where motorists were most likely to have their car pinched. Figures obtained by IBTimes UK show there were 118,567 vehicle thefts across the capital between 2010 and 2014.

During that period there were 6,294 vehicle thefts in Redbridge - five a day - 35 more than Newham. Overall, offences were down 17% since 2010 when there were 26,296 vehicles stolen. In 2014 there were 21,809.

There were 500 fewer thefts in Redbridge in 2014 (1,031) than in 2010 (1,550), but that figure is disproportionate compared to the area's crime rate of 70 offences per 1,000 residents. The data, which was obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, showed cars were safest in Kingston-Upon-Thames, in south-west London, and Harrow in north-west London, which recorded 765 and 1,390 car thefts in five years. Southwark had the third worst number of thefts (5,019).

Eight of the 32 London boroughs, including affluent Richmond-Upon-Thames and Kensington & Chelsea, bucked the overall trend and saw an increase in car thefts. The others were: Camden, Hammersmith & Fulham, Islington, Tower Hamlets, Wandsworth and Westminster. Camden saw the biggest increase in car thefts, up almost 20% to 804.

Police have blamed gangs operating in Redbridge, which encompasses the Ilford and Woodford districts, for thefts in the area and believe they use "keyless" techniques including scrambling electronic ignition systems and simply towing vehicles away. Luxury cars most likely to be targeted are BMWs and Range Rovers. Neither the Met Police's East Proactive Team nor Redbridge council had commented on the figures as this article was published.


Note : Full article shows figures for a 4 year period, along with additional data.

2012 : n
2013 : [n]
2014 : (n)

Barking and Dagenham : 800 [815] (737)
Barnet : 713 [770] (717)
Bexley : 485 [495] (544)
Brent : 573 [559] (651)
Bromley : 764 [647] (572)
Camden : 574 [695] (804)
Croydon : 973 [734] (785)
Ealing : 903 [642] (693)
Enfield : 793 [876] (770)
Greenwich : 585 [604] (572)
Hackney : 726 [583] (566)
Hammersmith and Fulham : 597 [490] (625)
Haringey : 881 [821] (781)
Harrow : 263 [236] (193)
Havering : 938 [789] (751)
Hillingdon : 561 [461] (497)
Hounslow : 620 [427] (495)
Islington : 601 [630] (834)
Kensington and Chelsea : 557 [467] (774)
Kingston upon Thames : 139 [117] (156)
Lambeth : 881 [989] (978)
Lewisham : 873 [730] (654)
Merton : 379 [288] (402)
Newham : 1102 [1046] (1105)
Redbridge : 1146 [1147] (1031)
Richmond upon Thames : 398 [282] (372)
Southwark : 881 [989] (978)
Sutton : 202 [260] (265)
Tower Hamlets : 840 [812] (964)
Waltham Forest : 1110 [941] (808)
Wandsworth : 1135 [837] (969)
Westminster : 589 [654] (819)

What is keyless theft?   (Source: Met Police)

Keyless vehicle theft involves vehicles being stolen without use of the owner's key. Thieves tow the vehicle away, hot-wiring it, tamper with its electronics.

They break into the vehicles a number of ways, from using a device to block the radio signals when a victim uses their electronic key to lock the vehicle, to the less discreet way of smashing the driver's side window.

Once inside the vehicle, they plug a device into the on-board diagnostic port (OBD) which allows them to download the vehicle's electronic information onto a blank key. This key is then compatible with the car, allowing them to drive the vehicle away. This process can take just seconds.

(1st January 2016)


(Daily Mail, dated 4th December 2015 author Thomas Burrows)

Full article [Option 1]:

Personal details of more than 650,000 Wetherspoon's customers have been stolen after the pub chain's website was hacked.

Wetherspoon said the hack was made on its old website, which has since been replaced, between June 15 and June 17 this year.

The stolen personal details includes the customer's name, date of birth, email address and phone number. 

Card details of 100 customers had also been stolen in the cyber attack, after they purchased Wetherspoon vouchers online between January 2009 and August 2014.

However, the pub operator said the card information accessed was 'very limited' and could not be used for fraud.

Only the last four digits of the cards were stolen in the hack as the remaining digits were not stored on the JD Wetherspoon's database, meaning these details could not be used on its own to commit fraud.

In a statement the pub chain said: 'These credit or debit card details cannot be used on their own for fraudulent purposes, because the first 12 digits and the security number on the reverse of the card were not stored on the database.'

The stolen details of the 650,000 people were those who had signed up to receive the company newsletter, submitted a 'Contact Us' form or registered their details while signing into the 'The Cloud' to use Wifi in JD Wetherspoon pubs.

The pub chain's CEO John Hutson said the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) is being told of the breach.

In a letter to customers, he said: 'We have taken all necessary measures to make our website secure again following this attack. A forensic investigation into the breach in continuing.

'In this instance, we recommend that you remain vigilant for any emails that you are not expecting, that specifically ask you for personal or financial information, or request you to click on links or download information.'

The company said it received information on December 1 the information may have been hacked, prompting an 'urgent investigation by cyber security specialists'.

Mr Hutson said: 'Unfortunately, hacking is becoming more and more sophisticated and widespread. We are determined to respond to this by increasing our efforts and investment in security and will be doing everything possible to prevent a recurrence.' 

JD Wetherspoon is the latest company to suffer a cyber-attack.

Telecoms groupTalkTalk was hacked in October, with almost 157,000 customers affected in its third data breach in 12 months. Five people have been arrested so far.

Chief executive Dido Harding warned of a 'cyber security arms race' threatening all UK companies as hackers learn to navigate around online systems.

Elsewhere, the website of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver suffered three successive attacks centred on malicious adverts this year.

In September, Ashley Madison had their website hacked. Details of more than 33m accounts were stolen from the site, which offers users the chance to have an affair with the tag line 'life is short, have an affair'.

Last year, Sony was hacked, which exposed embarrassing emails and personal details about some of the world's biggest movie stars. Angelina Jolie was described as a 'minimally talented spoiled brat' in a private email from producer Scott Rudin.

(1st January 2016)

(London Evening Standard, dated 4th December 2015 author Jonathan Corke)


Full article [Option 1]:

More than 100 Metropolitan Police officers have been sacked since the beginning of last year, including  at least 22 over allegations of  corruption.

Figures obtained by the Evening Standard reveal that 61 officers were dismissed without notice in 2014 and at least 42 in the first 10 months of this year.

The number fired for "corrupt practice" was second only to those accused of "neglect or failure in duty", which accounted for 26 sackings.

At least 14 officers have been fired for assaults and, since January this year, four officers have been dismissed for "oppressive conduct or harassment".

Others have been sacked over "sexual conduct", discriminatory behaviour, improper disclosure of information, perjury and mishandling property.

But the statistics also show that scores of officers accused of serious offences such as sexual assault, corruption and harassment were given warnings.

Seven officers accused of corrupt practice received final written warnings, while five had first written warnings.

One officer received a first written warning over an allegation of sexual assault and officers accused of "irregularity in evidence/perjury" have also been given warnings, according to the figures released under the Freedom of Information Act.

In total, Met officers have been disciplined on 506 occasions since the beginning of 2014.

There have been 86 final written warnings and 180 first written warnings, while management advice was issued in 121 cases. No action was taken in 16 cases.

Among the 103 officers sacked  since January 2014 was a PC, who was dismissed in November last year for punching a woman suspected of shoplifting - as is seen in the video at the top of this article.

In February 2014, he was found guilty of common assault over an incident at the Uniqlo shop in Regent Street in November 2012. CCTV footage showed him pushing the woman, grabbing her by the hair and punching her as she lay on the floor.

In May this year, five officers were sacked for posting photos on the internet that they had secretly taken of members of the public. In October, two Pcs were sacked after "racist" text messages were found on their mobile phones during an investigation into the 2012 "Plebgate" row.

A Met spokesman said: "It is important to note that the number of allegations is an extremely small proportion of the total number of officers in the MPS, which is over 31,000.

"The vast majority of our officers and staff carry out their service to Londoners in the manner the MPS and the public expects.

"The MPS is committed to delivering a professional service of the highest standard to the public and expects its employees to conduct themselves professionally, ethically and with the utmost integrity at all times.

"Any instance where the conduct of our staff brings the MPS into disrepute is treated extremely seriously by the MPS."

(1st January 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 4th December 2015 author Lucy Clarke-Billings)


Full article [Option 1]:

A convicted Polish rapist changed his name and used false identity documents to enter the UK and rape two more women he met online by posing as a wealthy sugar daddy.

Rafal Bargiel was jailed for life after a court heard he subjected two young women to "humiliating and degrading" sex acts after contacting them on a dating website.

Bargiel had only recently been released from a Polish prison after serving just two-and-a-half years for rape - a sentence which was described by a judge as "extraordinarily lenient" - when he adopted the name Tomasz Puchalski and came to Britain.

His previous criminal record was not picked up before the first rape in the UK, raising questions about what the authorities knew about him when he entered the country.

A court heard Bargiel, who was working as a lorry driver, attacked his first victim in November 2014 when he collected her from a London railway station in his Jaguar car, before driving her to a remote location near Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, holding a knife to her face and forcing her to take part in degrading sex acts. He then drove her to a hotel in London where he continued his attack.

Bargiel, who had studied for a biology degree in Poland and started a PhD in America, met his second victim in April this year in London and brought her to a hotel in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, and subjected her to a similar ordeal.

He denied the offences, claiming the women had consented to take part in extreme sex, but a judge said his offences were "strikingly similar" to those on a woman in Poland.

Bargiel was on bail for offences committed against his first victim in the UK when he raped the second woman, as routine police checks by Hertfordshire officers did not show he had a previous conviction in Poland.

A spokesman for Hertfordshire Police said: "I can confirm that Bargiel was on police bail but had not been charged at this stage due to insufficient evidence, with further enquiries being progressed.

"Bargiel had a previous conviction in Poland however he supplied false details and documentation and, although the relevant checks were carried out by officers, this is why his previous conviction was not picked up at the time of his arrest."

Bargiel, of no fixed address, was charged and convicted of six counts of rape, two of false imprisonment and one each of assault by penetration, sexual assault and causing a person to engage in sexual activity.

He was jailed for life, with Judge Andrew Bright QC ordering that he should not be considered for parole for at least nine years.

Detective Constable Allan Burnham, from Hertfordshire Police's sexual offences investigation team, said the young women's ordeals were "possibly two of the most horrific cases" he had seen in his career.

In 2013, an international project was launched by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, to boost the amount of information shared across the EU about criminals who move across borders.

An internal document said a succession of serious crimes including murder, rape and paedophilia have been committed in Britain by offenders who came here despite having criminal records in their home countries.

Last year, Home Office data showed that 602 appeals against deportations for foreign offenders were successful at immigration courts in 2012-13. These cases included 324 criminals who won the right to stay in Britain under the controversial "right to private and family life" set out in Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Home Office have not yet provided a comment.

Passing sentence at St Albans Crown Court, Judge Bright told the defendant: "The most serious of the aggravating features is you have a very recent conviction for doing the same thing. In November 2011 you were convicted in Poland of strikingly similar offences to a girl of a similar age.

"You pleaded guilty and were sentenced to two and a half years' imprisonment - that was an extraordinarily lenient sentence but it was the sentence of the Polish court that came to pass sentence on you.

"On your release you decided to adopt a new name. You obtained a false Polish identity card and you came to England, where you lived and worked using that false name."

The murder of 14-year-old Alice Gross, who went missing in 2014, raised questions around the mobility of foreign criminals after it was discovered her killer, Latvian born Arnis Zalkalns, had served seven years for murdering his wife in his home country before moving to the UK.

The authorities in the UK apparently had no record of his murder conviction when Alice went missing.

Latvian court documents about the 1998 murder case revealed a psychologist assessed Mr Zalkalns as being mentally stable and said he knew exactly what he was doing when he murdered his wife and buried her in a shallow grave.

It was revealed that after killing her he smoked a cigarette and went home, sleeping for two nights, before reporting her missing to police.

(1st Janaury 2016)


(The Guardian, dated 1st December 2015 author Nadia Khomami)


Full article [Option 1]:

There is a continued link between the commercial cultivation of cannabis, modern slavery and people living without legal permission to remain in the UK, according to a new report by the National Police Chiefs' Council.

The report, based on three years of data from police forces across the country, also shows that commercial cultivation is being used as a means to fund other criminal activity, including distribution of class A drugs and money laundering.

The cultivation of cannabis is deemed a commercial enterprise when it involves 25 or more cannabis plants, at any stage of growth, or when there is evidence of a cannabis farm, whereby the premises have been adapted to such an extent that normal usage would be inhibited.

On average, 250,000 cannabis plants, with an estimated street value of more than £62m, are seized by officers annually, though offences linked to the commercial cultivation of cannabis were down by 5% in the last year.

During the three-year period, some 6,010 offenders were identified as being involved in the commercial cultivation of cannabis. The majority of these were white northern European males, mostly British, aged between 25 and 34. There is also evidence of involvement by south Asian organised crime groups, as well as by Vietnamese nationals who are forced to work in cultivation by white British gangs.

The report states: "Despite research showing a move towards British nationals cultivating cannabis on a commercial scale, we continue to see links between residents without legal permission to remain in the UK and the cultivation of cannabis.

"Convictions suggest that individuals continue to be smuggled into the UK and employed as gardeners for large cannabis grows."

It adds that victims continue to be exploited for the purpose of criminal activity. ECPAT UK, a leading children's rights organisation campaigning to protect children from child trafficking and transnational child sexual abuse, continues to raise concerns about the criminalisation of children apprehended in raids on cannabis factories.

"Individuals, including children, have indeed been prosecuted as opposed to being safeguarded as vulnerable victims," the report says. "There are clear examples of children being re-trafficked after coming into contact with law enforcement, with many going missing from local authority care."

It is also revealed that more than 90% of cannabis farms are set up in residential buildings. Cannabis factories or farms are said to pose a serious risk of fire hazards to nearby properties from bypassing electricity meters.

The NPCC lead on cannabis, temporary assistant chief constable Bill Jephson, said: "Tackling the criminals at the source of wholesale cannabis cultivation remains a key priority for us. The report highlights the links with violence, class A drugs and other serious criminality including human trafficking and modern slavery.

"I hope that this profile will help police understand the latest trends in cannabis cultivation and further inform the public about the threat, harm and risk posed by those responsible for the commercial cultivation of cannabis.

"I would also encourage the public to look out for the signs of cannabis cultivation and report anything suspicious to the police on 101," Jephson added.

(1st January 2016)


(BBC News, dated 2nd December 2015 author Sally Chidzoy)

Full article :

A driver who says he was "deliberately and repeatedly rammed" by a lorry has criticised police for failing to respond to his calls for three hours.

Matthew Stockdale claims he was repeatedly cut up and shunted three times by the other motorist.

He said he made six 999 calls and was connected to three police forces.

Northamptonshire Police, which took the first call, has apologised for the communication failures, saying it plans to interview the lorry driver.

The force says it is carrying out a "live investigation", but no arrests have yet been made. Bedfordshire Police is due to interview Mr Stockdale.

Dashcam footage of the encounter, recorded on the M1 near Northampton on 11 November, shows the lorry hitting Mr Stockdale's car.

"I honestly thought I was going to die," he wrote in a police statement.

"My life literally rushed before my eyes. Whilst that sounds dramatic, I can honestly say I have never felt fear like it. I began shaking uncontrollably."

The former special constable said he was driving southbound towards his home in Northampton when a lorry began flashing him, sounding its horn and driving up to the rear of his car.

Footage shows the lorry apparently bashing his car as it passed at about 20:40 GMT, and repeating the action 14 minutes later.

Mr Stockdale then called 999 and was connected to Northamptonshire Police. After the second incident, he was connected to Thames Valley and then Bedfordshire Police.

Despite assurances from all three forces that help was on the way, he said no-one arrived.

Mr Stockdale, who runs a dashcam company, followed the lorry to a depot in Dunstable where an ambulance took him to hospital with neck and shoulder pain.

Bedfordshire Police had called the paramedics and one of its officers arrived at the hospital nearly three hours after the first call was made.

Footage shows Mr Stockdale stayed in the middle lane for some time, which motorists can be fined for, but he said he was about to move over when the lorry driver began to "intimidate" him.

The Northamptonshire force said it could not attend because officers trained to deal with such incidents were in pursuit of a stolen car. The force has seen the footage and an investigation is under way but no arrests have been made yet, a spokesman confirmed.

Supt Dennis Murray, who is in charge of the force's control room, said: "What we should have done was contact the other forces... that's a failure on our part, for which I apologise to the driver of that vehicle."

The lorry driver, who lives in Bedfordshire, was employed by Wincanton hauliers through an agency. A spokesman confirmed he is "no longer conducting deliveries".

Liability for the car damage has been accepted by the firm's insurers.

(1st January 2016)

(BBC News, dated 2nd December 2015)


Full article :

A company which made almost six million nuisance calls in the space of six months has been fined £850,000.

Accrington-based National Advice Clinic made the calls about noise-induced hearing loss claims between October 2014 and April 2015.

The Claims Management Regulator (CMR), which oversees the compensation claims industry, said the cold-calling was "deliberate and sustained".

The company was not contactable for comment.

Many of those contacted by the company, which also trades as the Industrial Hearing Clinic and the Central Compensation Office, were on the Telephone Preference Service - designed to stop people receiving cold calls.

As a result, almost 2,000 complaints were made to the telecommunications industry regulator Ofcom.

Industrial Hearing Clinic was the subject of a BBC Panorama investigation in 2012, which looked at "very persistent" cold calls made by the company.

Nuisance calls

- Talk to your phone provider about blocking nuisance numbers or consider fixing a call blocker device to your phone

- Register with the Telephone Preference Service, which aims to protect subscribers from unsolicited telesales calls

- Check forms that ask for contact details carefully to be sure that you have opted not to share those details

- Consider going ex-directory

CMR's Kevin Rousell said the calls had been "a flagrant breach of our marketing requirements".

He added: "They showed an alarming disregard for the misery their tactics can cause, particularly to elderly and vulnerable people, and the size of this penalty demonstrates how seriously we take this issue."

The CMR, which is based at the Ministry of Justice, has been able to remove licences from claims management companies since 2010 and was given powers to financially penalise companies in December 2014.

A spokesman said it had fined four companies so far, with this case incurring the largest penalty.

Justice Minister Lord Faulks said he was "pleased the regulator has imposed such a substantial fine for such blatant and shocking behaviour".

(1st January 2016)


(The Times, dated 26th November 2015 author Catherine Baksi)


Full article [Option 1]: [Option 1]

High profile hacking attacks on telephone and broadband provider TalkTalk and adultery website Ashley Madison have put cyber security firmly in the public eye. And from hackivists to state-sponsored industrial spies, law firms are in the front line of the growing threat.

Over the last year, 62 per cent of law firms have reported they had suffered from a security incident, up from 45 per cent in 2014, according to the latest figures from accountant PwC.

Steve Wilmott, director of inteligence and investigations at the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), reveals cyber criminals have caused substantial losses to 50 law firms this year, ranging from £50,000 to £2 million, and a further 20 firms had fallen victim to e-mail redirection scams, involving very substantial amounts of money. Government figures estimate that cyber crime costs £27 billion a year.

Stealing corporate secrets

Law firms are a honey pots, targeted due to the amount of sensitive client data they hold, says Richard Cumbley, global head of Linklaters' TMT (Telecom, media and technology) and IP practice.

Heyrick Bond Gunning, chief executive of Salamanca Risk Management, says they are seen as holders of secrets. The cost of cyber security breaches can be high, both financially and reputationally.

Mr Bond Gunning warns that it is only a matter of time before a law firm suffers a TalkTalk - scale breach.

The greater sophistication and tactics of hackers, and increasing scale of the risk, has pushed the issue higher up the agenda. IT security is no longer a matter that can be left to a couple of junior techies. The risk posed, says Scott McVicar, general manager of commercial solutions at BAE Systems in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, is not being addressed at partner level and is a key business level decision.

Taking security seriously

Richard Hodkinson, chief technology officer at Manchester HQ DWF, says information security is in every project plan.

"Woe betide any firm that does not take information security seriously", adds Rhory Robertson, partner and head of cyber investigation unit at Collyer Bristow.

Clients, both individuals and corporations, are taking a greater interest in the security of their chosen legal adviser. "Law firms are no different from any other supplier when it comes to cyber security. We handle information, and clients are entitled to ask how we handle it and keep it secure," says Mr Cumbley. "We expect to be asked by clients and we are regularly asked".

"Clients are increasingly doing audit inspections of suppliers and using IT securit as part of the audit process. We need to demonstrate we have appropriate IT security in place and can show what we are doing in practice".

Mr Robertson notes he has not seen evidence of clients losing confidence in their lawyers keeping their information confidential. "But then, if any firm has been hacked, they are going to keep as quiet as they can about it. I suspect that many clients simply assume their matters are held confidentially," he adds.

Cyber threats

The threats come from a frightening array of sources. There are cyber criminals, like normal villians, but who use technology for their nefarious purposes, usually theft or, as with Ashley Madison and TalkTalk incidents, blackmail.

Then there are journalists, who seek to target firms through their employees to get stories on clients, and hacktivists, political or idealogical activists opposed to a firm's client, who seek to make a statement through sabotaging its website or disabling its systems to cause the firm reputational harm and encourage it to drop the client.

Industrial spies, sponsored by national states, are also a reality, not just something out of cold war novels. There are outfits, says Mr Bond Gunning, with armies of workers who do nothing but hack blue-chip companies.

However, one of the biggest risks to IT security is internal and comes from firms' own employees, either maliciously or unintentionally, he says.

E-mail is used by everyone and its security, warns the SRA, must be taken more seriously as it is expected to become a bigger issue of focus in 2016.

Its ubiquity already makes it a common means to stage an attack. According to the latest Data Breach Investigation Report, 20 per cent of breaches originate from phishing attacks - often digital con tricks pretending to be genuine - and more than two thirds of cyber espionage incidents have featured phishing.

These are targeted scams originated through e-mails containing attachments or links to websites infected with malware - malicious software that disrupts a firm's computer operations or servers - giving hackers access to sensitive information.

Dangerous e-mails

Why is this done, asks BAE Systems' Dr McVicar? Answering his own question, he says: "Because it works - nearly 50 per cent of users open e-mails and click on phishing links within the first hour."

E-mail is also the most common way in which employees cause data breaches; for example, through inadvertently sending a message to the incorrect recipient. Basic security and cyber hygiene can go a long way to mitigate these risks, says Dr McVicar.

Andrew Taylor, technical director of Converge Technology Specialists, says law firms should use a system that includes encryption, scans content and detects security issues, as well as the standard anti-spam filtering services. "Staff need to be trained and made aware of potential threats, including bogus e-mails and suspicious requests for information," he says.

And firms should have a policy of making clients aware of possible fraudulent e-mails and encourage them to check the return e-mail address, and never respond to e-mails asking for payment arrangements to be changed. In addition, there are the basics of ensuring regular password changes and using a reputable personal e-mail service.

Mr Bond Gunning of Salamanca Risk Management says to prevent accidental e-mail breaches, a two-minute delay can be put on e-mails before they are sent. "It can save a whole lot of drama," he says, warning that if you make e-mail security too burdensome, staff may bypass it and use personal accounts, exposing the firm to risk.

"The proliferation of devices and their ability to be mass-storage devices has made management of risk more challenging," says DWF's Mr Hodkinson.

"Multiple devices open up new avenues for the hacker to burrow deep into clients' confidential information," adds Mr Robertson at Collyer Bristow.

Dark hotel is one scam that travelling lawyers should be aware of. Mr Bond Gunning explains that it is similar to phishing, attacking users' laptops when they think they are connecting to their hotel's wi-fi.

The simple telephone also poses risk, with so-called vishing attacks, when fraudsters obtain sensitive information over the telephone.  One firm, Mr Bond Gunning recounts, said it had had 12 vishing attempts in the past month. "It happens on a Friday afternoon when people are in a rush and others, who might be able to verify information, are not there," he notes.

Reducing your exposure

So, how can firms minimise their exposure to risk and satisfy clients their data is in safe hands?

There is no silver bullet that guarantees 100 per cent defence, says Dr McVicar. "The big challenge for law firms is how to maintain an effective defensive posture, which can evolve with time to match an ever-evolving threat," he says. "They need to do this cost effectively so they remain cost effective in the marketplace while maintaining customer confidence and trust."

Firms have to make a risk-based decision, understanding the level of risk and putting in place a mitigation strategy that reduces this to an acceptable level, he advises.

This means identifying the information that matters most - typically e-mail and document management systems - and putting in place a mitigation strategy that prevents the attacks you can, detects quickly attacks you can't and respond effectively to minimise the effect of a breach in the event the attack is successful.

He says law firms should do the basics - use threat intelligence to understand the changing nature of cyber risk, develop and maintain cyber security awareness of staff, regularly patch IT vulnerabilities, use penetration testing to test security and monitor the security of their IT networks.

All this should be backed up with an incident response and business continuity plan to minimise the impact should the worst happen.

As Mr Bond Gunning concludes: "Firms spend time on prevention, but often don't have a plan for what to do when the crisis comes. In many cases they can get away with it, if they have a good plan in place and execute it."

(1st January 2016)







This article shows sources of information for road travel within the UK and some adjacent countries. These may prove useful over the Christmas and New Year period.

Check route

The AA route planner :

The RAC router planner :

Check the latest traffic conditions

Live updates :

Traffic England :

Check the weather forecast

Meteorological Office for weather conditions :

Flood warning information :

Further afield

Road Travel in Scotland

Traffic Scotland :

Road Travel in Northern Ireland

Traffic Watch Northern Ireland :

Road Travel in Wales

Traffic Wales :

Road Travel in the Republic of Ireland

National Road Authority :

Road Travel in France

Motorways :

Road travel conditions :

(16th December 2015)


(National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, December 2012)
For 2015, the list will be much longer. Then there would not be this catchy title !


Christmas is a time for celebration, a time to be with friends and family.

Unfortunately it is also a time when fraudsters cash in, using cons old and new to exploit people's good will and ruin their festive period.

This year the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) will be aiming to keep the criminals at bay through 'The Twelve Frauds of Christmas', highlighting fraudulent activities, increasing business and community awareness and providing fraud prevention advice.

The team, based at the City of London Police and working as the central fraud intelligence hub for the UK, have compiled a list of a dozen frauds that they suspect will be repeatedly put into play throughout December.

On the top of the tree is online shopping fraud. Every year more and more of us are searching and buying our gifts over the internet, and every year fraudsters are finding new ways to move our money into their pockets.

Sitting amongst the presents is postal fraud. During the festive period you may receive additional letters and parcels, but not all of them may be for you!

Fraudsters will purchase goods online and then direct them to an innocent person's address. Once an item has been delivered a person wearing official looking clothing will arrive at the door and attempt to take the parcel by stating it has been delivered incorrectly.

Resting on the mantelpiece can be found electronic 'E' cards. More of these will be sent this Christmas than ever before, but there are a few you do not want to open.

The fraudsters email may contain a virus and once activated the file will embed itself in your compute without your knowledge. This malware works inside your computer collecting personal data, financial information, passwords and usernames, all of which will then be sent back to the fraudster.

The NFIB's "Twelve frauds of Christmas" in full for 2012 are:

1. online shopping fraud
2. postal fraud
3. auction fraud
4. holiday fraud
5. electronic 'E' cards
6. ticketing fraud
7. phishing emails
8. social networking
9. cash point fraud
10. voucher fraud
11. card not present fraud
12. mobile payment

By being aware of these cons and scams, you can avoid opening an advent calendar door to fraud this Christmas.

If you feel you have been a victim of these frauds, or any other, you should report to Action Fraud at or 0300 123 2040.

(16th December 2015)

(Courtesy of The Metropolitan Police, dated 21st December 2012)


Here are some tips to remember to keep yourself safe.  They may be 3 years  old, but the are always relevant.

Christmas Shopping

Look after your bags and valuables when out Christmas shopping 
Keep bank, credit cards and PIN numbers safe
Shield your PIN from view
Put money away in your purse, wallet or bag before leaving an ATM
Don't leave valuables on show in cars 
Keep Christmas shopping hidden from sight, locked away in the boot of your car

Plan ahead for your night 

- Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged before heading out 
- Be prepared to provide proof of age when buying alcohol
- Watch your drinks - don't give anyone the opportunity to interfere with them
- Keep bags and valuables with you at all times
- Think about what you've had to drink - DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE
- Where possible, stick with friends and don't travel alone
- Make sure you have money to get home, look after your keys 
- Always call a licensed taxi
- If walking home, keep to well lit, busy areas

Home Safety

- Leave some lights on if it will be dark before you get home
- Always close and lock all doors and windows when leaving the house
- Make sure all valuables are out of sight
- Keep presents out of sight from opportunist thieves
- Place your mobile phone, laptop, camera etc on the national security register, Immobilise -


- Never approach a minicab on the street or accept a fare - these drivers acting illegally, even if they are licensed by TfL.
- Only black cabs can pick passengers up on the street without a booking.
- When travelling by minicab always book it with a licensed operator.
- When it arrives check it's for you by getting the driver to confirm your booking details and check the driver's photo identification.
- Visit for more information.

(16th December 2015)




Whatever shopping channel you watch on TV around Christmas; whatever high street electronics store you happen to browse in during the rest of the year you will see them ! Remote control flying machines. They look so good, the wonders of technology for a reasonable price; you can even fix a video camera to some of them. What a laugh.

Off at a tangent, as a kid, have you ever thrown a stone whilst mucking about. You did not throw it high, but it landed where you did not expect. The stone hit a window, a greenhouse, or worse, another person. Well it was only a stone, it caused a bruise. A stone would weigh say 5 grams, a remote control flying machine can weigh anything from 50 grams to 1Kg. What damage could that do to a person if the flying machine ceased to fly from a height of 20 feet, 40 feet, 100 feet or more ?

What could happen if the flying machine was flown near to a passenger plane at an airport of air field ? The results could be catestrophic.

So what is a flying machine in this context ?

- Remote control plane
- Remote control helicopter
- Remote control glider
- Remote control Drone
- or any of the above that can fly under their own control.

What can go wrong with a new flying machine ?

- Batteries don't remain charged forever.
- It may fly out of range of the remote controller.
- The radio signal may be corrupted by another stronger radio signal.

I am not writing this to be a kill joy, but to make people aware that there are rules to follow when using a flying machine.


The following is a copy of a document produced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) which provides a summary.



Link :

Remember, when you fly an unmanned aircraft (or drone), the responsibility is yours



You are responsible for each flight

You are legally responsible forthe safe conduct of each flight. Take time to understand the rules - failure to comply could lead to a criminal prosecution.

Keep your distance

It is illegal to fly your unmanned aircraft over a congested area (streets, towns and cities). Also, stay well clear of airports and airfields.

BEFORE each flight,check drone for damage

Before each flight check that your unmanned aircraft is not damaged, and that all components are working in accordance with the Supplier's User Manual.

Keep your distance 50 metres

Don't fly your unmanned aircraft within 50m of a person, vehicle, building or structure, or overhead groups of people at any height.

Drone is in sight at all times

You must keep the unmanned aircraft within your sight at all times.

Consider rights of privacy

Think about what you do with any images you obtain as you may breach privacy laws. Details are available from the Information Commissioner's Office.

YOU are responsible for avoiding collisions

You are responsible for avoiding collisions with other people or objects - including aircraft. Do not fly your unmanned aircraft in any way that could endanger people or property.

Permission to use drones for paid work

If you intend to use an unmanned aircraft for any kind of commercial activity, you must get a 'Permission' from the Civil Aviation Authority, or you could face prosecution. For more details, visit


Further reading

The Civil Aviation Authority webpage on model aircraft (flying machines) :

For all of the rules and definitions covering Flying Machine (model aircraft) the Civil Aviation Authority have produced a 56 page guidance document

(16th December 2015)



(London Evening Standard, dated 14th December 2015 author Justin Davenport)


Full article [Option 1]:

Pickpockets and thieves stole a massive £13 million worth of valuables in London in the past year, it emerged today.

The Met police figures reveal that young women are the most vulnerable to personal theft - with nearly 11,000 reporting they had items stolen, compared with 5,820 men. Mobile phones are by far the most valuable haul - £8 million worth were taken.

Latest police data show snatches in the capital rose by more than nine per cent in the past 12 months, and an alert has been issued over pickpockets targeting Londoners over the festive period.

Westminster police have launched a Christmas blitz on thieves codenamed Operation Blizzard.

In total, there were 34,061 cases of theft in London in the 12 months to the end of September, according to figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request to the Met. The highest number was in Westminster - 6,172 - followed by Islington on 3,847 and Camden on 3,311. Boroughs with the fewest thefts were Sutton, Bexley and Richmond.

After phones, cash was the next most lucrative target of thieves - more than £1.8 million was taken - followed by watches (£667,967), wallets and purses (nearly £400,000), laptops (£212,789) and cameras and photo equipment (£120,339).

Women aged 15 to 29 were the most vulnerable to theft, with 10,773 cases recorded - double the amount of men in the same age bracket.

Women in general were also more likely to be victims - reporting a total of 20,794 cases - compared with 13,458 cases reported by men of all ages.

A recent court case heard how two sisters headed a pickpocket gang from South America who came to the UK to steal from the elderly "as a way of life".

Argentinians Maria Gallardo, 43, and sister Lucrecia 46, plus Chileans Luis Salazar Bravo, 29, and Alfredo Lopez Rojas, 27, stole from women on buses in Westminster and preyed on victims at the London Eye. They were jailed at Blackfriars crown court last month.

A Met spokesman said Operation Blizzard "involves high-visibility policing and plainclothes officers targeting individuals who may try and use the festive season as an opportunity to commit offences such as pickpocketing. It will run into the new year.

"We urge Londoners to stay alert and look out for common tactics used by pickpockets and thieves.

"People can take a few simple measures to prevent this type of crime: make sure bags are fastened, be aware of your surroundings especially when using a phone in public, and plan journeys home in advance using black cabs or pre-booked mini-cabs."

The Freedom of Information request was made by insurance company Policy Expert. Head of operations Adam Powell said: "It's easy to get distracted by the festivities as the streets and public transport get busier over the Christmas period.

"Keep an eye on your shopping, bags and any other valuables and be vigilant around other pedestrians."

Entertainer  and sleight-of-hand artist James Freedman, the self-styled "Man of Steal" who advises the Met on how to tackle theft, said: "Common sense and distance are your best defences, so stay vigilant for distraction techniques and be aware of anyone getting too close.

"Being under the influence will affect anyone's awareness so if you're planning a heavy night out and don't need all your cards, cash or other valuables, leave them at home."

(16th December 2015)

(BBC News, dated 11th December 2015)


Full article :

Over one million people are buying counterfeit electrical products in the UK every year, according to Electrical Safety First.

Steve Curtler, the charity's product safety manager, told the BBC that the products, many of which could be found online, often did "not work" and could be a "potential fire risk, electric shock risk."

To illustrate the dangers, 5 live Investigates went to the TÜV Rheinland laboratory with the charity to test a genuine Nutribullet blender and a fake.

Whilst simulating what would happen if a piece of ice or stone jammed in the blades, the genuine product passed the safety test. However, the fake product exploded after just 4.28 seconds.

Nutribullet's UK distributor, High Street TV, said Nutribullet was independently tested to ensure that it met all UK and European safety regulations. They recommended only purchasing the product direct from approved stockists.

This clip is originally from 5 live Investigates on Sunday 13 December 2015.

(16th December 2015)


(BBC News, dated 2nd December 2015 author Sally Chidzoy)

Full article :

A driver who says he was "deliberately and repeatedly rammed" by a lorry has criticised police for failing to respond to his calls for three hours.

Matthew Stockdale claims he was repeatedly cut up and shunted three times by the other motorist.

He said he made six 999 calls and was connected to three police forces.

Northamptonshire Police, which took the first call, has apologised for the communication failures, saying it plans to interview the lorry driver.

The force says it is carrying out a "live investigation", but no arrests have yet been made. Bedfordshire Police is due to interview Mr Stockdale.

Dashcam footage of the encounter, recorded on the M1 near Northampton on 11 November, shows the lorry hitting Mr Stockdale's car.

"I honestly thought I was going to die," he wrote in a police statement.

"My life literally rushed before my eyes. Whilst that sounds dramatic, I can honestly say I have never felt fear like it. I began shaking uncontrollably."

The former special constable said he was driving southbound towards his home in Northampton when a lorry began flashing him, sounding its horn and driving up to the rear of his car.

Footage shows the lorry apparently bashing his car as it passed at about 20:40 GMT, and repeating the action 14 minutes later.

Mr Stockdale then called 999 and was connected to Northamptonshire Police. After the second incident, he was connected to Thames Valley and then Bedfordshire Police.

Despite assurances from all three forces that help was on the way, he said no-one arrived.

Mr Stockdale, who runs a dashcam company, followed the lorry to a depot in Dunstable where an ambulance took him to hospital with neck and shoulder pain.

Bedfordshire Police had called the paramedics and one of its officers arrived at the hospital nearly three hours after the first call was made.

Footage shows Mr Stockdale stayed in the middle lane for some time, which motorists can be fined for, but he said he was about to move over when the lorry driver began to "intimidate" him.

The Northamptonshire force said it could not attend because officers trained to deal with such incidents were in pursuit of a stolen car. The force has seen the footage and an investigation is under way but no arrests have been made yet, a spokesman confirmed.

Supt Dennis Murray, who is in charge of the force's control room, said: "What we should have done was contact the other forces... that's a failure on our part, for which I apologise to the driver of that vehicle."

The lorry driver, who lives in Bedfordshire, was employed by Wincanton hauliers through an agency. A spokesman confirmed he is "no longer conducting deliveries".

Liability for the car damage has been accepted by the firm's insurers.

(2nd December 2015)

(BBC News, dated 2nd December 2015)

Full article :

A company which made almost six million nuisance calls in the space of six months has been fined £850,000.

Accrington-based National Advice Clinic made the calls about noise-induced hearing loss claims between October 2014 and April 2015.

The Claims Management Regulator (CMR), which oversees the compensation claims industry, said the cold-calling was "deliberate and sustained".

The company was not contactable for comment.

Many of those contacted by the company, which also trades as the Industrial Hearing Clinic and the Central Compensation Office, were on the Telephone Preference Service - designed to stop people receiving cold calls.

As a result, almost 2,000 complaints were made to the telecommunications industry regulator Ofcom.

Industrial Hearing Clinic was the subject of a BBC Panorama investigation in 2012, which looked at "very persistent" cold calls made by the company.

Nuisance calls

- Talk to your phone provider about blocking nuisance numbers or consider fixing a call blocker device to your phone

- Register with the Telephone Preference Service, which aims to protect subscribers from unsolicited telesales calls

- Check forms that ask for contact details carefully to be sure that you have opted not to share those details

- Consider going ex-directory

CMR's Kevin Rousell said the calls had been "a flagrant breach of our marketing requirements".

He added: "They showed an alarming disregard for the misery their tactics can cause, particularly to elderly and vulnerable people, and the size of this penalty demonstrates how seriously we take this issue."

The CMR, which is based at the Ministry of Justice, has been able to remove licences from claims management companies since 2010 and was given powers to financially penalise companies in December 2014.

A spokesman said it had fined four companies so far, with this case incurring the largest penalty.

Justice Minister Lord Faulks said he was "pleased the regulator has imposed such a substantial fine for such blatant and shocking behaviour".

(2nd December 2015)



(The Register, dated 25th November 2015 author John Leyden)

Full article [Option 1]:

Hilton Worldwide has confirmed that malware found its way onto point-of-sale systems that targeted payment card information.

Targeted data included cardholder names, payment card numbers, security codes and expiry dates. Addresses and PINs were not exposed, Hilton concluded, after an investigation that brought in third-party forensics experts, law enforcement and payment card companies.

Hilton omits to say how many or which hotel locations may have been affected by the breach, but is telling customers to review their payment card statements - particularly if they used their cards at a Hilton Worldwide hotel between specified dates (8 November - 5 December 2014 or 21 April - 27 July 2015). The hotel chain is also keeping quiet about the number of people or credit card records exposed at a result of the breach.

(The Register, dated 24th November 2015 author Darren Pauli)

Full article [Option 1]:

The world's most complex sales till malware has been discovered ... after it ripped millions of bank cards from US retailers on the eve of post-Thanksgiving shopping frenzies.

The ModPOS malware has pilfered "multiple millions" of debit and credit cards from the unnamed but large retail companies incurring millions of dollars in damages.

The attackers have operated in a low-key, ultra professional manner since late 2013 and has only come to light after weeks of painstaking reverse-engineering efforts by malware experts.

They have kept mum, too. Cybercrime forums are entirely devoid of references to the malware.

(The Register, dated 17th November 2015 author Iain Thomson)

Full article [Option 1]:

American federal investigators are having a hard time hiring computer-savvy staff, according to a memo from the Inspector General for the US Department of Justice.

"Even as it works to expand the ranks of its cybersecurity team, the department continues to face challenges recruiting and retaining highly qualified candidates to do this work," the memo states.

Last year the FBI got the authorization and budget to hire 134 computer scientists for online investigations. We're told the agency could only find 82 people interested in working for Uncle Sam. As a result, five of the FBI's regional 56 Cyber Task Force teams don't have a computer specialist on hand.

(Computer World, dated 16th November 2015 author Matt Hamblen)
Full article [Option 1]:

Deadly terrorist attacks on Friday in Paris, planned by ISIS, have ignited a new round of concerns over encryption on smartphones.

"A lot of people in these terror groups have developed encryption techniques, and France has one of the most sophisticated systems for monitoring communications. If France didn't pick up this attack in advance, it's a wake-up call for all of us," said Darren Hayes, assistant professor and director of cybersecurity at Pace University.

Encrypted messages reportedly helped ISIS hide communications prior to the attacks, keeping security agencies from any advance warning of what was being planned. Some experts have blamed the attacks on the growth of cheap or free smartphone apps like WhatsApp or Chatsource that encrypt messages.

(The Register, dated 14th November 2015 author Shaun Nichols)

Full article [Option 1]:

A US IT security company says it found copies of the Conficker malware infecting police body cameras.

Florida-based iPower reports that body cameras it received from supplier Martel Electronics were loaded with 2009's baddest botware.

Researchers Jarrett Pavao and Charles Auchinleck found that when plugged into a PC, the Martel cameras attempted to execute the Worm

While any PC running an even remotely up-to-date antivirus package would be able to detect the Conficker attempt, unguarded machines could still be infected. What's worse, iPower says the malware was present in the cameras before it received the units.

(The Register, dated 13th November 2015 author Shaun Nichols)

Full article [Option 1]:

A UK man has been given eight and a half months in prison for launching a series of distributed denial-of-service attacks in 2013.

The Liverpool court gave Ian Sullivan the 34-week sentence for conducting more than 300 denial of service attacks on various government, political and financial sites in 2013. Sullivan admitted to the charges earlier this year.

The 51 year old father of six had targeted sites including the UK Conservative Party, British Airways and a number of banks by flooding their websites with traffic and knocking them offline, a technique known as a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack.

Though Sullivan had been connected with Anonymous, the personal nature of the targets chosen (such as social service and housing authorities in the UK) suggest the DDoS attacks were more of a personal vendetta than an organized group effort.

(Computer World, dated 9th November 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

Full article [Option 1]:

In a single year, a cyberespionage group with possible ties to the Iranian government has targeted over 1,600 defense officials, diplomats, researchers, human rights activists, journalists and other high-profile individuals around the world.

The group, known as Rocket Kitten, has been active since early 2014 and its attacks have been analyzed by various security vendors. However, a major breakthrough in the investigation came recently when researchers from Check Point Software Technologies obtained access to the command-and-control servers used by the attackers.

Compared to other cyberespionage groups, Rocket Kitten is not very sophisticated, but it is persistent. It makes extensive use of social engineering through spear-phishing attacks that infect victims with custom-written malware, the Check Point researchers

(Computer World, dated 2nd November 2015 author Fahmida Y Rashid)

Full article [Option 1]:

When customers interact with your business, they most likely go through a Web application first. It's your company's public face; and by virtue of that exposure, an obvious point of vulnerability.

Here are five signs your Web application has been compromised; and where to begin your investigation. You'll also find some commonsense advice about securing your Web application, whether or not you've been hacked.

Sign No. 1: The application is not doing what it was designed to do
Sign No. 2: You find unexpected log messages
Signs No. 3: You find new processes, users, or jobs
Signs No. 4: Files have changed
Signs No. 5: You get warnings

(Computer World, dated 27th October 2015 author Jeremy Kirk)

Full article [Option 1]:

Iranian hackers are showing strong interest in malware that can secretly pull data from Android devices, which are popular in the Middle East.

The analysis comes from Recorded Future, a cybersecurity intelligence firm based in Somerville, Massachusetts.

One of Recorded Future's specialties is monitoring hacking forums, looking for clues and chatter that might indicate future attacks.

Over the last six months, there appears to have been high interest on Iranian hacking forums in remote access tools, or programs designed to listen to calls and collect text message and GPS data.


(1st December 2015)


(BBC News, dated November 2015 authors Mark Easton and Professor Shane Johnson)

Full article :

Forecasting crime

In 2011, police in Los Angeles and Manchester ran radical trials. They used a computer algorithm to try to predict where crime would occur before it happened.

That might sound like science fiction, but the police wanted to test if by analysing large amounts of crime data, also known as 'big data', they could spot patterns in the way criminals behaved. Then they'd deploy their resources in the areas the computer predicted crime would strike.

Policing to prevent crime is nothing new. In Britain, it goes back hundreds of years. But if using big data worked, it would mean humans taking advice on where to police from a machine rather than relying on their own experience.

Does it work ?

USA trials

The 2011 trial in LA was a success, with a significant fall in property crime and burglaries. The LAPD Foothill Division has continued to use predictive software.

UK trials

Trials have taken place across the UK, from Kent to Yorkshire. The results suggest that predictive policing models can help cut crimes where perpetrators exhibit predictable patterns of behaviour. In 2011, for example, in Trafford, Manchester, police noted a 26.6% fall in burglaries, compared to a 9.8% fall across Greater Manchester in the same period.

However, Kent Police had a slightly less straightforward experience. It ran a successful four-month trial starting in December 2012, but after rolling out predictive policing across the county in April 2013, recorded an increase in crime for the following year. It blamed the rise on a failure to deploy resources effectively and inaccurate crime data.

Rachel Tuffin, director of research at the College of Policing, says there is a strong interest in the potential of predictive policing, but further trials are needed. She explains: "Research shows predictive analysis can identify hotspots more accurately, and separate studies show targeting police patrol and problem-solving in hotspots can reduce crime. Forces in the UK and US are testing the effect of combining prediction with action to remove the causes of crime."

The Metropolitan Police is currently undertaking the UK's biggest pilot, assessing three types of predictive software, and is expected to publish findings later in 2015.

Ethical dilemmas

Victimisation - Critics say it may exacerbate unnecessary stop and searches in areas with high crime rates. Advocates argue it makes police decision-making less biased.

Displacement - Some critics are concerned these methods simply move crime elsewhere, though research at University College London in 2011 found no evidence for this.

Privacy - Civil liberties campaigners argue if predictive policing works, authorities may try to gather further types of sensitive data, leading to invasions of privacy.

Ignores causes of crime - Critics worry authorities may neglect the social, economic and cultural factors that cause crime. Advocates argue that a variety of approaches are necessary.

(1st December 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 1st December 2015 author Danny Boyle)

Full article [Option 1]:

A policeman has been caught on camera apparently texting on a mobile phone while at the wheel of a force van.

The Nottinghamshire Police officer is seen holding the device in one hand as he drives on a dual-carriageway in wet conditions.

He was "totally oblivious" as he was captured in the 11-second clip in Rotherham, South Yorkshire, on Monday.

Police confirmed in a statement that the driver of the Ford Transit van, emblazoned with the force's logo, was a police officer and he is being investigated.

The video was filmed by car passenger Paul Bent, who said he was "outraged" by the officer's behaviour in Centenary Way.

"He wasn't trying to be discreet," Mr Bent told BBC Northampton.

"He didn't seem to even be looking up from his phone. He was just totally oblivious that we were at the side of him filming him."

Paul Murphy, head of Nottinghamshire Police's professional standards directorate, said police officers and staff were "not above the law".

Mr Murphy said: "Senior officers were made aware of this particular incident after it came to light yesterday. Investigative action was taken swiftly.

"The person driving at the relevant time is a police officer and is subject of investigation.

"In advance of a formal interview, appropriate action will be taken to refer the officer to our driver training team for reassessment to drive police vehicles.

"Nottinghamshire Police officers and staff are not above the law, being accountable as any member of the public would be. When employees fall short of these standards, it is absolutely right that it is brought to our attention."

It has been illegal to drive or ride a motorcycle while using hand-held phones or similar devices since December 2003. The rules are the same if drivers are stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

The penalty is three licence points and a fine of £100. If the case goes to court, offenders can be disqualified and receive a maximum fine of £1,000. Drivers of buses or goods vehicles could get a maximum fine of £2,500.

(1st December 2015)

(Police Oracle, date 1st December 2015 author Helena Hickey)

Full article [Option 1]:'reluctant'-to-contribute-to-regional-organised-crime-units_90276.html

Regional and Organised Crime Units (ROCU) are successfully tackling some of the country's most serious criminals. However, their effectiveness is being held back because some forces are reluctant to relinquish control of specialist assets, an inspection has found.

Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary inspected all ten ROCUs in England and Wales earlier this year as part of its PEEL effectiveness inspections and found most are bigger and better than they were a few years ago. However, despite acknowledging that officers and staff working in ROCUs are among the most highly skilled and experienced in the police service and the quality of investigations carried out was generally good, HMIs found the capability of each unit varied considerably.

Each ROCU is expected to provide the forces in its area with access to 13 standardised "capabilities" to help tackle serious and organised crime; including undercover policing, specialist surveillance and cybercrime investigation - which can reduce or remove the need for forces to maintain such capabilities of their own.

However, the inspections found that although all ROCUs should have introduced these by April 2014, some forces have been slow or unwilling to commit fully to the regional provision of specialist capabilities - especially with regards to undercover policing and specialist surveillance.

Only one ROCU - the East Midlands Special Operations Unit - has implemented all capabilities, with HMIs holding it up as an example for others to follow, while others were singled out for criticism.

"EMSOU is an ambitious model of cross-force collaboration, which means its constituent forces and regional communities can benefit from effective and efficient specialist policing services. Its size and remit are therefore much larger than any of the other ROCUs, and the EMSOU model is one which other regions can emulate" it states.

Neither Cheshire Constabulary nor Lancashire Constabulary has agreed to contribute towards the regional provision of undercover policing capability, and as a result the North West ROCU (TITAN) has not been able to develop an undercover capability for the entire region - instead this capability remains at force level.

This reluctance to commit to the regionalisation project is preventing some ROCUs from reaching their full potential, and increases the risk of expensive duplication.

The difference in scale between ROCUs is also significant, states the report, with EMSOU employing almost 67 staff per million of the regional population, compared to the West Midlands ROCU which employs just over 15 staff per million.

Recruitment and retention in ROCUs - which are made up of officers and staff on secondment from their constituent forces - was also highlighted as a concern, with some forces refusing to advertise ROCU vacancies for fear of losing their most capable officers and staff.

Other factors are more complex, for example in cyber-crime, where recruitment and retention difficulties are particularly acute for all ROCUs. HMIC found that some ROCUs have started to think more innovatively about how to access the cyber skills that they need - for example by working with local universities.

This helps ROCUs to avoid a situation where they invest substantial amounts in training new recruits, only for them to leave soon after for larger salaries on offer in the private sector.

HMI Zoe Billingham, who led the inspection, said there was no doubt ROCUs "do extremely important work".

"Whilst most of the work carried out by ROCUs is necessarily out of the public eye, the public need to be reassured that ROCUs are working effectively and efficiently to protect us from some of the most dangerous and serious criminals" she said.

"Our inspection found that ROCUs need to build on their strong foundation to increase regional collaboration and build a greater consistency in the provision of services to the police forces they work for."

(1st December 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 1st December 2015 author "Agency")

Full article [Option 1]:

A police force says it is having to appeal for volunteers to wash patrols cars and help find stolen property because it is so short of cash.

Cambridgeshire Police has advertised on the force's website for two volunteer positions as part of its latest money-saving bid. It is seeking a "Vehicle Tasking Volunteer" and a "Property Recovery Volunteer".

The volunteers will expected to work four hours a week and, although they will not be paid, they will "gain valuable skills and enhance their CV".

The Property Recovery Volunteer advert reads: "To provide an enhanced capability for local officers to locate and recover stolen property, you will routinely visit local car boot sales, antique dealers and various pawn shops to attempt to locate stolen items.

"This will reunite victims with their missing items, increase forensic opportunities and provide valuable intelligence to the Constabulary."

The Vehicle Taking Volunteer advert reads: "We are asking for volunteers to keep our vehicles ready for action by performing weekly safety checks, maintaining essential equipment and keeping our cars looking professional."

Campaigners have criticised the force, saying volunteers should not be doing the jobs of detectives.

Last month, the force hit the headlines when it revealed it was going to interview the victims of minor crime using the web-based telephone service Skype to save the time of officers.

Richard Taylor, a Cambridge resident and policing campaigner, said: "The role of the 'Property Recovery Volunteer' sounds to me like a core part of the job of a detective investigating a burglary. I don't think burglary investigations ought be carried out by volunteers."

However, Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, supported the move and said more forces should be looking at ways such as this to save money.

He said: "It's a bit of a stretch to say trawling websites and car boot sales is full-on detective work, so it's good news that the force is seeking help without costing taxpayers' more money.

"If civic-minded people are willing to give up their time to help the police carry out their work then that's a good thing and it should be encouraged, so long as there is a line between volunteers and roles that require training or are dangerous."

A Cambridgeshire Police spokeswoman said: "Volunteers are a vital part of the force particularly as we continue to face financial challenges

"All volunteers are vetted in the same way a paid member of staff is, however the difference is that it is not mandatory for our volunteers to have experience in the field they work for us.

"We provide them with all the necessary training, support and development for the to gain valuable skills and enhance their CV."

Interviews for both roles will be held in the week commencing December 14 and the closing date for applications is December 9.

The Cambridgeshire force has had to make a 14 per cent cut in its budget over the last five years, saving £13.3m in the last two years. It currently employs a total of 1,343 officers and 150 PCSOs.

The crime commissioner for neighbouring Essex admitted that there was unlikely to be a visible rural police force in the county due to extensive budget cuts.

(1st December 2015)



From the East to the West of the UK, Police management are coming up with these wonderful idea's.Obviously they are discussing their next bright idea at the National Police Chief's Council (formerly ACPO). Next they will be handing out police whistles, truncheons and blue lights for the cars of Neighbourhood Watch members.


(MIRROR, dated 24th November 2015 author Sam Relph)

Full article [Option 1]:

Volunteers will be given hand held speed guns and told to stand at speeder hotspots. Drivers who are caught out will have their details sent to cops.

Mums and grannies are being recruited by police to catch speeding drivers.

The volunteers will be given hand held speed guns and told to stand at speeding hotspots.Drivers' details will be passed to North Wales Police .

The initiative, launched ahead of National Road Safety Week , has been branded "lazy policing" by critics.

Sergeant John Roberts, from GoSafe, the Wales Road Casualty Reduction Partnership, said: "Community Speed Watch gives local people the ability to actively get involved in road safety.

"It can be set up in any village, small town, or urban area, governed by either a 20, 30 or 40 miles per hour speed limit.

"Motorists who speed through residential neighbourhoods are very often unaware of the impact their actions have on local residents, or the danger they pose to other road users and pedestrians and this is something we are working with communities to address."

Details of speeding drivers will be sent to North Wales Police, who then issue a letter to the owners warning them that they have been spotted.

Persistent offenders will receive up to two warning letters, and on a third occasion, offenders can expect further action by police .

Sgt Roberts added: "We are looking for local residents, who are willing to volunteer a small amount of time each week to monitor speeds with speed detection equipment.


(Standard, dated 16th October 2015) [Option 1]

Fed up families living in a rat run are arming themselves with speed guns to try and curb speeding motorists.

Residents of two roads in Leigh, Essex are set to receive police training to carry carry out speed checks in their roads.

Armed with speed guns and high visibility jackets, 13 neighbours have volunteered to monitor and record vehicle speeds. Drivers found exceeding the speed limit will be reported to the police.

There will be no prosecutions because civilians can't prosecute, but warning letters will be sent out.

The Ward councillor who lives in one of the roads said: " Speeding is a huge problem, as well as it being such a heavily used road." "We have more than 1,000 cars an hour at peak times".
"The traffic islands were originally put here to slow vehicles down, but these are not effective anymore"
"Also the sign at th top of the road says no vehicles over 7.5 tonnes, but we have coaches, double-deckers and heavy lorries using this road, sometimes at great speed."

The Chairman of the ward conservative committee and also a resident, recently raised the issue of speeding at his local police community meeting.

As a result, it was proposed residents assist in monitoring the speed of traffic on these roads. The Chairman said: "The speeding on these roads in particular is horrendous". "In one of the roads we're faced with two problems. It's a distributor road, so in the mornings and evenings the roads are chock-a-block, but at lunchtime and late in the evening we get speeding motorists.

(1st December 2015)


(Action Fraud, dated 30th November 2015)

There has been a recent series of incidents whereby fraudsters either phone or attend the home address of elderly members of the public, claiming to be police officers.

The fake officer/s will claim that they are investigating a fraud which they believe the elderly person to be a victim of. The fake officer/s will then request the bank cards and personal identification numbers (PIN) of the victim and claim these are needed for investigation purposes. If the first contact was made by a phone call, the fake officer/s will tell the victim that someone will be over to collect the evidence. In one case the victim was instructed to attend their local bank and withdraw all of the money from their account. The suspect was left alone in the victim's house whilst the victim carried out the instructions.

Protect Yourself

- Before letting anyone into your home who claims to be from any law enforcement agency, ask to see their identity card and check it by calling 101.

- Ask if they can attend at a pre-arranged time when a family member or friend can also be present.

- If you receive a phone call from a police officer, ask for their name and force and tell them you will call them back. Wait a few minutes and then use 101 to call them back through their force's switchboard and verify their identity.

- The Police will never ask for your PIN or passwords. Do not give this information to anyone.

- The Police will never request that you withdraw/transfer any money to them.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

(1st December 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 28th November 2015 author Hannah Al-Othman)

Full article [Option 1]:

Batons, high-tech surveillance equipment, warrant cards, canisters of CS gas and a £10,000 picture of Princess Diana have all been swiped from the Metropolitan Police.

Firearms equipment including shooting glasses, ear defenders, and a magazine pouch are also listed amongst property stolen from police between January 2013 and March this year.

The list of stolen goods was released by the Metropolitan Police under Freedom of Information laws, revealing that tens of thousands of pounds worth of property has been taken in just over two years.

Also stolen were class A drugs, class C prescription drugs including Diazepam, covert body armour, a drug testing kit, listening equipment, handcuffs, and police uniforms.

Among the more unusual and high value items taken were a large 40-year-old lead crystal port decanter belonging to the Met Police estate and worth £400, a police telephone box with a value of £300, and signed photographer of Princess Diana, worth a staggering £10,000.

The data also revealed that laptops, iPads, CCTV discs, and paperwork had gone missing - some of which contained confidential information, including details of witnesses.

Some of the stolen items were later recovered intact, but many remain unaccounted for.

Jonathan Isaby, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said he was "deeply concerned" that "potentially dangerous" equipment had been stolen.

He said: "Taxpayers will be scratching their heads as to how an authority, usually responsible for finding lost items, have managed to be so careless with their own kit.

"It's also deeply concerning to hear that potentially dangerous equipment like batons and CS gas have gone missing.

"The Met must make sure that it takes more care to prevent theft in the future and to punish those who are caught stealing, as it's taxpayers who lose out."

A Metropolitan Police spokeswoman said: "Any allegation of theft is fully investigated. Where those investigations highlight practices or procedures where the security of police property can be improved, it is an important part of the investigation process to ensure that those improvements are made.

"The MPS handles tens of thousands of items of property across hundreds of police buildings annually.

"When there is no specific venue for a theft that is reported to a police station by a member of the public, the reporting officer will show the police station - the place of reporting - as the venue."

(1st December 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 27th November 2015 author Robin De Peyer)

Full article [Option 1]:

Police are warning shoppers to use different passwords for their online Black Friday shopping after a man was arrested for alleged cyber offences against Tesco.

The 28-year-old was arrested in Middlesbrough after the supermarket giant found someone trying to breach its online system and reported it to police.

No customer details, financial or personal were obtained.

The Metropolitan Police's cyber crime unit Falcon said it is investigating a technique known as "diagonal brute forcing" in which username and passwords obtained from previous hacks are used to check if that same combination of username and password has a valid account with other retailers.

If a match is found, the account can be accessed.

Detective Inspector Garry Lilburn, of Falcon, said: "Having one password for all your online accounts is like having a key which unlocks your house, car and office. If you lose that key, you place yourself at greater risk.

"With Christmas approaching and individuals having more online shopping accounts than ever, we would urge everyone to make sure they have different passwords for each retailer they visit, to prevent their accounts being breached in this way."

A Tesco spokesman said: "Our security systems identified some irregular activity and we acted swiftly, alerting the relevant authorities including FALCON. No financial or personal customer information was obtained.

"We continue to advise customers to use different passwords across their accounts to be as secure as possible online."

(1st December 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 27th November 2015 author Mark Tran)

Full article [Option 1]:

The National Crime Agency claims there is little prospect of completed cases being quashed despite having to launch a review into its use of warrants and production orders following the collapse of major trials.

The NCA, Britain's equivalent of the FBI, was created by Theresa May in 2013 to succeed the troubled Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca). Since then it has had its own share of problems investigating high-profile cases.

Last month, the agency apologised to five businessmen, including three brothers, whose offices and homes it had raided and bugged during Operation Heterodon in January. Police had suspected that the Chatwani brothers and two associates knew money launderers but had no evidence against them.

Officers arrested the men and planted bugs in their office in the hope they would return and discuss their alleged crimes. Officers also raided the men's homes, seizing personal property. In May the divisional court ruled that the entries, searches and seizures were unlawful. The NCA has apologised to the brothers, who are suing for compensation.

In December, an Old Bailey judge called the NCA "incompetent" after a series of blunders led to the collapse of a £5m trial following a money-laundering investigation codenamed Operation Enderby.

The judge, Wendy Joseph QC, discharged the jury in the case involving seven defendants, saying the prosecution case contained mistakes that were "beyond negligence". Evidence had gone missing, was misleading or had not been investigated properly in the complex fraud inquiry, she said.

The court heard how Enderby detectives did not have the software to grab pictures from CCTV and had to take photos on their phones.

Announcing the review, the NCA said: "As a result of issues identified with warrants in two cases that went before the courts, Operations Heterodon and Enderby, the NCA has instigated a comprehensive review of inherited processes and standards around warrant applications, and of live cases where issues with warrants may not have been previously identified.

"The review is of all warrants, production orders, account monitoring orders and authorisations for searches under S18 of [the Police and Criminal Evidence Act] in all live cases. It is chaired by a member of the NCA legal team, independent from the part of the NCA which obtained the warrant and is assisted by the CPS."

The review came as Buzzfeed News reported that the NCA and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) are investigating every type of authorisation it ever received to raid homes, seize property, and collect telephone and banking records.

The NCA's deputy director, Chris McKeogh, said the collapsed trials had been due to incompetence. He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "It is a matter of record, and in those particular cases a harsh assessment but I think justified, to say that it was incompetence that sat within those two cases."

McKeogh refused to be drawn on the number of live cases that may be affected by the review. "By the time the review finishes, which I'm expecting to complete in the early part of January next year, we will have looked at in excess of 2,000 different parts of documents that may be relevant to warrants and orders," he said.

He also played down the prospect of completed cases being quashed. "The review started at the beginning of September and there has been nothing found to date that leads me, or indeed the senior panel that is doing this work with me - from the Crown Prosecution Service - to believe that we need to go back to settled cases. What we have got is, as we go through the various orders and documentation that we are finding, we are talking about small, technical, procedural flaws."

One legal expert also thought that completed cases are unlikely to be quashed.

"Convictions can be upheld even when something has gone badly wrong with the process," said Prof Michael Zander QC. "Whether completed cases are quashed usually turns on whether the court of appeal finds that there was sufficient untainted evidence to justify the conviction."

Keir Monteith, of Garden Court Chambers, who was lead counsel in the Enderby cases, disagreed and said the issue raised fundamental questions about the agency's competence. "I'm genuinely worried about the NCA," he said. "Following Soca, we were promised a new broom; there would be proper training and education, but nothing [could be] further from the truth. There is a sheer level of incompetence.

"We must question the safety of any convictions and this sad state of affairs will inevitably be hindering important investigations in the short to medium term. The fallout is hard to predict but the number of convictions that could be quashed might reach double figures."

The review was announced just after Lynne Owens, the chief constable of Surrey police, was named as the new director of the agency on Thursday, making her the most senior woman in British law enforcement.

(1st December 2015)


(The Register, dated 27th November 2015 author Chris Williams)

Full article [Option 1]:

Names, home and email addresses, security questions and answers, and more information on millions of families worldwide have been swiped from a top toymaker's database.

And the birthdays, names, and genders of nearly a quarter of a million kiddies have been accessed, too.

Chinese electronics giant VTech today admitted its systems were compromised on November 14. Miscreants were able to extract customer records from its Learning Lodge app store, which provides downloads of games, books, music and other stuff for VTech toys. The Hong Kong-based biz specializes in making computer-like gizmos for preschool kids to play with, settling them in for a lifetime of fondleslab smearing and internet addiction.

Computer security bloke Troy Hunt says he has seen a copy of the swiped information, and reckons he found "4.8 million unique customer email addresses," suggesting that many accounts have been raided by hackers.

He also said people's account passwords were one-way encrypted using MD5, a particularly weak hashing algorithm, meaning simple passwords can be easily cracked and revealed. No salting was used, so off-the-shelf rainbow tables can be used to divulge rudimentary passwords like "children15" or "welcome81".

Hunt was passed the information by journalist Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai, who says the copied data "also includes the first names, genders and birthdays of more than 200,000 kids." And by more than 200,000, it looks like 227,000.

The Vice journo earlier alerted the toy company to the database intrusion after he was contacted by hackers who claimed to have broken into the Chinese giant's systems.

VTech does indeed collect contact information from parents, and their tykes' names, genders, and dates of birth, when a family creates a Learning Lodge account.

In short, this security breach has revealed that sensitive and private information on nearly five million families was poorly protected from crooks and identity thieves - families in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, Republic of Ireland, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg, Latin America, Hong Kong, China, Australia and New Zealand, we're told.

The toymaker said in a statement: "Our customer database contains general user profile information including name, email address, encrypted password, secret question and answer for password retrieval, IP address, mailing address and download history.

"It is important to note that our customer database does not contain any credit card information and VTech does not process nor store any customer credit card data on the Learning Lodge website. To complete the payment or check-out process of any downloads made on the Learning Lodge website, our customers are directed to a secure, third party payment gateway."

VTech added it is still investigating the infiltration, and has vowed to shore up its IT defenses. It has also emailed its Learning Lodge customers to warn them of the security breach

(1st December 2015)


(The Register, dated 27th November 2015 author Kat Hall)

Full article [Option 1]:

Online takeaway service Hungryhouse has reset the passwords of thousands of its customers following an apparent data breach at a third party hosting company.

Scott Fletcher, chief executive of Hungryhouse, said: "We had no affiliation with the web hosting company that was hit by a data breach. But when our head of security noticed that a number of our customers' details appeared on the list of emails that had been breached, we took the pre-emptive step of asking them to change their passwords."

One Hungryhouse customer got in touch with The Register to say he had been told by the fast food folk this morning that 10,000 of its customers had had their passwords reset following the breach.

"They assured me that my card details were OK. I asked if it was the result of a DDoS attack, but the guy didn't know," he said.

The outfit told one customer via Twitter this morning: "Hungryhouse have [sic] ourselves re-set a number of customer's [sic] passwords as a preventative security measure against a 3rd party."

It is understood Hungryhouse will email customers today with an update.

(1st December 2015)


(BBC News, dated 26th November 2015)

Full article :

The number of vehicles without road tax - Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) - doubled to 560,000 this summer according to the Department for Transport's survey, months after the paper tax disc was abolished in October 2014.

The Department for Transport admits these changes probably caused the increase in untaxed vehicles.

The last survey was carried out in 2013 when the figure was 210,000.

The RAC says the figures are "worrying and disappointing".

It claims there may well be a correlation between evasion of tax and the number of people driving without insurance.

The 560,000 vehicles represent about 1.4% of UK vehicles, up from 0.6%.

Last year, the paper tax disc was abolished, and the authorities now use a network of cameras linked to a database to work out which vehicles are being driven illegally.

'Significant' revenue loss

"Almost 99% of all vehicles on the road are correctly taxed: that's around £6bn in vehicle tax passed to the Treasury every year," said Oliver Morley, chief executive of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

"We write to every registered vehicle keeper in the UK to remind them when their tax is due and we have introduced a range of measures to make vehicle tax easy to pay. At the same time we are taking action against those who are determined to break the law."

But RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "These are very worrying and disappointing statistics indeed. Sadly, the concerns we raised about the number of car tax evaders going up at the time the tax disc was consigned to history have become a reality.

The loss in revenue for the government is "significant", he said, having risen from £35m in 2013 to an estimated £80m now "and, it has to be pointed out, far exceeds the forecast £10m efficiency saving".

He called for the survey to be repeated in a year's time to test whether the new system was largely to blame.

"We really cannot afford for this to increase again for the sake of both road safety and the country's finances. Hopefully, much of the increase in evasion is due to the system being new and these figures will reduce as motorists become more familiar with how it works."

(1st December 2015)



(The Telegraph, dated 26th November 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

The number of police officers could increase in the wake of the Government's spending review which unexpectedly left police budgets untouched, it has emerged.

Boris Johnson, who has oversight of the Metropolitan Police in his role as Mayor of London, let slip that Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Commissioner, had told him officer numbers would be maintained or even rise.

Chief constables had been bracing themselves for cuts of up to 40 per cent until the announcement by George Osborne, the Chancellor, on Wednesday.

Mr Johnson told the Evening Standard: "Far from cutting numbers it might actually lead us to being able to increase police numbers."

He added that Scotland Yard, which had been planning for £800 million of cuts over four years, could now expect a "large chunk" of extra Government money earmarked for additional armed officers.

The leader of rank-and-file police officers told The Telegraph he would "not be surprised" if officer numbers began to climb again.

Steve White, the chairman of the Police Federation, said: "Over the last four years the police service has had to become much more efficient.

"If the Metropolitan Police has the same amount of money and even benefits from the uplift in counter-terrorism funding it would not surprise me if officer numbers go up."

The Met is the largest force in the country and already has advanced plans to sell parts of its estate, including Scotland Yard, which was bought by an Abu Dhabi investor for £370 million at the end of last year.

Mr White said: "These sales combined with some of the reserves built up by forces around the country who were anticipating leaner times may now be see funds released to increase officer numbers once more."

Latest figures showed there were 127,000 police officers in England and Wales, down 17,000 from their peak in the previous decade.

Forces also lost a further 17,000 police civilian workers, including community support officers, during the last five years.

Earlier this week the country's top counter-terrorism officer said he would be "concerned" if cuts about 10 per cent were imposed on the Met Police, and warned that slashing budgets by 20 per cent would pass a "tipping point".

Mark Rowley, a Scotland Yard assistant commissioner, had also written a letter to Home Secretary Theresa May warning about the impact of budget cuts on the ability to tackle terrorism in the wake of the Paris atrocities.

Government officials said that protecting overall police spending in real terms will mean an increase of £900 million in cash by 2019/20.

Mr Osborne's review document said there will also be £1 billion for new emergency services communications technology and an extra £500 million for counter-terrorism.

It also praised police for their "extraordinary innovation and creativity" in finding £1.5 billion savings over the last five years.

(1st December 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 26th November 2015 author David Barrett)

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Britain should join a controversial pan-European database of DNA samples and fingerprints because it will play an important role in preventing foreign criminals crossing our border, the Home Office has announced.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, published long-awaited recommendations which concluded that signing up would bring the UK "undoubted operational and public protection benefits".

Britain first agreed to join the database, known as the Prüm system, under the former Labour Government in 2007 but the move has never been ratified.

The proposals have been highly controversial because of the risk that DNA samples from unconvicted Britons, held on the UK database, would be handed over to EU police - leading to innocent people being extradited.

Now MPs will get a vote on the proposals in the House of Commons by the end of the year.

An earlier version of the report, published in the summer, said British police risked being overwhelmed with DNA and fingerprint requests from European Union countries if Britain joined.

It said police, prosecutors and the National Crime Agency (NCA) were likely to face a "high volume" of demands from foreign forces.

The update said new safeguards would be put in place.

(1st December 2015)

(Police Oracle, dated 25th November 2015 author Helena Hickey)

Full article [Option 1]:'should-be-catalyst-for-Met-Museum'_90223.html

Some of the extra revenue raised from the sale of New Scotland Yard should be put towards a permanent Metropolitan Police museum.

The sale of 10 Broadway for £370 million - £120 million more than the guide price - gives the force "the opportunity to invest in the heritage of the MPS without impacting on existing budgets", the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) says.

Although a temporary exhibition featuring artefacts from the Met's Crime Museum have been on display at the Museum of London since October, there is nowhere for Londoners and visitors to learn about the history of the force - something which MOPAC says is vital in "bringing the police and public together".

The deputy mayor for Policing, Stephen Greenhalgh, approved a decision in October for a budget of £300,000 to support the Museum of London project and for the initial work required to establish a permanent home for the Met Police Service's collections.

In its "background report", MOPAC states discussions around a permanent MPS museum have been in the pipeline for at least 70 years but have hit a number of legal, practical and financial hurdles which means it has never happened.

Many other major cities around the world have museums that celebrate the history and work of their police forces and it has for a long time been thought disappointing that London, home to the oldest police force in the world, with 185 years of history doesn’t have something,"it states.

"Many organisations such as the armed forces, TfL and other forces in the world use their rich heritage to mediate discussions between themselves and the public they serve as well as building and awareness."

"A crime museum focusing on the history of the Met and crime fighting in London could be a significant step towards helping in this task."

The current exhibition will also be used to test public interest for a future museum, to help to understand the ethical challenges around such a project, and to gain an understanding of the practicalities of establishing a museum using a collection of this type.

The report states that internal work around the project has begun and that potential sites have been identified but cannot yet be disclosed because of operational decisions regarding the MPS estate.

Part of the budget will be used to assist in MOPAC's bid for Heritage Lottery Funding, which it states is a "complex and time consuming process".

This includes an options appraisal for potential locations, consultation on the proposed aims of the museum, building surveys and legal advice, as well as a number of other areas - all of which is estimated to cost around £75,000 plus £25,000 contingency.

The remaining £200,000 is to support the Museum of London for the existing project which MOPAC states will be used as a backdrop to encourage sponsors to work on the landmark project.

(1st December 2015)


(BBC News, dated 25th November 2015)

Full article :

Police budgets in England and Wales will be protected in real terms, Chancellor George Osborne has said in his Spending Review.

There had been fears the police budget in England and Wales would face significant cuts.

But Mr Osborne said: "Now is not the time for further police cuts, now is the time to back our police and give them the tools to do the job."

The shadow chancellor said the decision was the result of pressure from Labour.

Mr Osborne also pledged to increase the counter-terrorism budget by 30% and invest in new border security.

The Treasury said police spending would be protected in line with inflation, which would represent an increase of £900m by 2019-20.

Policing is not a protected area of public spending and it had been thought Mr Osborne was considering cuts in police budgets of up to 20% as he sought to make savings of £20bn across all departments.

by Danny Shaw, home affairs correspondent, BBC News

Why the government decided to perform an about-turn on police spending owes much to effective lobbying by police leaders who warned that further cuts put the police in risky territory.

A number of senior officers and PCCs made representations to the home secretary over the last few months. They were not shroud wavers - but people whose views she respected.

They pointed to the growing signs of strain on police forces and their ability to deal with cyber fraud and sexual offences, reports of which have gone up by 88% since 2012.

The terrorist attacks in Paris then cemented the view in Whitehall that the cuts couldn't go ahead as planned.

If the chancellor had limited the cuts to 10%, which police said they could just about cope with, there'd have been relief among most chiefs and PCCs.

His decision to go even further, no cuts at all, which took the opposition benches by complete surprise, suggests that in the end politics played a key part too.


Mr Osborne told the Commons that he had "received representations" from shadow home secretary Andy Burnham that police budgets should be cut by 10%.

But Mr Osborne said: "I am today announcing that there will be no cuts in the police budget at all, there will be real terms protection for police funding.

"Mr Speaker, the police protect us and we are going to protect the police."

Reporting from a policing conference in Manchester, the BBC's home affairs correspondent Danny Shaw said police looked "astounded" at the news.

He tweeted: "Got to say: I didn't see that coming. And no one at the police conference did either. Was it Paris that changed the Govt's mind? #CSR"

The Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey, Mike Hurley, told the BBC: "It was almost like euphoria as if your football team had scored a goal. The police and crime commissioner and chief constables are delighted. But of course, we should remember we are already in the process of implementing cuts."

Labour's shadow chancellor John McDonnell said a campaign by Mr Burnham had "forced the U-turn".

He added: "We don't forget, though, we face the highest level of risk from terrorist attack in a generation.

"But we have already lost 17,000 police officers, other cuts under this government."

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, welcomed the news but said the government urgently needed to revisit the "outdated and antiquated" 43-force structure.

He added: "Officers are still hugely under pressure and many forces still have the final tranche of savings from the last set of cuts to find."

Further details of police funding released by the Home Office include:

- An extra £500m of funding for the counter-terrorism budget
- More than £1.3bn of capital investment on improved border security
- £1bn to "overhaul the emergency services network", including investment in mobile communications
- Savings will be made through the borders and immigration system and reductions of 30% to the administrations budget compared with 2015-16

'Sharing expertise'

Mr Osborne said police reform needed to continue in this parliament and that police forces would be able to make further savings by merging back offices and "sharing expertise".

He said the government would be offering a new fund to "help this reform".

Mr Osborne also said police and and crime commissioners would have "greater flexibility" to raise precepts - the money given to police through council tax - where they had been "historically low".

Police forces have suffered significant cuts since 2010.

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies spending on police services in England and Wales fell by 14% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15.

(1st December 2015)

(The Register, dated 25th November 2015 author Alexander J Martin)

Full article [Option 1]:

Contrary to password storage security standards, BT-owned Plusnet is still delivering plaintext strings back to forgetful users, and seems to have no plans to tidy itself up any time soon - despite years of warnings from security experts and the advice of GCHQ.

Plusnet has stated that it "goes to great lengths to ensure we protect and secure our customer data", however plaintext passwords are still viewable by support staff and users.

The issue at the company has been recorded since 2013, though may have been in effect long before that date, as noted in the Plain Text Offenders tumblr.

Omer van Kloeten, one of the privacy enthusiasts behind the name-and-shame blog, told The Register: "The passwords users provide sites are the sole and secret property of the users."

"No one apart from the user should ever know what their password is," said Van Kloeten, noting that if the user used a password manager "as they should," even they wouldn't know it.

Moreover, we all use the same password for multiple accounts. What if someone - a hacker or even a malicious Plusnet employee - were to try and use this password for other accounts, on other sites?

This behavior exposes users to innumerable risks. Plusnet is painting a very big target on their own backs.

"Passwords are encrypted in our database," the telco claimed to The Register. "We do not show customers their passwords in an email in plain text and anyone who has forgotten their password must go through a combination of security mechanisms to regain access."

The value of these security mechanisms are quite contestable, however, as is the value of denying the appearance of the plaintext password in emails; the issue is rather that a link in the email directs users to a webpage where the plaintext password is presented.

Plusnet customer James Holt told The Register: "When I needed to get into my Plusnet Member Centre account last week I was pretty surprised that Plusnet so readily presented me with my account password on a web page simply by entering my Plusnet username on the Forgotten Your Password? page and then clicking the link in the email they sent me. Boom - there it was staring right back at me under the heading 'Here you go, this is your password'."

Holt said "just to make sure I cleared the Safari cache on my phone, disabled wifi and did the whole thing again just in case Plusnet was doing some kind of identification from my broadband IP, but the exact same thing happened again."

The issue seems to have been consistently present between 2013 and now, as several tweets have referenced it too.

"I've never come across a website that behaves in this way before." said Holt. "Clearly they are not using one-way hashing of passwords.

Asked to clarify whether Plusnet encrypted passwords using a one-way hash function, The Register was told "We have already issued a statement with regards to your queries and have nothing further to add."

Recent password guidance (pdf) published by CESG, the information assurance arm of GCHQ, recommended that companies do not store information as Plusnet seems to be doing.

A GCHQ spokesperson told The Register that "The CESG Password Guidance recommends that password files should be hashed and salted. If this process is followed correctly, it will not be possible to reconstruct the plaintext password."

Security researcher Kenn White said that "When a web site is able to 'remind' you of your password by emailing it back, that's a symptom of very poor security practices. We know from years of cleaning up and analyzing breach incidents that people routinely reuse passwords across sites. And so even if someone has seen the light and uses strong passwords moving forward, they may have scores of old logins long since forgotten that might come back to haunt them when they leak."

"Quite simply," he added "a company puts your private information and financial data at risk when it stores customer credentials in databases as unencrypted plaintext. So when an organization says "We care about your privacy and security" but they operate like this, they really don't. And the booming business in post-hack identity monitoring services confirms that."

Matthew Green, a cryptography expert at Johns Hopkins University, told ?The Register?: "If they're using a proper password hash function, there should be no way for the company to retrieve the plaintext hash of a password. End of story. Encrypting passwords in their database sounds good, but in practice it doesn't mean that the data is actually protected - since obviously the system has to be able to recover the unencrypted password to send it to users. If an attacker can compromise the server, they may be able to read out plaintext passwords."

He added: "In general, my intuition is that this company is not following best practices and is probably putting their users' credentials at risk."

When The Register contacted Plusnet again with these concerns, the company refused to answer whether it was reviewing its password storage practices and again stated it would not deviate from its initial statement.

White recommends that "for critical accounts like online banking and web mail (which is the de facto center of your online identity), I strongly recommend using a password manager, and if identity theft is a serious concern, look into the feasibility of a formal credit freeze."

(1st December 2015)



(The Telegraph, dated 24th November 2015 author David Barrett)
Full article [Option 1]:

Only one in eight cases of child sex abuse are identified by the authorities, according to a new official new report which says five-year-olds should be given compulsory lessons on preventing paedophilia in the family.

Anne Longfield, the children's commissioner for England, found there had been 50,000 reported cases of sex abuse over the last two years - but estimated the true number was 400,000 to 450,000.

The in-depth report said abuse in the home - by parents, siblings, other relations or trusted family friends - is a far greater problem than abuse by strangers, accounting for two-thirds of all cases.

The commissioner recommended a new emphasis on helping young children understand what types of relationships are "healthy and safe" in a bid to combat paedophilia committed by family members.

It came as a senior police officer called of stricter controls on online pornography because it is twisting children's views of sex and turning them into abusers.

Ms Longfield said: "Children must be better equipped to act on the signs of child abuse.

"I want to ensure children have the confidence and resilience to understand healthy and safe relationships.

"Often they don't have the words to describe what's happening to them.

"They don't have the understanding at the time whether that is a healthy relationship or not.

"We are told time and time again by teenagers and victims and survivors that if they had better information earlier, if they had help to understand relationships and help to build their confidence they would have been able to express that they were worried."

The commissioner stopped short of setting out what lessons should include but she said they should go beyond the "mechanics" of sex to explain to children about what kinds of intimacy are appropriate.

She added: "We must also ensure that staff are tuned into identifying the signs of abuse.

"A system that waits for children to tell them about something cannot be effective."

Chief Constable Simon Bailey, the National Police Chiefs' Council spokesman on child protection, said youngsters are being lured into abusing siblings and other children after watching hardcore pornography online.

"I have a real concern that use of technology such as smartphones is creating a generation of children who are seeing things that children historically have never been privy to seeing," he said.

"What they are seeing in pornography is suggesting this is normal behaviour, and it absolutely is not.

"That is … leading to wholly inappropriate behaviour and some awful, awful consequences.

"I fear peer-on-peer abuse is being driven by a normalisation of what they are viewing online.

"I have cases whereby 12 or 13 year old boys are abusing four or five-year-old girls because of what they have seen online and think it's normal behaviour."

He added: "How could it be that we can't gamble online unless we demonstrate you are 18, but anyone can access hardcore pornography regardless of age?"

The children's commissioner said the country must "wake up" to the fact that most abuse takes place in the home.

The issue should be placed in the spotlight in the same way that institutional abuse is now being scrutinised in the wake of the Jimmy Savile scandal, she added.

(1st December 2015)

(International Business Times, dated 24th November 2015 author Anthony Cuthbertson)

Full article [Option 1]:

Two fake apps that accuse users of watching child pornography are being used by cybercriminals to steal personal data from mobile devices. The ransomware, discovered by security firm Zscaler, also demands that users pay $500 (£330) as a "fine" for watching illegal content.

The Mature F**k Porn and Bathroom apps are the latest instances of mobile ransomware to be disguised as porn apps and follow the discovery of the fake porn app Adult Player in September. A report from security provider Blue Coat Systems found that porn was the leading attack vector for mobile malware in 2015.

The apps aim to extort users by taking control of the device's camera to take a photo of the user, before locking the screen with a message purporting to be from the FBI. The only way to get rid of the message, which claims the user has been looking at child porn, is to reset the device in safe mode.

"[Around] 30% of internet traffic is in some way related to pornography and this is the primary reason why malware authors are using porn apps to infect large numbers of users," a representative of Zscaler said in a statement to IBTimes UK.

"During recent data mining, we noticed an increasing volume of mobile malware using pornography (disguised as porn apps) to lure victims into different scams and stealing personal data or locking phones and demanding ransom payments.

"Beyond apps, porn websites have been targeted with malware in recent months, causing tens of thousands of visitors to be infected. The growing trend of malicious advertising - known as malvertising - has become a major issue for adult websites, with Pornhub and xHamster posing the most risk to visitors, according to research from Conrad Longmore.

The apps are being shared through unofficial app stores and Zscaler has advised mobile users to only download apps from trusted stores, such as Google Play.

(1st December 2015)


(The Times, dated 21st November 2015 author Sharon Smith) [Option 1]

A leading animal charity has warned pet owners to be on the lookout as thefts rocket. New research by Blue Cross reveals a 40 per cent rise in reported crime in two years; it is feared that the statistics understate the problem because of the lack of a nationwird police approach to animal theft and the fact that not all owners report missing pets.

Bcky Thwaites, of the Blue Cross, said: " Police forces record thefts in different ways. Some just put it down as a household theft, while others record the details. If forcs all recorded thefts in the same way, we'd be able to discern trends in breeds and locations t rik and be abe to warn owners.

A survey by the charity revealed 1,567 dog nd cat thefts in 2014, the latest figures available, compared with 1,150 in 2012. "Unfortunately, this is an incomplete picture because of a lack of police statistics," Thwaites said.

Sylvia Tabor, of Dog Theft Action, said: "The statistics are just the tip of the iceberg. Not everybody reports a theft to the police, and even if they do, quite a few people ring me to say the police just don't want to know."

Dog thefts follow trends. "You only need a television programme or a celebrity to make an animal fashionable and it becomes a target", Tabor said. At the moment, it's chihuahaus and small dogs, springer spaniels taken for hunting and alsatians, perhaps beacuse of the wolves in TV's Game of Thrones. Staffies get stolen too, it can be for fighting."

Valuable and rare breeds are being stolen to order, to sell on or to breed. Others are snatched to use in dog fights, or, in seemingly still rare cases, to hold the owner to ransom.

Elissa Wilding's ragdoll cat Boo was stolen in daylight from her home in St Katherines Dock in central London in July last year. "We let Boo out for her usual wander, but when we called her she did not come back", Wilding said. " I suspected she'd been stolen because Boo is a valuable cat, who'd cost £600 as a kitten. There are always dogs and cats being stolen around here, you see lots of posters, asking for information.

Boo was found the next day lying in a fastened nylon carrier bag by the road in Greenwich. "It was an incredible coincidence." said Wilding. "Just a few days before Boo was stolen, we'd visited Battersea Dogs and Cats Home to discuss the possibility of a companion for Boo. The day after Boo was stolen, a nurse from the home heard meows coming from a bag left by the road, opened it and found Boo. Luckily, she is microchipped with our details."

Staffordshire Bull terriers are a particular target, often taken for dog fighting. Lesley Duffy's blue staffie, Savanah, was snatched from her back garden in Gateshead last month after the thief scaled a six-foot fence during the day while Duffy was in the house. "People take staffies for fighting. I can't bear thinking about it because Savanah is a gentle dog who wouldn't know what to do in fight, "she said.

A neighbour spotted the theives loading the dog into a scrap lorry and took the registration number. The police have so far failed to locate the owners.

Stephen Grieve's staffie, five year old Jessie, was snatched from a street in Islington in London on November 10th after being tied outside a shop for a minute. The dog was spotted shortly afterwards in a car at a petrol station. The vehicle was traced to East London, but Jessie has not yet been recovered. Grieve said: "Jessie's a young gooding looking dog, the George Clooney of the dog world, and not neutered, so I'm hoping he was taken for breeding. What keeps running round in my head though is that they're hurting him or using him for fighting".

Grieve and Duffy have put their staffies on

From 6th April 2016, all dogs in England and Wales must be micro-chipped and registered by law. Many people think this will act as a deterrent, but others also want tougher penalties. Tabor said:" In law, dogs are chattels, so are treated the same as if your mobile phone is stolen. We want the law changed to imprisonment, for those caught stealing animals.

In the meantime, the victims live in hope. Julie Evans two year old beagle Welsh spaniel cross, Hansum, was snatched in May 2014 from Biton Ferry in Wales. "I knocked on doors, posted leaflets and started a "Find Hansum" Facebook page with a £1000 reward." Evans said:" I think someone lay in wait to snatch him. Since he disappeared, six other dogs have gone missing within five miles of my house. I'll never give up looking."

(1st December 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 20th November 2015 author Tom Whitehead)

Full article [Option 1]:

Police cuts may leave Britain unable to respond to a Paris-style massacre or target fanatics, a counter-terrorism chief and Boris Johnson have warned David Cameron.

The Prime Minister and Treasury were under intense pressure on Friday to protect policing from further cuts in next week's Comprehensive Spending Review.

In series of stark messages, a group of former police chiefs and an ex-home secretary also warned reductions in policing will damage the "golden thread" between neighbourhood policing and national security.

And senior Labour politicians wrote to the Chancellor George Osborne and Theresa May, the Home Secretary, saying the country will "regret" more "unwise" cuts.

The ability of Britain's police to deal with marauding gun and bomb attacks is under scrutiny in the wake of the Paris atrocities.

Fears grew after Islamist gunmen stormed a hotel popular with Westerners in Mali on Friday.

Mr Osborne is understood to want further cuts of 20 per cent in police budgets despite heavy reductions in the last spending review.

But a leaked letter to senior ministers, understood to have been written by Metropolitan Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, the country's most senior counter terrorism officer, warned against such action.

It said: "Police forces across England and Wales have already seen a reduction of 40,000 officers and further losses will severely impact on our surge capacity ..."

The assessment was drawn up following a meeting of the emergency Cobra committee the day after the Paris attacks to examine Britain's preparedness.

Sent to the Home Secretary and copied to Treasury, Number 10 and the security services, it said that mainstream policing was crucial in tackling terrorism and suggested further cuts would affect the authorities' ability to respond to multiple attacks.

Mr Johnson, who has responsibility for overseeing the Met as the Mayor of London, has also held a one-to-one meeting with Mr Cameron in a direct appeal to prevent further cuts.

Scotland Yard is under pressure to slash his 32,000-strong force by 5,000 officers and Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has already warned it could damage his force's ability to tackle terrorism.

A source familiar with the discussion said: "The Prime Minister, the Chancellor and the Home Secretary all understand the imperative around police funding. We must maintain high numbers to keep the public safe."

Mr Johnson, who sits on the Cobra committee, has also lobbied Mr Osborne and Mrs May.

A third warning came in an open letter from three former Met Commissioners, Lord Condon, Blair and Imbert, and former Labour Home Secretary Lord Blunkett.

Other signatories included former terror watchdog Lord Carlile and ex-security minister Lord West.

It said: "One of the key successes of the UK's world-class counterterrorism structure is the sharing of intelligence between local, national and international units.

"Neighbourhood police hold one end of the golden thread that can take us from Britain's streets to wherever in the world terrorists are trained, equipped and radicalised.

"In light of the continual threats to national security, we urge the government to protect visible, locally responsive, neighbourhood policing."

Andy Burnham, the shadow Home Secretary, also wrote to Mrs May saying: "Given the events in Paris last weekend we repeat our belief that it would be unwise to ask the police to deliver further difficult savings above five per cent over the next five years."

Keith Vaz, chairman of the parliamentary home affairs committee, said it was "simply the wrong time to risk the effectiveness of policing in Britain".

"I have written to the Chancellor to ask him to protect the police budget in Wednesday's Comprehensive Spending Review and to the Home Secretary asking for a copy of the letter. I fear that if he does not listen, we will all regret it."

Downing Street said details of the settlement for police would be announced in next week's spending review.

"We are absolutely clear we will do everything necessary to keep our people safe," the Prime Minister's official spokeswoman said.

uaware comment

Now not applicable and common sense prevails.

(1st December 2015)


(The Register, dated 20th November 2015 author John Leyden)

Full article [Option 1]:

Many of the UK's most popular ecommerce sites have unsafe password practices, according to a new study, with four in five not requiring the use of a capital letter and a number/symbol.

Also, 16 per cent of sites accept the ten most common passwords, including "password", according to security management outfit Dashlane. This means users on sites such as Wickes, River Island, and Asda Groceries can use easily guessable passwords, such as "abc123" and "123456".

Testers also found that 56 per cent of sites allow users to have a password less than eight characters long, including IKEA, Amazon UK, and eBay.

However, it isn't all bad news and some consumer-focused sites do get it right on password security. For the third time in a row, Apple received a perfect score and was the highest ranked site in the study.

Apple requires long, complex alphanumeric passwords, and does not accept easily hackable passwords. Several notable sites also have strong password requirements, including Boots, John Lewis, and Very.

Improving password practices would not require wholesale changes. Retailers shouldn't be letting their security fall at the first hurdle, especially in the crucial run-up to the Christmas and January sales, Dashlane argued.

"It is extremely easy for even the most basic website to implement strong password requirements, yet some of UK's largest online retailers are leaving their users exposed due to weak password requirements," the firm said.

Dashlane chief exec Emmanuel Schalit explained: "A strong password is one that is at least eight characters long, and contains letters, as well as numbers and or symbols. This complexity is what keeps hackers from easily guessing your password and accessing your account."

Dashlane's E-Commerce Security Roundup looked at the password security practices of the top 25 ecommerce sites used in the UK. The study comes in the aftermath of recent high-profile security breaches, such as the TalkTalk hack, and days after UK Chancellor George Osborne's speech at GCHQ on the government's measures to stop cyber criminals.

The roundup is Dashlane's second major security study in the UK following a larger inaugural study in the spring of 2014. This time around Dashlane examined 25 popular ecommerce websites. Each site was analysed based upon a set of 21 criteria.

Things have improved in some categories since its initial study. For example, the number of sites that allow 10+ brute force logins decreased from 57 per cent to 40 per cent. The number of sites that accept the ten worst passwords decreased from 42 per cent to 16 per cent.

Another improvement was seen in the percentage of sites that require a letter and/or number or symbol that increased from 42 per cent to 72 per cent. Two examples of this were eBay and House of Fraser, whose scores both rose because their password requirements became stricter.

"It is encouraging to see positive password security trends in the world of ecommerce," Schalit concluded. "Yet, while the numbers indicate retailers are moving in the right direction, much work remains."

"Given that it's 2015, no website, regardless of how large or small it is, has an excuse for not implementing security policies that will better secure their users, as well as maintain the integrity of the brand by protecting the company from malicious attacks," he added.

(1st December 2015)


(International Business Times, dated 20th November 2015 authors Lewis Dean and James Lillywhite)

Full article [Option 1]:

High Road in Haringey looks like any other British high street. Sandwiched between the customary charity shops, coffee outlets and fried chicken takeaways are retailers such as Tesco, Primark and JD Sports. At first glance, the road, which runs from the Turnpike Lane junction up past Wood Green tube station and towards Green Lanes, is nondescript to a fault.

But behind the big name brands and facades lies a grim reality: more people were stabbed here than anywhere else in London in the last three years.

An investigation by IBTimes UK has shown there were 58 stabbings along High Road between 2012 and 2014 - more than double the number in the Old Kent Road, in Southwark, which had the second highest number of recorded stabbings with 28. In total 9,666 stabbings were recorded across London in that period.

Attacks along the road happened in the N15, N17 and N22 postcodes. While the data will make grim reading for residents, the true picture could be worse. Police recorded 16 stabbings at nearby Green Lanes, two of which were in the N15 postcode.

The figures, released after a request under the Freedom of Information Act, showed stabbings in Haringey in the same three years declined from 173 to 138, giving it the fourth worst record of the 32 London boroughs.

Southwark earned the unwanted title of borough with the most stabbings over the period. Its 605 incidents were six more than the number reported in Lambeth (599) and 50 more than Newham (555).

According to the figures, you are least likely to be stabbed in Richmond-upon-Thames, which had 76 incidents - 88% fewer than in Southwark. Kingston-upon-Thames was just as safe with 85 stabbings.

More and more youngsters in the capital are buying knives online and the Metropolitan Police has focused its efforts on reducing possession while also reducing stop and search. Its attempts come against a backdrop of a changing culture in which today's street gangs arm themselves with blades for protection from other armed gangs.

A recent half-term operation by the Met in October recovered more than 120 knives, while this week police in Ealing seized a knife from an 11-year-old and two 15-year-old boys were seriously injured in a knife fight at Kingsdale Foundation school in West Dulwich.

"We are committed to doing all we can to reduce knife crime, to tackle London's gangs and take more knives and weapons off our streets. It is for this reason that we tackle knife crime head-on with operations such as Operation Sceptre, run over the October half term," a Met Police statement said.

"During that week-long operation, officers conducted over 780 weapon sweeps, seized over 120 knives and 50 offensive weapons. 69 individuals were arrested for being in possession of a knife, blade or weapon."

Detective chief supt. Kevin Southworth, of Trident & Area Crime Command said last week the force had managed to slow down the increase in knife crime from a 22% year-on-year increase before the summer to 6% now. "In relative terms, London is a very safe city," he added.

Labour MP Neil Coyle, whose Bermondsey and Old Southwark constituency is bisected by Old Kent Road, feared government cuts to policing in next week's Autumn statement could lead to more stabbings.

"I'm very disappointed to see knife crime on the rise. The Government keeps pretending crime is falling when businesses and local people in my constituency are seeing a growth in a range of crimes, including knife crime," he said.

"Southwark has lost 200 police officers and PCSOs since 2010 and next week's spending review is likely to result in further reductions. I am very concerned what this will mean for further knife incidents.

"Sadly, 84% of last year's knife crimes did not result in prosecutions. If people feel they can get away with knife crime it is also likely to rise further. The police need every resource available to be able to tackle the problem better and ensure people feel safe anywhere in the constituency."

Crime along Old Kent Road, he added, was due to its close proximity to travel links "as street robberies are more common around main transport nodes".


2012 : n
2013 : [n]
2014 : (n)

Barking and Dagenham : 94 [79] (88)
Barnet : 64 [90] (87)
Bexley : 36 [51] (62)
Brent : 125 [112] (103)
Bromley : 55 [82] (74)
Camden : 71 [74] (94)
Westminster : 95 [101] (139)
Croydon : 161 [138] (140)
Ealing : 132 [146] (164)
Enfield : 93 [105] (135)
Greenwich : 117 [88] (88)
Hackney : 128 [122] (184)
Hammersmith and Fulham : 65 [75] (60)
Haringey : 173 [171] (138)
Harrow : 72 [53] (60)
Havering : 59 [40] (64)
Hillingdon : 87 [62] (70)
Hounslow : 103 [83] (78)
Islington : 108 [89] (115)
Kensington and Chelsea : 52 [57] (78)
Kingston upon Thames : 31 [31] (23)
Lambeth : 213 [202] (184)
Lewisham : 157 [147] (125)
Merton : 47 [56] (42)
Newham : 186 [194] (175)
Redbridge : 83 [71] (90)
Richmond upon Thames : 31 [28] (17)
Southwark : 230 [185] (190)
Sutton : 29 [31] (45)
Tower Hamlets : 145 [137] (154)
Waltham Forest : 106 [126] (141)
Wandsworth : 94 [87] (78)

(1st December 2015)


(The Register, dated 20th November 2015 author Iain Thomson)

Full article [Option 1]:

Earlier this week the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) warned that an Indian firm called SilverPush has technology that allows adverts to ping inaudible commands to smartphones and tablets.

Now someone has reverse-engineered the code and published it for everyone to check.

SilverPush's software kit can be baked {programmed} into apps, and is designed to pick up near-ultrasonic sounds embedded in, say, a TV, radio or web browser advert. These signals, in the range of 18kHz to 19.95kHz, are too high pitched for most humans to hear, but can be decoded by software.

An application that uses SilverPush's code can pick up these messages from the phone or tablet's builtin microphone, and be directed to send information such as the handheld's IMEI number, location, operating system version, and potentially the identity of the owner, to the application's backend servers.

Imagine sitting in front of the telly with your smartphone nearby. An advert comes on during the show you're watching, and it has a SilverPush ultrasonic message embedded in it. This is picked up by an app on your mobile, which pings a media network with information about you, and could even display followup ads and links on your handheld.

"This kind of technology is fundamentally surreptitious in that it doesn't require consent; if it did require it then the number of users would drop," Joe Hall, chief technologist at CDT told The Register on Thursday. "It lacks the ability to have consumers say that they don't want this and not be associated by the software."

Hall pointed out that very few of the applications that include the SilverPush SDK tell users about it, so there was no informed consent. This makes such software technically illegal in Europe and possibly in the US.

There are similar systems in use already. Ratings agency Nielsen has an audio system that does just this to measure the size of radio station audiences, but it's something people have to agree to use and get paid to do so.

In addition, this sort of thing doesn't just need to be used for advertising. What if a repressive regime decided to use it to track the phones of dissidents, he posited.

Of course, none of this matters if you don't have an app listening out for the sounds of SilverPush. But initial research found almost 30 applications using the SilverPush SDK, predominantly shopping apps run by Indian or Far Eastern firms.

As the news about SilverPush spread, Kevin Finisterre of security consultancy Digital Munition decided to take a look at the code. He has since published his findings on GitHub.

He found that the software assigned letters of the alphabet to high-pitch tones, eg: an 18kHz sound translates into an 'A', and 19.125kHz is a 'P'. Pairs of these characters are used to identify TV ads: 'AP' is used to recognize a Geico ad and display an image and link to the insurance biz, we're told. Sound-playing online adverts appear to use a fingerprint of five characters.

The logical next step is to see if these signals can be disrupted. Finisterre played around with trying to spoof the sounds the apps are looking for and send them junk data. It would also be possible to write a program that randomly sent out ultrasonic tones to disrupt the system, although this would "probably piss your dog and a bunch of other animals off," he told The Reg.

"I would try to block this at the audio driver level, not at the browser level. Any other app can implement the same type of tech," he said.

"There are lots of possibilities. It really depends on which aspect of it you are trying to protect against. The audible beacon triggers themselves (audio driver-based protections, spoofing tones, etc), or the data collection process (think blocking the IPs of the servers), or the monetization of the data collection (think spoofing randomized invalid data at the backend)."

(1st December 2015)


(The Register, dated 20th November 2015 author John Leyden)

Full article [Option 1]:

UK crime tip-off service Crimestoppers has revamped its weak website cryptography after months of running a system that relied upon obsolete protocols.

Crimestoppers "secure" form was previously insecure - rating an "F" in tests using the industry standard SSL Labs service last month - chiefly because of the site's use of the SSLv2 protocol.

Crimestoppers has since fixed (or at least made slightly better) its TLS, so that it now is rated as "B" by Qualys' SSL Labs service.

"The original 'F' was due to the SSLv2 protocol, something which should be been dropped nearly 20 years ago [the technology was deprecated in 1996]," UK infosec consultant Paul Moore told The Register. Moore publicly flagged up the issue in October shortly before the site's security was improved. Problems had existed since January 2015.

The class of security risk here is one that banks (here) and UK government secure webmail providers (here), among others, have had issues with in the past.

Crimestoppers allows members of the public to report crime anonymously, either by phone or through its website. Its work is overseen by the Crimestoppers Trust, a UK charity.

Risk audit

We asked Crimestoppers how its site security came to be weaker than it should have been, and what about the confidentiality of sensitive information sent to it whilst its crypto was weak.

In response, the Crimestoppers Trust supplied a statement playing down security concerns, saying that it regularly monitors the security and confidentiality of the web component of its services. Roger Critchell, director of operations at the Crimestoppers Trust, did however admit that a recent risk audit had thrown up issues which have since being resolved.

The trust in our service from the public is paramount to our charity and to make sure that we gain that trust. We monitor our security regularly to ensure that it is robust and up to date to deal with the thousands of pieces of information we receive each year, whilst still making it compatible with the majority of public operating systems.

We know that the promise of anonymity is critical to our success, with 96 per cent of people surveyed stating it was the reason they contact Crimestoppers. This is why we are ISO27001 certified, obtained in 2013, which was followed by a further review in 2014 and again last month (October).

The public can be reassured that, as this certificate proves, we have robust procedures in place to highlight potential risk areas and deal with them effectively.

A risk audit was performed earlier this year, which identified that the window of opportunity for compromising the security of information was extremely small. All information provided is immediately diverted to our main system which is highly secure.

In addition, contact was made with the ICO to seek its view earlier this year, and after joint analysis of risk, it was deemed to be acceptable.

The charity can reassure the public that there has never been a security breach of any information provided via our website or any other means in the 27 years we have been running.

Moore was less than satisfied with the Crimestoppers Trust's response to security concerns he was instrumental in raising, which were there for any tech savvy person to identify long beforehand.

"SSLv2, SSLv3 and RC4 are not a solid foundation on which to run a charity reliant upon anonymity," Moore told El Reg. "If, after a collaborative risk assessment with the ICO, these defunct and insecure protocols were deemed 'acceptable'... I'd question the effectiveness of the ICOs involvement in previous cases."

Policing the beat

Moore has also been campaigning to highlight security concerns about the website cryptography of UK policing organisations in the hopes that affected organisations would act to fix their sites. These spirited efforts have not, as yet, born fruit outside of the Crimestoppers case.

The National Crime Agency (NCA) been insecure for more than a year but rather than fix it the UK policing organisation blocked Qualys SSL Labs so nobody would know, Moore alleges. This block has since been lifted.

Moore ran tests on the NCA site using Qualys SSL Labs earlier this week which revealed it had removed the restriction to allow Qualys to assess the site.

"Unfortunately, there are still three serious failings," according to Moore. For one thing the certificate hasn't been installed correctly, so some browsers throw security warnings. In addition it's "vulnerable to OpenSSL's CCS, which is a straight fail," and "it's also vulnerable to MiTM attacks, also a straight fail," Moore added.

"I've no idea how insecure crypto and a misconfigured certificate would find its way into a live environment, but it doesn't reflect well ... especially as I reported it last year," Moore told The Register.

We put this these criticisms to the NCA, which acknowledged our initial query but is yet to respond to concerns about its website crypto.

Other UK policing organisations are also falling short in providing robust website cryptography.

If you want to file a complaint about UK policing by filing a concern with the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission), its "secureforms" site... isn't secure, according to Moore.

The main domain is, which is a B, according to Qualys SSL Labs. But, more importantly, the domain they use to collect and process personal information is, which is an F.

The organisation is yet to respond to The Register's query about its website cryptography.

(1st December 2015)


(Police Oracle, dated 19th November 2015 author Scott Docherty)

Full article [Option 1]:'s-19k-drones-can't-fly-at-night-or-in-the-rain_90178.html

A forces decision to buy a pair of drones for the same amount of a constables salary has been slammed by a senior officer.

It has been alleged the Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which were bought for surveillance operations, are unable to fly in the rain or at night.

West Midlands Police has spent a total of £19,000 on equipping the force with drones - £8,502 on the devices and £10,620 on training costs.

A senior officer, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Birmingham Mail: "With the weather we get, (being unable to fly in the rain) makes them pretty useless. They've achieved nothing."

They're supposed to be for surveillance, doing what the force helicopters do, but £19,000 would pay for a probationary officer."

The force is keeping tight-lipped on any information on the exact model and any further details, it says, for security reasons.

A force spokesman said: "Confirming or denying the specific circumstances in which the police service may or may not deploy UAV, would lead to an increase of harm to covert investigations and compromise law enforcement."

"This would be to the detriment of providing an efficient policing service and a failure in providing a duty of care to all members of the public."

"The threat from terrorism cannot be ignored. It is generally recognised that the international security landscape is increasingly complex and unpredictable."

Drones are also employed to carry out surveillance in missing persons enquiries and to survey the scenes of road traffic accidents.

Warwickshire, West Mercia, Sussex and Cumbria have carried out trials with the technology to compensate for a lack of access to air support.

(1st December 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 18th November 2015 author Tom Morgan)

Full article [Option 1]:

Elite firearms officers are secretly patrolling London's streets in a new fleet of unmarked cars as part of heightened security arrangements after the Paris terror attacks.

Extra officers could eventually be drafted in from other forces to bolster new "SAS-style" heavily armed Metropolitan Police units seen for the first time at England's football friendly with France.

Scotland Yard has already boosted numbers of vehicles on patrol by a third for the armed response unit in the wake of the attacks.

Counter-terror chiefs are understood to be using extra covert teams in unmarked cars in addition to the military-style Jankel vans, seen at Wembley on Tuesday for the first time since the 2011 riots.

The officers have a much lower profile than the the squad of 130 Counter-Terrorist Specialist Firearms Officers (CT-SFO) seen brandishing semi-automatic rifles amid the crowds at England's football friendly against France.

The unmarked vehicles are patrolling around major train stations, shopping centres, sporting venues and tourist sites amid the force's "ring of steel" campaign to prevent marauding gun attacks.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, has said he has increased his force's armed response vehicle presence by a third since Friday.

Britain's most senior officer now wants to secure more funding to permanently increase his mobile response unit.

"But then the overall pool I want to increase probably by a third overall and also at any one time on duty, probably double."

On Tuesday the Met Police said its new SIG 516 semi-automatics brings "improvements to the Met's capability to respond to armed threats".

The guns were on show for the first time in the hands of the heavily armoured CT-FSO, created in the wake of the Tunisian attacks.

The rifle fires 5.56 Nato rounds, with a range of 150 yards, and is said to be more reliable than its Heckler and Koch predecessor.

Roger Gray, who spent almost a decade as a firearms officer at the Met, said the force has a "new generation" of police and their new weapons will give them better "accuracy, knockdown and reliabilty".

"The SIG is a reliable and resilient weapon," Mr Gray, who is now an author, told The Telegraph.

"Our officers rival the most sophisticated in the world and we are going to have more of them around.

"ARV patrols are to increase and we the big work will be for them as the Wembley showing was as much a PR exercise as anything.

"They will be on patrol where there are gatherings. Transport, stadium, shopping and cinema."

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Police said: "The SIG 516 rifle brings improvements to the Met's capability to respond to armed threats, through improved accuracy and ease of handling in confined spaces."

(1st December 2015)

(The Register, dated 13th November 2015 author Alexander J Martin)

Full article [Option 1]:

Contrary to suggestions that TalkTalk hired BAE Systems to shore up its security after the much-publicised hack in October, the telco had actually been outsourcing its security operations centre to BAE since June - and previously told investors it had "completed" a security audit.

In its annual report, published in June, TalkTalk claimed it had completed key cybersecurity initiatives including the "encryption of hardware and removable media" implementing "a data loss prevention solution," as well as a complete "vulnerability scanning and penetration testing" run-through.

These measures were evidently not sufficient to prevent the data of 1.2m customers being stolen through what has been alleged to be a SQL injection - "an attack vector that has been known for more than a decade and [is] fairly easy to prevent" as Wim Remes, manager EMEA strategic services at Rapid7, the firm behind the Metaspolit penetration testing tool, explained to The Register.

BAE Systems informed The Register that "prior to the incident [we provided monitoring support, but this] was limited to monitoring the corporate non-market facing network." BAE stated it is "progressively increasing [its] monitoring support" adding that the "process is not yet complete but is progressing well."

We asked TalkTalk why it had suggested BAE had been brought in post-hack, despite the annual report's claims that operations at the company's security operations centre already been outsourced to them. We were told: "There is an agreed line with BAE that we need to use here. Don't think the one in there is the one we've used here?"

Clarity was also lacking over when security operations had been outsourced to BAE. We were simply told: "They are world-leading cyber security experts and we were already working with them on aspects of our security."

"Our role is to provide confidential advice to our client," BAE explained when it declined to answer our questions. The defence corporation's infosec arm's role consists of "monitoring for threats and outlining potential risks and actions to mitigate them, as far as possible."

TalkTalk stated it "constantly reviews and updates the security of our systems using internal and external tools and resource."

"We have teams working around the clock, with the best experts, to understand what happened and ensure our systems are as secure. Clearly I can't go into detail about the specific measures we are taking, but I can assure you we have significantly increased the level of protection. This includes a full scan of our sites to detect any residual elements of the attack, rebuilding parts of our site with improved resilience and installing additional barriers against attack. We are also accelerating several ongoing cyber security programmes."

TalkTalk claimed it had increased investment in cybersecurity by a third over the last three years, and it fully expected "to spend even more in the future."

TalkTalk considered the "Potential Impact" of a snafu to be "loss of competitive advantage, regulatory fines, damage to the brand, and ultimately, churn."

However, following delivery of the company's first half financial results for 2015/16 this morning, TalkTalk CEO Dido Harding downplayed churn concerns - the fear that customers would leave for a rival. She stated that customers who had initially attempted to leave after the breach had changed their minds, adding that there were "very early indications that customers think that we're doing the right thing."

Customers who have been in contact with The Register may disagree, however - some still want to leave but the telco refuses to waive their termination fees.

One contacted The Register when £3,500 was stolen from his account days after the breach. TalkTalk refused to waive his termination fee, instead offering him a risible £30.20 in account credit as a "good will gesture [and] final settlement."

Former TalkTalk customers may also have been affected by the most recent breach, though those who have spoken to The Register have complained that they have not heard from the company at all after finding out their data may also have been compromised from public sources.

Another customer pointed out that the telco's attempts to emphasise its competitive advantage had resulted in a "mistake" which incorrectly claimed consumers would save money using it. TalkTalk subsequently retracted this advertisement.

(1st December 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 12th November 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

A generation of police officers have adopted a "tick box" culture to prosecutions and have never been inside a courtroom, an official report has warned.

Inspectors raised serious concerns about the way vulnerable victims and witnesses are being treated by the criminal justice system, and identified a range of failings.

In a third of cases examined by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI), vulnerable victims were not properly dealt with police and prosecutors.

The report said: "The ambition to reduce bureaucracy and free up officers' time at the front end of policing has resulted in a generation of police officers who are likely never to have been inside a courtroom.

"This has had the unintended consequence of police officers being increasingly distanced from the criminal justice system for which they are the gatekeepers.

"Our findings suggest that all too often the requirement to complete a particular set of forms in preparing case files encourages a 'tick box' culture."

The way the system identifies vulnerable victims and witnesses required improvement, said the report, which made a number of recommendations to improve standards.

"It is essential … that the police have a real understanding of their role in the criminal justice process, both to ensure that justice is done and to provide vulnerable victims and witnesses with the support they require to give their best evidence," it went on.

Police and prosecutors can apply for "special measures" in court to help vulnerable witnesses, such as allowing them to give evidence from behind a screen.

"When the application was completed, the information provided was often insufficiently detailed or incorrect," said the report.

"As police officers are increasingly removed from the work of criminal courts, and their understanding of the process diminishes, it is all the more important that they see their involvement at the early stages of a criminal case as more than a series of boxes that must be ticked."

Wendy Williams, an HM Inspector of Constabulary, said: "We are still seeing the same mistakes being made, with case files lacking the quality and consistency needed to ensure the best outcome for witnesses and victims.

"The approach by police and prosecutors to preparing case files was still not good enough.

"Insufficient consideration was being given to the needs of vulnerable victims and witnesses."

Mark Castle, chief executive of the charity Victim Support said: "It is very concerning that in so many cases the police and prosecutors are failing to identify the needs of vulnerable people.

"Improvements must be made so that victims and witnesses have access to the 'special measures' that are available, to help them give their best evidence in court.

"All agencies involved in the criminal justice system need a good understanding of vulnerability and how this may impact on the support needs of victims and witnesses - they deserve to be given the very best level of support before, during and after court."

(1st December 2015)


(The Register, dated 12th November 2015 author SA Mathieson)

Full article [Option 1]:

As debate kicks off at Westminster over the surveillance powers of spies and the police, the 55 Scottish National Party lawmakers look likely to be a restraining influence.

The party's general election manifesto pledged to oppose the Snooper's Charter. A decade ago, SNP MPs were among the first to oppose New Labour's identity card scheme.

But in Scotland, the SNP-run government is introducing, or at least considering, IT-led projects which some critics see as increasing surveillance, including a data-sharing system covering all children, an upgraded CCTV network run by the police, and a Scottish identity scheme.

The plan which has attracted the strongest opposition is the Named Person scheme, allocating a state-sector professional to every under-18 in Scotland. The scheme, which is already operating in some areas and will cover all of Scotland by August 2016, provides someone who can respond to requests for help from a child, as well as work with those who have concerns for his or her wellbeing.

It has similarities with ContactPoint, a New Labour system that would have kept tabs on all children in England if it hadn't been abolished along with ID cards by the Tory-LibDem coalition government in 2011.

NO2NP, a pressure group set up by civil liberties, educational and Christian organisations to oppose the scheme, is worried about how many people will have access to the data and how it will be secured, as "once personal data is out there, there's no getting it back," said spokesperson Colin Hart.

The Scottish Government dismisses this. "The individuals that will be delivering the Named Person functions - typically health visitors and senior school staff - are currently handling and processing personal sensitive and confidential information. The organisations that support them already have systems and processes in place to support the legal and secure storage of this information," said its own spokesperson.

NO2NP, which more broadly sees the scheme as undermining parents and the privacy of families, is pursuing legal action against it - so far unsuccessfully.

In September, judges in Edinburgh's Court of Session dismissed an appeal against the group's previously-rejected petition for a judicial review. However, NO2NP plans to take its case to London, then if that fails, the European Court.

Meanwhile, Scotland's just-created single police force has been attempting its own bit of centralisation, with proposals to link up the nation's public CCTV cameras. As elsewhere in the UK, councils run many of these cameras - and also like those across the country, they are short of cash following cuts in grants from central government.

Some local authorities in England and Wales have decided to cut back on CCTV to save money. In May, Carmarthenshire County Council scrapped live monitoring of its cameras, saving £100,000 a year to help pay for its Meals on Wheels service, after the local police and crime commissioner said such monitoring had little or no benefit.

Police Scotland takes a different view: it asked for a £10m upgrade of Scotland's network of 2,800 public CCTV. A review it conducted in August 2013 found they were in a bad state, with 80 per cent using analogue technology and a dozen councils failing to comply with legal auditing requirements.

As well as recommending a new wave of high-definition digital cameras, the force said these should be connected to its new i6 IT system - and, according to a redacted recommendation, the force urges that "statutory responsibility for the operation and maintenance of public space CCTV in Scotland is allocated to a public body".

The hidden sections were revealed in July by investigative website The Ferret, which used copying and pasting into Word to reveal the redacted bits.

The Scottish Government said it is considering whether arrangements for oversight of CCTV are sufficiently robust, but that it encourages the police and local authorities to work in partnership.

But, giving more power to Police Scotland worries some: "The police in Scotland are a wee bit of a force unto themselves," said Pol Clementsmith, Scotland officer for the Open Rights Group.

The force has been criticised for heavy-handedness in deploying armed officers, such as on routine patrols on the mean streets of Inverness and for accessing journalists' communications data without obtaining judicial approval.

In terms of IT competence, it failed to investigate a crashed car by the M9 motorway for three days as a result of failing to enter information from a call into its systems; one of the passengers may have survived if she had been found earlier.

A plan to use Scotland's NHS Central Register as a national ID system, which gained parliamentary approval last March, could open the register to some 120 bodies across the Scottish public sector, including Quality Meat Scotland and Canals Scotland.

Pol Clementsmith said a set of smaller databases would be better, partly for improved privacy, partly as contracts to build it would be accessible to local suppliers: "We have some great Scottish technology companies that could bid for bits of it."

"The Scottish Government has consulted on proposed amendments to the NHS Central Register," said its spokesperson. "No decisions have yet been made while we consider the consultation responses, and we will outline the way forward to Parliament in due course."

The Spectator magazine, focusing on the Named Persons scheme, recently ran a cover of Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon as the country's 'big sister'. She tweeted it, commenting: "LOL (as I believe the youngsters say these days!)."

Clementsmith thinks that the various plans have been triggered by attempts to save money and, in the case of Named Persons, to improve child protection rather than a desire to control people's lives: "I don't think the SNP is there saying: 'We can watch what everyone is doing,' but is sleepwalking into this," he said.

"When it comes to the machinery of government, it presses ahead with ideas without looking at consequences," he added.

Could such systems be used as the basis of an independent Scotland's IT, following a "yes" vote in a future referendum? The Scottish Government has run public services including healthcare since devolution in 1999, so there is already an obvious case for some Scotland-wide IT.

But creating an all-purpose Scottish ID system would look like the action of a soon-to-be independent nation - and one that planned to keep an even closer eye on its citizens than the UK does.

(1st December 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 12th November 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

All new police constables will be required to have a degree in policing before they can join the force, under radical new proposals.

The new scheme, set out by the College of Policing, could be implemented as early as 2019 and would represent a massive shift in the academic criteria for would-be Pcs.

Currently there are no national standards for the minimum qualifications required to be a police officer, with some forces accepting applicants with no formal academic exams.

Others require the equivalent of five GCSEs and a minority expect a degree, providing all applicants can pass a specific police entrance exam.

The College of Policing annual conference in Sunningdale, Berkshire, was told that in future all new constables would be expected to have a degree in policing, although there may be exceptions made for those entering through apprenticeships.

It is understood the plan could save forces millions of pounds a year in training by requiring job applicants to have completed a wide-ranging degree before even stepping through the door.

Existing officers will be encouraged - but not required - to improve their qualifications to degree level.

The plans will be put out to consultation, but pilot schemes could begin in some forces as early as 2017.

Chief Constable Alex Marshall, chief executive of the college, said the degrees would contain practical elements, such as self-defence and arrest techniques needed by officers when dealing with a drunken brawl.

Dr Sam Peach, who has compiled the college's plan, said: "The majority of other professions have graduate entry in the UK.

"There's a lack of parity with other professions and because of that the police is not recognised as a legitimate profession.

"We are looking to have degree-level qualifications for constable and masters for superintendent.

"If we are going to expect people to have to get pre-qualifications there's obviously some savings there for police forces."

Currently once an applicant has been accepted by a force their training costs are met by the taxpayer.

(1st December 2015)



(The Telegraph, dated 9th November 2015 author David Barrett)

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Police are to interview suspects at the scene of the crime for the first time using body-worn cameras, the organisation representing chief constables has disclosed.

The development will be highly controversial because current rules give suspects the right to be accompanied by a solicitor when they are asked questions about alleged crimes.

The legislation was introduced more than 40 years ago to combat police corruption and to ensure suspects were not "fitted up" by the police.

Currently, interviews which take place outside the police station can take place without a solicitor present but paperwork must be signed by the suspect as a "true and accurate record".

Andy Marsh, the National Police Chiefs' Council spokesman on body-worn video, said he hoped the move would lead to "cheaper justice".

"I am working closely with the Home Office and they have agreed in principle that we can run a pilot in a number of forces to see if we can effectively use the cameras to
suspects of certain offences, other than at police stations," said Mr Marsh, chief constable of Hampshire, told Sky News.

"I think this will lead to swifter, fairer and more importantly cheaper justice."

Suspects are usually taken to a station for questioning following arrest and have the right to ask for legal advice.

In most circumstances officers must then wait until a detainee has consulted a solicitor before they can carry out an interview.

The suspect should be accompanied by the solicitor during the interview, which must also be tape-recorded.

Under the plans being considered by Hampshire Police the on-street body-worn camera interviews would only be used for low-level offences such as shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

Inspector Steve Goodier, of Hampshire Police, said the force wanted changes to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE), which sets out rules on interviewing suspects.

"I believe some changes to legislation could make a significant difference towards a faster, fairer criminal justice system," he said.

"The PACE Act was written in 1984 at a time when body-worn video was not available to policing.

"Under PACE an interview given by a suspect outside of a police station voluntarily must be recorded by a police officer in a written format and then signed by the interviewee as a true and accurate record.

"We want to explore lawful ways to test and evaluate how body-worn video could capture these interviews with suspects outside of police custody.

"If we can do this it has the potential to free up police time."

Mark Fenhalls QC, chairman of the Criminal Bar Association, said: "Body worn cameras can make a valuable contribution to the work of the police in gathering evidence, but must not be used to circumvent the basic rights of the suspect.

"The right to consult a solicitor before and during interrogation is fundamental and should not be compromised to achieve cheaper justice, which is no justice at all.

"PACE was brought in by the Thatcher government and many consider it to be the most important piece of civil liberties legislation for over 100 years.

"Interviews at police stations are carefully regulated by custody sergeants keeping clear records for a reason.

"Body warn cameras that can be switched on and off at the whim of the officer are no substitute."

Michael Caplan QC, one of the country's leading criminal solicitors, said: "Irrespective of the offence there would have to be some safeguards for a suspect and it is difficult to see how this could be ensured under these proposals.

"The suggestion that this would be for 'low level' offences only is irrelevant - you have the same rights whatever the offence."

Police forces are facing reduced budgets when funding is announced in the forthcoming upcoming spending review.

The use of mobile electronic devices such as tablet computers by police forces across Britain has increased in recent years, in a bid to reduce the time spent by officers in police stations.

Body-worn cameras are also being used to record incidents and collect evidence which could be used in court.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, confirmed in June that the Metropolitan Police would equip all its front-line officers with cameras, ordering around 20,000 to arrive by March next year.

As part of the Met's trial, 6,000 video clips were uploaded to servers every month, with those not marked as "evidential" being deleted after 30 days.

Dan Nesbitt from Big Brother Watch, the privacy campaign, called for more information about the latest move.

"We also want to see very clear guidelines about where the information will be stored, who will have access to it and how long it's going to be kept for," he said.

(1st December 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 9th November 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

A controversial new police funding scheme has been shelved after officials made a serious mistake in the calculations, the police minister has announced.

Mike Penning apologised to the House of Commons for a "statistical error" which emerged last week showing out-of-date information was used by officials devising the new funding formula.

The minister said Whitehall's funding for police in England and Wales will continue under the old rules - which had been due to be abandoned.

An announcement will be made next month on funding levels while officials go back to the drawing board and attempt to compile a new formula in time for the following year, he said.

"I'm sad to say there was a statistical error made on the data that was used," said Mr Penning.

"We recognise that this has caused a great deal of concern to police forces around the country.

"I and the government regret this mistake and I apologise to the House.

"Because of this and other reasons the Government is minded to delay the funding formula changes for 2016-17 as we had previously intended."

"We need to pause and get it right."

Keith Vaz MP, the chairman of the home affairs select committee who asked an urgent question on the situation, said: "What started off with good intentions is rapidly descending into farce.

"To call it a shambles would be charitable."

Rural police forces had been set to be among the biggest losers.

A senior civil servant agreed that out-of-date figures had been used to calculate poverty levels in police force areas, after being challenged by a police and crime commissioner (PCC) who spotted the mistake.

Other PCCs - including the Conservative overseeing David Cameron's local force - condemned the situation as "deeply flawed" and dubbed it a "crazy roller coaster ride".

One former chief constable, Peter Neyroud, described it as one of the Home Office's biggest-ever "cock ups".

In the Commons Jack Dromey, the shadow policing minister, condemned an "omnishambles process", adding the minister must "get a grip and get it right".

He said: "This would be laughable if it were not so serious. What did you know and when did you know it?"

Mr Penning replied: "I was informed on Friday. This was the first opportunity I have had to inform the House of the situation."

Tony Hogg, the Devon and Cornwall PCC, said last week after he disclosed the error: "The revelation is astounding and undermines the whole consultation process.

"We told the Home Office that we could not reconcile the data that they had used two weeks ago but it is only now that they have admitted that we were right.

"Officials have clearly been providing ministers with incorrect information and advice and they have been basing vital decisions for policing on that advice.

"We have now lost all trust in the process."

The mistake centred on "socio-economic indicators" used in the formula to indicate the extent of the poorer population in each force - an important factor because poor areas experience disproportionate levels of crime.

Northumbria police had been set to gain £2 million a year under the Home Office's version of the calculations but under the new version is set to lose £14 million annually.

North Yorkshire had already expected to lose £3.5 million, but might now lose an additional £6 million.

However, the Metropolitan Police would be one of the biggest winners, awarded an extra £180 million, reflecting widespread poverty in the capital.

The mistake was admitted by Mary Callum, the Home Office's director general for crime and policing, in a letter to Mr Hogg's office.

Mr Hogg, who has already threatened legal action over the funding review, said it was "ridiculous" that his small team had identified a major flaw in Government's calculations which had bene overlooked by the whole of Whitehall.

Northumbria PCC Vera Baird and Steve Ashman, the chief constable, condemned the process last week as a "crazy roller coaster ride".

Winners and losers under the ditched proposals:

Northumbria - were plus £2m then minus £14m

Durham - were plus £3m then minus £10m

North Wales - were plus £2m then minus £10m

Gwent - were plus £6m then minus £6m

Sussex - were minus £8m then plus £3m

South Yorkshire - were plus £31m then plus £2m

West Midlands - were plus £37m then plus £9m

(1st December 2015)


(The Sundat Times, dated 8th November 2015 author Tim Shipman) [Option 1]

Plans to end the abuse of human rights laws and stamp out the courtroom compansation culture can be revealed today, after a draft of the governments blueprint to replace the Human Rights Act with a British Bill of Rights was leaked to the Sunday Times.

In the most radical shake-up of human rights law in two decades, judges will be told they will not have to follow rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg slavishly.

Intead they would be able to rely on the common law - the body of judicial rulings built up in Britain over centuries - or rulings by courts in other Commonwealth countries such as Australia and Canada, when making their judgments.

Senior government sources say the "victim" culture that has led to the creation of a vast human rights industry will be tackled with plans to "reduce the amount of compensation" that can be won by those claiming their human rights have been infringed by public bodies.

The bill will grant soldiers and journalists greater protection from people using human rights law to sue for damages. There will be an explicit statement backing "freedom of expression" for the press.

In addition, human rights laws would in future apply only to Britain, meaning they could not be used to take members of the armed forces to court for their actions "on the battlefield" overseas.

"This should help to mitigate the impact of judicial legislation in this area and the consequent persistent human rights claims against our armed forces and the MoD," the draft document say.

It was revealed in September that legal challenges over incidents in Iraq and Afghanistan had cost the taxpayer £85m.

The draft also outlines plans to ensure that only cases that fulfil "a certain level of seriousness" go to court.

A consultation document being drawn up by Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary and due to be published in the next month, will make clear that Britain will remain a signatory to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) - a move that will irritate Eurosceptics who want to see the UK withdraw altogether.

(1st December 2015) 

(The Telegraph, dated 8th November 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

British police risk being overwhelmed with DNA and fingerprint requests from European Union countries if MPs decide to opt in to a controversial new database later this year, officials have warned.

A Home Office study discloses that police, prosecutors and the National Crime Agency (NCA) are likely to face a "high volume" of demands from foreign forces if Britain signs up a controversial EU crime database.

The in-depth study also warns that there may be an increased risk of innocent Britons being accused of crimes if the UK finally agrees to join the EU project.

It says some EU countries, including Germany, use lower quality DNA matching criteria than the UK, meaning people in Britain could be accused of being criminals because of "false positive" DNA matches.

MPs are due to vote by the end of December on whether Britain will join the Prüm system, which the former Labour Government signed up to in 2007 but has yet to be ratified.

The proposals have been highly controversial because of the risk that the DNA of unconvicted Britons, held on the UK database, would be handed over to EU police leading to innocent people being extradited.

The document says: "There is a risk that there will be a high volume of follow-up work (for example interviewing those revealed by DNA or fingerprint hits to have been present at the scene of a crime) for the police, Crown Prosecution Service, Crown Office, Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland, Courts and the NCA.

"The potential inbound volumes as a result of Prüm are not known at this time but it is fair to assume that the relative ease of access via Prüm could increase the overall volume of inbound requests compared to the number of inbound Interpol requests that are currently made."

It means police forces could be hit with a huge volume of work helping to solve crimes committed overseas, just as chief constables say they will have to cut police numbers as budgets tighten.

The report, which has only just emerged after being quietly slipped out during Parliament's summer recess, also highlights another potentially serious scientific problem with the new system.

Some EU states load lower-quality DNA matches onto their databases using a lower number of "loci" - the position of a gene in a person's DNA make-up - which can lead to so-called "false positives".

It means that Britons whose DNA matches that of a criminal "by chance" could find themselves being extradited under a European Arrest Warrant.

More than half of Germany's two million DNA profiles are based on the lower-quality samples, based on seven or eight "loci" in each DNA analysis.

It said crime scene DNA samples should only be shared with EU member states when there are eight or more "loci" and a citizen's personal details would only be shared when there are 10 "loci".

This would aim to keep the level of false positives "within acceptable and manageable levels", the report said.

It also emerged that British national security could be damaged by the new database unless precautions were taken to avoid unfettered disclosure of sensitive information.

The Home Office document quoted from an as-yet unpublished report, by the UK Prüm DNA Evaluation (UKPDE) project, which said automatically handing over data under the new system could be a risk to national security and police investigations.

The UKPDE report's main recommendation was there should be a "degree of human intervention" to ensure information is not shared that could "interfere with ongoing intelligence gathering", investigations, witness protection or national security.

The Prüm system, also known as Schengen III, is named after a German town where the agreement was first signed by EU states in 2005.

(1st December 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 8th November 2015 author Robert Booth)

Full article [Option 1]:

Two child abuse survivors have turned to internet vigilantism to trap paedophiles after becoming frustrated at a lack of police resources to tackle online grooming.

The men have begun posing as 13- and 14-year-old girls in Facebook groups and chatrooms to carry out stings on men who try to meet for sex. Operating under the banner of Paedophile Hunters London, they have secured one conviction, and six other men they have targeted are facing charges including attempted sexual assault.

Jay, 29, who requested that his real name was not used, said he considered the stings "my therapy". His colleague, JB, 36, said: "Being a survivor of child abuse. I believe no other child should suffer what I went through, so if I can stop a child being raped, tortured or even murdered, that is what I should do."

They said they wanted to expose "a lack of funding or cuts where not enough is being done to stop this vile crime".

One of the men arrested following their sting had told them he wanted to have sex with a six-year-old and had already had sex with a 14-year old, a crime of rape. "It should not be us, the public, doing this work," they said. "But where the police and authorities fail to act, we must step up to prevent others being hurt."

Police deny failing to act against online child grooming and are urging PHL and similar web vigilante groups to stop. At least a dozen groups have been operating in the UK in the last two years under names such as Dark Justice and Letzgo Hunting. A new group, Unknown TV, launched in September in south-east London and claims to have carried out 16 stings in the last month, including five in one night.

Unknown TV has used physical force to detain targets. Last week police were called out to one of the group's stings following an erroneous report they were planning to use baseball bats. The group has appealed to supporters for funds to buy stab vests.

The paedophile hunters confront suspected abusers in public and then post videos of the stings online. Despite providing evidence leading to several convictions, detectives say the practice puts children at risk and jeopardises official investigations.

"Vigilantes like this should not continue because they are taking risks they don't understand," said the Norfolk police's Ch Const Simon Bailey, the national policing lead on child abuse. "Revealing the identity of suspected paedophiles gives the suspect the opportunity to destroy evidence before the police can investigate them. It can jeopardise ongoing police investigations, and these people have no way of safeguarding child victims."

He said people wrongly accused in public may be tempted to kill themselves. "That is an appalling consequence to contemplate," he said.

The National Police Chiefs Council said that despite expected nationwide cuts of up to 25% in central government funding, they are prioritising child sex abuse and anti-grooming investigations. The National Crime Agency said it set up a joint operations centre with GCHQ to target child sexual exploitation.

JB and Jay showed the Guardian how they joined Facebook groups where older men sought to meet young girls, and then posed as children. Early in the exchanges the hunters state their age and ask if that is OK with the man. Often the messages will then turn sexual. One Scottish man said he wanted to meet JB's 14-year-old decoy and exchange naked pictures with her. He sent her several pictures of his penis.

When Jay first entered chatrooms to set up his decoy character, he said, he was "absolutely disgusted" by the explicit way adult men would talk to people they believed to be children. "They wouldn't do it on the street, but on the internet it is a different world and it is not being policed," he said.

He admitted that his first instinct when preparing to confront suspected paedophiles in public was to "give them a good kicking", but said he resisted the urge. "The adrenaline was running through me like never before," he said of his first sting.

When preparing to confront a "very muscular" suspect who "had no life in his eyes" recently, JB became so afraid for his safety that he aborted his plans and called the police. The man was arrested and charged.

PHL insists it does not reveal the identity of its targets until conviction, but other groups do. Last month Unknown TV, whose members wear branded black tops, broadcast a video of one man being marched through a town centre, his captors calling out to passersby: "You want to know what a paedophile looks like? This is what he looks like."

In one film they pinned a man to the ground and in another they frogmarched a man, who appeared to have mental health issues, off a train platform.

Another hunter, Shane Brannigan, admitted in September that encounters could teeter on the brink of violence. "Not sure how much longer I can contain myself," he said in a Facebook post. "Looking forward to one coming at me so I can defend myself."

He added: "We have absolutely no duty of care for any nonce we expose, the police and government and other limp wristed pc Toby's [politically correct fool] give them plenty of that."

Paedophile hunters came to public prominence in 2013 when the Midlands groups Letzgo Hunting and Stinson Hunter mounted several stings that resulted in convictions. But it can be rough justice. Gary Cleary, a man accused by Letzgo Hunting, subsequently killed himself.

Asked about the activities of paedophile hunters, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said: "The Metropolitan police service does not support activities by individuals to target suspected paedophiles. This type of action could jeopardise or interfere with ongoing investigations, and our advice to anyone who has information about suspected child sex abuse - online or otherwise - is to contact police so we can investigate."

uaware comment

With publicised police cuts, police detection rates of under 5%, Chief Constables stating that "they should not waste resources on historical crimes", church leaders stating "we did not understand what was child abuse in the past", members of "the establishment" being accussed of being the abusers, the judiciary not awarding adequate sentences. Then add to this "mix" political correctness.

All of this and the Met Police along with other forces are asking for victims to report offences to them !

Now we are being told that the New Zealand Judge may take 5 years to carry out her review. Will this become another Chilcott enquiry and last twice as long ! The law must be followed, but victims MUST get timely justice.

(1st December 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 4th November 2015 author Owen Bowcott)

Full article [Option 1]:

Tens of thousands of sex crimes against 16- and 17-year-olds are going unreported because teenagers fear going to court or do not recognise their ordeals as serious abuse, according to the Children's Society.

The charity compared freedom of information (FOI) requests to police forces and an analysis of the crime survey for England and Wales and found a huge disparity between the number of recorded offences and youngsters' experiences.

Its research, based on FOI requests to 30 police forces, shows that there were around 4,900 reported sex crimes last year in which the victim was aged 16 or 17. The crime survey found that 8.6% of girls in that age group told investigators they were victims - equivalent to 50,000 people. The rate of abuse reported in the survey was higher than for any other age group.

The society's report calls for an better legal framework to provide additional support for teenagers over the age of 16, who are deemed to be above the age of consent but may nonetheless be inexperienced.

The law does not take age-related vulnerabilities, such as emotional and physiological changes and brain development in adolescents, into account in grooming and sexual exploitation cases, the report says.

"It also does not take into account any other factors that make them vulnerable to abuse, for example previous experiences of neglect and abuse, mental health problems, being in care or living away from their birth families," it says.

"The ability of 16- and 17-year-olds to consent to sexual activity - without a clear definition of what true informed consent is in cases where an adult targets a vulnerable 16- or 17-year-old for sexual favours - can make professionals reluctant or unsure about the course of action they should undertake."

Matthew Reed, the chief executive of the Children's Society, said: "Too many children are being left to suffer sexual exploitation in silence. Despite 16- and 17-year-olds being at the highest risk, they often receive the least support.

"Dangerous inconsistencies in the law and services need to be changed. These young people are still children and the government must make sure that the police and other agencies have the means they need in order to keep them safe."

The crime survey for England and Wales traditionally reports far higher levels of crime than the number of recorded offences, sometimes more than double. The figures for sex crimes, however, particularly among teenagers, shows far greater divergence.

The Children's Society report says that half of the young people who did not report sex crimes to the police failed to do so either because they did not consider it worth reporting, feared going to court, or did not want the perpetrators to be punished. Its conclusions come from interviews with the children and young people it works with who have been sexually abused or are at risk of sexual exploitation.

Some teenagers fear they will not be believed or that they will be judged. Others are scared of the perpetrators, or uncertain about what constitutes crime, consent and sexual exploitation.

The report, Old Enough to Know Better? Why Sexually Exploited Teenagers are Being Overlooked, also found that of the cases reported to the police, fewer than one in five resulted in a charge or summons.

Children aged 16 and 17 are often blamed for putting themselves in risky situations, even when they have been specifically targeted and groomed through the use of drugs and alcohol, the Children's Society said.

(1st December 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 6th November 2015 author David Barrett)

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Police are conning motorists over speed awareness courses by failing to make clear how drivers could inadvertently leave themselves uninsured by taking part, campaigners have said.

Insurers have admitted they treat speed awareness courses the same as penalty points and it is now feared that failing to declare taking part in course could invalidate your policy.

The warning comes as The Telegraph exposes for the first time the full extent of the links between the national organisation for chief police officers and several companies which make huge profits from safety awareness courses.

The courses, which cost between £80 and £150, allow drivers to avoid penalty points on their licences.

Campaigners said this lulls many motorists into a false sense of security that they do not have to declare the course to insurers, in the hope their premiums will not rocket for a speeding-related offence.

However, insurers usually operate a "catch all" clause in their policies about keeping them informed about factors which may affect your driving, and failing to declare a course could lead them to cancel cover in the event of an accident, experts said.

Ian Belchamber, a campaigner who runs an anti-speed camera campaign in Dorset, said: "The police's actions are potentially resulting in people driving uninsured because they haven't told motorists to tell their insurers about the speed awareness course.

"I would make sure your insurer knows you've been on a course regardless of whether they specifically ask for that information.

"If you are involved in an accident and the insurer looks into your history and sees you've been on a speeding course they could say 'You didn't tell us about this, you're not covered'."

He added: "The police don't want people to know this because they make a lot of money out of the courses."

The Telegraph can confirm that two companies set up with close links to the now-defunct Association of Chief Police Officers are now entwined with the organisation's successor, the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC).

An NPCC spokesman said Suzette Davenport, the chief constable of Gloucestershire Police, sits on the board of the National Driver Offender Retraining Scheme (NDORS), which registered a £44 million turnover last year for providing safety awareness courses.

A director of NDORS is Meredydd Hughes, the former chief constable of South Yorkshire, who was responsible for road policing at Acpo until he was caught speeding at 90mph in a 60mph zone in 2007, and stepped down from the role.

He is also a director of another company in the sector, Road Safety Support.

Idris Francis, another campaigner against speed cameras, said: "The whole system is incestuous because it's jobs for police officers and retired police officers."

Tim Ryan, deputy chairman of the British Insurance Brokers' Association, has confirmed insurers are "perfectly entitled" to hike the premiums of drivers who have attended a course.

"Insurers rightly increase premiums for people attending speed-awareness courses," he said earlier this year.

"They have still broken the law on the road but are just taking their medicine differently.

"Drivers might avoid penalty points on their licence but car premiums could still leap significantly, which insurers are perfectly entitled to do."

Ms Davenport, the NPCC's spokeswoman on roads policing, said: "Driver retraining courses have been well received by motorists and contribute to reducing deaths and casualties on our roads.

"Police forces do not make money from the courses.

"The scheme's financial model is designed to provide police forces with cost recovery only.

"The costs of enforcement and administrating course attendance, including collecting evidence, serving forms and fixed penalties with the offer of a course, organising courses, monitoring attendance and finalising the evidence on successful attendance, are an average £35 per person.

"Each offender attending a course returns £35 to the force initiating their offer."

(1st December 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 6th November 2015 author Tom Whitehead)

Full article [Option 1]:

Child abusers cannot hide on the web, the head of GCHQ has warned as he launched a new spy and police paedophile hunting unit.

The spy agency is to set up a "Joint Operations Cell" with the National Crime Agency to help track down paedophiles online.

The centre, to be based in Warrington, will bring intelligence and police officers together to scour the internet for sex offenders.

Launching the unit, Robert Hannigan, the Director of GCHQ, said: "The Joint Operations Cell will increase our ability to identify and stop serious criminals, as well as those involved in child sexual exploitation and abuse online.

"This is a challenging task as we must detect them while they attempt to hide in the mass of data.

"We are committed to ensuring no part of the internet, including the dark web, can be used with impunity by criminals to conduct their illegal acts."

Keith Bristow, Director General of the NCA, added: "The explosion in online communication channels has brought huge benefits for society.

"It has also significantly expanded the means by which criminals can share information, plan crimes including the sexual exploitation of children, and target victims.

"The JOC is a genuinely innovative development, using the best of our respective agencies' skills to tackle the most complex cases and the most dangerous offenders online."

Teams in the unit will use bulk data collection to look for patterns in suspicious behaviour to spot sexual predator.

In one case, using similar techniques, a UK national was as having accessed pay for view sites containing indecent images of children.

(1st December 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 5th November 2015 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

Women are more likely to be raped in London than in any other part of the country despite increased efforts by police and prosecutors to bring offenders to justice, official figures show.

Statistics published by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary show that 3,742 rapes were recorded in London during the 12 months to the end of March this year - up 1,302 on four years earlier. It means that 55 out of every 100,000 people living in the capital reported a rape during the last year.
This rate is the highest in the country and compares with a national average figure of 41 offences per 100,000 people. It also means that the official risk of suffering a rape in London is now 52 per cent higher than four years ago.

An analysis published with today's figures suggests that one explanation for the rising number of recorded attacks is a surge in reports prompted by publicity surrounding the Jimmy Savile case, and subsequent investigations into historical rape offending.

Better recording of rape offences by police and measures by the Met and prosecutors to encourage victims to come forward could also be factors.

The figures will also intensify debate about the effectiveness of measures to protect victims and punish perpetrators. Only 482 suspects were charged for adult rapes in London during the 12 months to the end of March. That is down from 559 in 2010/2011. There was also a sharp fall in cases referred to prosecutors by police, down from 1,456 in 2010/11 to 791 in 2014/15.

But today's analysis makes clear that the "greater complexity" of investigations into sex attacks means more offenders could be charged in future.

Data for convictions show that 400 London rapists were found guilty or admitted their crime last year. That is up on the 379 convictions in the previous 12 months - although it is less than the figure of 446 four years ago.

The acquittal of rape defendants by juries - 1,245 were cleared across England and Wales last year - is cited as the main reason for failed prosecutions. Other explanations include victims retracting evidence or failing to testify. The figures also showed 1,337 child rapes were reported in London in 2014/15.
(1st December 2015).-


(The Telegraph, dated 3rd November 2015 author Camilla Turner)

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Residents of a seaside town are paying £100 each a year for a private security film to patrol their streets due to a lack of police.

Frinton-on-Sea in Essex, which has 4,000 residents, one pub, and one fish and chip shop, has no police station and just six PCSOs who must travel around by bus or bike.

Residents pay security company AGS to drive around the town every night between 7pm and 7am, as well as to provide an emergency phone line, although they call 999 if the situation is very serious.

Critics, including the Essex Police and Crime Commissioner, fear a two-tier system of policing could take hold.

Frinton's own police station closed 20 years ago and the town's nearest police station in Walton will be closed and sold by Essex Police in the latest wave of estate cuts.

That will mean its nearest police station will be in Clacton-on-Sea, about eight miles away, where the crime rate is much higher.

Stephen Beardsley, a former soldier who is head of AGS, told MailOnline: "We have no powers - no more than the average citizen's arrest - but for us, we are about being a deterrent.

"We want to make our presence felt to deter people from doing what they are going out to do."

The firm, which charges £2 per week for its services, employs three men who split between two vehicles, which look similar to police cars, to carry out patrols.

Each 'officer' is uniformed, again looking like a police officer, and wears a body camera. They do not carry weapons since it is illegal for anyone but police officers and Army personnel to be armed.

Mr Beardsley, 50, predicted that private security firms will become "the norm" over the next few years.

"It is a job for the police and we have a fantastic police force, but they are so over-stretched it's unbelievable," he said.

"It must be demoralising for them to be stuck in doing paper work, fearing for their jobs. I feel sorry for them.

"But there is no getting away from it, private security security will be part of the norm in years to come."

In August, the most recent figures available, 39 crimes were reported in Frinton, including 13 violent and sexual offences and 11 instances of antisocial behaviour.

In August 2014, there were 26 crimes reported, including five violent and sexual offences and five burglaries.

Essex Police Crime Commissioner Nick Alston said: "It is not for me to say what residents should or shouldn't do, but I do have concerns that residents in relatively low crime areas are considering funding private security patrols.

"It has the potential to create a two tier policing system. I would prefer that all of us who are residents in Essex pay a responsible amount for policing through our council tax.

"For example an extra 50p per week would fund an extra 300 officers in Essex working on behalf of the whole community, and not just those who can afford and are prepared to pay considerably more for private security.

"Such an increase in council tax would still mean we in Essex pay less through our council tax than the average across the English counties."

Essex Police has announced £60million in cuts which will have to take place over the next five years and force bosses have openly said they cannot guarantee resources will be sent to low level crime reports.

Frinton town councillor Terry Allen said the town is split over the patrols.

He said: "There is a niche for private security, as long as they do a good job. But the concern is that this is something for the police.

"I know in our area, £1million of our council tax goes to Essex Police and that would be enough to pay for dozens of police officers.

"As it is, we're lucky if we see two. The result is, people are concerned about what goes on when they open their front door, that's their priority.

"The Government's priority is terrorism, cyber crime and organised crime.. That's not what you think about when you're in your home."

The town's former mayor conceded that the AGS patrols "do put people's fears at ease".

(1st December 2015)







(The Register, dated 30th October 2015)

Full article [Option 1]:

Regulators are nearly at the point of requiring major financial services companies to participate in a cyber security testing programme, according to the Bank of England.

Minutes from a meeting of the Bank's court of directors on 16 September provide details of some of the efforts being taken to improve "cyber resilience" within the UK's financial services sector, including by the Bank itself.

Directors at the Bank "expressed concern" that banks, insurers and other financial service companies were not obliged to participate in the voluntary CBEST programme, a cyber security testing initiative. However, Andrew Gracie, executive director of resolution at the Bank, said that companies were being put under pressure to engage with CBEST.


(The Register, dated 28th October 2015 author Kat Hall)

Full article [Option 1]:

Folk looking for love online were left £33m worse off last year thanks to online fraudsters, according to stats released by the City of London Police and Action Fraud.

In the last financial year 3,543 people reported that they had been a victim of dating fraud, with a total financial loss of £33,650,491.

"Dating fraudsters are often particularly convincing and if the person also thinks that they have already been vetted by the dating website, it makes it even easier for the fraudster to manipulate their victim," said the City of London Police.

The police's National Coordinator for Economic Crime, Commander Chris Greany, said: "There are a number of misconceptions around fraud and cyber crime which often leave people vulnerable."

"This campaign will help to shatter these misconceptions and provide the public with a clearer picture, helping them to challenge possible urban myths and stop fraudsters in their tracks. The more information people have about the reality of fraud and cybercrime, the easier it will be to stop it from taking place."


(The Register, dated 25th October 2015 author Kelly Fiveash)

Full article [Option 1]:

TalkTalk continued on its quest to be painted merely as a victim of crime today, while the budget ISP's website remained offline following a huge attack on its business earlier this week.

In an interview with the Sunday Times, Harding said that her company was under no "legal obligation" to encrypt sensitive customer data, such as bank account details.

"It wasn't encrypted, nor are you legally required to encrypt it," she told the newspaper. "We have complied with all of our legal obligations in terms of storing of financial information."

She added: "The bad stuff that can happen is actually because the criminal then scams you further."

TalkTalk has claimed that the data nicked by malefactors was "materially lower" than feared. However, the company was yet to reveal exactly how many of its customers were at risk of being targeted by scammers following the raid on its website.


(The Register, dated 23rd October 2015 author Iain Thomson)

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Police in Essex, UK, have had a rough day of it after mischievous hackers broke into their Twitter account - and broadcast bogus security tips.

The dodgy tweet, recommending people use insecure HTTP rather than encrypted HTTPS for online shopping and banking, has since been removed. El Reg readers will know it's HTTPS or bust when buying stuff online or checking your balance.

The link in the tweet, a shortened URL, directed clickers to, which redirects to the website of GCHQ, the Brit cousin of the NSA.

"Elaborate prank? Peculiar stealth recruitment test? I've no idea. It's possible that the original redirect URL pointed to other sites which may well have been malicious and has since been aimed at the GCHQ link for a bit of a giggle," said Christopher Boyd, malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes.

Thankfully very few people appear to have taken the bait: according to Google analytics about 450 people followed the URL at time of writing.

Essex's finest have apologized, and are reviewing their security procedures.

(Computer World, dated 16th October 2015 author Peter Sayer)

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Even as the European Union attempts to tighten privacy laws, law-enforcement interests have won a battle in Germany: A new law forces communications service providers there to once again make data about their customers' communications available to police.

On Friday morning, the German parliament approved a law requiring ISPs and mobile and fixed telecommunications operators to retain communications metadata for up to ten weeks.

The country has had an on-again, off-again affair with telecommunications data retention, first introducing a law requiring it in 2008 to comply with a European Union directive.

The German Federal Constitutional Court overturned that law in March 2010 after finding it conflicted with Germany's privacy laws, prompting the European Commission to take the country to court in May 2012 to enforce the directive.

(The Register, dated 15th October 2015 author Shuan Nichols)

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Lloyds Banking Group - has closed a security flaw that potentially exposed banking records on tens of thousands of Brits.

The vulnerability would have allowed criminals to open an account using only a person's name, address, and date of birth, and then view other accounts that person had with Halifax-Bank of Scotland (HBOS).

The flaw, now patched, involved a combination of poor account verification and a feature that linked Halifax and Bank of Scotland accounts online. An attacker could look up the date of birth and address of a person on social networking or other public websites, then open an account with any email address.

Once the account was created with either Halifax or Bank of Scotland, accounts from the other brand's site would also be viewable.

For example, an attacker could use the name, address, and DoB of a Bank of Scotland customer to open an online account on Halifax, which would then be linked with the target's Bank of Scotland account to make the details of both accounts, including account numbers and balances, viewable to the attacker.


(The Register, dated 15th October 2015 author John Leyden)

Full article [Option 1]:

Uber has accidentally exposed the personal details of hundreds of US drivers as the result of a software bug, revealing names, social security numbers, pictures of drivers' licences, tax forms, and other sensitive information, before the issue was resolved soon after discovery.

The problem was spotted by one of Uber's partners drivers on Tuesday evening while using his account to upload a document, before it was reported on a dedicated Uber drivers' message board and social news site Reddit.

The Uber driver was confronted with a screen full of other drivers' information during the process of attempting to upload his own new insurance documents.

The issue affected less than 700 drivers in the US, Uber told The Register in a note accompanying a statement :

- We were notified about a bug impacting a fraction of our US drivers earlier this afternoon. Within 30 minutes our security team had fixed the issue.

- We'd like to thank the driver who drew it to our attention and apologise to those drivers whose information may have been affected.

- Their security is incredibly important to Uber and we will follow up with them directly.

(Computer World, dated 15th October 2015 author J F Rice)

Full article [Option 1]:

Over the past few weeks, my company's employees have been hit by more than the usual number of malware infections. And the reason why is both startling and troubling, because these infections represent a new type of threat that is much harder to avoid than anything we've seen before.

It started three weeks ago when my application firewall sent out an alert about active malware known as the Angler exploit kit on one of my company's computers. This came as a surprise, because my top-tier desktop antivirus software did not detect the malware, nor did my well-known, network-based malware detection product.

The way that the Angler malware was delivered was also something different. It did not come through the usual channels of email phishing and shady websites. I discovered that the source of the infection was a malicious advertisement, one that was running on a mainstream news service! The news website sells ad space served up by an advertising company, which in turn sells that ad space to anybody willing to pay for it. In this case, the bad guys were paying for it. They signed up for ad space just like any other customer, but the advertisement they created - known as "malvertising"


(The Register, dated 14th October 2015 author Alexander J Martin)

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Net nasty "numero uno", the Angler Exploit Kit, has infected advertising on the Daily Mail's website, causing the site to serve up malware to its readers' machines.

A security blog posted by internet security company Malwarebytes reported that a sophisticated malvertising attack had been found afflicting advertisements on

The particular poisoned advertisements discovered had presented users with a fake ad for shoes, accompanied by a "somewhat suspicious domain" which did not align with the advertisement's content.

The issue that afflicted the Mail website was reportedly an SSL malvertising attack via Microsoft Azure, which leverages Azure's cloud platform to piggyback on the popularity of otherwise computationally clean websites.

The Register's Darren Pauli wrote earlier this year about how "more hackers than ever are targeting the internet's money engine, using it as a powerful attack vector to hide exploits and compromise huge numbers of victims."

(Computer World, dated 9th October 2015 author Matt Hamblen)

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The FBI posted an online advisory about vulnerabilities with new chip-enabled credit cards, but then removed the message on Friday, less than a day later, following concerns from U.S. bankers that back chip cards.

The original online post was headlined, "New microchip-enabled credit cards may still be vulnerable to exploitation by fraudsters," and was replaced by a "page not found" message as of mid-day Friday.

The FBI didn't offer any comment Friday on what happened to the original post, which raised the need for PIN (personal identification number) security included chip-embedded cards. Use of a PIN instead of a customer's signature to bolster a chip card has become a heated battle between the nation's major retailers, which back a PIN, and powerful credit card companies and the major banks they support, which back signatures.

(Computer World, dated 1st October 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

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Newly discovered vulnerabilities in the way Android processes media files can allow attackers to compromise devices by tricking users into visiting maliciously crafted Web pages.

The vulnerabilities can lead to remote code execution on almost all devices that run Android, starting with version 1.0 of the OS released in 2008 to the latest 5.1.1, researchers from mobile security firm Zimperium said in a report scheduled to be published Thursday.

Those flaws triggered a coordinated patching effort from device manufacturers that Android's lead security engineer, Adrian Ludwig, called the "single largest unified software update in the world." It also contributed to Google, Samsung and LG committing to monthly security updates going forward.

(Computer World, dated 1st October 2015 author Stephen Lawson)

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A data breach at credit bureau Experian may have exposed data from T-Mobile USA on about 15 million U.S. consumers.

The data includes names, birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers or other forms of identification like drivers' license numbers, the companies said Thursday. The people affected may not be current T-Mobile subscribers but applied for T-Mobile postpaid services or device financing from Sept. 1, 2013 to Sept. 16, 2015.

There's no evidence so far that the data has been used inappropriately, Experian said in a press release. And the company said its consumer credit database was not affected. But the breach is the latest embarrassing security event concerning Experian, a widely used credit-information provider whose services are sometimes offered free after breaches at other companies make consumers nervous about their credit records.

(1st November 2015)



The following are a group of articles on this farce, in date order.


(BBC News, dated 23rd October 2015)


Full article :

The head of TalkTalk says she has had an email demanding a ransom from a group purporting to be behind the cyber-attack suffered by the company.

Chief executive Dido Harding said she did not know whether the ransom email was genuine.

The phone and broadband provider said personal and banking details of up to four million customers may have been accessed in the "significant" attack.

The Met Police said the email was "forming part of its investigations".

"It is hard for me to give you very much detail, but yes, we have been contacted by, I don't know whether it is an individual or a group, purporting to be the hacker," Ms Harding told the BBC's business editor Kamal Ahmed.

"All I can say is that I had personally received a contact from someone purporting - as I say I don't know whether they are or are not - to be the hacker looking for money."

The BBC's security correspondent Gordon Corera said government sources had told him they currently viewed the Talk Talk incident as cybercrime, rather than anything relating to national security.

'Worry and concern'

TalkTalk said it was too early to know exactly who had been affected by the attack, which happened on Wednesday.

Former customers of Talk Talk may also be affected by the computer hack, and it was not known whether the information seized by the hackers was encrypted, Ms Harding added.

She said the company was "rushing to communicate with customers" but that it would take 36 to 48 hours to email all of them.

What should you do if you think you're at risk?

- Report any unusual activity on your accounts to your bank and the UK's national fraud and internet crime reporting centre Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or

- TalkTalk is advising customers to change their account password as soon as its website is back up and running - expected to be later on Friday - and any other accounts for which you use the same password

- Beware of scams: TalkTalk will not call or email customers asking for bank details or for you to download software to your computer, or send emails asking for you to provide your password

In a statement, the company said that a criminal investigation had been launched on Thursday.

The Metropolitan Police, which is investigating, said no-one had been arrested over Wednesday's attack but inquiries were ongoing.

TalkTalk said there was a chance that some of the following customer data, not all of which was encrypted, had been accessed:

- Names and addresses
- Dates of birth
- Email addresses
- Telephone numbers
- TalkTalk account information
- Credit card and bank details

In the wake of the news, the company's share price initially fell to its lowest level since August 2013, but later recovered and by 14:30 BST it was only 2% lower.

Cyber security consultant and former Scotland Yard detective Adrian Culley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that a Russian Islamist group had posted online saying it carried out the attack.

He said hackers claiming to be a cyber-jihadi group had posted data which appeared to be TalkTalk customers' private information - although he stressed their claim was yet to be verified or investigated.


By Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent

Cyber-attacks on consumer companies happen with mounting frequency, but TalkTalk's speedy decision to warn all of its customers that their vital data is at risk suggests that this one is very serious indeed.

We are being told that this was what's called a DDoS - a distributed denial of service attack - where a website is hit by waves of traffic so intense that it cannot cope. What is not clear is why this would result in the loss of data rather than just the site going down. One suggestion is that the DDoS was a means of distracting TalkTalk's defence team while the criminals went about their work.

I'm assured that TalkTalk customers' details, including banking information, were all being held in the UK rather than in some overseas data centre. What is less clear is the extent to which that data was encrypted.

For TalkTalk, the cost to its reputation is likely to be very serious. Now it is going to have to reassure its customers that its security practices are robust enough to regain their trust.

TalkTalk said the website was now secure again and that TV, broadband, mobile and phone services had not been affected by the attack.

The sales website and the "My account" services are still down but the company hopes to restore them on Friday.

Customers have expressed their frustration at what is the third cyber-attack to affect TalkTalk over the past 12 months.

Meanwhile, the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham told Radio 4's The World at One programme that Talk Talk should have alerted his office sooner.

"The Information Commissioner was only informed about this at 4.30pm yesterday afternoon. I wish we'd heard a little bit earlier and we could have been more 'out there', giving advice to consumers about what they need to protect their personal information," he said.

In August, the company revealed its mobile sales site had been targeted and personal data breached.

And in February, TalkTalk customers were warned about scammers who had managed to steal thousands of account numbers and names. The attacks are understood to be unrelated.

TalkTalk said it had contacted the major banks asking them to look out for any suspicious activity on customers' accounts. It added that every customer would be getting a year's free credit monitoring.


(BBC News, dated 23rd October 2015 author Chris Foxx)

Full article :

Telecoms provider TalkTalk is investigating a "significant and sustained cyber-attack" on its website in which some of its customer data may have been accessed.

The phone and broadband provider said it was too early to know what data had been stolen.

Unfortunately, many attackers target the vulnerable in the wake of a big cyber-attack, trying to trick them into handing over more of their personal information.

So what can you do to try to protect yourself from danger?

Beware of scam calls

Be wary if you receive any telephone calls claiming to be from TalkTalk, especially if the caller asks you for private information.

TalkTalk says it never asks customers to give their full passwords or Pin codes over the telephone.

"If you're talking to somebody, think whether what you are saying is exactly the kind of information which would open up your bank account," Daniel Dresner from the University of Manchester told BBC Breakfast.

"These companies don't ask for that kind of information."

If you are not sure whether a call from TalkTalk is genuine, ask for a reference number and call the company back yourself on 0870 444 1820.

Be careful with emails too

Attackers can send very convincing emails that look like they are from TalkTalk but are actually trying to gather your personal information.

They may even refer to the cyber-attack in an attempt to appear genuine.

Be suspicious if an email asks you to reply with personal information or click on a link. Criminals can set up official-looking websites to harvest your account details.

"I would caution against clicking links in emails you are unsure of - it's always better to type the website address manually, to avoid the risk of being redirected to a phishing site," said David Emm from security firm Kaspersky Lab.

If you suspect an email is not genuine, call the company's customer service line and ask whether they have sent one.

Monitor your bank account

Although it can be a nuisance for victims of a cyber-attack to monitor their bank accounts, it can help spot problems quickly.

Look through your recent transactions for any payments you do not recognise, even if they are very small.

"People will try and take a small amount first. TalkTalk has four million customers. If they do four million £1 transactions, that's not a bad haul," said Mr Dresner.

If you spot any unusual activity you should contact your bank and Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Never reuse passwords

TalkTalk is advising customers to change their account password as soon as its website is back up and running.

It is especially important to change your password on other websites, if you have used the same one across many accounts.

Attackers may have harvested usernames, email addresses and passwords from TalkTalk which could let them unlock other services such as your email.

"It's a growing concern that many use the same password and personal details across multiple online accounts, meaning if their details have been compromised by one attack they could find other accounts suffer too," said Mr Emm.

Security experts recommend using a different password for each account.


(The Telegraph, dated 24th October 2015 author Christopher Williams)

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TalkTalk has called in cyber-specialists from BAE Systems to investigate the theft and ransom of four million customers' personal and financial details by online criminals.

Experts from the defence giant's Applied Intelligence division, the organisation formerly known as Detica, were combing through reams of system logs at the broadband operator's west London headquarters alongside officers from the Metropolitan Police's cybercrime unit.

They were seeking clues as to the identity and location of the thieves, who are thought to have struck on Wednesday.

BAE was also involved in efforts to ensure customer service systems were secure before they could be reconnected to the internet.

As TalkTalk's shares slid 4.4pc on Friday, Baroness Harding, its chief executive, announced that she had received a threat that sensitive customer data would be exposed if a ransom was not paid.

Although it was not certain that the threat was authentic, it is understood that the ransom demand was received before news of the breach was made public on Thursday evening. The investigations remained in their early stages this weekend, but sources close to the situation said there were no indications so far of any insider involvement in the crime.

The apparent professionalism of the approach also led police to disregard claims of an Islamist terrorist motive behind the attack.

The claims were made in media reports on Friday, based on an anonymous online posting.

It is understood the techniques used to breach security at TalkTalk had only superficial details in common with an attack on its former parent company Carphone Warehouse in August, which affected a small minority of the telecoms provider's mobile customers.

The contrast suggested the two crimes were not linked, sources said.

TalkTalk staff were working through the night on Friday and yesterday to contact directly customers who were affected by the security breach.

It advised them to check their bank accounts for unusual activity and to change the passwords on their online accounts. The company has apologised, admitting its systems "were not as secure as they could be".


(The Telegraph, dated 27th October 2015 authors David Barrett and Lucy Clarke-Billings)

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A 15-year-old schoolboy arrested by police investigating the TalkTalk cyber attack which potentially compromised the data of more than four million customers has been released on bail.

Detectives questioned of the teenager overnight after executing a search warrant at his home on Monday afternoon.

The address in County Antrim, Northern Ireland, was subjected to a thorough search by specialist officers who are thought to have removed computer equipment.

The boy spent the night in custody at a police station in County Antrim and was being questioned by leading cyber crime investigators.

He was bailed earlier on Tuesday and will be required to report back to police next month.

The arrest of a child in connection with one of the country's most damaging hacking incidents will raise further serious questions about the security measures put in place by TalkTalk.

Last week some experts gave credence to a theory that the attack was the work of highly-skilled Islamist jihadists in Russia, following anonymous internet postings claiming responsibility.

If that theory proves unfounded and the attack on TalkTalk was more amateur in nature, the company is likely to face tough questions from customers over how it protects their data.

The arrest, which took place four days after the company admitted it had suffered a "sustained and significant" cyber attack, was the first to be made in the inquiry led by Scotland Yard's Cyber Crime Unit.

The hacking of TalkTalk's systems, which the company said could affect up to four million customers, began on Wednesday and the authorities were notified the following day.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was arrested on suspicion of offences under the Computer Misuse Act, a police spokesman said.

The legislation carries a maximum penalty of 14 years' imprisonment and an unlimited fine.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "A boy arrested in connection with the investigation into alleged data theft from the TalkTalk website has been bailed.

"On Monday, 26 October, at approximately 4.20pm officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, working with detectives from the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit, executed a search warrant at an address in County Antrim, Northern Ireland.

"At the address, a 15-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of Computer Misuse Act offences.

"He was taken into custody at a County Antrim police station.

"He has been bailed to a date in November. Enquiries continue."

A TalkTalk spokesman said: "We know this has been a worrying time for customers and we are grateful for the swift response and hard work of the police. We will continue to assist with the ongoing investigation."

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley received a briefing today from police in relation to the TalkTalk security breach and he said: "The type of attack suffered by TalkTalk once again highlights the significant danger that cybercrime poses and the impact that it can have on the community.

"Virtually every household will have banking or other personal information stored by companies on computer systems and should those systems be compromised it can leave people vulnerable to a range of crimes.

"I welcome that the PSNI have secured evidence and been able to make this arrest. I know that in this instance they are working hand in hand with the Metropolitan police as they investigate a crime which has caused concern to people right across the United Kingdom.

"I will be meeting with police again to seek updates on the progress of the investigation."

The Telegraph can also disclose that millions of people who cancelled their TalkTalk contracts years ago may have fallen victim to the cyber attack.

When former customers are included, the total number could be far higher than the initial four million estimate, because between 16 and 25 per cent of customers switch provider within the broadband industry each year

A spokesman for TalkTalk, which has been operating since 2006, said: "There is a risk and a chance that some previous TalkTalk customers' details were stored on the website. At the moment we can't rule it out.

"It's easy for us to pull our existing customers' details and email them but it's not so easy for us to do that for former customers. If we establish that former customers have been impacted by this we will be in touch with them directly. If anyone has concerns they should contact us."

Baroness Harding, the TalkTalk chief executive whose pay package was more than £6.8?million last year, has said the company could face a compensation bill running into millions for customers whose bank accounts were raided.


(The Telegraph, dated 30th October 2015 author "Telegraph Reporter")

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TalkTalk has revealed that hundreds of thousands of customers had their details stolen in its latest cyber attack.

In a statement today, the company confirmed 21,000 unique bank account numbers and sort codes were stolen along with 28,000 obscured credit and debit card details.

Around 1.2 million customers email addresses, names and phone numbers were also stolen, along with 15,000 dates of birth.

TalkTalk said this was "much smaller than we originally suspected".

It comes after a second boy was arrested in connection with the alleged TalkTalk cyber attack.

The teenager has been bailed to a date yet to be confirmed.

A 15-year-old boy from County Antrim in Northern Ireland was also arrested on Monday in connection with the alleged data theft.

He was bailed until a date in November.

The company said Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit's criminal investigation is ongoing, and it continue to assist.

Dido Harding, TalkTalk CEO, said: "Given the potential size of this attack, we decided to be as open, honest and transparent as we could because we wanted to keep our customers informed and ensure they had the advice and support they need.

"On behalf of everyone at TalkTalk, I would like to apologise to all our customers. We know that we need to work hard to earn back your trust and everyone here is committed to doing that."

Detective Superintendent Jayne Snelgrove, of the Metropolitan Police Cyber Crime Unit: "TalkTalk have done everything right in bringing this matter to our attention as soon as possible.

"Our success relies on businesses being open with us and each other about the threats they encounter."

What happened?

The website of phone and broadband company TalkTalk was hacked by cybercriminals in October 2015

What data was stolen?

Email addresses, names and phone numbers of 1.2 million customers were stolen, along with 15,000 dates of birth, 21,000 unique bank account numbers and sort codes, and 28,000 obscured credit and debit card details

How many people are affected?

Talk Talk says 1.2 million customers were affected

How is Talk Talk affected?

Talk Talk has conceded that it could face a compensation bill running into millions

What should I do?

If you're a customer, Talk Talk recommends you:

- watch your accounts and report any unusual activity
- check your credit report with the main credit agencies
- never give out your bank details, passwords or pin number over the phone

Additional information (uaware)

Talk talk cyber attack: the teen hackers behind the bedroom door
(The Telegraph, dated 30th October 2015 author Joe Shute)

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(1st November 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 31st October 2015 author Patrick Sawyer)


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Hackers may have accessed the bank details of nearly 2,000 Vodafone customers, it was announced last night

The mobile phone provider said 1,827 accounts were accessed, potentially providing criminals with customers' names, mobile numbers, bank sort codes and the last four digits of their bank accounts.

Vodaphone said "a handful of customers" had been victim to attempts to use this data for fraudulent activity on their accounts.

But no credit or debit card details were accessed and the information obtained by the criminals "cannot be used directly to access customers' bank accounts".

A Vodafone spokesman said: "This incident was driven by criminals using email addresses and passwords acquired from an unknown source external to Vodafone. Vodafone's systems were not compromised or breached in any way."

It has also emerged that online comments by a Talk Talk representative may have unwittingly encouraged hackers to test the telecom firm's cyber defences in the run up to the latest hacking attack.

One of the firm's customer service representatives wrote on Twitter that information about some of Talk Talk's customers held by Carphone Warehouse data systems may not have been encrypted.

Although the flaw in security was the responsibility of Carphone Warehouse, the tweet may have encouraged hackers to target Talk Talk.

Hackers last month gained access to some personal and financial information of thousands of Talk Talk's customers after targeting the company's data system.

Talk Talk has now confirmed that as many as 1.2 million email addresses, names and phone numbers were exposed, along with 21,000 bank account numbers and sort codes - information which could be used by criminals attempting to scam customers.

But it has now emerged that following an earlier successful attempt to hack into Carphone Warehouse system, which also held details of Talk Talk customers, the customer service representative indicated on Twitter that Carphone Warehouse stored customer's login details in an unencrypted format, making them more vulnerable to online theft.

It is thought these potential weaknesses may have been the subject of discussion on online forums used by hackers in the weeks before the most recent attack took place.

Talk Talk said last night: "New techniques for attack develop all the time, so TalkTalk continually updates and reviews our systems. We work with world leading experts and make significant ongoing investment into cyber protection.

"We constantly run vulnerability checks using tools developed by cyber security experts and employ in-house white-hat hackers."

(1st November 2015)





(The Telegraph, dated 30th October 2015 author "Press Association")

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Victims of crime are being asked to speak to police on Skype instead of having officers visit their home as part of a trial aiming to allow more time for neighbourhood patrols.

The new option will see people encouraged to call, Skype or visit the police station with home visits only being made "where necessary".

The trial, launched by Cambridgeshire police in Peterborough, aims to provide more flexibility for victims, as well allowing better response times, according to the force.

Supt Melanie Dales, the area commander for Peterborough, said: "We understand people have busy lives and this service will provide flexibility, with appointments from 8am to 10pm seven days a week. This initiative will bring the police more in line with other services, such as doctors' surgeries and, as with the health service, our emergency response will be there when required.

"It will allow officers, who use a large proportion of their time travelling across the city to and from appointments, more time to patrol their neighbourhoods. Also, by using modern technology such as Skype, we are increasing our efficiency and ensuring we are able to respond to people in a shorter time frame."


(BBC News, dated 30th October 2015)

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Crime victims are being asked to speak to police on Skype instead of being interviewed at home by officers.

The trial by Cambridgeshire Police aims to free-up time for neighbourhood patrols and offer more flexibility for victims.

But the move has been criticised as a money-saving measure.

The Police Federation raised concerns for those people unable to use or afford the technology required for the online audio-visual call system.

The Cambridgeshire force claimed Skype will provide greater flexibility for victims, as well as allowing better response times.

The Home Office said it would be up to other individual forces to decide on whether adopt a similar approach.

Oz Merrygold, secretary of Cambridgeshire Police Federation, said due to cuts to policing it is "just not possible anymore" to send officers out on crimes such as burgled homes.

He claimed police roles need to be "redefined" and "austerity" measures meant forces having to take difficult decisions, leading to technological solutions.

A spokeswoman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said: "Police are expecting further significant reductions to budgets as well as responding to changes in crime and demand on the service.

"All chiefs are having to prioritise and look at where they can make savings or provide services differently so they can continue to provide the vital services that reduce crime and protect people."

The Home Office spokesman said: "We support attempts to give victims of crime greater choice in how they report crime and engage with the police and the police must embrace new technology as forces deliver the next phase of police reform.

"Cambridgeshire Police has been clear that the pilot is not for reporting emergencies and officers will still carry out home visits where necessary. People should always call 999 if a crime is in progress or when violence is being used or threatened."


Dr Daniel Dresner, cyber security lecturer University of Manchester

It wouldn't be possible to the 'average Joe' to hack these calls but it's a bigger debate about whether it's actually possible. I would hope that the police computers would be secure.

We've seen cases where webcams can be hacked. That's not anything to do with Skype, it's the fact that the whole set up might not be secure, including the webcam and computer.

But it's a relatively low risk compared to whether it's an appropriate way to conduct interviews.

I would be worried about the quality of an interview which is conducted over Skype compared to a normal interview done face-to-face.

I would have thought there were dos and don'ts and recommendations for conducting an interview over the internet.

(1st November 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 30th October 2015 author Alex Hern)


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UK credit card details are on sale for as little £1 each online, the Guardian has learned, as fears rise over the security of personal data in the wake of the TalkTalk cyber-attack.

More than 600,000 individuals had their personal details stolen from UK companies in 2014, according to the Financial Times, underlining the scale of online crime in this country. It is likely that some of that data will have ended up on a website used by criminals wanting to buy high-end UK credit card data.

Visa and Mastercard details stolen on Tuesday were offered to the Guardian the following day - provided payment was made in the cypto-currency bitcoin - on a website which is registered in Russia but run in English.
What you're talking about here is like managing to sneak through the security barrier
David Enn, security researcher 
The site did not reveal where the details were harvested from, but the ownership of the cards was clear. One credit card was registered to a person in Craigavon in north County Armagh; another belonged to a resident of Chelmsford, Essex, who lost their platinum Visa card earlier this week. Platinum cards are particularly attractive to fraudsters because of their high credit limit. Scores more card details, registered to addresses up and down the country, from Aberdeenshire to Devon, were openly for sale on the site.

The example of the Russian-registered site is striking because it is on the "surface" web, and easily available to conventional internet users. It has a high-end design and layout, offers customer support and promises an 80% success rate for the buyers of stolen cards. It sits at the luxury end of the identity theft market, and charges accordingly - it wanted $72 (£47) for each card sold to us.

To bulk buy stolen data at lower prices, however, fraudsters head to the dark web. This can be accessed via the Tor browser, rather than conventional browsers used by the vast majority of users. It bounces a connection through multiple encrypted relays before it hits its destination. This obscures where the site's server is located, allowing would-be identity thieves to connect to hidden services, and sites not accessible to non-Tor users.

Searching through Tor, it is possible to access a site which will sell 100 credit cards (with the CVV2 digits - the three numbers on the reverse of the card) for just $150 (£98), around £1 per card. The site also sells PayPal accounts at $100 for 100, while other hidden services will offer €1,250 of counterfeited notes for €500. Free shipping is included.

Buying the stolen information is just the first step in a process that criminals use to convert digital data bought online into hard cash. The credit cards are used to load money onto easily obtained pre-paid debit cards. These are payment cards that function similar to credit cards, and can be used to shop online, but can be opened without the sort of checks wanted by banks when opening a current account.

These pre-paid debit cards are used to buy online gift cards. In turn, these gift cards are used to buy high-value electronics, such as iPhones or games consoles, which are sold at a discount - an iPhone 6S for $430 or an Xbox One for $240. That cash goes in the pocket.

But how do these dark websites get the data? A significant source of stolen information, particularly in the US, is old-fashioned card-skimming: a compromised terminal or company employee on the take, who steals the details of a card in the process of completing a transaction.

Just as common is the 21st-century equivalent: malware. This is the catch-all term for malevolent software that infects an individual's computer to monitor communications for confidential information such as banking passwords, credit card details and social media logins. The data is uploaded to a central server where it is sold on or used to further spread the malware.

The Gameover Zeus malware, disrupted by a joint UK-US operation in June 2014, was one such attack. This acted as a form of "ransomware", encrypting the infected computer and demanding payment in bitcoin to release the data.

The third major source of data for sale is large-scale hacks, of the type that was flagged by telecoms operator TalkTalk on 23 October. Sometimes the stolen information can be used directly, especially where the company has irresponsibly stored credit card data or passwords on their servers in plaintext; or it may be used as the first step in stealing someone's identity, where information from two or more hacks is linked to build a profile that can be used to apply for bank accounts or credit cards.

Security experts call the organised criminal hacks "advanced persistent threats". But the attack on TalkTalk has left researchers bemused. A 15-year-old boy from Northern Ireland is on police bail in connection with the cyber-attack, while on Friday a 16-year-old boy was arrested in London.

TalkTalk appears to have been the victim of a relatively amateur and opportunistic hack, according to experts. The company's chief executive, Dido Harding, said the perpetrator exploited a "sequential injection" attack. Security researchers, realising she meant to say "SQL injection" - a common form of attack in which a hacker tricks the website into releasing information from a database - had a field day.

"It's not the lowest-hanging fruit of all," said David Enn, a researcher at information security firm Kaspersky. "But certainly in terms of attacking core infrastructure of the business, we're not looking at a concerted, targeted attack. What you're talking about here is like managing to sneak through the security barrier just by slipstreaming an employee."

TalkTalk declined to discuss its defences in detail, given the ongoing police investigation, but said it continually invested in improving its systems, and constantly monitored and scanned its network to detect any weaknesses.

"We defend against all manner of attacks on a day by day basis," a statement said. "Each day we have to block over 170m scamming emails to our customers, and we block over 1m nuisance calls to our customers each day.

"It is a constantly evolving fight against cybercrime and individual companies on their own can't tackle this problem."

(1st November 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 29th October 2015 author David Barrett)


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One in 1,000 people in England and Wales is a convicted sex offender, official figures have revealed.

A Ministry of Justice (MoJ) update on how dangerous offenders are managed in the community said there were now 98 sex offenders per 100,000 population, up from 92 in last year's figures.

It also disclosed 222 offenders being supervised by the Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangements (Mappa) were charged with a serious further offence in 2014-15, a 28 per cent rise year-on-year.

There are now 68,200 criminals being monitored by the Mappa - which brings together police, probation, NHS and other public services to help protect the public from offenders who have been released from prison.

Of those, 49,500 were sex offenders.

The overall total was up five per cent year-on-year, which the MoJ said was "consistent with annual rises" over the previous seven years.

The report said: "The rate of category one offenders (registered sexual offenders) in 2014-15 is 98 per 100,000 of population.

"This is an increase from 92 in 2013-14 and continues a trend of successive annual increases."

The criminals have been released to live in the community because they have reached the end of custodial sentences and cannot be kept behind bars any longer.#

But the Mappa teams aim to prevent them reoffending and in the most extreme cases the offenders will be kept under surveillance.

HM Inspectorates of Constabulary and Probation said health workers failed to share information about offenders in a fifth of meetings and some were putting their confidential doctor-patient relationship ahead of the efforts to protect communities.

It said: "In one area, one particularly unhelpful consultant community psychiatrist failed to attend Mappa meetings in relation to two offenders.

"The consultant did not share relevant information about the offenders or do what was requested of them by the meeting."

(1st November 2015)


(BBC News, dated 27th November 2015 author Matthew Wall)


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Last week's cyber-attack on UK telecoms provider TalkTalk has once again highlighted the critical importance of cybersecurity.

TalkTalk joins a lengthening global list of companies that have suffered major data breaches, including Ashley Madison, eBay, AOL, Target, Home Depot, Sony, Anthem and JPMorgan Chase.

Google and McAfee estimate there are 2,000 cyber-attacks every day around the world, costing the global economy about £300bn ($460bn) a year.

Yet more than two thirds of firms say they feel inadequately protected against increasingly sophisticated hackers looking to extort money through blackmail or steal data to sell on the black market.

So what should businesses be doing to improve their security? Technology of Business canvassed cybersecurity experts for their views.

1. Protect your data, not just the perimeter

Our ideas about corporate cybersecurity are out-of-date, many experts warn.

Concentrating on shoring up the castle walls is not enough, yet 87% of security budgets is still spent on firewall technology, says Tim Grieveson, chief cyber strategist at Hewlett-Packard.

Forget the gate and drawbridge idea, there are now hundreds of potential entrances to the castle because businesses are connected to customers, suppliers, and employees over the internet. Not only that, but it's as if everyone who comes in and out of the castle has a key to unlock all the doors as well.

Breaches are inevitable, comes the stark warning, so protect the data that matters.

"The bottom line is, CIOs [chief information officers] need to accept their company will be breached and shift their security strategy from 'breach prevention' to 'breach acceptance'," says Jason Hart, chief technology officer at digital security specialist, Gemalto.

Tom Patterson, general manager of global security solutions for IT services firm Unisys, calls this new approach micro-segmentation - building lots of little walls around those parts of your business containing data you can't afford to lose.

This involves cryptographically signing each bit of digital information - the packet data - with a code unique to each segment of the business. So if hackers break in, all they get access to is the data specific to that community or segment.

"A small breach is easier to manage - they may steal a little bit, or disrupt a little bit, but they don't take down the whole corporation," says Mr Patterson.

But the challenge, says Mr Grieveson, is "knowing what data to prioritise."

2. Know your data

But many businesses don't even know what data they have stored on their systems, let alone how important it is, such is the complexity of their legacy computer systems and the recent proliferation of digital data from mobile and "internet of things" devices.

According to a recent survey by information management firm Veritas, 59% of the data in UK IT systems is unclassified "dark data".

Yet knowing what you have is key to any security strategy, says Mr Grieveson. "Businesses need to understand the risk of different types of data being lost."

Once you've done this you can then employ "best practice data protection - attaching security directly to the data itself, using multi-factor authentication and data encryption, as well as securely managing encryption keys," says Mr Hart.

"That way, if the data is stolen, it is useless to the thieves."

3. Wake up to the insider threat

It's all too easy to concentrate on the attacks coming from outside and ignore the risks posed - wittingly or unwittingly - by people inside your organisation.

And insider attacks can also be more difficult to detect and deal with. "In reality it takes about 70 days to remediate an insider cyber-attack," says Mr Grieveson.

Employees clicking on email attachments they believe are from trusted sources is "the number one threat for organisations", says Gary Steele, boss of Proofpoint, a secure email specialist.

"A company can spend millions on investments in security solutions, but all it takes is one click on one link by one employee, and the company is compromised," he says.

Hackers are becoming very clever at using personal information gleaned from social media and other sources - so-called social engineering - to convince employees that emails are from people they know. Educating staff about this threat should be a priority, experts advise.

When it comes to employees in the pay of criminal gangs, predictive analytics tools can try to spot anomalies in their behaviour on a corporate network, but such tools can be expensive and time-consuming to manage.

4. Increase vigilance

Companies can achieve a lot simply by monitoring their systems more effectively, says Gavin Millard, technical director at Tenable Network Security.

This includes the "patching of easily exploitable bugs, robust filtering of inbound and outbound communications, up-to-date malware defence, encryption of sensitive information, and a good password policy," he summarises.

At the very least, firms should make sure network security certificates and antivirus and firewall software is up-to-date.

"Investing in monitoring controls to detect when an attack occurs is probably of most importance from a technology perspective," says AlienVault's Javvad Malik. "From a non-technology perspective, security training for staff can go a long way."

5. Get to grips with mobile

If staff use their own mobile devices for work purposes, firms should at the least restrict access to critical data and systems, the IT professionals say.

At best, firms should switch to a centrally-controlled system giving IT departments the ability to wipe devices remotely if they are lost or stolen.

"Organisations need to embrace a zero-trust philosophy," says Jason Garbis of security company, Cryptzone.

6. Spend more money and time on cybersecurity

Cybersecurity firms with products and services to sell would say this, wouldn't they? But even TalkTalk chief executive Dido Harding admitted that she would be "spending more money and more time on cybersecurity because it is the number one risk".

Big companies with sensitive consumer data to protect are increasingly appointing chief security officers, often to board level positions, in an acknowledgement that cybersecurity has to be built in to all business processes.

Cybersecurity is everyone's problem, not just the responsibility of IT departments.

(1st November 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 26th October 2015 author Ramzy Alwakeel)


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London Ambulance Service has spent tens of thousands of pounds answering 999 calls to hoax stabbings over the past five years, new figures have revealed.

Between 2010 and 2015, ambulance bosses sent paramedics to 464 "stabbings" on London's streets that turned out not to have happened, at an estimated cost of more than £100 a time.

In some areas of the capital there have been only a handful of fake stabbings, while in others the figure tops 20 or 30.

Duwayne Brooks OBE, the best friend of stabbed teenager Stephen Lawrence, told the Standard people who "cry wolf" about knife crime were "heartless".

"We're seeing an increase in reported knife crime," he said. "Wasting ambulance time by making hoax calls is heartless, insensitive, uncaring - there are lots of words.

"We know from surgeons in trauma centres that 20 seconds can make a difference to saving someone's life.

"If you're ever out with your friends and you're thinking of doing something like this, please think again.

"It could be your friend waiting there for an ambulance that has been called to a hoax.

"I think these people have never experienced knife crime - it's people who maybe have been out for a few drinks.

"It's not a laugh. It's not a joking matter. These are people's lives at risk.

"If there are 100 hoax calls a year purporting to be knife crime, I'm shocked."

The ambulance service absorbs the bulk of the capital's hoax stabbing calls - generally, police are only called once LAS has arrived at the scene and found a victim.

Nonetheless, a handful of incidents see police sent alongside medics.

Last month Southwark police tweeted: "Hoax call to a stabbing. Two ambulances and three Southwark cars waste a lot of time searching for a victim who doesn't exist."

A similar tweet a year ago, also from Southwark police, said: "Sadly, once again we've just finished dealing with a hoax stabbing call that has unnecessarily drained our and [London Ambulance Service's] resources."

LAS was unable to provide the specific costs of responding to hoax calls, but said its latest reference cost for answering calls is £187.66 per incident.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics this month revealed knife crime had soared by 15 per cent in the space of a year.

But the number of hoax stabbing calls has fallen consistently since 2010, with 39 made in 2014/15 compared with 156 five years earlier

Hoax stabbings London borough by borough

Redbridge : 3
Hounslow : 3
Sutton : 3
Merton : 3
Hammersmith and Fulham : 4
Bexley : 4
Richmond : 4
Havering : 5
Hillingdon : 6
Harrow : 8
Barnet : 10
Greenwich : 10
Bromley : 11
Islington : 12
Wandsworth : 12
Candem : 15
Enfield  16
Southwark : 17
Barking and Dagenham : 18
Newham : 21
Westminster : 21
Brent : 22
Lambeth : 22
Hackney and City : 22
Waltham Forest : 24
Haringey : 24
Ealing : 25
Tower Hamlets : 27
Lewisham: 35
Croydon : 40

(1st November 2015

(London Evening Standard, dated 22nd October 2015 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

Scotland Yard today hit back  at Theresa May after Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe's decision to tackle knife crime by boosting the use of stop and search was denounced as an unjustified "knee-jerk" reaction.

In a statement issued on Sir Bernard's behalf, the Met said the Home Secretary had "misunderstood" his approach to stop and search and that the Commissioner had never claimed there was definite link between its use and levels of violent crime.

The Met said the recent decision to increase stop and search was not a "knee-jerk" reaction and that "nothing could be further from the truth" than the Home Secretary's claim.

It said Sir Bernard, who ordered previous dramatic cuts in the searches to be partially reversed earlier this year, had acted in response to a rising number of knife killings in the capital.

It added: "There has been a disturbing increase in the number of murders and stabbings.

"It was only right the Met acknowledged what has been suggested anecdotally - that the reduction in stop and search may have reduced the deterrent to carrying knives.

Whilst the Commissioner has acknowledged this is a possibility, he made it clear that there is no definitive evidence to prove or  disprove the suggested link. That remains our position."

The Met said that there had still been a "huge reduction" overall in the number of stops it had carried out, and that its recent decision to increase searches was "supported by members of the community who are frightened their youngsters may end up as victims and want us to protect them".

Today's response came after the Home Secretary rejected as "simply not true" claims that a recent rise in knife crime in London was linked to a fall in the use of stop and search.

In a speech to the National Black Police Association, Mrs May insisted that there was "no link whatsoever" between the reductions in stop and search, that she told forces to implement, and violent crime. She added that "blade stops" - in which officers stopped a person suspected of carrying a knife - had only declined by one per cent in London over the past year and that the use of more intelligence-led searches was the way forward.

Sir Bernard has previously said he was concerned some Londoners may believe they could carry knives with "impunity" because of a decline in stop and search.

He suggested anti-gang work needed to be stepped up in response to a rise in knife killings, which have claimed the lives of 15 London teenagers this year.

(1st November 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 22nd October 2015 author David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, is to accuse Britain's top police officer of making untrue claims over the causes of rising knife crime.

In a hard-hitting speech to a policing conference, Mrs May will insist it is "simply not true" that incidents involving knives have increased due to Home Office-led changes to stop and search powers.

Her thinly-veiled attack on Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Metropolitan Police Commissioner, comes as new official figures show four police forces have no black police officers.

Sir Bernard announced in June that he was sanctioning renewed use of the controversial powers as he explicitly linked their rationing with a 25 per cent jump in knife crime in the capital. 

In a rebuke which signals ever-worsening relations between the Home Secretary, Sir Bernard and other senior officers, Mrs May will accuse them of "a knee-jerk reaction on the back of a false link".

The Home Secretary will say to the National Black Police Association Conference that it is "simply not true that knife crime is rising because the police are no longer stopping and searching those carrying knives".

Although Mrs May will not name Sir Bernard as the focus of her retaliation, his public comments on stop and search clearly indicate he is the principal target.

She will add: "When stop and search is misapplied, and when people are stopped and searched for no good reason, it is unfair, it wastes valuable police time, and it damages the relationship between communities and the police.

"I know there are those who say that our reforms have gone too far, that the pendulum has swung too much the other way, and that reforms to stop and search are linked to knife crime in our capital and elsewhere.

"But to them I say this: stop and search reform has worked, it must continue, and - if you look at the evidence - it shows no link whatsoever with violent crime.

"Properly targeted, stop and search will actually help reduce knife crime. It will save police time to focus on prevention and work with gangs, and it will improve the relationship between the police and the public on which all of your work rests.

"We must not jettison all that good work for the sake of a knee-jerk reaction on the back of a false link."

It follows months of friction between the Home Office and Scotland Yard over Mrs May's decision to allow Sir Bernard to use four water cannon purchased at a cost of more than £300,000, and over impending budget cuts.

He told staff last month: "The time has come to fight our corner. Watch this space."

There has also been considerable friction between Mrs May and police over her determination to see less use of stop and search because of its disproportionate use against ethnic minorities.

In an interview with the BBC in June Sir Bernard said: "Over the last three years we have listened to feedback from the public about too much ineffective stop and search.

"But over the last three months there has been a rise in stabbings and that has caused us to review our position on stop and search."

He went on: "If we are getting to the stage where people think they can carry knives with impunity, that can't be good for anyone.

"We don't want to see a return to a million stop and searches, but there is an argument for more use of stop and search focused on high knife crime areas and targeting gangs."

The Home Secretary's speech in Birmingham will also criticise police for failing to address a long-standing lack of black and Asian officers.

She will point out that new data, to be published on Thursday, showing four forces in England and Wales have no black officers at all, while 11 have no have no ethnic minority officers at chief inspector rank or above.

"Increasing diversity in our police forces is not an optional extra," she will say, according to extracts of the speech released in advance.

"We must ensure that the public have trust and confidence in the police, and that the police reflect the communities they serve.

"Incredibly, four forces do not employ any black or black British police officers at all, and female officers make up 28 per cent of all police officers but 51 per cent of the total population.

"This is simply not good enough."

She will cite statistics on knife crime which entirely focus on London, further showing her criticisms are aimed at the Commissioner.

The Home Secretary will say there is no correlation between London boroughs that have decreased stops and searches, and those with rises in knife crime.

In the year to June 2015, there was a 24 per cent rise in police-recorded violence against the person, including a 15 per cent rise in violence with injury.

Violence against the person: How it's increased in recent years

Homocide / (Violence without Injury)/[Violence with Injury]

2002-2003 : 1047 (335,452) [372,243]
2003-2004 :  904 (340,612) [457,731]
2004-2005 :  868 (329,686) [515,119]
2005-2006 :  764 (294,410) [543,500]
2006-2007 :  758 (307,782) [506,325]
2007-2008 :  775 (295,757) [452,247]
2008-2009 :  664 (287,701) [420,643]
2009-2010 :  620 (297,147) [401,244]
2010-2011 :  639 (296,570) [368,277]
2011-2012 :  553 (288,042) [338,125]
2012-2013 :  558 (288,498) [312,085]
2013-2014 :  525 (330,481) [335,885]
2014-2015 :  569 (439,182) [390,538]

Over the same period the Met cut the number of stop and searches by 39 per cent or 96,778.

However, the Office for National Statistics has said increases in violent crime is likely to be as a result of better recording by police rather than an actual change in crime trends.

In 2014 statistics showed black people were seven times more likely to be stopped and searched than whites.

In April last year Mrs May said use of stop and search had become an "unacceptable affront to justice" after Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary found that 27 per cent of searches did not contain reasonable grounds for suspicion.

(1st November 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 21st October 2015 author Auslan Cramb)

Full article [Option 1]:

A damning report on policing in Edinburgh has revealed that it has both the highest crime rate in Scotland and the lowest crime detection rate.

HM Inspectorate of Constabulary in Scotland said the number of recorded crimes in the area last year was just over 738 for every 10,000 people, compared to a national average of 481.

The police watchdog also found the detection rate had decreased from 41.7 per cent in 2012-13, to 35.4 per cent, the lowest figure across the country.

The study is part of an ongoing process to review local services following the creation of the single police force.

Opposition parties said it revealed a service that was overstretched and under-resourced, and flew in the face of the SNP "mantra" that 1,000 extra officers had delivered low crime levels.

The problems exposed in the report provide further evidence of the malaise afflicting Police Scotland following a series of blunders.

The force is already looking for a new chief constable after Sir Stephen House decided to step down following repeated criticism on a range of issues, including the excessive use of stop and search powers and the arming of officers on routine patrol.

It is also facing reviews of its call handling procedures after the deaths of John Yuill and Lamara Bell, who lay undiscovered for three days in their crashed car despite a sighting of the vehicle on the edge of the M9 being reported to a police control-room.

Meanwhile, the Police Investigations and Review Commissioner is reviewing another incident in which a possible sighting of a missing 88-year-old woman was not followed up, and looking at the timing of the force's response to a call that led to the discovery of the body of an 88-year-old man and his serious ill wife in Edinburgh.

The new report concluded: "The current data indicates that the likelihood of being a victim of crime is greater in Edinburgh division when compared to the rest of Scotland and the likelihood of the offender being brought to justice is lowest."

It added that the specific challenges facing Edinburgh were not recognised when Police Scotland was created in 2013, with up to 55 officers a day being taken off frontline duties to cover cultural, sporting and political events.

Satisfaction levels with policing in the capital are also lower than average, at just under 79 per cent in 2014-15 compared to a Scottish average of 83.6 per cent.

Crimes of violence decreased by 3.4 per cent compared to the previous year, but housebreaking was up by nearly 21 per cent.

HMICS has called on Police Scotland to review the resourcing of the division while noting the unique pressures the city faces.

Its report added: "Our view is that many of the issues affecting Edinburgh division have arisen because many of the specific demographics and challenges that come with being the capital city were not recognised when Police Scotland was introduced."

Derek Penman, HM Inspector of Constabulary, added: "The single force has provided greater access to specialist support and has provided additional officers to assist in meeting these challenges.

"However, I believe there is now a need for Police Scotland to review the balance between local policing and specialist resources to ensure there are sufficient officers within response and community policing roles across the division."

Graeme Pearson, Labour's justice spokesman, said officers were under "more and more pressure because of decisions by the Police Scotland leadership and SNP ministers".

He added: "These facts fly in the face of the SNP Government's mantra that 1,000 extra officers have delivered low crime levels.

"Decisions by SNP ministers have led to increased pressure on our police officers, cuts to budgets, a reduction in the number of civilian staff and the closure of services."

Alison McInnes, the Lib Dem spokesman, said the service was "under-resourced and struggling to deliver".

She added: "When Police Scotland was created we were told a national force would make it easier to share frontline resources at times of high demand.

"For officers, staff and the Edinburgh public, the creation of Police Scotland seems to have been all cloud and no silver lining."

Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, Edinburgh's policing commander, said the division had made advances recently, halving the number of break-ins per month and doubling detection rates, following the launch of an operation earlier this year.

He added: "We have also seen a reduction in violent crime of over 18 per cent against the five-year average, with robberies alone down over 28 per cent."

(1st November 2015)


(Mail Online, dated 21st October 2015 author James Dunn)


Full article [Option 1]:

Security agencies could be given a 'dizzying' range of powers with laws aiming to give them the right to take control of phones and computers for surveillance.

 MI5, MI6 and GCHQ would be granted a range of electronic surveillance capabilities under the Government's Investigatory Powers Bill, allowing them to legally hack phones, tablets and laptops.

Privacy campaigners have warned against increasing surveillance powers, but the Government and senior intelligence services say they are more important than ever because of electronic crime and the threat from Islamist extremists.

The new laws would give security agencies the power to hack devices, with permission from the Home Secretary, rather than simply intercepting them, which is becoming increasingly difficult.

Online criminals and terrorist can encrypt their communications, which means that when they are intercepted, they may be impossible to interpret.

However, hacking a device allows the hacker to access everything in it, usually via a security flaw in the software.

The difference is that is would allow the hacker to take control of the device, using parts of it such as the speaker or microphone, and accessing data from the source before it is encrypted.

Peter Sommer, a digital evidence expert, told The Times: 'Increasingly, (intelligence agents) can't read communications sent over the internet because of encryption, so their ability to get information from interception is diminishing.

'The best way around this is to get inside someone's computer.'

It comes after US whistleblower Edward Snowden claimed British spies had the ability to turn people's mobile phones off and on and switch on the microphone to listen to what is happening around them.

In February, the Government admitted for the first time that it was using the Intelligence Services Act 1994 to hack people's computers and use them for surveillance

But critics argued the act did not give them the legal right to do access phones and computers, making the intrusion unlawful.

In June, David Anderson QC, the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, recommended the government introduce a bill that allows them to legally access people's devices for security.

He said that the technique 'presents a dizzying array of possibilities' to security agencies.

The Times reported the hacking powers outlined in the new Bill, which could be presented next month, were not included in the Communications Data Bill, which was dubbed the 'snoopers' charter' and blocked by the Liberal Democrats in coalition.

The bill was heavily opposed by civil liberties campaigners who raised concerns over spies being allowed to take control of electronic devices, but the new legislation seeks to enshrine that ability as a right in law.

The Home Secretary this week confirmed a form of the Wilson Doctrine, which prevents the interception of politicians' communications except for national security reasons, will also be included in the Bill after a court ruled it had no legal basis.

Any new laws will need to be in place by December 2016 when temporary surveillance powers passed by the coalition government expire, Theresa May told MPs in June.

(1st November 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 20th October 2015 author Vikram Dodd)


Full article [Option 1]:

Ministers are considering appointing a senior spy chief as Britain's top law enforcement officer.

A deputy director-general of MI5 is one of three candidates in the running to lead the National Crime Agency, Britain's version of America's FBI.

The NCA was established in 2013 by the Conservative-led coalition government to tackle serious and organised crime. The appointment of a senior spy chief to lead the agency would reinforce the fears of some in policing that the government is moving ahead with plans to strip the Metropolitan police of its counter-terrorism brief and hand it to the NCA.

Interviews for the post - which will be decided by the home secretary, Theresa May - will be held soon.

The Guardian is not naming the senior intelligence official, in line with editorial guidelines followed by British news organisations not to do so, unless it is in the public interest. He is an expert in counter-terrorism and has also served in a security role at the Home Office.

The NCA is a rival for power and prestige with the Metropolitan police, Britain's biggest police force; so far it is a fight the fledgling national agency has been losing.

The director-general of the NCA has the power to direct police chiefs, including the head of the Met. And the Home Office is increasing the salary - and arguably the status - of the new NCA boss, to make it comparable to the £275,000 paid to Scotland Yard commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe.

The Met serves London and also has national responsibilities, most importantly its lead role in the fight against terrorism.

Relations between the Conservatives and police are poor. And in May this year parliament's powerful home affairs committee called for counter-terrorism control to be moved to the NCA.

Another candidate for the post is Lynne Owens, the chief constable of Surrey, who is seen by some as the favourite. If appointed, the former Met assistant commissioner would become the most senior woman ever in British law enforcement. However her chances will not have been helped by Monday's HM Inspector of Constabularies' (HMIC) reporton preparedness for the future, which concluded that the Surrey force "requires improvement".

The other applicant is Chris Sims, chief constable of the West Midlands force. He is not seen as naturally in tune with the government, but the HMIC inspection rated his force as "outstanding". West Midlands police is the second largest force in England and Wales, meaning Sims has a track record of leading a large organisation. He applied last time in 2011 but lost out to Keith Bristow, chief of the relatively small Warwickshire police.

The NCA has been beset by problems. It took over from the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (Soca), which was created by Labour and faced questions about its effectiveness. Its first leader was Sir Stephen Lander, a former MI5 boss, who adopted a low-key style for the agency that meant its problems got more media coverage than its successes.

The Conservative coalition government abolished Soca and replaced it with the NCA. Bristow started his role in 2012 and will stand down next year.

The senior intelligence chief applying for the job is a career MI5 officer who has previously been seconded to the Home Office in the office of security and counter-terrorism.

In a 2014 interview with the Guardian, Bristow explained the benefits of giving the counter-terror brief to the NCA. He said terrorists and organised criminals often operate in the same way and that "the tactics of law enforcement to tackle these people are often the same".

Bristow said that in a time of austerity it would be sensible to look at shared capabilities to tackle the twin threats. "The judgment that will need to be made is how do we get best effect out of our collective effort against terrorists and organised criminals … the strategic national threats that can't be tackled in isolation."

Asked if he saw advantages for terrorism and organised crime-fighting being led by the same organisation, Bristow said: "I can see advantages for shared capability."

Bristow is stepping down, the NCA says, having completed the onerous task of getting the NCA operational and having served out his four-year term.

Several other top NCA chiefs are also leaving, with the deputy director general, Phil Gormley, having already departed.

The NCA is directly answerable to the home secretary and the successful candidate will get a five-year term.

Top law enforcement jobs have recently struggled to attract applicants. Just one person applied to succeed Sims as chief of West Midlands police; his deputy, David Thompson got the post. Two people applied to lead the Greater Manchester constabulary, when Ian Hopkins was appointed to succeed his boss Sir Peter Fahy.

(1st November 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 19th October 2015 author Hannah Al-Othman)


Full article [Option 1]:

A single team of detectives will be looking after all of Scotland Yard's ongoing historic child sex abuse investigations, it said today.

Operation Midland, which is investigating allegations of murder by a so-called Westminster paedophile ring in the 1970s and 1980s, and Operation Fairbank, which is looking at allegations of sexual abuse involving senior politicians, are among those being brought together.

The team will be overseen by Detective Superintendent Ang Scott, from the Met's sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse (SOECA) unit.

The Yard said Ms Scott would oversee officers from SOECA, the homicide and major crime command, and the Met's directorate of professional standards, under the overall command of Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Rodhouse.

A spokesman said the move was being made as detectives had found "a number of people and locations" were common to more than one operation.

The spokesman said: "Whilst we are not prepared to give a running commentary on any ongoing live investigation, as Operations Midland and Fairbank have progressed officers identified a number of people and locations that were common to both inquiries.

"It is therefore operationally important to have the same officer in charge of these inquiries. This team will also be responsible for the preparatory work required to support the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse."

Scotland Yard announced last month it was setting up a specific team of around 90 staff in response to growing numbers of historical abuse inquiries.

(1st November 2015)


(BBC News, dated 19th October 2015)


Full article :

Body cameras worn by armed Met Police officers are "unfit-for-purpose" and should be replaced, the police watchdog has said.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) analysed footage from the non-fatal shooting of Nathaniel Brophy, 34, in Clapham on 21 August.

It said the positioning of the cameras on officers' bodies obscured and impacted the quality of the footage.

The Met said it was testing different locations as part of an ongoing trial.

Officers across 10 London boroughs are currently involved in the trial using about 1,000 devices, to boost transparency and speed up convictions, with aims for a further 20,000 to be used by March next year.

Often placed just below the shoulder the camera can be obscured if the officer raises their arm to aim a weapon.

Jennifer Izekor from the IPCC said: "They will be good tools but they're not fit for purpose for firearms incidents at the moment."

The introduction of body cameras followed criticism of the Met over the death of Mark Duggan, who was shot by armed officers in August 2011, sparking riots across England.

The cameras enable officers to store material from each incident for a month which can then be used for evidential purposes.

But Andrew Dismore from the Labour London Assembly group said: "I'm surprised that it's taken the IPCC to point out this particular problem to the Met.

"I would have thought it was pretty obvious that if a firearms officer points a rifle at something that the camera ought to be able to follow what the officer is doing. At the moment they can't do."

The Met said: "The cameras issued to armed MPS officers are capable of a variety of mounting options and these are being tested as part of this pilot...helping to inform any future roll-out.

"No decisions have yet been taken as the pilot is still ongoing and there are still lessons to be learned."

(1st November 2015)


(Police Oracle, dated 18th October 2015)


Full article [Option 1]:'lack-skills'-for-modern-vehicle-crimes_89809.html

Connected vehicles are rapidly becoming more prevalent and generate large quantities of data that can be used as vital clues in police investigations and as evidence in court.

Up to 20 per cent of vehicles sold worldwide in 2015 will include some form of embedded connectivity. That figure is set to increase six-fold to 152 mil-lion vehicles by 2020. Telematics-based insurance policies soared 9 per cent in the UK
between January 2014 and January 2015 (296,000 to 323,000).

But Asset Protection Unit (APU) believes British police officers lack the resources, personnel and expertise to interrogate telematics data and package it into a format usable as evidence in court.

APU has been called upon more times in the past six months than in the previous two years combined to interpret data from a variety of "black boxes" for police forces across the UK. These include ongoing investigations into a collision that caused the death of a pedestrian and a major "crash for cash" fraud operation.

Neil Thomas, director of investigative services at APU, said: "The police face a dilemma; in the age of the connected car, collecting the evidence isn't so much the problem, it's the interpretation of that information which causes the headaches. They know that telematics can be a valuable tool for them in bringing criminals to justice, but they don't have the right people, and IT capability to interrogate the data and package it into a meaningful, usable format.

"After an accident, for example, a car installed with an advanced telematics device is capable of providing a huge amount of detail about the accident - speed, braking, steering inputs, location, g-force, passenger information, impact angle and more, but the police struggle to make sense of it."

"Academic research I have conducted in association with Coventry University revealed a need for greater collaboration between the public and private sectors to improve criminal justice efficiency."

With more cuts on the way I would encourage the police to explore how existing cost effective private sector technology and expertise can help them investigate crime."

(1st November 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 16th October 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

The Metropolitan Police is being investigated for alleged corruption over their handling of the murder of black teenager Stephen Lawrence, the National Crime Agency has confirmed.

The new investigation comes more than two decades after the 18 year-old was stabbed to death by a racist gang.

Theresa May, the Home Secretary, confirmed last year the agency had been asked to look into issues surrounding alleged corruption but news of an inquiry only emerged this week.

Findings will be reported back to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), the police watchdog, and could result in criminal or misconduct proceedings.

A spokesman said: "Members of the Lawrence family, Duwayne Brooks [Mr Lawrence's friend and now local politician] and their legal representatives have already been spoken with by the senior investigating officer, and we will continue to meet and update them as appropriate."

Stephen, 18, was stabbed to death by a gang of white youths as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, with a friend in April 1993.

It was more than 18 years before two of his killers - Gary Dobson and David Norris - were brought to justice. The pair were jailed for life in 2012.

A separate investigation is already being carried out by the IPCC, after Mr Lawrence's father, Neville, made a complaint about forme police commissioner Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington over claims he withheld evidence from the 1998 Macpherson inquiry.

In a letter to the inquiry, Lord Stevens said no officer or former officer involved in giving evidence at the inquiry was under investigation for corruption.

But a second review of the case last year by Mark Ellison QC found corruption allegations about a Metropolitan Police detective who worked on the original investigation into the killing should have been revealed to the inquiry.

(1st November 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 16th October 2015 author David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

Police failed to identify a suspect in seven out of 10 burglaries and thefts last year, ground-breaking new figures have shown.

In figures which are set to embarrass Theresa May, the Home Secretary, it emerged that 49 per cent of the overall number of crimes reported to police went unsolved.

Police failed to identify an offender in more than 1.5 million crimes.

The proportion of crimes which saw an offender taken to court actually dropped by 0.5 per cent year-on-year to 596,000.

It is the first time the Home Office has published a comprehensive analysis of detection and clear-up rates by all forces in England and Wales.

Out of 3.5 million crimes recorded by the police in the year just 16.7 per cent led to offenders being charged or summonsed, down from 17.2 per cent the year before.

The paper said: "For around half (49 per cent) of offences recorded in 2014/15, no suspect had been identified and the case was closed."

Certain types of crime saw even higher proportions go unsolved.

Among all theft offences, including burglary, 70 per cent of offenders were never traced, or just over one million criminals, along with a similar proportion of offenders in criminal damage and arson cases, amounting to around 317,000 suspects.

Just under half of robberies also went unsolved, or 19,000 cases.

In violent and sex crimes, about 12 per cent of attackers were never traced, about 92,000 suspects in total.

Although the Home Office published a version of the "crime outcomes" research in July last year this is the first time the data has covered all 43 forces in England and Wales for a full 12 month period.

It was introduced as part of Mrs May's criminal justice reforms which are intended to make the police more accountable to the public, by issuing transparent figures about their performance.

"This new outcomes bulletin allows every crime recorded by the police to be given a detailed outcome, showing how the police deal with crimes," said the 40-page report.

Police data showed the highest level of violence in a decade - more than 830,000 crimes - in the 12 months to the end of June.

The Office for National Statistics also published new research which said there were 5.1 million cyber crimes and frauds in the year, plus 2.5 million offences under the Computer Misuse Act, such as hacking.

It meant that in total there were 14.1 million crimes in the last 12 months.

Mike Penning, the police minister, said: "Police reform is working and crime has fallen by eight per cent year-on-year and by more than a quarter since 2010, according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

"People, communities and property across the country are safer as a result.

"We are clear that all crimes reported to the police should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences.

"Decisions on individual investigations are an operational matter for chief constables based on the evidence available to them."

uaware comment - Smoke and Mirrors

One of the famous sayings is "lies, lies and statistics" (or something like it).

I have just been skim reading through the Home Office 40 page document "Crime Outcomes in England a Wales 2014/15". Within Table 3.3 on page 24 it quotes the "Outcomes recorded for 2014/15. Well in all honesty, the table quotes something, but not all of the outcomes. There are whacking great holes in the data provided, with no explanation of why the figures do not add up.

For example, for the period 2014/15 there were meant to have been 50,236 Robberies. For these crimes 9,480 people were charged / Summonsed. That leaves 40,756 unresolved offences. Then on the same table for this offence it states "Investigation complete - no suspect identified", the figure 18,957. That is 18,957 crimes where no further action will be taken. This is bad enough, but there is a massive figure (21,799)missing and unaccounted for. These are crimes where the "Investigation INCOMPLETE - NO SUSPECT IDENTIFIED !

You may say, well that is not too bad, two tens of thousands from a population of 50 million or so. Well now consider :

Theft offences (2014/15)            : 1,755,436
Investigation complete - no suspect : 1,059,568
Charged / Summonsed                 :   196,179
Taken into consideration            :    22,386

That is implying only 11.1% of Theft Offences were solved for 2014/15 !

Link to Home Office document - Crime Outcomes in England a Wales 2014/15

(1st November 2015)


(International Business Times, dated 15th October 2015 author Tom Porter)


Full article [Option 1]:

Gangs are earning up to £100m a year smuggling puppies into the UK to be sold. The puppies, which are often riddled with disease, are bred on farms in the Republic of Ireland and eastern Europe, before being transported to the UK with fake documents where they are kept in "appalling conditions".

Chief inspector Ian Briggs, from the RSPCA's Special Operations Unit, told the Mirror: "These gangs are highly sophisticated and they have huge earning potential. The level of fraud is staggering.

"The gangs are faking dog passports, forging documents and doctoring their routes across Europe to make them seem like they are legitimate businesses. We estimate the illegal industry is worth in excess of £100m."

He said the animals could be carrying diseases such as rabies. "The gangs pretend to be legitimate breeders but they are hiding the fact they are turning over hundreds of dogs as quickly as possible with no regard for the animals' welfare," he said. "The new owners are saddled with huge vet bills or the dog dies within a few weeks."

He added: "Dogs can be reared in truly horrendous conditions and bred for a fraction of the cost. A designer cockapoo or French bulldog bred in a puppy farm in Ireland or Poland might cost €100 but could be sold for £1,500 over here. Every day, hundreds of dogs are being brought into the country in this way. With the lead-up to Christmas, it's reaching epidemic levels."

The charity called on the government to introduce new laws to clamp down on illegal puppy dealing, saying it's now easier to illegally trade abused animals than scrap metal. It wants stronger punishments introduced, including large fines and a licensing system for those selling puppies.

"It is far too easy to sell puppies and current laws are failing puppies and their parents. The RSPCA wants to see Westminster treat the issue of puppy dealing in England as seriously as they did scrap metal and license anyone who sells a puppy," said RSPCA chief vet James Yeates in a press release.

Puppies made Stockport gang £35,000 a week

Following a five-year investigation by the RSPCA and Greater Manchester Police, a gang which had sold more than 800 diseased and dying puppies was jailed last week. When police raided a property in Stockport, Greater Manchester, they found four Yorkshire terrier puppies that had died from starvation. Live puppies were found with a dead animal in a pen, while dead animals were stuffed into buckets.

In all, 87 animals, including Yorkshire terriers, huskies, West Highland terriers, pomeranians, Labradors, beagles, shih tzus, French bulldogs and cockapoos were found in various states of health in filthy conditions.

The animals were transported from the Republic of Ireland before being kept in holding pens at the Stockport address. The gang set up a fake pedigree registration firm, and worked under fake names and addresses to con buyers that they were purchasing puppies from reputable breeders and good homes. The animals sold for an average of £600 each.

Peter Jones was jailed for six months. Julian King and his sister Grace Banks, all of Greater Manchester, were jailed for five months each for their roles in the gang.

Briggs said in a statement: "From the number of puppies they appear to have been selling, and the prices those puppies were being sold for, we can estimate that these people were making anywhere in the region of £35,000 in cash a week.

"That is the sort of money people hear about footballers or film stars getting paid, but they were making it by importing and selling sick and suffering animals."

(1st November 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 15th October 2015 authors Leon Watson, Ashley Kirk, David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

Today's crime figures have shone a new light on the true scale of crime in England and Wales.

Put together, the two measures show a 107 per cent increase on last year when cyber crime and fraud were not included in the estimate.

In recorded crime, violence against the person and sexual offences are also up.

The first estimates of the scale of fraud and cyber offences show how the internet is "changing the nature of crime" in the UK, a senior police officer said.

Jeff Farrar, National Police Chiefs' Council lead for crime recording and statistics, said officers were working hard to tackle the threat but warned it "presents a growing challenge".

He said: "The ONS field trial between May and August on experiences of fraud and cyber crime demonstrates how use of new technology and the internet is changing the nature of crime in the UK.

"Cyber crime exemplifies how the demands on the police service are both changing and increasing at a time when budgets continue to be placed under significant pressure."

Mr Farrar said it was "encouraging" that the overall rate from the Crime Survey of England and Wales shows incidents are decreasing and that the gap between the study and police recording of offences "continues to narrow"

On average one in 12 adults is a victim of fraud and one in 22 is a victim of cyber fraud, the figures show.

Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, said: "It is remarkable that at a time when cybercrime is soaring and fraudsters are finding ever more inventive ways to get access to our personal details, our prime minister and his home secretary as seriously considering weakening encryption that allows our banks to keep our information secure."

Meanwhile, separate research by Victim Support has indicated that one in three fraud victims is at least 65 years old.

The charity received 39,272 referrals from police following such crimes in the year to September.

More than one in three of the victims was 65 or over, despite this age group making up only 18 per cent of the UK population, while 19 per cent were at least 75.

The charity's director Lucy Hastings said: "We know that the vast majority of fraud goes unreported - largely because victims are too embarrassed to come forward, or are afraid of ridicule."

More than half of fraud and cyber crime victims suffered financial loss, the survey found.

Of that number, 78 per cent received financial compensation and 62 per cent were fully reimbursed.

The most common cyber crimes, offences committed under the Computer Misuse Act, were where the victim's device was infected by a virus.

It also includes people's emails or social media accounts being hacked.

Total number of crimes

Crime vs (Cyber-crime)

2001-2002 12,366,000 (Not recorded)
2002-2003 12,018,000 (Not recorded)
2003-2004 11,417,000 (Not recorded)
2004-2005 10,550,000 (Not recorded)
2005-2006 10,581,000 (Not recorded)
2006-2007 10,942,000 (Not recorded)
2007-2008 9,842,000  (Not recorded)
2008-2009 10,283,000 (Not recorded)
2009-2010 9,344,000  (Not recorded)
2010-2011 9,446,000  (Not recorded)
2011-2012 9,345,000  (Not recorded)
2012-2013 8,487,000  (Not recorded)
2013-2014 7,059,000  (Not recorded)
2014-2015 6,505,000  (7,571,000)

Examples of Crime figures for July 2014 to June 2015
(Bracketed figures Jul 13 to Jun 14)

Sexual offences         :  95,482 (67,880)
Robbery                 :  50,239 (56,189)
Theft from the person   :  79,873 (91,800)
Shoplifting             : 330,214 (321,862)
Vehicle offences        : 355,090 (365,010)
Other theft offences    : 494,585 (506,914)
Violence against person : 830,289 (666,891)
Total fraud offences    : 599,689 (547,971)

New cyber crime figures: Fraud and computer misuse

Incidents vs (Victims)

Fraud with loss : 2,648,000 (2,079,000)
Fraud no loss   : 2,462,000 (1,856,000)
Unauthorised access to personal info : 404,000 (404,000)
Computer virus  : 2,057,000 (1,741,000)

(1st November 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 15th October 2015 author David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

Victims who fail to take precautions against cyber crime should be treated as a lower priority by police than others who have acted to improve their own security, an official report has suggested.

The controversial proposal, contained in a study backed by Britain's leading police force on economic crime, would mean police would dedicate less effort to solving electronic crimes if victims had failed to change their passwords, install security software or read up on online scams.

It also warned that police are "overwhelmed" by rocketing levels of cyber crime, as officers shy away from investigating the offences because they are viewed as too "difficult" to crack.

It comes on the day new Government figures are set to show millions more crimes than previously thought are committed every year, as cyber crime is included in official crime surveys for the first time.

"For some individuals … it is arguable that they should not receive scarce policing resources because they have not exercised due diligence on their own behalf," said the study commissioned by the City of London Police and the City of London Corporation, which runs the Square Mile.

It added that prioritisation of cyber fraud cases would require "hard decisions".

Officers should approach electronic crimes with "realism" and warn victims the cases would never be properly investigated, it suggested.

It also proposed setting up a network of "web savvy" volunteers to give face-to-face talks on cyber crime to Women's Institutes and pensioners' groups in a bid to improve awareness.

Academics at Cardiff University, who wrote the 90-page analysis, said: "Though these issues were all manifest historically before the internet age, their scale has overwhelmed traditional police models of reaction to crime.

"Economic crimes have never been a popular component of police work, for cultural reasons as well as pragmatic, due to the resource-intensive nature of investigation.

"Those we interviewed suggested that the term 'cyber' creates even more alarm, because it conjures up visions of technically difficult investigations that are unlikely to be fruitful in terms of a successful prosecution or recovery of assets, both of them key drivers of police resources."

It added that progress to change such views held by officers had been "slow" and different police forces had a "fractured" response to the crime.

The study went on: "There is arguably a case for realism combined with transparency - telling individuals and businesses that their cyber-enabled frauds cannot be investigated effectively to conviction unless the offenders are within the jurisdiction of our legal system, and even then these investigations are difficult enough."

The average pension fraud reported in the last three months of last year was just under £39,000, it added.

In a separate development the charity Victim Support also released new figures which showed one in three people who suffer fraud are aged 65 or over.

It received 39,272 referrals for fraud from the police in the 12 months up to September 2015 an d of those 35 per cent of victims were aged 65 or over - an age group which makes up only 18 per cent of the general population.

And 19 per cent of victims were aged 75 or over, despite this age group making up just eight per cent of the population, the charity said.

Lucy Hastings, director for Victim Support said: "Fraud damages lives not just bank accounts and the fact that fraudsters are targeting vulnerable older people is both disturbing and despicable."

The Office for National Statistics will publish new data on cyber crime which is expected to see the overall number of crimes in England and Wales rise by at least three million from current levels of 6.8 million, with some predictions saying it could double or triple.

(1st November 2015)



(Police Oracle, dated 15th October 2015 author Helena Hickey)


Full article [Option 1]:

An electric toothbrush, a UN ammunition box and a Star Wars sticker collection are now all available to buy in the same place thanks to a new police project.

The items are among a number being sold by Sussex Police on eBay which the force says would otherwise be thrown away.

Property team leader Natalie Tipler says the majority of things on the site are lost or seized property which have been in the force's possession for years.

"We are selling some really unusual items like paintings, Victorian brass door knobs and we have a vintage brass coal scuttle which are due to be listed over the next few days. We've also sold a street sign, boot scraper and garden ornament it's amazing what people want to buy and what is one person's junk is another person's treasure.

There are some things, of course, we can't sell like tobacco and alcohol. We do make sure that everything we sell is genuine and not counterfeit, like designer clothes, watches and perfume.

"All the money goes back into the Police Property Act Fund which goes towards helping communities in Sussex and with a percentage coming back into this department to fund this project."

The items in the store have to be collected from Brighton Police Station, with the selling page so far receiving 153 positive reviews.

(1st November 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 14th October 2015 author Justin Davenport)


Full article [Option 1]:

The safety of London is at risk from budget cuts which could mean the loss of up to 8,000 police officers in the capital, the head of Scotland Yard said today.

Met chief Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe said his force was faced with massive spending curbs of around £1 billion over the next four years.

He declared the savings would mean huge cuts to front line officers and warned they could damage the Met's ability to prevent and respond to a major terrorist outrage.

The Met's policing budget is expected to be reduced by £800 million or more over the next four years in a spending review to be announced next month.  A new funding formula for police forces could also mean a further £180 million cutback in its annual budget, as revealed by the Standard yesterday.

Sir Bernard said: "It's a lot of money and a massive change and as a result of that I genuinely worry about the safety of London.

"We think we can expect to lose somewhere between 5,000 to 8,000 police officers."

He added: "For the past four years we have taken cuts in budget and we have just got on with it. We have not waved shrouds - we are the only force to have kept police officer numbers up, today they stand at about 31,800."

However, he warned that the new round of budget curbs will take the Met back to the 1970s.

Sir Bernard said: "We are having to face today's and tomorrow's challenges with resources going back to the 1970s. That's when London had a population of around six million, today we are 8.6 million and we believe it will rise to about 9 million in 2020."

He added: "What is really important for us about policing London is that it is the economic engine for the country, the reason people come here is because they feel safe, whether it is businesses or people who want to bring the kids up or people want to grow old here.

"They come here because it's a great city to be safe in. One of the challenges for us is in keeping it safe with reduced numbers.

"We would prefer this did not happen but we need to explain to the public that big change is coming along."

For the first time the commissioner spelt out the range of possible cuts facing London and warned they would lead to :

- Fewer police officers patrolling the streets.  

- Police taking longer to get to non-emergency calls such as burglaries where life was not at risk.

- Cuts to dedicated officers in London schools.

- More closures of police stations - leaving just 100 police buildings in the city.

- An end to policing based on London's 32 boroughs.

In addition, as revealed earlier this month, the Met's PCSOs are also facing the axe and further cuts are expected to be made to the Met's leadership ranks.

Sir Bernard said it was ironic that while London's force was facing cutbacks, New York - which has a smaller population - was expanding its force.

He also voiced concerns at the Met's ability to maintain the number of its firearms officers with a smaller pool of officers.

He questioned whether the Met would have the capability to respond to a major terrorist incident such as a roaming firearms attack such as the Mumbai atrocity.

He said: "Should we get a roaming firearms attack could we deal with it?  With a smaller force can we maintain firearms ability?"

The police chief said the ability to deal with a major incident - or the London riots of 2011 - would be harder and the police response "less flexible."

Sir Bernard pledged that the Met would still respond to all burglaries,  citing the "horrible" attack on Michael Winner's widow Geraldine in Knightsbridge as an example of the serious nature of the crime.

But he admitted: "We would have to "re-profile" neighbourhood policing, we have got to get to emergencies and I would want to have some neighbourhood policing everywhere" but he said some areas such as Westminster would inevitably see more officers than outlying boroughs. "It will get pretty twitchy in terms of coverage of London", he said.

"There would be less visibility. There would less of it in the neighbourhoods and in our response section. There is no doubt that we would be slower."

He also warned the "compound effect" of cuts in the wider sector such as councils would mean less CCTV coverage affecting the investigation of murder, terrorism and gangs.

(1st November 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 13th October 2015 author Lexi Finnigan)

Full article [Option 1]:

Cyclists who boast about their routes on social media apps are fueling an increase in high-value bicycle thefts, police have suggested.

The latest hi-tech software allows cyclists to post details of their routes on the internet while out on two-wheels and police think thieves in Dorset are taking advantage.

Police believe thieves are using the apps to track the cyclists to their homes and then steal their bikes.

Sergeant Ady Thompson, of Poole police, is urging cyclists to check their settings on certain cycling apps.

"We have noticed a rise in the number of high value cycles being stolen recently, particularly from the conurbation, which we believe could be linked to people unwittingly leading thieves to their home addresses due to posting information online," he said.

"However, people are still leaving their bikes unlocked when unattended, which makes the theft a low-risk, high-reward crime in the eyes of a criminal.

"We are urging all cyclists to be mindful of the amount of personal information which they share over the internet and how this can be interpreted by criminals, as data isn't just accessible to fellow enthusiasts, but to thieves too.

"Changing the privacy settings on an app will make it hard for would-be thieves to pinpoint where the bike is stored when not in use.

(1st November 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 13th October 2015 author Vikram Dodd)


Full article [Option 1]:

Law enforcement officials are hunting cyber attackers who have pulled off a series of internet "heists" on British bank accounts worth at least £20m.

British government ministers have been informed and the law enforcement effort involves the United Kingdom's top secret electronic security centre at GCHQ, as well as the UK's national Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT), which was set up in 2014.

In the US the FBI is involved, while in Europe the police agency Europol is also helping to investigate, as well as law enforcement in Germany and Moldova where it is believed the attackers may have links to.

The virus or malware, known as Dridex, may be responsible for worldwide losses of $100m so far.

The cyber criminals have used malware to gain access to people's personal computers. The virus records the login and password details used to access internet banking services and passes it back to the attackers who then use the information to steal from bank accounts.

In the UK the National Crime Agency fears it could be one of the worst cyber-attacks they have seen. Public estimates of the losses are described as "conservative", a NCA spokesperson said.

The NCA added: "Computers become infected with Dridex malware when users receive and open documents in seemingly legitimate emails. The NCA assesses there could be thousands of infected computers in the UK, the majority being Windows users."

The virus so far is not believed to have infected smartphones. People are being told they can best protect themselves by boosting their computer security.

Mike Hulett, NCA spokesman, said: "This is a particularly virulent form of malware and we have been working with our international law enforcement partners, as well as key partners from industry, to mitigate the damage it causes. Our investigation is ongoing and we expect further arrests to made."

At least one arrest has been made, last month, and on Tuesday night the US department of justice gave details of the arrest. It said: "Andrey Ghinkul, aka Andrei Ghincul and Smilex, 30, of Moldova, was charged in a nine-count indictment unsealed today in the western district of Pennsylvania with criminal conspiracy, unauthorised computer access with intent to defraud, damaging a computer, wire fraud and bank fraud. Ghinkul was arrested on 28 August 2015 in Cyprus. The US is seeking his extradition."

Attacks from the virus had stopped but are now feared by law enforcement to have restarted.

The NCA said that Dridex, known also as Bugat and Cridex, was created by "technically skilled cyber criminals in eastern Europe to harvest online banking details, which are then exploited to steal money from individuals and businesses around the world. Global financial institutions and a variety of different payment systems have been particularly targeted."

FBI executive assistant director Robert Anderson: "Those who commit cyber crime are very often highly skilled and can be operating from different countries and continents. They can and will deploy new malware and we, along with our partners, are alive to this threat and are constantly devising new approaches to tackle cyber crime.

"We urge all internet users to take action and update your operating system. Ensure you have up to date security software and think twice before clicking on links or attachments in unsolicited emails."

Law enforcement cyber experts are trying to stop the malware sending money to accounts controlled by the criminals.

The NCA said: "Users are urged to visit the CyberStreetWise and GetSafeOnline websites where a number of anti-virus tools are available to download to help clean up infected machines and get advice and guidance on how to protect themselves in the future."

(14th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 13th October 2015 author David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

Cyber crime will officially become the country's most common offence this week, with the total number of victims of crime soaring by millions overnight.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is to issue new statistics on Thursday which will include cyber crime for the first time.

Previous ONS studies have estimated the number of cyber crimes at between three and four million per year - meaning there will be a dramatic rise on the annual number of offences in England and Wales, last estimated at 6.8 million.

Police have warned the change will lead to an instant 40 per cent increase in the number of crimes set out in the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW).

According to one respected industry estimate the impact could be even more dramatic, and lead to crime almost tripling with the addition of 12.5 million online offences a year.

It will be the first time that families suffering identity theft, "phishing" scams and electronic attacks on their computers and bank accounts have been included in the figures, which have been widely criticised for lagging far behind crime trends.

The data will pose a major problem for Theresa May, the Home Secretary, who has repeatedly claimed that crime levels are in decline, despite fears the figures were missing out large chunks of fraud and electronic crime.

The most recent CSEW said there were 6.8 million offences in the year to the end of March, based on an estimate from interviewing tens of thousands of people about their experiences of crime.

One police source conceded this figure will soar when new data emerges on Thursday.

"There are already estimates that the addition of cybercrime will add three to four million offences to the total but it could be much higher than that," said the source.

"It's possible it will double, or more.

"There will certainly be a significant increase in crime."

He added: "Many in the police have said for a long time that traditional crime like burglary have been in steep decline because criminals are going online.

"Finally, the official figures will be recognising that changing pattern."

Earlier this year the ONS warned that even initial estimates had shown the major change in the way the crime survey works would lead to a rise of up to 3.8 million offences a year.

The Telegraph understands that further work by the ONS has led to an even larger increase.

If, as expected, fraud and cybercrime top four million they will become the largest single category of crime beating all types of theft, which stood at 4,042,000 in latest annual figures.

A report by Norton, the online security company, said in 2013 that more than 12.5 million people had fallen victim to cybercrime in the previous 12 months.

The cost of these cyber crimes to the UK was estimated at £1.8 billion with an average cost of £144 per cybercrime victim.

Earlier this year the City of London police said the true scale of crime in Britain was far higher than previously thought because 85 per cent of fraud and cybercrime went unreported.

The Commons' cross-party home affairs select committee also looked at the issue in 2013 and concluded in a report: "Current recording practises are inadequate to give an accurate picture of the extent to which reported crime is committed over the internet."

It added that cybercriminals committing lower-level offences online were simply getting away with it and appeared to be "untouchable".

"We are very concerned that there appears to be a 'black hole' where low-level e-crime is committed with impunity," it said.

"Criminals who defraud victims of a small amount of money are often not reported to or investigated by law enforcement and banks simply reimburse victims.

"Criminals who commit a high volume of low level fraud can still make huge profits."

• Frauds outnumber burglaries for the first time 

In a separate development, official figures published on Tuesday showed hate crime reported to the police jumped by nearly a fifth last year to more than 52,000 incidents.

Home Office data disclosed an 18 per cent rise in the offences in 2014/15, up from just under 44,500 in the previous 12 months.

The majority, 82 per cent, were race hate incidents, while just under 5,600 surrounded a victim's sexual orientation.

Six per cent, or 3,254, were religion hate crimes, but this category saw the largest rise, up 43 per cent year-on-year.

The Telegraph reported earlier this week how David Cameron was to announce that anti-Muslim attacks will now being recorded as a specific category in crime statistics as part of his bid to build a "national coalition" to tackle extremism in the UK.

(1st November 2015)


(The Register, dated 12th October 2015 author Jennifer Baker)


Full article [Option 1]:

French authorities want fingerprint and facial scans of everyone entering or leaving the EU.

The proposal from the French delegation came as the European Commission puts more pressure on interior ministers to adopt its so-called "smart borders" package. The Commission plan is to set up a digital dragnet to monitor all non-EU nationals entering and exiting the EU.

According to the Commission, the programme is needed to deal with a huge increase in people coming to and from the EU. It predicts that air border crossings could increase by 80 per cent to 720 million in 2030. "This will result in longer queues for travellers if border checking procedures are not modernised in time," warns the Commish document.

But hot on the heels of their own version of the Patriot Act, France wants to "broaden the scope of the smart borders package for all travellers, also including European nationals".

The scheme was first proposed two years ago, but has been revived along with other security surveillance schemes such as PNR.

Currently border checks for the Schengen area are based on passport visa stamps. There is no pan-European database recording travellers' entries or exits. This makes it difficult for authorities to detect "overstayers" says the Commission.

Thirteen EU countries - Finland, Estonia, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Portugal and Malta - currently run national Entry/Exit systems, but these are not linked together. "The entry and exit records cannot therefore be matched when persons leave the Schengen area through another Member State than the one from which they entered," says the Commission.

It wants to see an EU-wide Entry/Exit System (EES) as well as the Registered Travellers Programme (RTP).

Under the proposed RTP, pre-vetted and pre-screened third-country travellers would be given a smartcard containing their unique identifier to swipe on arrival and departure at the border. "The gate would read the [card] and the fingerprints of the travellers. If all checks are successful, the traveller is able to pass through the automated gate. In case of any issue, the traveller would be assisted by a border guard," says the Commission.

Anyone over the age of 12 would be allowed to apply for the RTP and applications would be granted using the same criteria as the current multiple-entry visa.

The EES would simply digitise the current passport stamps system and would start with the registration of names, passport details, dates, etc. But after three years of operation the Commission wants fingerprints as well. The data would be stored for six months in "ordinary cases" and for five years in cases of "overstay".

The estimated costs for the development and operation of the two systems up to 2020 are €513m for the EES and €587m for the RTP. The Commission says that the streamlined border process will see national governments "making considerable cost savings as of the second year of operations".

Data processing will be supervised by the European Data Protection Supervisor when EU institutions and bodies are involved, and by the national data protection authorities, when a single country is involved, but that is unlikely to allay the fears of privacy activists

(1st November 2015)


(BBC News, dated 9th October 2015)


Full article :

US consumer privacy groups have called for a Federal investigation into Experian, following a major hack at the credit database firm.

Experian claims personal data on 15 million T-Mobile US customers was stolen in the breach.

But the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), backed by 28 other bodies, fears the hack may have extended to the rest of Experian's credit database.

This holds personal information about some 200 million Americans, it said.

"A data security breach that affected Experian's credit report files would be a terrifying and unmitigated disaster," it added.

'Troubling possibility'

The Experian breach occurred at Decisioning Solutions, a subsidiary of the credit agency which T-Mobile uses to process information on subscribers.

Names, birth dates and social security numbers were among data stolen, but not financial details, the firms said.

Experian has said the business was "completely separate" from its main credit bureau business, which was "not affected".

But in a statement, PIRG's consumer programme director, Ed Mierzwinski, urged both the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the Federal Trade Agency to investigate whether other Experian databases had been breached.

He said: "If the server holding the T-Mobile files was subject to fewer security protections than the full Experian credit reporting database, why?

"If it was subject to the same protections as the credit reporting server, doesn't this raise the troubling possibility that the server holding highly sensitive credit and personal information of over 200 million Americans is vulnerable to a data hack by identity thieves?"

Breached before

Prominent cybercrime journalist Brian Krebs has also raised concerns about Experian's internal data protection policies.

In a blog, published on 8 October, he claimed to have interviewed "half a dozen security experts" who recently left Experian frustrated with its approach.

"Nearly all described Experian as a company fixated on acquiring companies in the data broker and analytics technology space, even as it has stymied efforts to improve security and accountability at the firm," he said.

Experian data has been breached before - such as in 2012, when an attack on an Experian subsidiary exposed social security numbers of 200 million Americans.

This prompted an investigation by at least four states, including Connecticut.

Commenting on PIRG's campaign, an Experian spokesman said: "Experian understands the concerns raised and we are prepared to respond promptly to requests from regulatory agencies for more details about the incident."

He added: "Security is a top priority for the company, and Experian is committed to continuous investments in upgrading talent, processes, and technologies needed to protect our systems."

He said the firm had invested of "tens of millions of dollars" in the last three years to strengthen its security.

A number of lawsuits seeking class action status are under way against T-Mobile and Experian, on behalf of victims affected by the breach.

(1st November 2015)


(BBC News, dated 9th October 2015 author Chris Baraniuk)


Full article :

A security researcher in the US has said his Netgear router was hacked after attackers exploited a flaw in the machine.

Joe Giron told the BBC that he discovered altered admin settings on his personal router on 28 September.

The compromised router was hacked to send web browsing data to a malicious internet address.

Netgear says the vulnerability is "serious" but affects fewer than 5,000 devices.

Mr Giron found that the Domain Name System (DNS) settings on his router had been changed to a suspicious IP address.

"Normally I set mine to Google's [IP address] and it wasn't that, it was something else," he said.

"For two or three days all my DNS traffic was being sent over to them."

This means that the attacker could have tracked what websites Mr Giron was visiting, or even redirected him to malicious sites had they chosen to do so.

He has decided to turn off the router and not use it for the time being.

'Serious' bug

The vulnerability itself has been documented by security researchers at Compass Security and Shellshock Labs in recent months.

"Is it serious? Yes it definitely is," said Jonathan Wu, senior director of product management at Netgear, one of the top three router brands in the US.

"Because whenever anybody gets access to your router, they can alter settings to direct traffic to places you don't want it to go to."

The vulnerability allows attackers to gain access to the router settings without needing to provide login credentials, according to security researchers Daniel Haake and Alexandre Herzog of Compass Security in Switzerland.

Mr Giron thinks that in his case, access was gained remotely because his router settings had been configured so that they could be accessed from outside his network.

Imminent patch

While a patch has not been available for the firmware on the affected devices to date, Netgear has confirmed to the BBC that one will be released on 14 October.

Mr Wu said that Netgear router owners would be prompted to update their firmware if they logged into their router's admin settings or if they had the Netgear genie app installed on their computer, tablet or smartphone.

It's problematic that firmware updates can't be automatically "pushed" to routers, according to Mark James, IT security specialist at Eset.

"The average user will throw the router in place and just use it," he told the BBC.

"The biggest problem that we have with these types of scenarios are people don't keep the software up-to-date."

What's more, anti-virus software for computers doesn't generally cover vulnerabilities on routers meaning that it would not detect such problems.

(1st November 2015)


(The Register, dated 7th October 2015 author Kat Hall)


Full article [Option 1]:

The Scout Association has further delayed the date for restoring its troubled Compass database, which contains the details of 450,000 young people and volunteer adults.

The new live date has been tentatively set for January 2016, a year since it was originally taken down following revelations by The Register of serious concerns surrounding the security of the system.

Previously, the Association had committed to early autumn to get the system up and running again.

One member, who asked not to be named, said: "I would love to know what kind of defects have taken 12 months to fix, considering this system contains the personal information of every child within Scouting."

In an email to members seen by The Register, the organisation said volunteers and staff have been testing the system "and we're pleased to say that test results look very promising."

It said: "We have been working with the developers of Compass and the world's largest security testing company to restore local access once we are confident it is secure and working effectively."

The email said before the organisation switches the system back on it will carry out further testing, including a full security test.

"If this testing is successful, our estimated restoration date will be January 2016. A phased roll out to Compass adult records will start with focused access to specific roles including local line managers and Appointment Secretaries."

It added: "Thank you for your patience. Access to Compass will only be restored once we are confident it is secure." The body said it will further update members next month.

"We are acutely aware of the inconvenience and frustration experienced while Compass has not been available locally. We'd like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this difficult period. Many thanks," it said.

(1st November 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 7th October 2015 author David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

A senior police officer has admitted the public are wasting their time dialling the 101 non-emergency telephone number.

Inspector Matt Johnson, from Cambridgeshire Police, left local politicians flabbergasted when he admitted in a public meeting that "life was too short" to use the service.

The inspector appeared to have realised his mistake almost immediately, and added: "I'm not supposed to say that."

His comments come after repeated criticisms of the 101 service.

The non-emergency number was introduced across Britain in 2011 and 2012 as part of an initiative led by the former Labour government. 

It was designed to replace local police station numbers and cut the number of 999 calls by diverting non-urgent calls away from the main force control room.

The public also have to pay around 15p to call 101, while 999 calls are free of charge.

In a meeting with Cambridge City Council councillors Inspector Johnson, who oversees the safer neighbourhood scheme in the county, said: "Historically I've said call 101 - but life's too short.

"I'm not supposed to say that, sorry."

Earlier figures have shown police forces failed to answer more than a million calls to 101 in 2013, with some callers waiting more than an hour to get through

Statistics showed 1,085,829 calls were abandoned or dropped, an increase of more than 25 per cent on the previous year.

In some parts of the country more than a third of people either hung up or were cut off before they managed to speak to anyone on the 101 hotline.

Insp Johnson's comment came after Lewis Herbert, Cambridge City Council leader, told the Police and Crime Panel how even council officers had given up attempting to report crime on 101.

Mr Herbert said Sir Graham Bright, Cambridgeshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, knew about the problem a year ago.

"What is failing is the whole system", said the councillor.

"But clearly because the system is failing, the job of being in the central control is so unattractive, so stressful, that they can't retain the staff.

"If he cannot sort 101 out - then he doesn't deserve to be the commissioner.

"Obviously the police are under stress.

• Police chief warns that officers may no longer respond to burglaries

"There is a cut in resources and we fear for even bigger police cuts.

"Fundamentally the calls are not being picked up at the different outposts around the county.

"The people who need to record and follow up these incidents are not answering the phone - it is too stressful at the centre."

Sir Graham said he was aware of the current issues with the county's 101 service.

He said: "Earlier in the year I approved additional investment for 10 new members of staff and new technology.

"While new staff have been recruited, others have left. As a result we are still short staffed.

"This remains a priority for me and I will continue to work with the chief constable to improve the service so that it is fit for purpose and something the public can have confidence in."

Mike Penning, the policing minister, said: "Call handling arrangements are a matter for each local force and its police and crime commissioner, in accordance with their own service standards.

"Calls are answered by an automated system which transfers users to the relevant local police force.

"The public can see how their local police force is responding to 101 calls by visiting transparent call handling information on"

(1st November 2015)


(Police Oracle, dated 5th October 2015 author Helena Hickey)


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A new tool which will allow the public to compare local commanders area by area has been criticised before its official release.

Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis tweeted a picture showing a tool which will allow users to compare things such as crime, officer visibility and anti-social behaviour by area.

Mr Ellis said the tool, which is still under development, said it was about helping people to easily understand the performance of local policing commanders by looking at trends area by area.

"It's one part of work to make policing more transparent and ensuring that the public understand, and can influence, what is happening locally", he said.

"This also includes setting up Safer Neighbourhood Panels at the most local level so residents can hold their local police commander to account."

However, the feature which also gives the option to compare stop and search, victim feedback and business crime has been met with a generally hostile reception.

Chief Superintendent Irene Curtis, who has now handed her report on targets to Home Secretary Theresa May, questioned whether such comparisons were helpful.

"I fully support the principle of providing the public with access to meaningful information about policing in their area. However my experience has been that members of the public are often not that interested in what is happening other than in their immediate neighbourhood,"she told

"Whilst I haven't seen the comparison tool in any detail, the presentation of such information as "performance", without any context of different environments, can have risks."

"I would question what benefit the comparison tool offers and am concerned that it has the potential to be used to develop unhelpful league tables without proper context."

"This in turn could lead to the types of dysfunctional behaviours that have been seen in unhealthy performance regimes. It's important the performance of our members is held to account, but this needs to be done in a meaningful way."

Others on Twitter said that binary comparisons would "drive dysfunctional and unethical behaviour" and that they form "meaningless manipulatable measures".

In his annual report, Mr Ellis said that as in previous years, targets have been scrapped so that officers can ensure what matters most to local communities.

This doesn't mean that performance isn't measured, however, simply that officers are no longer chasing arbitrary figures,"he said.

Further information - uaware

Police and Crime Commissioner for Staffordshire :

Further Police Oracle article :'-performance_89776.html

(1st November 2015)


(Police Oracle, dated 2nd October 2015 author Helena Hickey)


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The number of roads policing officers must be increased following a rise in the number of deaths on Britain's roads, a charity has warned.

Latest figures show that road deaths rose by four per cent in 2014 compared with the previous year, with charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) claiming a lack of targeted policing could be partly to blame.

Particularly significant was the increase in pedestrian fatalities – up 12 per cent to 446 in 2014.

The number of casualties of all severities reached 194,477 - the first overall increase on Britain's roads since 1997.

Nick Lloyd, road safety manager at RoSPA, said: "As our economy improves, we can expect traffic levels to continue to increase, so we must do everything we can to make sure this does not lead to even more increases in road crashes and casualties."

"The reductions in road death and injury in recent years will not automatically be sustained, without a continued commitment to road safety. We must remain focussed on making our roads safer for everyone, and especially for people travelling on foot and by two wheels."

The charity says "comprehensive road strategy" is needed to help prevent deaths and life changing injuries, a central part of which would be ensuring sufficient numbers of road police officers to properly enforce road safety laws.

"Measures would include [..] more targeted road policing at the minority of drivers who put themselves and others at risk by speeding, drink driving and using mobile phones [and] a reduction in the drink-drive limit in England and Wales to 50mg per 100ml of blood, to match Scotland and most of Europe."

Dedicated roads policing officers have been cut dramatically as forces attempt to save money, something which means this week's ban on smoking in cars with under 18s has been touted as "unenforceable" by officers.

Jayne Willetts, Police Federation lead on roads policing, said: "We have lost so many officers over the last three years that they are not out there anyway so it would be very hard to enforce."

"It is very difficult for us at the moment because are making choices about the jobs we have to do because our resource levels are so low at the moment. We have been asked what to prioritise [...] and if I was given the choice and was out on patrol today I would be attending things like domestic violence incidents and burglaries rather than this."

Concerns have previously been raised that a fall in roads policing officers meant those committing offences such as driving while using a mobile phone were not getting caught.

(1st November 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 13th October 2015 author Tom Marshall)


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A policewoman has penned a powerful open letter hitting out at cuts and pleading with the public to support officers despite their mistakes in the wake of the killing of PC David Phillips.

The officer's heartfelt message has gone viral after first being shared by the Hampshire wing of the Police Federation on Facebook.

She was moved to write because of the tragic deaths of PC Phillips and other officers in the line of duty, including Nicola Hughes and Fiona Bone who were killed in a notorious gun and grenade attack in Manchester in 2011.

The letter was also prompted by the continuing cuts which have been faced by the nation's police forces in recent years.

The officer, who does not give her name but is based in Cheshire, speaks about the devastating loss of her colleagues before telling the public: "We need your support more than ever before."

She adds: "We are getting far fewer. We cannot do any more than we are doing."

The appeal comes after a controversy over charity badges being worn in tribute to PC Phillips, with officers being warned the Union Jack patches featuring a thin blue line though the middle - created by the charity Care of Police Survivors which supports families who have lost officers - could be in breach uniform policy.

In a stark reminder of the huge demands of the job, the officer reveals some of the most harrowing incidents she has been confronted with in the service of the public.

She says: "I have been with you when your baby has died. Nothing affected me more than carrying your baby into the white coffin in the ambulance.

"I have attended to your partner when you battered her within an inch of her life, and ensured she never saw you again, even though she would not prosecute you.

"I have picked up your six-year-old girl in my arms, lost and upset because you turned her out of her home after she repeated the sexual behaviour her uncle had done to her, on her three-year-old brother."

She also mentions talking a man down who was threatening to jump from a building and dealing with neglected children - and says these horrendous incidents are by no means unique.

"There are thousands of us doing more than this every single day to protect you," she says.

The officer appeals to the public to support police despite the fact they sometimes get things wrong - and cannot investigate or solve every crime that gets reported.

She writes: "Yes we make mistakes. Sometimes we get angry. We get tired and grumpy, and act unprofessionally.

"I pick up those pieces too, making sure we deal with that, and get those officers back on track. I have no time for cops who are criminals…

"We cannot do any more than we are doing. We are going to work every single day wishing there were more of us to look after more of you. We, as in every public service, have our limits."

In the letter, she says how she was recently called a "whore" in the line of duty but urges the public to remember that officers are normal people with their own lives and feelings.

"I am one of you," she says.

"I am a wife and a mum of two young children.... I hurt! I am affected by what you say. Last week it was a 'whore'. That is the least of it."

In a heartfelt plea, she writes: "I am not feeling sorry for myself. I am happy to continue to look after you, to fight for you, to save you from further harm.

"But I want to be able to come home to my family. I want my colleagues to make it home to their family.

"We need your support more now than ever before."

The message has been shared thousands of times and earned praise from fellow officers.

Alex Keen wrote on Facebook: "Could not have put it better, well done, this should be made public. We all feel that way."

Natasha Heather said: "Amazingly put. From a civilian member of staff, I'm behind everything said here and behind our colleagues, we feel this too, as our numbers get fewer and the threat of privatising call centres looms over us."

The Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, has said he does not have an issue with officers wearing the Care of Police Survivors badges

(1st November 2015)





(The Register, dated 30th September 2015 author John Leyden)

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An Arabic-speaking cyber-espionage group, active since 2012, has stepped up its attacks over the last six months, according to new research from Kaspersky Lab.

The so-called "Gaza cyber-gang" focuses on attacking government entities, especially embassies, and primarily targets information technology and incident response staff. It operates in the Middle East and North Africa region, targeting mainly Egypt, the UAE, and Yemen.

The hackers' main stock-in-trade involves sending malware-laced files to IT and IR staff (i.e. spear-phishing). IT personnel are targeted because they work with elevated permissions inside organisations necessary to manage and operate IT infrastructures.

Hijacking accounts run by admins therefore makes it easier for spies and criminal hackers to gain access to sensitive systems.

(The Register, dated 29th September 2015 author Alexander J Martin)

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The next generation of Blighty's cybersecurity workforce is to be trained without even realising it, in a Cabinet Office-funded cyber skyscraper built "solely to find, test and recruit cyber talent".

The cyber skyscraper, which is pleasingly hosted in Skyscape's cloud, has been dubbed Cyphinx.

Cyphinx is a browser-based MMO-inspired platform for Play-on-Demand (PoD) cyber-security games and ciphers, running on the vuln-ignoring Unity's Web Player, with levels peppered with advertisements from sponsors.

According to Cyber Security Challenge UK's (CSCUK's) CEO Stephanie Damon, Cyphinx was developed in direct response to an ISC² study which estimated there would be a workforce cyber-skills shortage of 1.5 million by 2020.

Attending the launch, the Cabinet Office's deputy director at the Office for Cyber Security and Information Assurance, David Raw, stated that the gaming platform was a perfect fit for the Government's Cyber Security Strategy priorities.

(Computer World, dated 27th September 2015 author Martyn Williams)

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Almost 18 million people were victims of identity theft in the United States last year, with the majority of crimes targeting credit cards and bank accounts, the Department of Justice said Sunday.

The figure represents 7% of the U.S. population aged 16 or older and is a rise of 1 million people from 2012, the last year for which the DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics published a similar report.

The latest report counts instances where a person experienced misuse of a financial or other account -- not simply a breach of their personal information.

Just over two in every five cases involved a credit card account and just under two in five involved a bank account.

About half of all victims first became aware of a problem when they were contacted by a financial institution with a further one in five noticing fraudulent charge in their account.

(The Register, dated 25th September 2015 author Shaun Nichols)

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Someone has hacked the Hilton's sales registers, and made off with guests' credit-card details, it's claimed. The hotel chain confirmed today it is investigating the alleged breach of its computer security.

Investigative journo Brian Krebs says malware in point-of-sale (POS) terminals is believed to have nicked the card information, some of which is already being used to make fraudulent transactions, we're told.

Multiple sources have told Krebs that bank staff have traced the misused cards to a common source: the tills at restaurants and gift shops in various Hilton hotels around the US.

It is not clear how many accounts may have been compromised, but the malware was active from April 21 to July 27 of this year, apparently. Visa reportedly issued a security alert on the security breach back in August.

Sales terminals in Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Hampton, and Waldorf Astoria hotels were also compromised, it is claimed.

(Computer World, dated 24th September 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

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Security researchers have discovered a new malware program that infects automated teller machines (ATMs) and allows attackers to extract cash on command.

The program is dubbed GreenDispenser and was detected in Mexico. However, it's only a matter of time until similar attacks are adopted by cybercriminals in other countries, researchers from security firm Proofpoint said in a blog post.

GreenDispenser is not the first malware program to target ATMs. In October 2013, security researchers from Symantec warned about a backdoor called Ploutus that could infect ATMs when a new boot disk is inserted into their CD-ROM drives.

The first version of Ploutus allowed criminals to extract money from ATMs by issuing special commands through their PIN pads or through an externally attached keyboard. A second version, found in March 2014, added the option of sending a text message to the ATM to dispense its cash.

(The Register, dated 23rd September 2015 author Iain Thomson)

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The fingerprints of nearly six million US government workers were copied by hackers who raided Uncle Sam's Office of Personnel Management (OPM), it emerged today.

Back in June, it was feared that crooks had made off with four million highly sensitive personal records on government employees from the OPM's systems, although this number was later upped to 21.5 million.

About 1.1 million fingerprint records were thought to have been swiped by the intruders, but the OPM said on Wednesday that figure should be 5.6 million. A good number of these prints will belong to government employees who have applied for security clearances.

The agency said it had found evidence of the latest theft when it was checking over records with the Department of Defense as part of the post-attack forensics. Why this took three months to spot has not been explained.

(The Register, dated 23rd September 2015 author Keiren McCarthy)

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A new non-profit foundation dedicated to improving security in the "internet of things" launched on Wednesday.

More than 30 companies including Intel, Vodafone, Siemens, and BT are the founding members of the foundation, whose mission is to "make the Internet of Things secure, to aid its adoption, and maximize its benefits."

The IoTSF will focus on best practices and knowledge sharing. It will host a conference in London in December on IoT security.

The idea of the foundation was born out of a similar event held in May this year at Bletchley Park - the country estate where Britain famously cracked codes during the Second World War.

At that "Security Summit," attendees agreed that the Internet of Things represented a significantly different security threat to that posed by computers or mobile phones, and concluded that expertise in the area is currently spread across many different companies with very limited interactions between them.

(Computer World, dated 18th September 2015 author Martyn Williams)

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AT&T said three of its employees secretly installed software on its network so a cellphone unlocking service could surreptitiously funnel hundreds of thousands of requests to its servers to remove software locks on phones.

The locks prevent phones from being used on competing networks and have been an important tool used by cellular carriers to prevent customers from jumping ship. They can be electronically removed, usually after fulfilling a contract obligation, but many websites offer the same service for a small fee with no questions asked.

AT&T's allegations are made in a filing with U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington in which it accuses two companies, four people and an unknown software developer or developers, of participating in the audacious scheme. AT&T filed its lawsuit on Sept. 11 but it was first reported by Geekwire on Friday.


(The Register, dated 17th September 2015 author Alexander J Martin)

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The UK's National Crime Agency - Blighty's equivalent of the FBI - wants its staff to "colocate" with private-sector IT security companies around the world. In other words, investigators and infosec employees placed alongside each other to sniff out cyber-criminals.

This will apparently help the agency reach across jurisdictions, and bust underworld gangs around the planet. This is according to a keynote address delivered on Thursday at the Cloudsec event in London - a presentation the media was banned from attending.

Speaking at the conference, Oliver Gower, Head of Strategy, Partnerships, and Transformation for the NCA's National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), said a globally scaled security threat required a globally scaled security response.

Such a response should emulate the cosy Five Eyes spy relationship between America, the UK, Australia, Canada and New Zealand, said Gower, in that agents and employees in friendly countries and businesses should work shoulder-to-shoulder to combat cyber-crime.

He is keen to get beneath the sheets with information security outfits amid this international tie-up - having already bagged memorandums of understanding with Trend Micro and Intel Security.

(Computer World, dated 16th September 2015 author Paul Mah)

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Recent increases in cyberattacks and identity theft make it seem like the whole Internet is turning into the Dark Web. But while no system is unhackable, there are some painless precautions you can follow that might help keep you step ahead of the bad guys.

1. Enable two-factor authentication (double password, typically using code via text)
2. Check your login history
3. Check the list of authorised devices
4. Install anti-malware software
5. Don't delay security updates
6. Never give out your passwords, ever
7. Stop clicking on links in emails
8. Perform offline backups

(The Register, dated 13th September 2015 author Kelly Fiveash)

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GCHQ has declined to comment on a report in the Daily Telegraph this weekend, which claimed that UK cabinet ministers' emails had been hacked, but that - bafflingly - no breach had occurred.

Which is a bit like saying "nothing happened, but we're going to write a story anyway."

Spokesbeings at Britain's eavesdropping nerve centre told The Register on Sunday morning that GCHQ doesn't "comment on intelligence matters".

We could go on to tell you that we understand that Whitehall was warned of a threat to ministerial accounts, but that successful hack attacks failed to happen.

But you'd be forgiven for thinking something went seriously wrong, with some kind of major security breach taking place affecting top government bods, if you read the Torygraph's report, which carried the headline "Cabinet ministers' email hacked by Isil spies".

It went on to claim that "Jihadists in Syria have hacked into ministerial accounts in a sophisticated espionage operation uncovered by GCHQ".

Sadly, the claims have been parroted elsewhere in the UK by other national newspapers, which have failed to see the contradiction between claiming that a hack had taken place and then going on to say that no breach occurred.

(The Register, dated 11th September 2015 autho Darren Pauli)

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Britain's spy agency the GCHQ has changed its password security guidance in a new document offering sensible advice that, if followed, should harden systems and make life easier for admins and users.

The guidance advocates a ban on password strength meters, mandatory resets, and predictable combinations, instead encouraging brute force rate limiting and reduced access controls.

The advice is not for the likes of GCHQ itself who should maintain their own air-gapped faraday cages security systems according to risk appetite.

The guide covers the obvious such as how passwords can be cracked and the need to change from pre-installed defaults, but also offers solid advice that admins should only dole out passwords where they are required and allowing the use of password storage lockers.

GCHQ security director general Ciaran Martin outlines the password thought leadership in a report (PDF).

"Every single user in the UK public sector has at least one, and most likely considerably more, work-related passwords," Martin says.

"By simplifying your organisation's approach, you can reduce the workload on users, lessen the support burden on IT departments, and combat the false sense of security that unnecessarily complex passwords can encourage."


(Computer World, dated 10th September 2015 author Paul Mah)

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Whether you're in the office, at home, in school, or at coffee shops and hotels around the world, laptops are everywhere. The portable computer allows you to stay in touch and do productive work regardless of where you may be physically - especially when you factor in the extended battery life and cloud-based computing applications and services.

On the other hand, the sheer portability of the laptop also makes it vulnerable to unauthorized access or outright theft or lost. Gartner recently estimated that a laptop is lost every 53 seconds.

While nobody plans to lose a laptop, there are some things that you can do to reduce both the risk and the potential legal repercussions should your laptop ever be misplaced or stolen. As with most security measures, the best defense is a good offense. Here are 10 things to do before you lose your laptop.

1. Set up a password
2. Enccrypt your hard disk drive
3. Set up all your documents to sync
4. Back up your laptop
5. Switch to a cloud or server based e-mail platform
6. Make a note of registration codes for hard to find software
7. Encrypt potable HDD, flash storage drives
8. Physical laptop security
9. Label the laptop with some form of return address (post code etc)
10. Set laptop up for remote tracking, or wiping

(The Register, dated 3rd September 2015 author Alexander J Martin)

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The website for Greater Manchester Police was targeted by two Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks yesterday, which rendered the site unavailable for more than two hours. The operators of two Twitter accounts have claimed responsibility.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) released a statement confirming that the force's "website became unavailable at approximately 8pm last night".

The force noted that "initial checks did not reveal anything untoward and the system was quickly brought back online".

The statement added: "However, a short time later the website became unavailable again and an individual on Twitter has since claimed responsibility for causing the website to crash."

The site, which was down in total for two hours and 15 minutes, is now back online.

Two accounts on Twitter have claimed responsibility.

(Computer World, dated 2nd September 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

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If you work for a large, global company, chances are some of your peers have installed gambling apps on the mobile devices they use for work, and that's bad news for IT security.

A study has found that the average company has more than one such gambling application in some employee devices, putting corporate data stored on those devices at risk.

The analysis was performed by security firm Veracode, which scanned hundreds of thousands of mobile apps installed in corporate mobile environments. The study found that some companies had as many as 35 mobile gambling apps on their network environment.

The company tested some of the most popular gambling apps it detected in corporate environments for potential security risks and found critical vulnerabilities that could enable hackers to gain access to a phone's contacts, emails, call history and location data, as well as to record conversations.


(The Register, dated 2nd September 2015 author Kelly Fiveash)

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British newsagent WHSmith has a major privacy hole on its website, after its magazine subscription service began emailing everyone on the mailing list.

The data protection howler has been flagged up on Twitter by plenty of angry customers who fear having their personal information plundered by wrongdoers.

However, despite the noisy protests, WHSmith was yet to release a public statement about the blunder.

At time of publication, it had failed to respond to a single tweet about the cockup.

WHSmith's internal PR could not be reached by The Register this morning.

We've heard that a mysterious third party that helped to organise magazine subscriptions has been blamed for the gaffe, which WHSmith appears to be unsurprisingly keen to play down.

(10th October 2015)


(BBC News, dated 30th September 2015 author Kevin Peachey)


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A firm has been handed a record fine for nuisance calls after making more than six million automated calls in a solar panel marketing campaign.

Glasgow-based Home Energy & Lifestyle Management Ltd has been fined £200,000 by the Information Commissioner.

Complainants described being powerless against calls or finding that calls were filling up answer machines.

The company blamed another firm it hired to make calls and said it was appealing against the ruling.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) said that the company conducted a massive automated call marketing campaign offering "free" solar panels.

One complainant told the ICO that they had been waiting for news of a terminally ill family member and could not ignore the phone.

"The bottom line is companies trying to sell a product have got to stick to the rules. Nuisance phone calls are a modern pest," said the Information Commissioner Christopher Graham.

"People expect the Information Commissioner and other agencies to close this down and we're now closing down on these phone pests."

'Ignorance of the law'

The ICO said an organisation should have people's permission, which specifically names the company concerned, in order to make automated calls, but the company admitted it did not know what the rules were.

"This company's ignorance of the law is beyond belief. It did not even bother to find out what the rules were and its badly thought out marketing campaign made people's lives a misery," said Steve Eckersley, head of enforcement at the ICO.

The company - part of the government's Green Deal initiative - was also misleading people in the calls as the solar panels were not free, the ICO said.

Home Energy & Lifestyle Management (Helms) hit back, claiming that the campaign had stopped before the ICO investigation commenced and blaming another company for the issues raised.

"Helms had significant difficulty in fully co-operating with the ICO, owing to the failure of the third party company to give any information to verify and explain the extent of the calls made," the company said in a statement from its lawyer.

It said the ICO had "seemingly disregarded" its representations and vowed to appeal, as well as taking action against the other company.

uaware comment

There are several automatic call filtering systems on the market at the moment. These typically cost between £25 and £40 (don't pay any more than this) from the high street. You will also have to ensure that your landline has "caller identification" activated; there may also be a monthly charge for this (about £1, but sometimes free).

These little "gizmo's" are preloaded with the most common dodgy caller numbers. So you just plug it into your phone socket. You can add to this dodgy caller list by just pressing a button after receiving a "dodgy-call".

(10th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 29th September 2015 author Martin Evans)


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Motorists who flout a new law which bans smoking in cars while children are inside are unlikely to be prosecuted or fined, after the police signalled they would turn a blind eye.

From October 1 any driver who is caught smoking in a vehicle carrying someone under the age of 18, will be breaking the law and could face a fine of £50.

The law has been brought in by the Department of Health after widespread research highlighted the damage that was done to youngster's health from second hand smoke in vehicles.

Experts think up to three million children are currently exposed to smoke in cars, putting them at risk of serious conditions including asthma, bronchitis and infections of the chest and ear.

The introduction of the legislation follows similar changes in the law to make all work vehicles smoke free and will outlaw even those who smoke with their window wound down.

But while the police will now have the power to stop drivers and issue on the spot fines, chief officers have indicated that they will not be applying the law forcefully and will focus instead on taking a "non-confrontational" approach.

A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs' Council said drivers would be "educated" rather than prosecuted, leaving some critics to wonder whether the message will succeed in getting through to drivers.

The spokesman said: "As the existing smoke-free law extends to vehicles, police forces will be following guidance from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health by taking an educational, advisory and non-confrontational approach when enforcing the new legislation.

"Local authorities enforce the existing legislation and police forces are included as enforcement authorities for the new offences.

"During this period individual offences that justify enforcement action will be reported to local authorities."

But Jack Dromey, the shadow policing minister suggested the police's approach was more about constabularies saving money at a time when their budgets are being slashed.

Mr Dromey said: "The ban on smoking with kids in cars is designed to protect their health and save lives. It is absolutely wrong that Theresa May's police cuts will put vulnerable children at risk'

A source at the Department for Health admitted that the expectation was not that the police would begin proactively hunting for those flouting the law and said the intention was that the legislation would underline a "cultural change" in the habits of motorists who smoke.

The source said: "We do not believe that anyone wants to poison their children through second hand smoke and like other smoking campaigns we hope there will be a change in the way people behave."

The source added: "We will not be measuring the success of this campaign by how many fines are handed out.

It is thought the police will keep an eye out for those breaking the law when they stop motorists as part of wider road safety campaigns, but will not be expected to chase after parents they see lighting up at the wheel.

(10th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 29th September 2015 author Martin Evans)


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Traffic officers are hiding in tractors to catch motorists speeding on country roads, it has emerged.

Humberside Police has admitted using the tactics in a bid to catch "high end" offenders, particularly motorcyclists, who they claim put lives in danger by travelling at speeds in excess of 100mph on rural roads.

But the decision to hide speed cameras out of clear view appears to be at odds with advice from the chief officers who have previously recommended that they should be clearly visible to the public.

Explaining the thinking behind the tactic, Inspector Mark Hughes, from Humberside Police Road Policing unit said: "At the moment Humberside Police are conducting Operation Kansas in the East Riding of Yorkshire.

"This Operation runs alongside the well-established and much publicised Operation Achilles, it is concerned with 'high-end' speeding offenders in the East Riding, deploying speed cameras, which are located in a variety of stationary vehicles.

"Vehicles, which are detected travelling at very high speeds, are stopped further along the road and drivers/riders are spoken to and dealt with at the roadside.

"Although the majority of offenders are motorcycles, a number of cars are also dealt with on this operation.

"We regularly record speeds in the high 90s and over 100mph, these being on country roads where the National Speed Limit of 60mph is in force.

"It goes without saying that such speeds on these roads are inherently dangerous, particularly when you consider how many side roads and field entrances there are.

"Someone pulling out onto the road does not expect a vehicle coming towards them at such high speeds, the likelihood of a catastrophic collision is raised considerably.

"This Operation is aimed at the small percentage of riders/drivers, who insist on driving at dangerously high speeds on our country roads, not only endangering themselves, but other innocent road users."

But advice issued by the Association of Chief Police Officers, now renamed the National Police Chiefs Council, previously stated: "Operators of devices should normally do so from positions where they will be clearly visible to the public."

(10th October 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 29th September 2015 author 29th September 2015)


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Scotland Yard is planning the biggest shake-up in policing in London in recent years in an effort to meet expected Government cutbacks.

Senior officers are considering radical plans to make savings of £800 million over the next four years, including axeing all 1,000 community support officers in London.

The move to scrap PCSOs will go before a meeting of the Met's senior management board today, along with measures including scrapping the borough-based policing model to save £50 million, outsourcing key functions - saving £300 million - and reducing the number of chief inspectors and superintendents to save £100 million.

Other proposals include selling off more of the Met's property estate.

The end of borough-based policing could mean senior officers in charge of large areas of the capital, with two or more boroughs being merged.

Cuts are also being considered in the Met's specialist squads that tackle organised crime.

However, police say they are still £150 million short of the £800 million total, which could mean cutting up to 6,000 police officers.

So far, Mayor Boris Johnson has pledged to keep the Met at around 32,000 officers, despite the force making savings in its £3.6 billion budget. The proposals - particularly the plan to axe PCSOs to save £40 million - has been condemned by many community leaders and politicians.

Chuka Umunna, Labour MP for  Streatham, said: "The scale of the reduction we have seen in local police puts community safety at risk."

Stephen Greenhalgh, deputy mayor for policing, said no decisions had been made but that Londoners would be consulted.

He added: "If the Home Office doesn't provide us with sufficient funding then we won't be able to keep policing London in the same way we do today."

Joanne McCartney, Labour's London Assembly policing spokeswoman, said: "There is a real worry that the days of London's police force as we know it are numbered."

uaware comment

Perhaps it is time for some of the special responsibilities of the Met Police to be taken over by the organisation where they really should lie, The Home Office.

Londoners keep on being told that there are around 31,000 police officers protecting us from crime. The fact of the matter is that there is less than 19,000 officers dealing specifically with London streets. Well that figure was probably correct 5 or so years ago. Then, the other 12,000 were involved in National organised crime, Diplomatic protection, terrorism and other odds and sods. On the basis that the first two are remaining stable we keep on being told that the Met are thwarting increasing terrorist threats on a weekly basis; and thank God for that protection. The thing is, these terrorists don't appear to be all in London. So why are London tax payers footing the bill for the rest of the UK? In addition, if the potential threat is on the increase it becomes obvious that the anti-terrorism police teams must also be getting larger! If the overall size of the Met (31,000 officers) is remaining the same, then officers must be being transfered into the anti-terrorism groups and less officers protecting London Streets. The 6% crime detection rate seems to bear this out.

During August Bank Holiday weekend 2015 we were told that the Notting Hill Carnival was policed by 13,000 officers ! That is 70% of available officers for one event. When are the police expected to sleep ?

And now we are being told the Met has to save a further £800 million.

Why not supply every London resident with a Police Whistle; as soon that is all that will be left of our force. Or alternatively split the Met into appropriate services and suitably resource and fund.

(10th October 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 22nd September 2015 author Owen Bowcott)


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A woman recruited from India to work in Britain and paid as little as 11p an hour has been awarded nearly £184,000 compensation in one of the UK's first claims of caste discrimination.

Permila Tirkey, from Bihar - one of India's poorest states - was kept in domestic servitude by her employers in Milton Keynes and forced to work as their cleaner and nanny.

Tirkey's family are Adivasi people who are dark skinned, poor and of low caste. They describe themselves as being from the "servant class" comprising of Hindus and Christians.

Her employers, Ajay and Pooja Chandhok, both originally Hindus, were found by an employment tribunal to have made her work for 18 hours a day, seven days a week.

Tirkey, a Christian, was required to sleep on a mattress on the floor, prevented from bringing her bible to the UK, not allowed to contact her family and given a bank account which was controlled by her employers. Her ordeal lasted four and a half years.

Reacting to the judgment, Tirkey said: "I want the public to know what happened to me as it must not happen to anyone else. The stress and anxiety that this sort of thing creates for a person can destroy them. I have not been able to smile because my life had been destroyed. Now I am able to smile again. Now I am free."

The tribunal found that the Chandhoks went to India to recruit Tirkey because "they wanted someone who would be not merely of service but servile". They did not seek to recruit someone resident in the UK "because no such person would have accepted the intended conditions of work".

The Legal Aid Agency initially refused to fund her representation for 17 months on the grounds that her case was not of "sufficient importance or seriousness", and that it was "only a claim for money".

Victoria Marks, the claimant's solicitor from the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit, said: "This is a very useful judgment for victims of modern day slavery. We hope that it will give other victims the courage to come forward and seek redress.

It is important that traffickers do not act with impunity and that they see that their victims can and will hold them to account."

Tirkey's barrister, Chris Milsom of Cloisters, said: "Permila Tirkey is a remarkable woman and deserves enormous credit for her patience and stoicism at a time when she was brandished dishonest by those who held her in servitude for four long years.

Those who have closely followed the legislative history of the Equality Act will recall that the government's original rationale for refusing explicit prohibition of caste-based discrimination was that there was no evidence of it taking place in the UK.

The damning findings of the employment tribunal render that stance untenable. Where such discrimination exists its victims must be protected."

(10th October 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 21st September 2015 author David Williams)

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A unique new interactive map revealing the location and severity of every traffic collision recorded by police in London, stretching back nearly a decade, is being launched today.

By clicking on an area or entering a specific location users can discover where and when collisions occurred - and how serious they were, from 2005 - 2014.

The map - at - reveals whether the crashes were fatal, serious or slight. By clicking on symbols pinpointing the location of each crash, users can call up a brief, factual description of the crash.

By drilling down further into the data it's possible to search for different categories of road-users including drivers, cyclists, motorcyclists, bus passengers, goods delivery drivers or taxi passengers.

It's also possible to search for adult or child road collision victims.  Transport for London says its new map - part of its work to have the number of people killed and seriously injured by 2020 - will make road users more aware of junctions with 'high collision histories'.

The aim of the map, based on police data collected since 2005, says TfL, is to raise awareness of road safety conditions at locations across the capital. It also aims to encourage road users to take extra care in hazardous areas.

Residents will be able to use the information to lobby for safety improvements in their neighbourhoods.

"Safety continues to improve on London's roads, but we are not complacent," said Isabel Dedring, Deputy Mayor for Transport. "It is a top priority and that's why the Mayor set a new target to bring down the number of people killed or seriously injured even further. This map is part and parcel of our drive to improve road safety awareness and complements ongoing work to overhaul and improve London's key roads and junctions."

Leon Daniels, Managing Director of Surface Transport at TfL, added: "This mapping tool will enable us to work with our partners and local communities to make significant improvements in road safety. Alongside major modernisation work at junctions, effective enforcement by the Police and action to make lorries safer, this is one of many measures we are taking to further reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured on our roads."

TfL already uses the collision data to pinpoint where road safety improvements are needed and it works with the police to increase the amount of data it has access to. By combining it with traffic flow data, traffic counts and bus information, TfL can identify where more targeted enforcement and liaison with local communities can improve safety.

On the new interactive map provisional collision data will be updated at regular intervals throughout the year. In the coming months, an API (Application Programme Interface) will be released, letting software developers create applications further boosting road safety.

Academics, researchers and TfL will also be able to cross-reference the data with other sources to look for wider, long-term trends across London and the South East.

During 2014, TfL's Annual Road Safety Report shows, the number of people killed or seriously injured (KSI) fell to its lowest level since records began. The report outlines the Mayor's new target, set earlier this year, to halve the number of KSIs by 2020 compared to the Government base line - meaning a reduction of more than 14,000 deaths or serious injuries over the life of London's road safety plan to 2020.

Interactive Map :

(10th October 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 20th September 2015 author Vikram Dodd)


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Rising knife crime is being caused by a cocktail of a reduction in stop and search, increased sales on the dark web of weapons such as the foot-long "zombie knife", and a burgeoning culture of youth violence, Scotland Yard police chiefs have said.

Knife crime is up by at least 18%, after years of falling, and 10 youngsters have been stabbed to death in the capitalin the past nine months.

Last week in London, a young person was chased and stabbed to death, and two teenagers were convicted of killing other youngsters in knife attacks earlier this year - including for the stabbing of 15-year-old Alan Cartwright to death as he rode his bicycle.

In an interview with the Guardian, commander Dean Haydon, head of Scotland Yard's homicide and major crime command, and commander Duncan Ball, head of combating gang crime, said four key factors were behind the rise:
The dark web being used to purchase weapons, such as the zombie knife which has a foot-long blade.

A cultural change among young people that is encouraging them to use knives, even for trivial disputes or minor theft.

- Reductions in the use of stop and search.

- Improved recording of knife crime statistics.

Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howeordered a reduction and better targeting of stop and search in 2011 in an effort to use it more effectively. Its overuse, sometimes unlawfully, returned few arrests but has often caused anger among communities by leading to thousands of innocent people being searched.

But Haydon said gang members and young people had told police that reducing stop and search meant it was no longer such a deterrent for those thinking of carrying weapons: "They are not being stop and searched as much as they used to be so the deterrence is less.

"I'm not advocating we go back to the random stop and search of large numbers. If we are targeted and intelligence driven and we have the confidence of communities, it can be used effectively."

The police chiefs say officers are seizing not just kitchen knives found in homes, but hunting knives ordered from the internet where there are no checks on who is buying them, such as the zombie knife which Haydon said were "one foot long, with multiple sharp edges, designed to maximise damage if not death.

"There's been a growth in knives bought off the internet, from the dark web, over the last few years."

Ball said there may be a trend among some to carry bigger, more dangerous knives. More perplexing for police chiefs is a cultural shift, with people using knives now after a dispute, where previously there would have been a fist fight.

Haydon said: "There is a general change in society, whether violence in the home or on the streets, violence is increasing in society. There is a cultural change."

Young peoplewere more prepared to carry a knife than before either for what they consider for their personal safety or for use in crime. "We need to change the culture of young people," he said.

On Friday, Joshua Williams, 18, was jailed for life for stabbing Alan Cartwrightto death as he rode his bicycle on Caledonian Road, north London, in February.

CCTV video police released of the attack show the seemingly casual stabbing of the teenager. Williams, who was holding a knife in his left hand, stepped out in front of Alan and plunged a blade into his upper chest with what police said was a "swinging movement".

On Thursday, a schoolboy was convicted for manslaughter after stabbing to death Bilal Mirza, 18, in north-west London, in January. The 16-year-old, who is too young to be named, claimed he armed himself with a knife to defend himself against being robbed of his iPhone and cash.

Ball said: "This is not an issue we will ever arrest or enforce our way out of," adding that police, schools, parents and communities would need to tackle the underlying causes of what Ball described as young people seeing life as cheap on Britain's street.

Police estimate there are fewer than 300 who carry a knife on a regular basis in London and Haydon said police would be helped by a new law introduced this summer which jails those caught carrying a knife twice.

Ball said knife crime figures fell over the past few weeks following concerted police campaign that resulted in 2,700 arrests which recovered 500 knives and 63 firearms.

Police have sent letters to those suspected of carrying knives warning them of the new "two strikes" law introduced in the summer. Those caught with a knife twice and convicted will be sent to jail, even if they have not used it to commit another crime.

(10th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 20th September 2015 author Agency)


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A company in Suffolk is thought to have become the biggest single victim of a phone scam after handing over £1 million to bogus caller

A business was conned into handing over more than £1m to a bogus caller who was pretending to be from the firm's bank.

The fraud is believed to have netted the largest ever amount from a telephone banking scam in the UK.

The conman phoned the company in Suffolk and claimed that there was a virus on the firm's internet banking facility.

He advised a member of the staff that the firm's money should be transferred into separate holding accounts while the bank fixed the problem.

The caller managed to gain the trust of the staff member and persuaded them to download remote access software on the firm's computer.

A Suffolk Police spokeswoman said the software enabled the caller to access the firm's accounts and transfer the money out into other accounts.

During the call, the fraudster managed to disguise his own telephone number to show the number of the bank's fraud team, which was on its website.

The firm which fell victim to the scam reported the crime to police on Wednesday when it realised the money had disappeared.

The police spokeswoman said that staff at the firm had been left "understandably distressed".

Campaign group Financial Fraud Action revealed in June that similar telephone banking scams in the UK had netted £23.6m for fraudsters last year.

Suffolk Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said: "I'm absolutely flabbergasted about the audacity of these criminals.

"I can fully understand how this crime took place and the damage to this company is potentially huge and it stands as a salient reminder that businesses too are victims of crime."

Mr Passmore said the pattern of crime was changing in Suffolk and described cyber crime as "perhaps the biggest threat society faced".

He added: "We are aware that it is an evolving pattern of crime and I think it's going to get worse and we have to commit resources, even at a time of reducing budgets," he added.

"The information being spread is really important and if anyone suspects a problem with cyber crime then please report it.

"There's no shame in admitting we have been subject to fraud. We are all vulnerable and we are only going to tackle it by working together."

Suffolk and Norfolk police forces launched a joint Cyber Crime unit in June to combat the rising tide of hi-tech offences.

Mr Passmore said he hoped the £300,000 investment in the unit would help protect businesses and individuals.

The Suffolk Police spokeswoman urged other businesses to beware of financial scams.

She said: "Banks or police will not ask you to transfer or handover sums of money and you should never give out details of bank accounts, PINs or personal information. If you receive contact from an unknown caller stop and think for a moment.

"Be suspicious particularly if they are telling you something is wrong or that you need to send or handover money. If you suspect you may be the victim of a bogus call hang up and leave the phone down for at least ten minutes or use another phone before contacting anyone else.

"Don't be afraid to hang up on unknown callers. Genuine callers will understand if you want to call them back later, after checking existing paperwork to confirm numbers, to check their identity."

Anyone who has any concerns regarding this type of scam or who has been a victim should report it to to police or Action Fraud , the national fraud and cyber-crime reporting centre on 0300 123 2040.

(10th October 2015)


(Daily Mail, dated 16th September 2015 author Chris Greenwood)


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A tidal wave of graphic online pornography was blamed for the 'catastrophic sexualisation' of young people yesterday.

Easy access to extreme material is corroding the lives of children and destroying their innocence, a senior police officer warned.

Chief Superintendent John Sutherland said he has been left speechless by the impact of hardcore pornography available to anyone with a smartphone - and listed a series of violent sex crimes by children which he believes have been fuelled by the internet.

These included teenage boys coolly planning the gang-rape of a young girl and forensically cleaning up afterwards, and the knife-point rape of a boy by another teenage boy.

He accused those who attempt to 'brush off' the risks of allowing boys unrestricted access to hardcore footage as 'either wilfully ignorant or wilfully stupid'.

Writing on his blog, the Met Police chief claimed some of the things have 'absolutely stopped me in my tracks'.

He said: 'I am a police officer, I am a dad, I am a human being and these things are happening on my watch. [It's] what some young boys seem to expect; what some young girls seem to accept.

'There is so much that might be said about the catastrophic sexualisation of young people - but words honestly fail me.

'There is only so much picking up of the pieces that policing can do. These are our children. And there is a loss of innocence in our society - on our streets and in our homes. It breaks my heart.'

Straight-talking Mr Sutherland, a father of three who has thousands of followers on his Twitter page, @policecommander, attacked extreme pornography which is 'available without limit or restriction to anyone with an internet connection irrespective of age'.

He highlighted the dangers of 'horror porn' in which viewers 'get kicks out of torture', and also said some young men are so caught up in hyper-realistic violent computer games that they do not appreciate the 'finality' of death. Instead they expect to spring back to life again after an attack, just like their heroes do on the screen.

The Daily Mail has campaigned to block internet porn because of fears its easy availability is destroying children's lives. Earlier this year it was revealed that almost three-quarters of Sky's broadband customers opted to block pornographic websites after being forced to choose.

The company announced an automatic block on harmful sites six months ago in a bid to prevent children from stumbling across hardcore images and videos. The announcement heaped pressure on rivals BT, TalkTalk and Virgin to introduce similar measures.

Mr Sutherland, who has served in senior roles across the capital, including running several boroughs, said his experiences have made him increasingly concerned about what young people are being exposed to.

He described one case in which a group of teenage boys prepared a flat for rape 'in advance' and lured a girl there. He said: 'Their unsuspecting young victim is repeatedly raped - by one boy after another.

'It is an utter violation of the most horrifying and terrifying kind.

'They throw her out and then proceed to forensically clean the location, attempting to remove every last trace of their wickedness. I am speechless.' Mr Sutherland said that in another case detectives discovered that the perpetrator of the knife-point rape of a 14-year-old boy is a 15-year-old boy. He wrote: 'It absolutely stops me in my tracks… bloody hell.'

And during a Premier League football match, he was shocked when CCTV cameras picked up a teenage girl among a group of boys.

'Something about their behaviour isn't right,' he said.

'The camera stays on them and, to our absolute astonishment, the girl ducks down and appears to perform a sex act on one of the boys. In front of tens of thousands of football fans. I am in state of complete disbelief.'

(10th October 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 16th September 2015 author Justin Davenport)


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Scotland Yard solved less than four per cent of household burglaries in some parts of London in the past 12 months, new figures show.

The statistics reveal the Met solved only six per cent of the 46,259 break-ins in the capital but the "clear-up" rate was even lower in 13 boroughs.

There were huge variations in the number of burglaries solved across the capital. In Barnet there were 2,634 home break-ins in the 12 months up to the end of July. However, local officers solved just 89 cases, or three per cent of the total.

In contrast Barking and Dagenham recorded 1,317 burglaries and solved 170 of them, or 13 per cent.

In total there were 46,259 household burglaries in London over the 12 months, and police solved 2,918  cases. Enfield recorded the most burglaries of any borough, with 2,204 offences, and solved five per cent - or 112 cases.

Ealing and Haringey also recorded more than 2,000 break-ins. The boroughs' police officers solved seven per cent and five per cent respectively.

The Met's burglary clear-up rate has almost halved in the past five years, with the force solving six out of every hundred burglaries last year compared with 12 per cent in 2010-11.

London Assembly Labour politicians, who compiled the data, blamed the low clear-up rates on Government cuts - but Scotland Yard said it had changed the way it counted break-ins.

Labour Assembly policing spokeswoman Joanne McCartney said : "Obviously it's seriously worrying if 96 per cent of burglaries are going unsolved in some boroughs.

"Either the police aren't giving these kinds of crimes the priority they deserve or they are so stretched that they no longer have the resources to deal with them, possibly it's both.  Neither reason will be acceptable  to Londoners.

"With the rate of burglaries falling, freeing up police resource and time, we should be seeing a rise in the number of solved cases.

"In reality, this hasn't been the case and this can only be because of government cuts to the police force."

Police point out that London now has the lowest burglary rate in recent years. Commander Simon Letchford, who leads on burglary for the Met, said the change in the clear-up rate over the past five years was because the force no longer included figures taken from offenders who were arrested and then admitted to other burglaries.

Mr Letchford said the statistics were "more ethical" and there had been a steady rise in the number of "primary" burglaries being solved but the rate was still too low.

The Met has launched "forensic converter teams" in the 10 worst-hit boroughs which focused on identifying and hunting down prolific burglars.

The Met commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, recently pledged that his force would continue to send an officer to every burglary, despite comments by police chiefs' leader Sara Thornton in July that government cuts would mean an officer may not attend every scene.

(10th October 2015)


(International Business Times, dated 11th September 2015 author Mary-Ann Russon)


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The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agency in the US has unwittingly given criminals easy access to TSA-approved luggage locks, after a media image of the organisation's universal master keys inspired lock pickers to design their own 3D printable versions and put the files on the internet for anyone to download.

It all started with a Washington Post article published on 24 November 2014 that looked at what happens once your luggage is checked in at US airports, how the TSA decides which bags to check and a run through of the types of technology used to check the bags. For some reason, the TSA allowed the Washington Post to publish a clear picture of its master key patterns that enable its security officers to unlock virtually any type of luggage in the world.

Perhaps realising that this wasn't the smartest of ideas, the Washington Post removed the photo of the master keys from its website at some point (we don't know when). However, the paper sold the article and its accompanying images to a local newspaper in Everett, Washington, called The Daily Herald, which published it on 30 November 2014.

The picture continued to be visible to anybody on the internet on the Daily Herald website, until an enterprising individual pointed it out and posted the issue on Reddit on 21 August, more than nine months after the article went live. The image clearly shows the different shapes of the TSA master keys, making it simple for an enterprising locksmith to duplicate.

And of course, being the internet, on Wednesday 9 September, security enthusiasts and lock picking hobbyists decided that the keys should be recreated as 3D printable CAD files and uploaded to Github where anyone can download them.

The hobbyists claim that they posted the CAD files to Github without checking whether they worked, but people on Twitter have already printed out copies and proved that at least one of the key replicas does work on an approved TSA lock.

"Honestly I wasn't expecting this to work, even though I tried to be as accurate as possible from the pictures. I did this for fun and don't even have a TSA-approved lock to test," Xylitol, the Github user who published the files, told Wired. "But if someone reported it that my 3D models are working, well, that's cool, and it a simple picture of a set of keys can compromise a whole system."

Seeing that TSA-approved luggage locks are used by millions of US travellers in order to avoid their bags being damaged, since the TSA has to cut off conventional padlocks and unapproved locks during security checks, this presents a pretty big issue to pretty much anyone in the world who is using a bag or padlock that can be unlocked using one of the universal master keys.

(10th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 11th September 2015 author ?)


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Police and fire services are set to merge in a proposed radical overhaul of emergency services.

The controversial plans immediately fuelled concerns after it emerged chief fire officers could in future run police forces without any crime fighting experience.

Rank and file police leaders warned the move could see fire fighters take on some officer roles in what they said was more "policing on the cheap".

But a fire brigade union said mergers would damage the public trust in its members if they were associated with the police and law enforcement.

Under the Home Office proposals, police forces and fire services around the country could be brought together under one chief officer in each region.

The current Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) would take over oversight of fire services in their area and be responsible for both budgets.

The two emergency services would remain distinct but would share facilities, back room staff, IT systems, call centres and other common services.

The move is designed to improve efficiencies and save money as the Government's austerity drive continues.

But a consultation document revealed the Home Office is planning to remove a rule that currently bars a chief fire officer from applying to become a chief constable unless he or she has previously worked as a police officer.

It would mean there would be nothing to stop a fire chief being appointed the head of a merged police and fire service even if they had no experience of policing.

Chief Constable Lynne Owens, lead on emergency services collaboration for the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "It was surprising to see the suggestion that a Chief Fire Officer would be eligible to apply for the Chief Constable post included in the Government's proposal.

"This seems to suggest a fundamental change to the current position in which Chief Constables hold the office of Constable and are experienced in the exercise of those powers."

The Home Office insisted that under any changes no police officer would become a firefighter and no firefighter would be given the power of arrest,

But the Police Federation questioned whether other police duties could end up being covered by the fire service in cash-strapped time.

The proposals come days after separate plans to expand the role of unpaid police volunteers.

Will Riches, vice chairman of the Police Federation, said: "Call me cynical but it all feels like musical chairs here.

"What concerns us, as a profession that relies on continuity and resilience, is that all these plans point in one direction: toward ways to do things cheaper rather than better."

The consultation said new legislation would allow PCCs to take on the responsibility of the fire and rescue authority in their area "where a local case is made that it would be in the interests of economy, efficiency and effectiveness, or public safety".

But Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), said there is "absolutely no case" for PCCs to take over fire and rescue services.

He said: "These are badly thought out proposals from a government which couldn't care less about emergency services or those they employ.

"Police are law enforcers, while fire and rescue is a humanitarian service with a very different remit and culture.

"Firefighters need to be seen to be neutral within the communities they serve. Links with law enforcers will damage the much needed trust and reputation firefighters have built up in neighbourhoods over decades, trust they depend on to gain access to peoples' homes when needed for fire prevention and rescue work."

Policing Minister Mike Penning said: "It simply doesn't make sense for emergency services to have different premises, different back offices and different IT systems when their work is so closely related and they often share the same boundaries."

Fire Minister Mark Francois said the number of fires is falling each year, adding: "We want to remove any bureaucratic barriers to joint working and allow local leaders to make the arrangements that work best for them."

David Lloyd, of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, said they supported the proposals while "recognising that for a range of reasons ... not every area will wish to pursue these new opportunities."

uaware comment

Perhaps the US system of having Paramedic services working within the Fire Service would be more approriate.

As far as saving money is concerned for back office support. This could be acheived by merging all of the county police (and Met) common back office services such as Human Resources, Finance, Purchasing etc. These departments do not need to exist in every county police service. This "NEW"combined back office service could then be operated and managed by the National Police Chiefs' Council (formerly Association of Chief Police Officers).Then again this sensible method of saving money would reduce the size of each county's Chief Constables empire ! They keep their empire and reduce the numbers of front line Police Constables instead.

(10th October 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 10th September 2015 author Jamie Grierson)


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A record number of terrorism arrests were made in the past year, according to official figures, surpassing the previous peak following the 7 July London bombings.

There were 299 arrests for terrorism-related offences in the 12 months to March 2015, a rise of 31% compared on the previous year and the highest number since data collection began in September 2001, Home Office data revealed. Of the 299 people arrested, 118 were charged with an offence.

Within the period, a record number of women arrested for such offences was recorded at 35; the number of 18- to 20-year-olds arrested more than doubled, from 20 to 43 arrests.

There was also a rise in the number of suspects held for more than seven days. About 21 people arrested under section 41 of the Terrorism Act - which allows the police to arrest and detain a person without charge for up to 48 hours and apply extended custody - were detained for more than a week, compared with just one person in the previous period. Of those arrested, 15 were charged.

The increase came after the official threat level was raised in August from substantial to severe, meaning an attack is highly likely.

The threat level was heightened as hundreds of so-called foreign fighters were being lured to Iraq and Syria to fight with Islamic State. Police and security services now believe at least 700 potential extremists from the UK have travelled to Syria, with about half thought to have returned to Britain.

Home Office officials said the increase in arrests in the most recent period was driven by a spike of 106 arrests between October and December last year. This compares with 67 arrests between January and March.

The previous high of 284 arrests was recorded in the year to March 2006, covering the London bomb attacks in 2005, in which 52 people were killed and more than 700 were injured.

It is likely that the rate of terrorism arrests has risen further since the period covered by the statistics. Last month, Mark Rowley, the country's leading counter-terrorism officer, disclosed that suspects were now being held at a rate of more than one a day.

Among those arrested, 78% considered themselves British or dual-British nationality, compared with only 52% of suspects in the year ending March 2011.

The batch of figures also show there were nearly 32,000 searches carried out using the controversial Schedule 7 powers under the Terrorism Act, which allows police officers to detain without reasonable cause for suspicion. However, this was a fall of 28% on the previous year. The legislation was used to detain David Miranda, the partner of the former Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, for nine hours at Heathrow in August 2013.

Charlie Winter, senior researcher at counter-extremism thinktank Qulliam, said: "These figures and the significant rises are to be expected given the fact that Islamic State is presenting an unprecedented situation. We've a threat that's greater than it has been but also more closely scrutinised than it has been.

"The security services are seeking to keep on top of the threat that individuals could present to the UK. These figures could be indicative that they're being more cautious than they would have been.

"Islamic State does call for attacks that are not high level operations but can happen at a grassroots level. Rather than stopping a plot that is on the cusp of being carried out, arrests are being made earlier in the process."

(10th October 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 7th September 2015 author Robin De Peyer)


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Homophobic crimes in London are up by almost a third in the past year alone, shock new figures have revealed.

Annual crime statistics released by Scotland Yard showed reports of homophobic offences rose from 1,289 in the year to July 2014 to 1,667 in the 12 months leading up to July this year.

The figures represent a 29.3 per cent rise in London in the space of one year alone.

The biggest percentage rise was seen in Bromley where homophobic attacks increased by 217 per cent, from 17 to 54. Meanwhile Sutton recorded a 50 per cent fall in homophobic crimes - from 14 to 7.

Guidance issued by the Met says a homophobic offence is any which is "perceived to be homophobic by the victim or any other person, that is intended to impact upon those known or perceived to be lesbian, gay, or bisexual".

A spokeswoman for LGBT rights charity Stonewall said the organisation hoped the rise was the result of more people feeling able to report hate crimes to police - but warned of the dangers still faced by people in the capital.

She added: "While there is still lots to do, Stonewall works closely with the police, and know that there is some great work is being done to ensure all lesbian, gay, bi and trans people feel more confident and comfortable in reporting hate crimes.

"However, we've seen some particularly violent examples of calculated homophobic attacks across London as of late - often in areas considered particularly inclusive like Soho, Shoreditch and Vauxhall. What this tells us is that we can never predict where a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate crime will take place, whether in London or not.

"We hope the police will continue to work closely with their communities to tackle these sorts of incidents and prevent them from taking place."

(10th October 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 7th September 2015 author Karen McVeigh)

Full article [Option 1]:

Universities have been urged to monitor offences, including sexual violence, against students, by an annual publication that ranks UK higher education institutions according to crime rates.

The Complete University Guide, published on Monday, uses official police figures to measure rates of violent and sexual crimes, burglary and robbery, within three miles of campuses to rank crime rates for almost 130 of Britain's universities.

It shows that universities in the north-west and Yorkshire and the Humber had the highest cumulative crime rate among those in England and Wales, while the south-west and the south-east had the lowest crime rate outside London.

The capital's universities, which ranked highest for crime overall, were ranked separately by the guide. Some of the UK's leading universities - King's College London, with 47.65 incidents per 1,000; the Courtauld Institute, at 47.28; and University College London, at 47.07, all of which are situated in the city centre - came top of the capital's listing for crime, compared with a London average of 32.53.

Kingston University, which is outside the city centre, was ranked the lowest of all the London universities for crime, based on incidents per 1,000 residents. The figures relate to all victims, not just students, so are a measure of the crime within the area surrounding universities.

However, the report's authors, Bernard Kingston and David Jobbins, said that in order for students to more precisely compare the risks, universities should monitor and record crimes.

Their comments follow news of an inquiry ordered by Sajid Javid, the business secretary, into how to reduce sexual violence at universities. Javid has written to vice-chancellors, calling for taskforces to investigate "sexual and verbal assault" against women on campus.

It is unclear whether the review will include getting universities to monitor and record such crimes. Universities UK, which is already working on the issue, has been asked to develop a code of practice "to bring about cultural change".

An investigation by the Guardian found fewer than half of Russell Group universities are monitoring the extent of sexual violence against students and one in six did not have guidelines on how to report such allegations.

British universities have no legal duty to record crimes, unlike in the US, where the Clery Act requires colleges and universities to publish annual statistics on all crime, including sexual assault.

Kingston, the principle author of the Complete University Guide, said: "Regrettably, universities are either unable or unwilling to disclose the rates of crime directly affecting their students on campus let alone off campus.

"While this information is not forthcoming - and it is a matter of regret that universities do not seem to regard it as of significance - this survey offers the best available guide. But we urge vice-chancellors and the universities to tell prospective students what their chances of falling victim to crime are, on and off campus."

Jobbins, a consultant on the guide, said universities have a particular responsibility towards teenagers away from home for the first time

"It occurred to us we really shouldn't be doing this. There are no police statistics on crimes involving students. Universities should be putting more effort into recording crime both on and off campus. There is no effort to record crime off campus and we don't know whether they record crime on campus. We imagine they are, because every time we publish this we are told that we are not painting a true picture of crime against students."

A King's College London spokesperson said: "The Complete University Guide's annual 'crime survey' uses police data of crimes reported by all residents, not just students, living within three miles of each university. In the case of King's, London's most central university, this includes the major transport hubs of Waterloo and London Bridge and many popular tourist destinations, including Oxford Street, South Bank and the London Eye.

"London faces similar challenges to many other major cities in dealing with crime. We regularly communicate the importance of personal safety to students, through our welcome and orientation sessions, which include student safety advice from the Metropolitan police, through leaflets and our website."

The guide ranked the University of Buckingham, Falmouth University and Durham University as the institutions with the lowest cumulative crime rates in England and Wales.

Three Manchester institutions - the University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University and the Royal Northern College of Music, together with the University of Salford - had the highest crime rates in their neighbourhoods, averaging 39.43 incidents per 1,000 population.

The guide ranked institutions on the cumulative rate of all three crimes per 1,000 residents occurring over the 12 months from May 2014 to April 2015.

• This article was amended on 8 September 2015 to correct a reference to "Humberside" to "Yorkshire and the Humber" in the third paragraph.

The Complete University Guide :

(10th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 6th September 2015 author Martin Evans)


Full article [Option 1]:

People who are the subject of revenge porn attacks should be granted anonymity in line with the victims of other sex offences, campaigners have suggested.

MPs are being urged to close a legal loophole amid concern that publicity around convictions is causing more people to search for explicit images, creating even more distress for the victims.

A new law was introduced in April after a spate of cases where vengeful ex-lovers shared intimate and explicit images of their former partners on the Internet.

Dubbed 'revenge porn', the government moved to introduce a specific offence aimed at protecting potential victims.

So far 16 people have been prosecuted under revenge porn laws since April, with the majority pleading guilty.

But some campaigners have claimed the law was "rushed through" and have warned that publicity around successful prosecutions is simply exacerbating the problem which result in fewer victims being willing to come forward and report incidents.

Lucy Hastings, director of independent charity Victim Support, said those subjected to revenge porn attacks should be afforded the same anonymity as those who suffer other forms of sexual abuse.

She said: "Without anonymity a victim testifying in court faces the very real risk of their name and details being reported in the press, which could also lead to the offending images or videos being shared more widely.

"(Victims) need to have confidence that they will be treated sensitively and respectfully, and a guarantee of anonymity would surely encourage more victims to report these serious offences."

Jill Saward, who has spent nearly 30 years campaigning for sex abuse victims since she was raped in 1986, said anonymity for revenge porn victims was overlooked when the law was "rushed through" earlier this year.

She said: "Naming victims could present all sorts of problems. Once things are out there, and there's a name attached, anybody can do anything with it. This needs to be listed as a sexual offence and the victims deserve protection."

Ann Olivarius, managing partner at the legal firm McAllister Olivarius, said revenge porn images are given "new life" when the victim's name is made public through the court process.

She said: "The trolls come out. They search the Internet for the images, which are then re-posted, screen-grabbed and given new life."

Sarah Green, acting director of the End Violence Against Women coalition, said: "It is very likely that the thought of being publicly identified would deter a victim of so-called 'revenge pornography' from reporting it, because much of the same shame, victim-blame and fear is there as in other sexual offences.

"We urge the Government to consult on this urgently and look at ensuring there is anonymity in these cases."

Alison Saunders, the director of public prosecutions, said: "It's a matter for Parliament whether or not they allow those provisions. If it is serious, it is something we should be doing something about."

(10th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 5th September 2015 author Steven Swinford)


Full article [Option 1]:

Police forces are wasting millions of pounds of taxpayers' money because of the chaotic way they buy supplies, with some paying up to 10 times more for similar items.

Mike Penning, the policing minister, said that it makes "no sense" for forces to continue buying almost identical items separately when they can save money by acting together.

The Home Office published figures revealing huge disparities in the amount paid for basic equipment ranging from shirts and batons to high performance vehicles and radio sets.

Mr Penning said: "For too long the police have approached the market in a fragmented way, buying equipment in small amounts and to varying specifications.

"Since 2010, police forces have increasingly worked together to buy goods and services and reaped over £200 million in savings by doing so.

How much does a police baton cost?

Police force / Cost

Humberside 23.49
Northumbria 67

"But there remains more to do. It makes no sense for forces to buy separately when money can be saved if they act together. That is why I have published key police procurement information on the prices that forces currently pay for the most common items of uniforms and equipment.

"This will help the public and Police and Crime Commissioners hold Chief Constables to account for how they spend taxpayers' money and, crucially, reveal potential opportunities for further savings."

The most significant difference was in the price of high-visibility jackets, with Avon and Somerset paying £10.95 for each one compared with Derbyshire which paid more than £100.

The price paid for police batons ranged from £23.49 in Humberside to £67 in Northumbria, while prices for epaulets varied from £1.25 in Essex to £5.25 in North Wales.

The most significant differences, however, came with more expensive purchases. Cumbria police spent £18,000 each on 13 high performance BMWs in February of this year. South Yorkshire police spent £34,724 on a similar vehicle in December 2014.

There have been significant improvements in the purchasing of some items, however.

In September 2013, the Commons Public Accounts select committee highlighted price differences of between £14 to £43 for handcuffs and £25 to £114 for boots.

Since then there has been a significant improvement, with boots, helmets and handcuffs costing similar amounts across all police forces.

Procurement is now run by directly elected police and crime commissioners, who replaced police authorities.

A Home Office spokesman said: "The Government wants forces to adopt a collaborative approach to procurement, not just because of the potential savings that they can achieve through buying collectively but also because of the operational benefits of standardising the items they purchase and officers use every day.

"The benefits of forces working together was demonstrated by a recent e-auction which provided nearly 3,000 police vehicles to 20 forces across England and Wales, as well as Police Scotland and the British Transport Police, to deliver nearly £3.7m of savings for the taxpayer."


(The Telegraph, dated 4th August 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

Some police forces are paying five times as much as others for equipment including handcuffs, as it emerged three forces have launched a new unit to save costs by buying in bulk.

One force pays just £14 for a pair of cuffs while another shells out £43, in differences largely due to police force size.

High-visibility jackets range in cost from £20 to £100 while a riot shield costs between £36 and £136.

Three forces in the east Midlands have already set up a joint unit to buy uniforms and other equipment which has saved £3 million a year, an investigation by Sky News found.

It came as senior police officers called for new legislation setting out how police forces should be able to merge to save money.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton, chairman of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said: "We have to make fundamental changes to the way we police.

"Improving the way we procure equipment and services will save us some money, as will sharing more within and outside policing - so more collaboration between forces, within regions or through joint teams with other agencies like social services.

"With regard to mergers, most would agree that fewer forces is the best option, but if the desire is to maintain 43 then forces will need to collaborate more - between two forces, at a regional level or through joint teams with other agencies like social services."

She called for a new statutory outline, developed with the Home Office, on how forces should go about merging, which would help speed up amalgamations.

Ronnie Adams, commercial director of the East Midlands Strategic Commercial Unit covering Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Northamptonshire, said: "When I came to join the police, one of the things I couldn't understand was that there were 43 police forces in England and Wales and those 43 police forces have got 43 different uniforms.

"It's crazy. I can understand why it's happened. It's happened over a period of time.

"But it's been driven because forces have been looking after their uniforms locally.

"Therefore, there's no need to do something nationally.

"It needs to get sorted out. Really, we just need to have a single specification of police uniform."

(10th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 4th September 2015 author David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

Police forces have allocated company cars with blue lights and sirens to civilian workers including a human resources chief, an IT expert and finance directors, it has emerged.

Although civilians have no police powers and are not allowed to use the vehicles to respond to emergencies, seven police forces in England and Wales have taken the unusual step.

One tax expert told the BBC, which uncovered the practice using Freedom of Information laws, employees who were given the use of the vehicles could save thousands of pounds each year because HM Revenue and Customs treats emergency vehicles differently to normal company cars.

It comes just days after it emerged West Midlands Police had issued officers with patrol cars with no sirens, meaning the vehicles could not be used to respond to 999 calls.

And in another case, detectives in south London arrived on the bus to investigate a sudden death, telling relatives cuts and maintenance delays had left their station with only two pool cars.

It has now emerged nine senior police force civilian staff in total have been given vehicles equipped with "blues and twos", while two other forces admitted they had previously taken part in a similar scheme.

The seven forces involved were Devon and Cornwall, Merseyside, Humberside, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Avon and Somerset, and Greater Manchester Police.

Cars went to senior finance officers, an IT chief and, in Humberside, the "assistant chief officer" of human resources, all of whom were civilians.

West Mercia and Warwickshire Police said they had previously paid for a similar car for their joint "director of enabling services".

The forces said the vehicles were part of their wider fleet, and all denied they were provided for tax reasons.

Dr Alan Billings, South Yorkshire's Police and Crime Commissioner, said he was "disappointed" to hear of his force's use of the cars.

"I have asked the chief constable to review the policy and I understand that the equipment has now been disconnected, pending removal from the vehicles," he said.

"I am disappointed that I was not made aware of it."

Humberside Police said one of the vehicles was made available for driver training on a regular basis, and another could be used for special events or royal visits as part of the force's fleet

An earlier report by the College of Policing found many police officers felt "a culture of entitlement" existed at senior levels within forces.

A focus group said provision of the cars to senior civilians was "apparently motivated by the advantageous tax treatment available for emergency vehicles".

Laura Hutchinson, a director at tax specialists Forbes Dawson, told the BBC potential tax saving could be made on taxable benefits charges.

For example, a BMW 5 series saloon costing £30,000 would incur a taxable benefit charge of more than £2,200 for someone on the higher 40 per cent tax rate.

But these charges would not apply if HMRC was satisfied that the vehicle was used for emergency purposes, she said.

Earlier this week the country's top police officer, Met Commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, indicated an increasingly frosty relationship with the Government over falling police budgets when he said "The time has come to fight our corner" over cuts.




Full article [Option 1]:

MPs have called on the taxman to launch an urgent investigation into nine police forces which allocated company cars with blue lights and sirens to civilian staff, including a human resources chief and an IT expert.

Civilians who have been given unmarked company cars equipped with the emergency equipment do not have to pay personal tax on the vehicle - a benefit that can be worth thousands of pounds a year.

One MP described the practice as "tax evasion".

(10th October 2015)


(BT News, dated 3rd September 2015 author Carla Challis)


Full article [Option 1]:


Burglars are daubing homes with secret colour-coded symbols - revealing if the occupant's dog is worth stealing.

Clandestine symbols have long thought to have been used by criminals to mark properties, telling others if they contain valuables or have already been targeted.

But Neighbourhood Watch volunteers believe dog nappers have adapted the signs to mark homes with valuable dogs - with different colours used to differentiate the size of pooches.

Pet owners in Nailsea near Bristol claim a 'cross' is used to signal a "good target", with a pink one for small dogs, yellow for medium, and red for larger breeds.

It is thought the criminals mark the door so they can either go back and steal the dog later themselves, or guide others to the home.

One victim from the area, who found a yellow crayon cross high on her door, said: "At first I thought it may have been children messing around - but the fact it was at the top of the door made me think it had been put there by an adult.

"I remember seeing stories on social media about dog thieves marking houses to show a dog was living there, only to come back and steal it later.

"To find this on my door really worried me so I reported to the police immediately."

She added: "It is upsetting to think that thieves may be operating in the area and targeting family pets.

"I have now upped my security and am making sure that my dog doesn't even go into the back garden on her own."

It is thought the marking of gate posts goes back centuries and was initially used by vagrants to tell others if a property was good for food or had a kind owner.

And burglars are widely suspected of marking properties with different symbols used to indicate 'burgled before', 'wealthy' or 'too risky'.

But this believed to be the first time a specific code - in this case, a cross shape - has been used to indicate an expensive dog, with colours used to differentiate size of pets.

Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators claim a number of dogs have gone missing  in the area and have now released a leaflet warning about the symbols.

It says: "Dog thieves are believed to be leaving messages on gates, doors and pavements, and police have now urged owners to be vigilant after a number of animals were stolen from properties daubed with unusual markings.

"Such a yellow cross has been seen in Greenfield Crescent recently.

"If such markings appear on your property, please inform the police using the 101 number."

Police say no dog thefts have been reported in the area, but urged anyone who found

the marks to wash them off immediately.

(10th October 2015)


(Essex Police, July 2015)


Full article :

Picture: Chief Inspector Craig Carrington of the Local Policing Support Unit, Jean Robinson from Age UK, Crime Prevention Tactical Advisor Stephen Armson-Smith, Essex Watch Liaison Officer Brenda Cross, and Linda Amos-Flanagan from Community Agents Essex.

The Object ID card was launched today at the Essex Police Museum at Police Headquarters, Chelmsford.

As part of our wider work on heritage crime, the Object ID card is designed for recording valuables such as medals, family heirlooms, memorabilia, art and antiques, as well as jewellery and other valuables.

The card can be photographed next to your valuables to provide a handy scale reference as well as a colour chart. It also contains a number of tips on other details of how to protect your property.

It is hoped that the Object ID card will encourage the public to keep records of their possessions. This will be promoted to elderly residents with the help of organisations such as Age UK, The Royal British Legion and Community Agents Essex.

Chief Inspector Craig Carrington of the Local Policing Support Unit said: "The theft of medals, memorabilia and family heirlooms - including watches and wedding rings - can have a devastating effect on the victim and family.

"Fortunately this crime is rare, but we aim to help prevent it by warning thieves and handlers that such property in Essex is being recorded and if stolen, details will be circulated".

Top tips on taking clear photographs of your property were shared, including the following:
Avoid taking photographs of items on reflective surfaces. This may create 'hotspots' with the flash of your camera.

Use a non-glare cloth as a background for silver, china or jewellery.

When photographing possessions such as china or any specialised collectables, take a close up picture of any minute detail, including the pattern name, manufacturers signature, serial number, inscriptions, and any damage or imperfections.

You can get your own Object ID card from any Age UK and Community Agents Essex venues, the Royal British Legion Pop In Information and Advice Centre in Colchester, or by contacting your local Essex Watch Liaison Officer on 101.

Andrew Gardner, Chief Executive of Age UK Essex, said: "Age UK Essex witness first-hand the distress caused when the home of an elderly person is burgled. It is heart-breaking to hear how someone's family heirloom has been stolen, medals taken and precious memorabilia are lost forever. That is why we are encouraging older people to record their possessions and should the items be recovered this will help the police return the stolen goods to their rightful owners".

Linda Amos-Flanagan, Outreach Development Officer for Community Agents Essex, said: "Community Agents fully supports this scheme. It will help to provide our clients with more piece of mind around the security of their valuables - many of them sentimental items".


Essex police have also produce a programmed for institutions, such as clubs, churches etc :

(10th October 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 1st September 2015 author David Barrett)


Full article [Option 1]:

Criminals are being allowed to escape the scene of robberies, burglaries and assaults because police have been equipped with cars which have no sirens and cannot break the speed limit, it has been claimed.

Officers have expressed their frustration at the cost-cutting measure which has seen low-powered Vauxhall Corsa hatchbacks deployed as patrol cars.

Police have been ordered to drive them within the normal Highway Code because the vehicles have blue lights but no sirens to alert other motorists.

It means officers are not allowed to break the speed limit or perform other manoeuvres which are normally permitted by police cars responding to emergency calls, such as crossing red lights or driving on the wrong side of the road.

West Midlands Police has a fleet of 109 Corsas with 1.3 litre engines which were originally intended for neighbourhood policing and non-urgent inquiries.

However, the force's Police Federation branch, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the cars are increasingly being used for 999 calls which require a rapid reaction.

They claimed the money-saving initiative is "putting lives at risk."

Tom Cuddeford, branch deputy chairman, said: "The reality is that the Corsa is being utilised in response to emergency calls.

"We know there is a lot of unhappiness about this among our officers and are currently in negotiations with the force command team to find an appropriate way forward on the issue.

"Our officers want to protect the public and catch criminals. We get frustrated when we are not provided with the tools for the job."

The Federation said it had compiled more than 100 reports in the past year of officers attending urgent matters without a siren.

One police officer, whose name was not disclosed, said he arrived in a Corsa too late to save a member of the public from being assaulted by a drink driver.

He said: "The caller … shouted 'Where were you?'.

"When I explained the situation he replied: 'This defies belief in this day and age'.

"Corners are being cut and lives could be put at risk."

One police officer said he was in a queue of traffic when a motorist went through a red light and turned into a "no right turn" junction

When challenged by another motorist over not chasing the offending driver, the officer was told: "You're ******* joking if you think I'm going to believe your car doesn't have a siren.

"It's a ******* joke."

Another serving officer said: "Criminals aren't going to hang around and wait for you to get there.

"It is quite disheartening really.

"I just hope nobody ends up getting seriously injured or killed as a result of us not being able to get to the scene in time."

Defending the decision, Superintendent Kerry Blakeman, of West Midlands Police, said: "Any officer can respond to an incident if they are suitably trained to drive at speed and are in an appropriate vehicle - with lights and siren.

"Officers who are not appropriately trained and/or driving an appropriate vehicle can attend an incident as quickly and safely as possible while complying with the Road Traffic Act just as members of the public should.

"Incidents graded as 'immediate' are responded to as soon as possible, usually in a matter of minutes and on many occasions require the use of lights and sirens.

"At no point was the Corsa intended for response work as it is a low performance vehicle."

David Jamieson, West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner, said: "I have concerns that there may be occasions when officers have travelled to emergencies in vehicles that are not equipped or appropriate.

"As it is an operational matter I have asked the chief constable to report back on this issue."

(10th October 2015)





Please note, all articles within this section are Option 1.


(Computer World, dated 26th August 2015 author Katherine Noyes)

Full article [Option 1]:

It would be difficult to come up with a better illustration of the profound effect data can have on people's lives than the Ashley Madison hack, which has not only sparked numerous lawsuits but also been associated with several suicides.

On Tuesday, many of the world's experts in computer science and mathematics spent an afternoon at the Heidelberg Laureate Forum in Germany trying to figure out how the widespread collection of data about consumers can be prevented from causing more harm in the future.

"In the U.S., there are now states where jail sentencing guidelines are being set by data," said Jeremy Gillula, a staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Data has a huge impact on people's lives, and that's only going to increase."

Much of today's data collection happens on the websites people visit, and it's done both by the websites themselves and by the advertising networks that power them. That, in turn, can spill over into surveillance by governments as well, Gillula said, such as when organizations like the National Security Agency tap Internet backbones.

(The Register, dated 18th August 2015 author Paul Kunet)

Full article [Option 1]:

Dixons Carphone is still using thousands of EPOS tills running on Windows XP more than a year after Microsoft's extended support expired, The Register has learned.

This is not the Embedded flavour of the OS (though even these would present a heightened risk of attack, say security experts) but 7,000-plus bog standard XP systems in branches, visible to customers.

More precisely, these in-store tills are HP PCs, most of them D530s, with the now 14-year-old OS installed on their hard drive.

Sources tell us DixCar has no custom support agreement with Microsoft that would enable the retailer to continue receiving regular patches or firmware updates at $200 per PC for year one, $400 for year two and $800 for year three.

(Computer World, dated 14th August 2015 author Joab Jackson)

Full article [Option 1]:

Responding to allegations from anonymous ex-employees, security firm Kaspersky Lab has denied planting misleading information in its public virus reports as a way to foil competitors.

"Kaspersky Lab has never conducted any secret campaign to trick competitors into generating false positives to damage their market standing," reads an email statement from the company. "Accusations by anonymous, disgruntled ex-employees that Kaspersky Lab, or its CEO, was involved in these incidents are meritless and simply false."


(The Register, dated 12th August 2015 author Chris Williams)

Full article [Option 1]:

Lenovo has sold laptops bundled with unremovable software that features a bonus exploitable security vulnerability.

If the crapware is deleted, or the hard drive wiped and Windows reinstalled from scratch, the laptop's firmware will quietly and automatically reinstall Lenovo's software on the next boot-up.

Built into the firmware on the laptops' motherboard is a piece of code called the Lenovo Service Engine (LSE). If Windows is installed, the LSE is executed before the Microsoft operating system is launched.

The LSE makes sure C:\Windows\system32\autochk.exe is Lenovo's variant of the autochk.exe file; if Microsoft's official version is there, it is moved out of the way and replaced. The executable is run during startup, and is supposed to check the computer's file system to make sure it's free of any corruption.

Lenovo's variant of this system file ensures LenovoUpdate.exe and LenovoCheck.exe are present in the operating system's system32 directory, and if not, it will copy the executables into that directory during boot up. So if you uninstall or delete these programs, the LSE in the firmware will bring them back during the next power-on or reboot.


(Computer World, dated 7th August 2015 author Gregg Keizer)

Full article [Option 1]:

Mozilla yesterday updated its Firefox browser to patch a zero-day vulnerability being used to harvest passwords on Windows and Linux machines.

The update, Firefox 39.0.3, was released about 24 hours after Mozilla engineers heard of the flaw.

"A Firefox user informed us that an advertisement on a news site in Russia was serving a Firefox exploit that searched for sensitive files and uploaded them to a server that appears to be in Ukraine," Daniel Veditz, a security lead at Mozilla, wrote on a company blog.

The flaw resided in code that "enforces JavaScript context separation (the 'same origin policy') and Firefox's PDF Viewer," added Veditz, referring to the baked-in PDF (portable document format) viewer. Like other browsers, Firefox displays PDF documents without relying on Adobe's own plug-in.


(Computer World, dated 6th August 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

Full article [Option 1]:

Many smart phone manufacturers preload remote support tools on their Android devices in an insecure way, providing a method for hackers to take control of the devices through rogue apps or even SMS messages.

The vulnerability was discovered by researchers from security firm Check Point Software Technologies, who presented it Thursday at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas. According to them, it affects hundreds of millions of Android devices from many manufacturers including Samsung Electronics, LG Electronics, HTC, Huawei Technologies and ZTE.

(Computer World, dated 5th August 2015 author Jeremy Kirk)

Full article [Option 1]:

Google, Samsung and LG will start to issue monthly security patches for Android devices, taking a cue from the PC industry after critical vulnerabilities put hundreds of millions of smartphone users at risk.

Security experts have warned for years that Android devices receive critical updates from manufacturers either too slowly or not at all. Phones and tablets have been increasingly targeted by hackers looking to steal data or defraud users.

Google's Nexus devices will get monthly over-the-air security patches, said Adrian Ludwig, lead engineer for Android security, at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas.

(The Register, dated 31st July 2015 author Iain Thomson)

Full article [Option 1]:

People aren't good at waiting for stuff, and with computer users queueing up to download Windows 10, ransomware purveyors have started to move in.

Cisco's security team has noticed a new spamming campaign attempting to spread the CTB-Locker ransomware using emails purporting to come from Microsoft, telling people they are ready to download Windows 10.

The emails mimic the actual Windows 10 messages Redmond has been sending out (with some minor text mistakes) and have spoofed the originating address to read as, although the sender's IP address can be traced back to Thailand. There's also a Microsoft disclaimer, and a message claiming the files have been cleared as virus-free by Mailscanner.


(1st September 2015)


(Police Oracle, dated 27th August 2015 author Josh Loeb)


Full article [Option 1]:,000-cows,-sheep-and-pigs-stolen-last-year_89380.html

The fight against rural crime is becoming increasingly hi tech, with officers now using handheld electronic scanners to identify owners of flocks of sheep found being transported in suspicious vehicles.

The Food Standards Agency has no data on how much meat from stolen livestock ends up on people’s dinner plates.

But the latest figures from insurer NFU Mutual suggest that over 90,000 sheep, cattle and pigs were stolen in the UK last year.

The insurer estimates that rustling cost the country's farmers over £6.6 million in 2014.

Scanners that detect and read electronic tags in sheep’s ears are now being used by North Yorkshire who are also consulting guidebooks for shepherds to pinpoint breeds.

Tim Price from NFU Mutual said there were fears a successful police crackdown on sheep rustling in Lancashire had led to the problem being displaced to nearby Yorkshire and Cumbria.

Organised crime gangs operating on an industrial scale see livestock in remote rural areas as easy pickings, it is suspected.

In North Wales - regarded as ahead of the pack when it comes to prosecuting rural crime - information from an “ear notch book” farmers use has been placed on the force’s website to help the public resolve some disputes about ownership without having to call police.

Sergeant Rob Taylor, a North Wales rural crime specialist, said criminals stealing sheep and selling the meat was comparatively rare in his force area.

"People are quoting this going into the food chain stuff, but I've not seen any hard evidence. It's easy to surmise, and that may be where they are going, but I’ve not seen any evidence. Who knows if all the claims are genuine?"

"In the past two years we've had just one case where we know it [the meat] has gone into food chain."

In North Wales, he added, "dogs attacking sheep is probably a far worse problem."

Sgt Taylor's force last year carried out a computerised exercise in predictive policing which found farmers were most at risk of being targeted by criminals on a Thursday.

Saturday was the top day in terms of wildlife crime offences such as illegal shooting of birds of prey and badger baiting.

Sgt Taylors team used a computer programme that searches North Wales Police crime report logs using keywords including "bat","bird" "badger", and, for rural crime, words including "farm", "sheep" and "diesel".

After over a decade of livestock rustling claims being reported very low levels, claims rocketed in 2011, increasing by a massive 170 per cent across the UK.

There was a further increase, of 3.6 per cent, in 2012 and a 24 per cent increase the following year. There was a small fall in the number of such claims reported in 2014.

Policing commentator and author Mike Pannett said: "These are just the claims we know about. This is serious organised crime by people making huge amounts of money out of it and operating in areas where police officers are getting fewer and fewer in number.

(1st September 2015)


(Police Oracle, dated 3rd August 2015 author Ian Weinfass)


Full article [Option 1]:

A county in which the police and fire services want to become "one organisation" is continuing with its integration plans.

Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire and Rescue have applied to extend a fire station in Rushden and close the nearby police station.

They have also announced they want a combined base in south west Northampton.

The two emergency organisations have moved into the same building in the village of Thrapston already, and are sharing other resources like vehicles and training.

After a successful pilot, a second car will be added in another part of Northamptonshire.

Deputy Chief Constable Andy Frost said: "The police and fire services have worked in partnership for many years and one of best ways to bring about even closer working is by basing police and fire staff in the same building."

"We also need to make sure we have up to date facilities suitable for today’s policing, and many of our existing police stations are old, inefficient and expensive to maintain, including Rushden station."

"Policing the local community is about much more than a building though, and we are committed to retaining a policing presence in Rushden. If the planning application is approved, both community and response officers will be based at the fire station, which is already an established community facility in a central, accessible location."

Plans are also underway for the Northampton south west safer community team and local response officers to be based with fire officers at Mereway fire station in the town.

In 2013 it was suggested that police and crime commissioners should take over the running of fire services too.

The government said recently that the law would be changed in this area. A Home Office spokesman said: "We will bring forward legislation in this parliament to help local leaders join up services to generate savings, cut crime and reduce fires for the communities they serve."

Integration has been occurring elsewhere in the country too, with Hampshire Constabulary said to have saved £4 million a year by working closely with a council and the local fire service.

The government has invested more than £70 million in helping establish blue light collaboration since September 2014.

(1st September 2015)

(The Register, dated 27th August 2015 author Stuart Burns)

Full article [Option 1]:

In a post-Snowden world most IT people are painfully aware that most of us would not win a fight against a well-funded organisation, or government, that wants the data on your network, laptop or device.

When someone is targeted by such an entity, they won't go for the ever-popular "spooks" style secret bugging or custom zero-day exploits. Those tricks are reserved for the real bad boys (and other governments, if you live in the US).

A user can use all the encryption they like, but the UK government's strongest weapon is a potential two-year jail term for those who don't roll over and comply with decryption key requests. In less enlightened nations spanner decryption may well be used to persuade a suspect to hand over those crypto keys.

With that thought in mind how can administrators and power users secure a company network against data loss as well as the common or garden variety thief, attacker or malware slinger?


A lot of individuals and companies view the theft or loss of laptops and mobile devices as a big issue. Such theft represents two distinct issues.

Once control of the device is lost the security already present on the device is the only thing preventing an attacker from lifting all the information. At the recent SpiceWorld London a straw poll suggested that approximately two thirds of attendees used Full Disk Encryption. The other one third must be either lazy or just mad.

Any device I own or manage for others uses Full Disk Encryption (FDE), often overlooked is making a device auto lock and password protected. In such a lose configuration, once a device is lost or stolen they will more than likely be in control of a Facebook, LinkedIn or some other account.

Just make sure it is password protected OK! Fingerprint scanning? Just don't trust it. Anything that can be defeated by a gummi bear is not worthy of being called secure.

When working as a junior admin many years ago, before InfoSec became a big security issue, we had a laptop theft due to a salesman not being careful with his company laptop. One day we noticed the stolen laptop come online on our remote management product. With the remote viewing capability we decided to just watch.

Somehow this stolen computer had ended up being purchased (or otherwise obtained) by a student at a London university (according to the IP geolocation data). We knew it was a student because rather than wipe the laptop and start over, a new account was added and Ti graphing and MattLab software installed.

We even watched him do his coursework on it. When the police were contacted it was an exercise in futility. We gave up when we tried to explain IP addresses to a copper who was neither interested nor IT literate.

Eventually this "user" clocked the software and removed it post-haste. Luckily, there was no real sensitive info on the machine. Lesson well and truly learned: most laptops that are stolen are by opportunistic thieves.

There really is no excuse. Most modern devices and operating systems come with the option to enable inbuilt FDE. Assuming the inbuilt security algorithm is robust is the only thing a user can really do.

Make sure that the encryption phrase used is strong and lengthy. I typically run to thirty characters including the whole range of non-alphanumeric ones.

The loss of the information on the device can be either an inconvenience or a disaster depending upon how good the backups are. Secure backups can be a complex issue in themselves.

Cloud backup is fine, but it also has several inherent weaknesses. Should an attacker be able to compromise a backup account it is easy enough to wipe out all the backups, or even more if you happen to live in the Apple centric eco-system with remote wipe capability. With the advent of cryptolocker ransomware the issue of good backups becomes even more critical.

(1st September 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 27th August 2015 author Press Association)

 Full article [Option 1]:

More than 27,000 uninsured cars have been seized so far this year, figures show. The cars taken off the road by police forces across the country include two Ferraris, three Lamborghinis, 10 Bentleys and 40 Porsches.

The Metropolitan police seized the largest number of cars at 9,935. This is twice the total of the constabulary with the second highest figure - West Yorkshire recorded 4,125.

A total of 27,688 cars have been seized so far in 2015. Last year, 70,430 cars were taken by the police.

The information comes from freedom of information requests to the UK's police forces on 2 June and the analysis is based on responses from the 23 forces that responded fully.

Steve Barrett, head of car insurance at Churchill Insurance, said: "This analysis exposes just the tip of the uninsured iceberg. Thousands upon thousands of motorists across the country are driving without insurance, which is truly terrifying.

"We need an urgent examination of the penalties for uninsured motoring, introducing sentences that are a real deterrent and that will keep these irresponsible motorists off the road."

Of the seized cars, 1,892 have been sold at auction, raising just over £1m. More than 6,700 vehicles have been crushed, generating a scrap value of over £600,000.


(BT News, dated 26th July 2015)

Full article [Option 1]:

Over a third of motorists don't fully understand how fully comprehensive car insurance works, according to new research by insurer Churchill.

That means millions of motorists are potentially driving with invalid insurance or much lower cover than they think.

The research revealed that 35% of people with a UK driving licence think that a fully comprehensive car insurance policy covers them to drive any vehicle and be entitled to the same level of cover. The number rises to 46% for 18-34 year olds.

Less than a quarter of drivers would tell their insurer if they were planning to drive another vehicle, while only 40% checked if their policy actually allowed them to drive another vehicle.

Driving other cars

Contrary to what some drivers believe, almost no insurers offer 'open' cover for driving other cars (or DOC).

DOC only extends to third parties and is only intended to be used for a very short time during a policy year, such as in the case of the owner's emergency illness.

A third of the licenced drivers surveyed believed that they could drive another vehicle with no restrictions whatsoever. Just 12% of them understood that it's just for a limited time, while only 16% knew that it would be restrictedthe policy was limited to emergencies only.

Rob Miles, director of motor at Churchill Insurance, said it was "worrying" that few drivers understood that a fully comprehensive policy did not cover every driver in every situation. He added: "Uninsured motorists drive up the cost of insurance premiums for all other drivers and ignorance is no excuse."

The table below breaks down which drivers are most likely to be confused about what fully comprehensive policies cover on a regional basis.

REGION (Source: Churchill Car Insurance)

Scotland : 42%
Yorkshire and Humber : 42%
North East : 42%
London : 38%
South East : 37%
South West : 34%
East Midlands : 33%
West Midlands : 33%
Wales   : 31%
East of England : 30%
North West : 28%

(Percentage of licence holders who believe they can drive any vehicle with a fully comprehensive policy)

(1st September 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 26th August 2015 author Pippa Crerar)

 Full article [Option 1]:

The Metropolitan Police was today accused of failing too many domestic abuse victims as new figures revealed only one third were being referred to specialists - with offences rising by 18 per cent in the past year.

In London just 33 per cent of cases are passed on to a panel of experts, set up to help high-risk victims, compared with 63 per cent nationally.

However, the Met claims much of the 18 per cent increase in recorded instances of domestic abuse can be explained by a growth in confidence among victims, primarily women, to report the crimes.

Labour mayoral candidate Tessa Jowell, who obtained the data from the  charity SafeLives, today called for  specialist training for frontline officers in dealing with domestic abuse.

She said: "In 2015 domestic violence should be a thing of the very distant past, but recorded abuse is rising across our city - so our response must improve.

"The Met aren't referring enough cases to specialist teams and they do not have enough specialist training. As Mayor I would change that. It means creating a city where women can feel safe in their own homes - that's what I intend to do."

Figures for the last year appear to show more women in the capital are suffering at the hands of partners, with recorded domestic crimes increasing from 58,000 in June 2014 to nearly 69,000 in June this year. In 2012-13, domestic abuse was responsible for 69 per cent of all recorded assaults with intent, and 31 per cent of all assaults with injury.

The Met also refers fewer victims to specialist panels, Multi-Agency Risk Assessment Conferences which bring together teams of experts from the NHS, police and children's social services to help in high-risk cases.

However, many commands refer victims to specialist domestic violence advocates instead.

In 2014, more than 74,052 cases, involving 93,759 children, were discussed at MARACs across the UK.

Police in four boroughs in the capital had referral rates of less than 20 per cent, raising concerns that some were failing to identify patterns of abuse.

Dame Tessa's campaign said the lower referral rate in London pointed to problems with the way that the Met handled domestic abuse cases.

They claimed in parts of the Met, too many officers were still labelling single domestic abuse incidents as medium risk without looking at wider patterns of behaviour or repeat incidents.

It came as Dame Tessa launched Women for Tessa as part of her campaign, winning the support of all four Labour women council leaders in the capital.

The Met Police said that referral rates, while lower than the national average, had actually increased in the capital.

A spokesman said: "The rates of referrals to MARACs varies significantly between boroughs across London, but the MPS referrals have increased by 24 per cent year on year, with 9,290 referrals in 2014 compared to 7,060 in 2013.

"We are due to meet with representatives from Safe Lives in the near future to discuss implementing a minimum standard for referrals across London with the aim of reducing inconsistencies in the numbers of referrals between different areas.

"The MPS takes domestic abuse very seriously and is committed to safeguarding all victims and bringing perpetrators to justice, working with all our partners and local communities."

(1st September 2015)

(Computer World, dated 25th August 2015 author Darren Pauli)

 Full article [Option 1]:

The Former police commissioner for the Australian state of Victoria, Christine Nixon, says body-worn cameras are a 'Pandora's Box' that cause more problems than they fix.

Body-worn cameras are being used, or trialled, by police forces in all six Australian states and are widely used or contemplated around the world.

Victoria introduced the program under the bring-your-own-device Project Provenance pilot claiming in line with other states that cameras would increase police accountability.

But Nixon, Victoria Police chief between 2001 and 2009, says the cameras could create a precedent whereby cops could be accused of tampering with footage or be criticised for not wearing or turning off the devices.

"It's a Pandora's box and not well tested," Nixon told Vulture South.

"If a camera is available and you (a police officer) thought you were in a risky situation then that's fine.

"But people may say 'why would I trust you, you didn't have a camera on', and that is a real concern for me."

Nixon, now a conference speaker, drew parallels in her Sydney speech between her sometimes controversial decisions as police chief and those required by the information security industry.

The speech, given at the Gartner security conference in Sydney yesterday focused on trust and risk, and the pervasive inadequacies of management.

She drew on examples of making "hard decisions" including her immediate and forced shuttering of the Armed Offender's Squad in 2006 following frequent complaints of police brutality, the capture of Melbourne gangland kingpin Tony Mokbel while on the run in Greece, and criticism of her then role as 2009 chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority.

Nixon became Australia's first female police chief commissioner during the height of Melbourne's bloody gangland war and during an intense period of state police corruption.

(1st September 2015)

(The Telegraphy, dated 23rd August 2015, author Isabelle Fraser)

Full article [Option 1]:

A revenge porn helpline set up by the government saw a huge spike in calls after a documentary was broadcast on the subject by Sue Perkins' girlfriend, Anna Richardson.

The Revenge Porn Helpline said they saw the same number of calls in the 48 hours after Channel 4 show than it usually receives in one week.

Writer and broadcaster Anna Richardson presented the show Revenge Porn, which was broadcast last Monday, in which she shared explicit pictures of herself to learn what it is like to become a victim.

The programme showed that within 48 hours of posting these images, they had been viewed 40,000 times, and she was contacted by two men.

Posting revenge porn images and videos online was made illegal in England and Wales in April 2015.

Nicky Morgan, the minister for Women and Equalities, said: "It is never acceptable to circulate intimate photos of an individual without their consent. But I want all those affected to know that the Government is on their side."

The helpline has received more than 1,800 calls from more than 280 people since it was set up in February.

The helpline, run by South West Grid for Learning, offers support and legal advice, often referring callers to Women's Aid. It said that 75 per cent of the calls they receive are from women.

Earlier this month, for the first time using the new law two men were jailed for revenge porn.

Revenge Porn Helpline: 0845 6000 459

(1st September 2015)


(International Business Times, dated 22nd August 2015 author Zairah Khurshid)


Full article [Option 1]:

The theft of blue disabled parking badges has more than doubled in the past year. The number rose 167% from 656 thefts in 2012/13 to 1,756 in 2013/14, according to Department for Transport data.

Blue badges allow disabled drivers and passengers to park in disabled parking bays and to park for free in pay-and-display car parks.

Blue badges give thieves the benefit of conning more than £6,000 a year in free parking. Holders are also exempt from the congestion charge in the capital, a saving of £2,500 a year. Local Government Association deputy chairman Peter Fleming said: "Callous Blue Badge thieves and unscrupulous fraudsters using them illegally are robbing disabled people of this independence.

"It is staggering how low some people are stooping simply to con a few hours of free parking and alarming to see thefts rising so significantly," he said.

The misuse of a blue badge is tied to a maximum fine on conviction of £1,000. A total of 565 people were prosecuted last year in England and Wales, according to the Local Government Association. At least 2.5m disabled people have been issued the badges, which are issued by local councils.

(1st September 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 22nd August 2015 author Tim Ross)


Full article [Option 1]:

Scores of the country's worst sex offenders have been sent back to prison after taking lie-detector tests while on early release.

In the past year, 492 people convicted of serious sex offences such as rape and child abuse in England and Wales have been forced to take polygraph tests under the terms of their release from custody "on licence".

New figures showed 63 of these individuals - 13 per cent - were put back behind bars after the tests showed they had breached the conditions of their release.

Officials said the tests had shown that some paedophiles who were released on licence before the end of their sentences posed an "immediate risk" to children. These individuals were then sent back to jail.

A succession of cases in recent years has shown offenders released early have offended again and the tests, introduced last year, are designed to prevent re-offending by paedophiles and other sex attackers.

In one case, a man convicted of sexual offences against a child was released into the community after a lengthy prison term. He then took a lie detector test to assess whether he had complied with the conditions of his early release - which included a ban on using the internet without approval.

The offender, who has not been named, was found to have lied during the polygraph test but the results still revealed that he had been using the internet.

When confronted with the findings and questioned again, he confessed that he had viewed indecent images of children online. Police then searched his home and found these images saved onto data storage devices hidden at the property. He was then was charged with further offences and sent back to prison.

Lyndsey Walker, a polygraph examiner, has carried out more than 60 tests under the new system, which came into operation last August. She said the test had proved to be "invaluable" in keeping the public safe.

"My polygraph sessions have frequently resulted in serious sex offenders making disclosures which have shown they either aren't complying with the conditions of their release or that they pose an increased risk to the public," she said. "I have seen sex offenders make admissions that prove they pose an imminent risk to children allowing authorities to take appropriate action to keep communities safe."

Offenders who take the lie-detector tests are twice as likely to confess to breaking the conditions of their release - and therefore ending up back in prison, the MoJ said.

The MoJ said the tests are now available across the country, with a trained polygraph examiner in every region. More experienced probation officers will undergo the 12-week training programme later this year.

Offenders convicted of the most serious sex crimes must undergo a test in their first three months after being released, and then again once every six months.

Andrew Selous, the Prisons and Probation Minister, said: "Lie detector tests play a vital part in supervising high risk sex offenders. Those who cannot comply with their licence conditions are being returned to prison which shows the success of the tests and helps us to keep the public safer."

Last month, the National Crime Agency warned there could be as many as 750,000 men in Britain who have a sexual interest in children and police are now recording 85 new offences every day.

Under changes designed to reduce the prison population more than a decade ago, offenders serving jail terms of fixed lengths can be released after doing half their time.

They are released "on licence" - which means they are subject to certain conditions, which could include living at an approved address, not using the internet without approval, and not having unsupervised access to children.

(1st September 2015)


(The Register, dated 21st August 2015 author John Leyden)


Full article [Option 1]:

A device which can be attached to smartphones is capable of stealing customers' PINs using thermal imaging, UK security consultancy Sec-Tec warns.

Thermal imaging equipment - once the sole preserve of only the best-equipped attacker - is now available as a readily available iPhone accessory costing less than £200. The kit creates an increasing risk to push-button security devices.

Sec-Tec tested a wide range of push-button security devices, including ATMs, locks and safes, discovering in the process that devices could leak the digits pressed by a legitimate user for over a minute after use.

The iPhone accessory is available online from a wide variety of sources. Legitimate uses for the gadget include finding leaks within plumbing systems.

While identifying the keys in use is straightforward, pinpointing the order in which they were pressed is far trickier. However, many of the devices utilise no lock-out mechanism. And testing all combinations of a four-digit code once the digits are known is easy.

Even in cases where the number of tries are restricted it might still be possible to optimise the process of determining key ordering so that the process is more efficient than that found in a simple brute force attack. Sec-Tec has created two undisclosed methods that assist in this process.

Sec-Tec has combined this attack vector with existing RFID cloning equipment to successfully compromise two-factor door locks on a physical-penetration test.

The use of devices with metallic (as opposed to plastic or rubber) keys makes also such attacks impossible. And palming the keypad after use, even for only a few seconds, prevents attacks in the majority of cases, Sec-Tec advises.

A brief (11 second) YouTube clip, put together by Sec-Tec, presenting a view through a thermal imaging system of someone entering a code through a PIN pad can be found below.

(1st September 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 21st August 2015 author Vikram Dodd)


Full article [Option 1]:

The Metropolitan police solved six out of every 100 burglaries last year, nearly half the rate their officers cleared up five years ago.

Britain's biggest police force said it solved 12% of burglaries in 2010-11. Labour said the sharp fall in the clear-up rate since then was due to budget cuts imposed by the Conservatives, but the Met said the way it counted the figures had changed.

Joanne McCartney, policing spokeswoman for Labour in London, who put together the figures, said: "With the rate of reported burglaries falling, freeing up police resources and time, we should be seeing a rise in the number of solved cases. In reality, this hasn't been the case and this can only be because of government cuts to the police force.

"With 94% of all domestic burglaries in the capital going unsolved it's clear London's police service is already being stretched to the limit."

The Met accepts Labour's figures for burglaries are correct but says the reason is because of a radical change in what now counts as a solved burglary.

The force says over half of the burglaries they used to record as solved came from people who admitted a string of other offences after they were arrested. The force says this practice, called taking into consideration (TIC) other offences, was open to abuse.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, the Met's commissioner, became embroiled in a public spat a fortnight ago with other police chiefs after saying his force would continue to send an officer to every burglary.

Sara Thornton, the chair of the National Police Chiefs' Council, had said cuts would mean an officer may not attend every scene or might take longer to get there. She said big funding cuts could mean victims of burglary could be asked to send video and pictures of the aftermath to police.

The Met says that over half of its clear-ups in 2010-11 were gained from offenders who were arrested and then admitted to other offences. The force said there were problems with the integrity of that practice and they have largely stopped counting TICs as burglaries they have solved.

Commander Simon Letchford, who leads on burglary for the Met, told the Guardian the change has caused their clear-up rate to fall, but their figure is now more "ethical". In 2010-11, 53% of burglaries were due to arrested people confessing to other offences, or TICs. Now that figure is just 8%.

Letchford said: "A person would be arrested for burglary and have other offences taken into consideration and could potentially admit hundreds of offences - and all this was shown as detected crime. We used to do a lot of TICs, as did quite a lot of other forces. There have been occasions where people have manipulated the system. It can be manipulated by officers and offenders."

The Met says the overall number of burglaries has fallen in the last five years, from 65,840 in 2010-11 to 50,662 in 2014-15, in line with the falling national trend in reported crime.

McCartney said: "It's clear the historic inclusion of TICs meant solved burglary figures were padded out, making them look much better than they were".

Forces in the UK have different methodologies for counting clear-up rates for crime. Letchford declined to say whether the use of TICs by other forces was wrong: "It is a Home Office-approved way of clearing up crime. If they [other forces] want to continue doing that, it's a lawful way of solving crime."

Letchford said the Met's clear-up rate of burglaries has gone up slightly over the last five years, from 5.4% to 6%. It is behind other forces he conceded, and Letchford said that 6% was "not good enough".

In 2013-14 - the last year for which comparative data is available - the Met was the worst-performing force for solving burglaries from people's homes.

Before it changed the way the way it counted, the Met caught offenders in 11% of burglaries, against a national average of 15.5%, according to figures from Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary. That disparity is even worse now the Met has stopped relying so heavily on offenders admitting other offences.

Comparable forces serving big urban areas did better. Greater Manchester police solved 14% of burglaries from homes, West Midlands 13%, and West Yorkshire 18%. The City of London force claimed a 25% clear-up rate for burglaries, and South Wales claimed a 37% rate.

(1st September 2015)


(London Evening Standard, dated 20th August 2015 author Justin Davenport)


Full article [Option 1]:

Conmen are fleecing Londoners out of nearly £3 million  a month in a range of sophisticated investment scams, a senior police officer warned today.

Thousands of people are falling victim to cons involving speculating in goods ranging from rare metals and wine to property and alternative energy.

Det Supt Jayne Snelgrove, head of Scotland Yard's Falcon cyber-fraud crime unit, said investment fraud was one of the most prolific crimes being tackled by her force.

"We are seeing significant numbers of investment frauds as conmen target older people, not just because they are vulnerable but because of the cash in their accounts," she added. "These are too-good-to-be-true investment opportunities. The commodity is almost irrelevant.

"There are wine investment frauds, coloured diamonds are often offered, plus oil, carbon credits - you name it."

In some cases victims were persuaded to invest in foreign land to be used for crop growing. They are often given official-looking documentation regarding the investment, only to find the company disappears overnight with their cash.

Police also say there is evidence of scammers targeting the elderly to get hold of pension savings in the wake of the recent financial reforms. A number of elderly victims put money into what they believed were "Government over-65 bonds" - but which turned out to be fake investments.

City of London Police are also reporting a surge in investment scams operating from some of the Square Mile's top addresses, including Tower 42. Figures show that between February and April this year 115 victims reported losing £8.2 million - a rate of £2.7 million a month, or £92,134 each day, in investment frauds alone.

Det Supt Snelgrove said conmen typically used a "Ponzi-style" scheme where victims' investment money was passed on to a previous victim, so people believed they were getting a good return - until the money ran out.

Speaking a year after the 300-strong crime unit's launch, she said investment fraud is just one of a range of cons it is investigating. Officers at four new "cyber-crime hubs" in London are at work on 1,400 inquiries, the vast maj- ority involving at least five victims. A highly specialised squad is tackling complex inquiries, involving 25 to 30 organised crime groups, which could take years to unravel.

One probe involves a con where victims are encouraged to transfer money between accounts - or have the acc- ounts taken over remotely and drained of funds. Losses total millions.

So far the squad has made 650 arrests and charged 250 people with a range  of offences from distributed denial of service attacks to blackmail. In total, 24,000 reports of fraud were passed to the squad last year, a figure believed to be a fraction of total cyber offences committed. The figures come as a recent report showed that Londoners were now more worried about online crime than the traditional variety.

Frauds routinely investigated by the cyber-crime unit include auction site scams, where gangs claim to sell cars or property but neither exists. Others involve romance and couriers.

Police are also concerned about mandate fraud, where companies are being conned out of millions of pounds a year by gangs claiming to be suppliers who have changed their bank details.

The scams, often backed by sophisticated paperwork, can cost firms about £50,000 a time and are only detected when suppliers ask for payment.

Detectives say conmen are increasingly posing as police officers to trick people, notably in courier frauds.

Det Supt Snelgrove said: "We continue trying to educate people that neither we nor your bank will ever ask you for pin numbers or bank details."

In a new development, police see victims receive cold calls by scammers claiming to work for software firms and who allege there is an issue with the victim's computer. If they are granted access to the machine they can then gather confidential information.

Det Supt Snelgrove added: "Our focus is very much on making Londoners safe but this is a national and international issue as well as a London one."

(1st September 2015)

(International Business Times, dated 19th August 2015 author Callum Paton)


Full article [Option 1]:

Sex offences on British trains and at stations have risen to record highs with an increase of 25% according to figures from the British transport police. 1,399 sex offences were recorded between March 2014 to March 2015, an increase of 282 on the previous year. The rise was attributed to a campaign encouraging individuals to report the crimes. The majority of sexual offences were against woman and girls.

British Transport Police were partly responsible for the launch of "Report It, Stop It", an awareness campaign for sexual violence on trains and at stations. While figures show instances of sexual violence are being reported more often there are fears that the crimes remain under reported.

Deputy Chief Constable Adrian Hanstock said: "When you consider that 4.5 million passenger journeys were made on the rail network each day in 2014/15, the chances of becoming a victim of crime are minimal - but we are well aware that individual experiences can differ greatly to that wider picture."

Recorded violent crimes on UK trains also rose by 9,148 instances, an increase of 8%. However, overall crime was down for the 11th consecutive year. Looking at the figures over the last 11 years, Hanstock said: "In that time, vehicle and cycle crime has been driven down by 39%, meaning 4,600 fewer offences, while 19,000 fewer people have been the victim of the theft of property, with crimes of this type down 61%.

"All of this has been achieved against a background of a growing industry, increasing passenger numbers and large-scale investment in infrastructure. The demand for the skills of BTP officers and staff will be even greater with the opening of Crossrail, plans for the HS2 link and the introduction of night services on the London Tube network."

uaware further information

The following figures are from the British Transport Police Annual Report and are just for the B Division TfL notifiable offences - London

Recorded Sexual Crimes 2014/15 (bracketed figures 2013/14)

Sexual Offences against females : 382 (296)
Sexual offences against males   : 14 (7)
Exposure :                        44 (46)
Other sexual crime :             127 (80)

Criminal justice outcomes 2014/15 [bracketed figures 2013/14] for sexual offences

Sexual Offences against females : 110 [82]
Sexual offences against males : 6 [2]
Exposure :                      6 [14]
Other sexual crime :           20 [40]

(1st September 2015)


(Daily Mail, Dated 18th August 2015 authors Mark Prigg and Sarah Griffiths)


Full article [Option 1]:

Researchers have revealed a massive flaw in the remote controls used by hundreds of cars - and say Volkswagen and other manufacturers went to court two years ago to keep their discovery a secret.

Three European computer scientists say they have known about the flaws since 2012, and warned automakers.

The list of impacted cars includes luxury vehicles from Volkswagen's Porsche, Audi, Bentley, and Lamborghini brands. 

Volkswagen used its lawyers to keep the research under wraps but now a legal settlement has allowed the documents to go public.

The researchers say the flaw lies in the widely-used Megamos Crypto transponder, which is responsible for the encryption between the car and remote.

It's used in keys and car fobs and is designed to stop an engine from starting if it is not in close proximity to the vehicle.

The transponder includes a 96-bit secret key, proprietary cipher, and 32-bit PIN code, but the researchers realised that its internal security was weaker.

'The Megamos Crypto transponder is used in one of the most widely deployed electronic vehicle immobilisers,' the researchers write.

'It is used among others in most Audi, Fiat, Honda, Volkswagen and Volvo cars. 

'At some point the mechanical key was removed from the vehicle but the cryptographic mechanisms were not strengthened to compensate.

'We want to emphasise that it is important for the automotive industry to migrate from weak proprietary ciphers like this to community-reviewed ciphers ... and use it according to the guidelines.'

One of the researchers, Flavio D. Garcia of the University of Birmingham, said: 'It's a bit like if your password was 'password.'

A hacker could potentially become a valet driver and steal a fleet of cars, or steal a rental long after returning it using the flaw, it is believed. 

The flaw was discovered by Garcia, as well as Baris Ege and Roel Verdult of the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands.

The list of affected cars included several models made by Audi, Fiat, Honda, Kia, Volkswagen, Volvo and many others, which all rely on chips made by EM Microelectronic in Switzerland.

Volkswagen told MailOnline: 'Volkswagen has an interest in protecting the security of its products and its customers.

'In this connection Volkswagen does not make available information that might enable unauthorised individuals to gain access to its vehicles.

'In all aspects of vehicle security, be this mechanical or electronic, Volkswagen goes to great lengths to ensure the security and integrity of its products against external malicious attack.'

Volvo did not officially comment on its position, but stressed the issue effects older models and that the Megamos Crypto is not used in any of the Volvo vehicles currently being produced.

Tim Watson, Director of Cyber Security at the University of Warwick told Bloomberg: 'This is a serious flaw and it's not very easy to quickly correct.'

'It isn't a theoretical weakness, it's an actual one and it doesn't cost theoretical dollars to fix, it costs actual dollars.'

Researchers broke the transponder's 96-bit cryptographic system, by listening in twice to the radio communication between the key and the transponder.

This reduced the pool of potential secret key matches, and opened up the 'brute force' option, which involved running through 196,607 options of secret keys until they found the one that could start the car.

This took less than half an hour.

Researchers presented their findings on Wednesday at the Usenix conference in Washington, DC

They say they gave the Swiss chip maker nine months to fix the problem in late 2012 before they planned on going public with their discovery.

Then in 2013, Volkswagen sued the universities - and the researchers personally - to block them from publishing their discovery to fellow academics, according to court documents.

Initially, a British court sided with the automaker, writing: 'I recognise the high value of academic free speech, but there is another high value, the security of millions of Volkswagen cars.'

Eventually, both sides settled when the researchers agreed to omit a single line from their report - a pivotal detail which could allow a non-technical person to work out the hack.

Volkswagen said the hack takes 'considerable, complex effort' that's unlikely to be used except by tech-savvy, organized crime syndicates.'

Volkswagen also said its latest cars, including the Golf 7 and Passat B8, aren't vulnerable.

The flaw is similar to the Rolljam, which can built for $30 (£20), and let amateur hackers open dozens of cars and even get into garages.

The hacker behind the project says it will open cars from Chrysler, Daewoo, Fiat, GM, Honda, Toyota, Volvo, Volkswagen Group, Clifford, Shurlok, and Jaguar.

Ethical hacker Samy Kamkar, who last week cracked GM's OnStar smartphone app security and demonstrated his ability to illicitly unlock and start a car over a mobile phone network, says it uses a system known as a rolling code critical to how electronic keys work.

It's a proven system that's secured tens of millions of cars and remote garage door openers for years.

The RollJam takes advantage of a design flaw in the protocol that determines how keys communicate with cars.

It intercepts the 'rolling codes', one-time authentication codes exchanged by car and key that change with each lock and unlock.

Because there's no timeout on the codes, RollJam can intercept them to ensure they never reach the car.

'I can put it on your car, so that the device will always have the latest code,' Kamkar told Motherboard.

'Every single time you lock or unlock your car I'll have the latest code.'

He demonstrated the device at the Defcon hacker convention in Las Vegas where he said he wanted to build a gadget to unlock any car.

'Unlocking 'many different types of cars in makes and models… it's like a universal remote', he told Forbes.

'On my car where I have time to look at the signal or chip, I can see the difference between lock and unlock and my device can alter it live,' he said.

He has previously advised drivers to stop using a mobile app for General Motors Co's OnStar vehicle communications system.

In a video posted to YouTube he shows hackers can exploit a security flaw in the product to remotely unlock cars and start engines.

Mr Kamkar says he has figured out a way to 'locate, unlock and remote-start' vehicles by intercepting communications between the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app and the OnStar service.

Kamkar released the video a week after Fiat Chrysler Automobiles recalled some 1.4 million vehicles after hacking experts demonstrated a more serious vulnerability in the Jeep Cherokee.

That bug allowed them to gain remote control of a Jeep travelling at 70 miles per hour on a public highway.

GM said its engineers had reviewed Kamkar's research.'A fix has already been implemented,' the company said in a statement.

Kamkar said he discussed the fix with representatives from GM, but their efforts failed to thwart the attack method he uncovered, which uses a device he built and dubbed 'OwnStar.''

'They have not yet fixed the bug that 'OwnStar' is exploiting,' he told Reuters.

Representatives with GM did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the status of the bug or fix.

The 'OwnStar' issue drew the attention of U.S. safety regulators from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Representatives from the agency discussed the issue with GM, said the flaw could involve doors and engine start-stop, but does not involve other critical safety systems, according to a person familiar with those discussions.

More than 3 million people have downloaded the OnStar RemoteLink mobile app for Apple iOS and Google Inc devices, according to OnStar's website.

How does the hack work ?

The hack attacks a component known as the Megamos Crypto transponder - a tiny device in the car that checks whether the owner's key fob is nearby before allowing the engine to start.

The transponder 'talks' to the keyfob wirelessly to check its identity - and if it can't find the correct fob, it immobilises the engine.

In theory that identity has a 96-bit key, meaning there are countless billions of possible combinations and making it all but impossible to happen upon the right one by chance.

But the hackers discovered that by listening in to the wireless communication between the car and the transponder just twice, they could narrow the number of possible combinations to just 200,000.

That may still sound like a lot, but it's few enough for an automated 'cracking' programme to try every one, allowing it to find the right combination in just half an hour.

And once you've found the right combination, it's child's play for the hackers to make a fake key that will be recognised by the car as the real deal

What is a rolling code ?

Electronic car keys use what's known as 'rolling code.' Every time you press the button, a new, randomly generated code is sent over a radio frequency to your car, which has a synchronized code generator that recognizes it and then burns it so it can never be used again.

The key and the car then create new codes for the next time around, and the process repeats.

In case the two ends get out of sync -- say your kid grabs the keys when they're out of range and presses the button a bunch of times -- the car can recognize a few hundred future codes.

When it receives one of them, it disables all the prior ones.

(1st September 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 17th August 2015 author Press Association)


Full article [option 1]:

Two men conned vulnerable older people out of money and goods totalling more than £250,000, a court has heard.

Abdul Mohib, 23, masterminded the plot from the bedroom he shared with his mother, posing as a detective and calling a total of 26 victims telling them he was investigating fraudulent activities on their bank accounts.

Posing as "DC Robert Bain", he convinced the pensioners to withdraw large sums of money from their accounts or to buy high-value goods such as Rolex watches using their credit cards, and then hand them over to a "police courier".

Mominur Rahman, 20, acted as a courier and collected money from the homes of those duped by the scam.

On one occasion, a courier other than Rahman went to a crematorium where a 68-year-old victim was attending a funeral to collect £8,500 cash.

James Benson, prosecuting, said: "The defendants were responsible for a series of high-value courier frauds, whereby victims would be induced into parting with cash or high-value items such as watches or jewellery.

"In each case the victim believed that they were handing the cash or high-value item to a police officer for the purposes of a criminal investigation. But in fact they were handing the goods over to a person masquerading as the police or couriers.

"Either the victim had been induced to go to a bank and withdraw the cash from a cashier, or the victim had been induced to go, for example, to a currency exchange and withdraw quantities of euros, or the victim had been induced to go to high-end jewellery stores and purchase items such as Rolex watches."

Southwark crown court heard that the victims were mostly in their 70s or 80s, and some were disabled. Some were targeted repeatedly over a number of days, with one 85-year-old giving £28,250 over a three-day period.

In impact statements provided to the court, victims described being left "haunted" by the scam, saying they were no longer able to trust anyone claiming to be a police officer.

One victim said: "I felt I had been hypnotised over the phone by the man who said he was a police officer."

Benson said Mohib carried out "skilful investigations" into the victims, learning how much money they had in their accounts and the sums available on their credit cards.

The fraud came to light after one of the victims, 73-year-old Roy Emerson, was unable to buy a £19,200 Rolex in October last year because of an issue with his credit cards.

When this failed, Mohib asked Emerson to withdraw €13,000 in two separate transactions the following day. But by this point the police were aware of the scam and gave Emerson a fake package of cash to hand over to the courier.

The courier was arrested a short time after pick-up, and detectives found the packages stuffed down the front of his trousers. When Mohib's home was searched, police found a number of mobile phones hidden under the beds, as well as a gold Rolex watch.

Explaining how the fraud worked, Benson said: "There were methods employed that led the victims to believe that they were dealing with a genuine police officer."

The court heard that in order to reassure the victims that the call was genuine, Mohib suggested that they hang up and ring their bank or the police straight away.

However, he would keep the line open by not disconnecting the call at his end, meaning that despite dialling legitimate phone numbers - such as 999 and 101 - victims in fact remained on the phone to the fraudster.

Other suspects posing as bank officials and police operators would then pretend to answer the calls and would verify the bogus officer's story.

Although some of the money has been refunded to the victims, £88,300 of the £265,983 total remains unrecovered.

Rahman, of no fixed abode, and Mohib, of Bloomsbury, central London, admitted one count each of conspiracy to commit fraud between 12 August and 23 October last year. They are due to be sentenced on Tuesday.

(1st September 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 16th August 2015 author Christopher Hope)


Full article [Option 1]:

Ministers are under fire for allowing a multi-million pound contract for thousands of new police vehciles to be handed to foreign car firms which will make them outside of the UK.

The deal is the first time that so many police forces have joined together to buy cars at the same time to try to secure a cheaper deal for taxpayers.

It will see Ford, Peugeot, BMW and Vauxhall provide 3,000 new vehicles worth tens of millions of pounds for over half of Britain's police forces over the next two years.

Police forces said they were powerless to offer the contracts to British car factories because European Union procurement rules meant they had to go to the cheapest bidder.

Mike Penning, the Policing minister, said he would examine whether more could be done to encourage British police forces to buy British-made cars.

The news has come just as the Metropolitan Police - the country's biggest force - is running its own procurement process to replace thousands of police vehicles.

The deal - worth £34million - was announced without fanfare last month by West Yorkshire police, which was the lead force in the negotiations. Buying in bulk saved the forces £5million.

The main vehicle supply contract was awarded to Peugeot, while Vauxhall was awarded a separate deal to supply vans using the same process.

It includes for Peugeot's 208 and 308 cars, and the Partner, which are made in France, BMW's 3 and 5 series, which are made in Germany.

Also included in the deal are BMW's X5 which is made in Spartanburg, USA and Ford's Kuga, which is made in Valencia, Spain.

The only British-made cars in the deal are for the Astra 1.6 diesel, made by Vauxhall in Ellesmere Port, and for the Vivaro van, which is made in Luton.

The 22 forces involved in the deal include the British Transport Police, Cleveland, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Police Scotland, South Wales, Surrey, Sussex and West Yorkshire.

For years British police forces would only buy British cars until concerns about reliability crept it.

But there was controversy when 1965 the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary put an order for Volvo estate cars from Sweden.

That was followed by a decision by Thames Valley police to order BMW cars in 1972.

Labour criticised the decision pointing out that police and France and Germany are never seen driving around in British-made vehicles such as Nissan's or Toyota's models.

Jack Dromey, the shadow policing minister, said Home Secretary Theresa May "must not let London down" and intervene to ensure the vehicles were British-made.

He said: "The Government is guilt of a lamentable failure to use taxpayers' money to buy British for British bobbies.

"No French police minister would ever buy British cars for French gendarmes. Buying British would also boost British manufacturing."

Chris Matheson, Labour MP for the City of Chester, accused the Government of "betraying" the British car industry by not buying British-made cars.

He said: "No other major EU country would betray one of its leading industries in this way."

It was very hard "to go to Germany and find a police car that is not an Audi, a Mercedes, or a Volkswagen or to go to France and find a police car that is not a Peugeot, a Citreon or a Renault".

Britain is the fourth largest vehicle manufacturer in the EU, producing 1.6million cars and commercial vehicles every year.

Mr Matheson said awarding the contract to Peugeot was a "double insult" because the French car maker had closed its plant near Coventry in 2006, with the loss of 3,000 British manufacturing jobs, and outsourced the work to Slovenia.

He added: "In times of austerity it cannot be right that we are potentially taking millions of pounds of British taxpayers' cash and posting it across the channel. Does that really represent value for money for British taxpayers?"

"I simply cannot understand why the Government, or other public authorities such as the consortium or police and crime commissioners, are so keen to open the doors to foreign corporate bidders and hand over huge public sums to globalised companies that hold no loyalty to the UK."

A UK motor industry source said forces were unable to choose to buy British-made vehicles now because of the UK's literal interpretation of European Union procurement rules.

The source said: "In the old days a lot more police forces tended to buy British.

"Other countries can opt out from EU procurement rules to support their local manufacturers, but Britain does not. In the old days a lot more police forces tended to buy British."

The National Police Chiefs' Council, which sets policy on policing matters, said that it could not choose British manufacturers over foreign ones because of EU procurement rules.

David Wilkin, the Council's lead for Vehicle Procurement and Standardisation, said: "The vehicle purchase consortium contract was awarded after suppliers were invited to bid under European procurement laws.

"The award criteria looked at the whole life cost of vehicles rather than just the purchase price; taking into account ongoing costs such as fuel usage and servicing to ensure police forces get the best value for money.

"The police are committed to getting best value for money for the taxpayer while obtaining high-quality goods and services to keep officers and the public safe."

A spokesman added that the cars would be converted into police cars in the UK, so that would ensure that British workers benefitted more from the contract.

Mr Penning promised to examine British treatment of EU procurement rules to see whether forces could demand to buy British made vehicles.

But he said: "The key is having the right vehicles for the right people doing the right jobs."

Mr Penning pledged that more forces will be combining in the future on large procurement programmes to save money.

Mr Penning added: "There remains more to do. That is why I have decided to publish key police procurement information on the prices that forces currently pay for the most common items of uniforms and equipment, like shirts, handcuffs, batons and helmets."

Manufacturer Model -  Where are they made?

Peugeot 308 Mulhouse and Sochaux, France

Vauxhall Astra 1.6 diesel Ellesmere Port, UK

Peugeot 208 Poissy and Mulhouse, France

Vauxhall Vivaro Luton, UK

BMW 3 series Munich, Germany

BMW 5 series Dingolfing, Germany

BMW X5 Spartanburg, USA

(1st September 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 16th August 2015 author Kim Willsher)


Full article [Option 1]:

Former Paris police officer Christophe Gadenne knows all the tricks of the thieving trade.

Five years of hearing distraught tourists describe how pickpockets and scammers have ruined their holidays in the French capital made him determined to do something above and beyond the call of official duty.

Today, four years after leaving the police force, Gadenne, 35, has produced a series of free, short, animated video clips advising holidaymakers how to avoid being robbed and ripped off.

The Safety Scouts Advice series covers most of the scams tourists face when they arrive in Paris.

You are sitting on a sunny cafe terrace enjoying a drink when someone slaps a petition on the table and asks you to sign it. You smile politely and shake your head and they disappear … along with your phone or purse.

Or a complete stranger come up and hugs you while rifling through your pockets, or insists you accept a "gold" ring they have supposedly picked up from the floor.

Maybe the taxi has taken you way out of your way en route from the airport to your hotel and is demanding an extortionate fare.

The videos, most of them less than a minute long, are produced by Gadenne with the help of English-speaking friends, and have been translated or subtitled into other languages, including Chinese, Korean and Romanian. They were originally made for visitors to Paris, hence the Eiffel tower in the landscape, but have since branched out to common crimes in other capitals.

"When I was a police officer, I dealt with literally thousands of victims of aggressions and crimes like this," Gadenne told the Guardian. "I have seen how these scams can totally ruin a holiday. I've had a family with little children in tears in front of me crying because they have been robbed and aggressed. Some tourists are completely traumatised. Nobody can be indifferent to this when they see how it affects the victims.

"Some of these scammers are extremely mean, targeting women with young children, who are distracted. The problem is that, while the police often arrest the scammers, they are often released soon afterwards, so prevention is the best solution."

Most of the scenarios presented in Safety Scouts Advice seem clever but obvious, but Garenne says tourists often need a little "crime vaccine" before travelling. "Most scams are surprisingly simple and relatively easy to avoid," he says.

"It's not about making people paranoid, but giving them a little short, simple inoculation of potentially useful information that can be stored away in the back of their mind but brought out if they are confronted with one of these scams."

Gadenne, who now works as a security consultant, releases a new clip every Wednesday on YouTube. Safety Scouts Advice is also being promoted on the EU's youth website.

EU's youth website :

Safety Scout playlist :

Safety Scout Facebook :


The animations are not just suitable for travelling in Europe. They are suitable for any country, including the UK. Theses types of crime are not restricted by geographic borders.

Just like drivers are meant to be conversant with the Highway Code. It looks like as citizens we should be aware of the "Criminal Code" to be able to avoid crime !

(1st September 2015)


(BBC News, dated 13th August 2015 author Sarah Bell)


Full article :

Police are investigating a "new" crime of cyber-flashing after a commuter received an indecent image on her phone as she travelled to work.

The victim received two pictures of an unknown man's penis on her phone via Apple's Airdrop sharing function.

Lorraine Crighton-Smith, 34, said she felt "violated" and reported it to the British Transport Police (BTP).

Supt Gill Murray said this particular crime was new to her force and urged people to report any other incidents.

Ms Crighton-Smith, who was travelling on a train in south London, told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme: "I had Airdrop switched on because I had been using it previously to send photos to another iPhone user - and a picture appeared on the screen of a man's penis, which I was quite shocked by.

"So, I declined the image, instinctively, and another image appeared, at which [point] I realised someone nearby must be sending them, and that concerned me. I felt violated, it was a very unpleasant thing to have forced upon my screen.`

"I was also worried about who else might have been a recipient, it might have been a child, someone more vulnerable than me.

"My name on Airdrop says Lorraine so they knew they were sending it to a woman. The images were of a sexual nature and it was distressing."

'Report it'

Ms Crighton-Smith called the British Transport Police as she said she was worried about the motives of the perpetrator.

"What's the next stage from sending a naked photograph to a stranger, what happens next, was he getting any sort of gratification from it?"

The BTP has investigated the incident, but said because Ms Crighton-Smith did not "accept" the photograph there was no technological evidence for them to work with and recorded it as intelligence.

Supt Gill Murray said the force had dealt with cases involving Bluetooth but an incident via Airdrop was "new to us".

"Receiving an indecent image from someone you don't know must be very distressing and something we would take very seriously. If it happens to you, our advice would be to remain calm, retain the image and report the matter to police as soon as possible," she said.

"We have a dedicated Cyber Crime Unit who can analyse mobile phones and track data transfers back to suspects' devices. By linking this to physical evidence, such as CCTV footage or witness statements, we can catch offenders and bring them to justice through the courts."

Airdrop is specific to iOS device and Apple Macs. It uses wi-fi and Bluetooth to talk over a short range to other devices, like other iPhones.

Its default setting is for "contacts only", which means only people you know can see you.

But if you want to share your information or your contacts with other people, you may make a change to the settings and change it to "everyone".

"This means that typically in a train carriage, or tube carriage, you can see other devices," commented Ken Munro, a cybersecurity consultant at Pentest Partners.

"That's what's happened in this particular case, someone has enabled everyone and then hasn't then set it back. As a result anyone within wi-fi or Bluetooth range can send something to you that's quite horrible."

He added that Apple could tackle the issue by making Airdrop return to its default setting if it had not been used for 10 minutes or so.

A spokesman for Apple declined to comment.


(The Telegraph, dated 13th August 2015 author Telegraph Staff)

Full article [Option 1]:

A new crime dubbed "cyber-flashing" is being investigated by police after a woman received an unsolicited image of a penis on her iPhone.

Apple's AirDrop software, which was introduced two years ago, allows users to share photos, links and other material stored on an iPhone, iPad or Mac, using a combination of a device's WiFi and Bluetooth connections.

The technology was introduced to make it quicker and easier to send files than via email or other messaging services. However, people do not need to know each other to send files, which means that in many cases, it is possible to receive pictures from strangers.

There are three settings for AirDrop: "Everyone", "Contacts Only" and "Off". The default setting is "Contacts Only", which means only people whose numbers are saved on your phone will be able to send items. However, many people may have switched to "Everyone", perhaps when fiddling with the settings or turning it on to receive a photo from someone who isn't a contact.

Anyone within range - approximately 30 feet - could send a file to someone with AirDrop turned on and "Everyone" selected. In a busy area such as a train carriage, there is a significant chance of finding someone like this.

How to avoid cyber-flashing

To check your settings, swipe up from the bottom of your iPhone screen to pull up a menu. Towards the bottom-left your AirDrop settings will be selected.

If it is set to Everyone, you can change this by pressing the AirDrop section and selecting "Off" or "Contacts Only". AirDrop is only available if both WiFi and Bluetooth are enabled, so if one of these are turned off, you should be okay.

If AirDrop has been left on and you do happen to receive a photo, you have to accept it before it actually landing on your phone, although you will see a preview.

Just press decline if you don't want to receive it.

On Android smartphones, two devices must pair over Bluetooth to exchange photos. If you receive a request from a device you don't know, just reject it.

(1st September 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 13th August 2015 author Agency)


Full article [Option 1]:

As many as four in five burglaries go unsolved, figures have revealed - prompting fresh questions about how police respond to the crime.

Forces in England and Wales closed 80.2 per cent of investigations into break-ins without identifying a suspect in 2014/15.

An analysis of Home Office data published last month showed that just one in 15 burglaries (6.6 per cent) led to a charge or summons.

A fierce debate has erupted in recent weeks over how police approach burglary inquiries in the face of budget cuts and staff losses.

Sara Thornton, one of the country's most senior officers, has suggested police might not always attend homes after they are broken into and raised the possibility of burglary victims sending evidence to police over the internet.

Meanwhile, one force piloted an approach in which attempted break-ins at houses with odd numbers were not fully investigated.

Success rates in burglary inquiries appear to be comparatively low. Across all crimes, the proportion of cases closed without a suspect being identified falls to just under half (49 per cent).

The overall proportion of offences leading to a charge or summons is also more than double that for burglaries - 15.5 per cent.

Crime outcome figures show that 1.1 per cent of burglaries are "taken into consideration" by courts dealing with criminals convicted of multiple offences.

A very small proportion - 0.5 per cent - are dealt with out of court, while in the same percentage of break-ins prosecutions are deemed not to be "in the public interest".

In one in 25 instances (4.3 per cent) a suspect was identified, but "evidential difficulties" prevented further action, while in 1.2 per cent of investigations the victim did not want to pursue further action. The remaining 5.6 per cent have not yet been assigned an outcome.

Separate figures suggest burglary rates are falling, with an estimated 785,000 domestic break-ins in the year to March - two thirds (67 per cent) lower than in 1995.

Karen Froggatt, director of the charity Victim Support, said: "We know the police do their best, in challenging circumstances, to catch offenders and make sure that they are brought to justice.

"Nevertheless it is disappointing that eight in 10 burglaries go unsolved. Not only does this mean that the vast majority of burglary victims are denied justice and see no chance of having their possessions recovered, it also means offenders are free to reoffend.

"Victims of crime need to have confidence that the police are making every effort to catch offenders so, where a case is closed without a suspect being identified, it is important that victims understand the reasons why.

"Victims tell us they suffer far more than lost possessions when their home is burgled. There can be a lasting effect on the whole family and victims often feel violated as their home is no longer a safe haven. Knowing a burglar is still at large can also add to a sense of anxiety and stress for

Deputy Chief Constable Gareth Morgan, lead on burglary at the National Police Chiefs' Council, said police recognise the impact burglaries have on their victims.

He said: "When it comes to the investigation of burglaries, it is not a question of if we will investigate, but when - all burglary crimes will be investigated and responded to.

"Research has shown us how to prevent repeat burglaries and that taking basic crime prevention measures work. Burglary rates are now at their lowest for thirty years.

"The best chance of achieving a successful outcome in a burglary investigation is either through the perpetrator being apprehended at the scene or by the retrieval of forensic material which can identify a perpetrator."

The Home Office said all crimes reported to police should be taken seriously and investigated.

A spokesman added: "Decisions on individual investigations are an operational matter for Chief Constables based on the evidence available to them and investigations can be reopened at any time should further evidence come to light."

(1st September 2015)


(The Register, dated 11th August 2015 author John Leyden)


Full article [Option 1]:

Security business Malwarebytes warns that crooks are tricking users into visiting mobile sites containing code that charges users via their mobile number. Victims are corralled through a complex series of pop-up adverts to a fly-by-night web address with a hidden payment button that charges a fee.

Marks only discover they've been fleeced after receiving a text saying "you've paid £5 for one entry for visiting our website" or similar.

Direct-to-bill online services have been around for some years, offering consumers a means to pay for services using their mobile phones without relying on a credit or debit card. The facility has numerous legitimate uses (charity donations, for example) but in cases highlighted by Malwarebytes, fraudsters have abused the system to suit their own nefarious purposes.

Christopher Boyd, a malware intelligence analyst at Malwarebytes, said that the scam illustrates the hidden danger from pop-ups, adverts and mobile redirects.

"In some cases, victims may be convinced they've not even interacted with the page in terms of clicking on buttons, filling in forms or signing up to something before receiving a text message stating they've been charged," Boyd said.

Sites related to rogue charges place paid advertising on ad networks. These links go through a series of redirects before eventually landing at "one-time use" URLs - i.e. if you went back and visited one again, nothing would happen: you'd simply see a blank page. This makes it difficult to determine the precise mechanism of the scam, though Boyd and his colleagues suspect hidden payment buttons.

Frauds along this line have been a constant source of complaints on forums and other sites for a number of years, according to Boyd, in one of the first objective assessments of the impact of the apparently wide-ranging scam.

"Some of the thread posters will state that they did indeed click on things or download something, but the majority are firm in their belief that they didn't interact with pages in any way, shape or form," he said. "Many of them mention having seen rogue pop-up ads before being billed (sometimes with content on them, sometimes not) and they're also understandably a touch worried. There are multiple complaints regarding repeat billing over time."

Getting charges refunded can be difficult, according to Boyd, who advised users to take advantage of mobile ad-blocker software.

Three and O2 told Mobile Today that they work hard to minimise abuse of services such as Payforit, an operator-run direct-to-bill payment service.

The service is regulated by PhonepayPlus, the UK's premium rate phone-paid services regulator. PhonepayPlus is yet to respond to El Reg's request to comment on Malwarebytes' research, or on the extent of direct-to-bill payment fraud.

Boyd is unsure about the extent of the fraud in this area beyond saying that the large number of complaints he uncovered suggests that it's a growing problem.

"I've only come across these via the multitude of complaints about contested payments," he said. "As for numbers, they seem to be constant background noise, with a definite shift towards dubious rotating adverts in the last few months."


In a statement, PhonepayPlus said that consumers ought to be informed up-front about any charges before they are incurred. It promised to act on complaints about violations of this aspect of its Code of Practice.

"PhonepayPlus works closely with the police, industry providers and other regulators for the benefit of consumers and reputable premium rate service providers.

"PhonepayPlus recently issued a compliance update to the PRS industry on the information companies should give before consumers enter a contract or obligation to pay. This compliance update supports longstanding guidance on how all types of promotions should comply with the rules in our Code of Practice. The Code itself contains clear rules that state consumers must clearly receive the price and other key information before they initiate a purchase, and that the consumer consent to any purchase must be secure, and verifiable after the event.

"If PhonepayPlus finds evidence of breaches of its Code of Practice we will look into the matter and take action."

(1st September 2015)


(BBC News, dated 10th August 2015)


Full article :

Manchester's 6,000 taxi drivers are being given a booklet to help them spot signs of criminal activity, including child sexual exploitation.

Manchester City Council said drivers are the community's "eyes and ears" and require support to help them report crimes.

The council created the booklet along with Greater Manchester Police and organisations representing drivers.

It gives examples of suspicious behaviour to look out for.

Criminal activity covered in the booklet includes:

- Child sexual exploitation
- Human trafficking
- Female genital mutilation
- Domestic abuse
- Hate crime
- Suspicious packages
- Terrorism

Nigel Murphy, from the council, said: "Taxi drivers in the past have been the eyes and ears. All we are doing is trying to make it easier for the cab drivers to report things."

"Child sex exploitation and domestic violence happens behind closed doors and sometimes, when those doors are slightly opened, we have to be able to look in and be able to feed that information back."

The handbooks, which will also include a section on taxi driver safety, will be available to download on the council website and will be in licence renewal packs.

Steven Giles, from the Old Trafford-based charity Community Change Foundation, said: "I think it is a bit unfair on them - they are taxi drivers, that is their job.

"They are not mentors, they're not social workers, they're not youth workers, and it is a very difficult job to do. To me it is like asking a baker to fix your car."

He added: "Raising that awareness is always a positive thing, but this smacks a little bit as a publicity stunt, taking away from the reality that services are being cut."

Manchester Council website :

Note : The leaflet is not on the council website yet !

(1st September 2015)


(Daily Mail, dated 10th August 2015 authors Paul Bentley, Katherine Faulkner and Sophie Borland)


Full article [Option 1]:

- NHS handing out five million European Health Insurance Cards per year
- They allow Britons to charge emergency treatment abroad back to NHS
- But cards are being given to any EU citizens who says they are living in UK
- Eastern Europeans using them in home country to make NHS cover costs
- Undercover Hungarian journalist Ani Horvath obtained card after visiting UK for one day

Foreigners are billing the NHS for expensive healthcare they receive in their own countries, a Daily Mail investigation can reveal.

Under an extraordinary legal loophole, migrants are able to charge the full cost of medical treatment in their home countries to the UK, even if they have never paid a penny of tax in Britain.

They do this by obtaining European Health Insurance Cards from the NHS. The cards were intended for British people to use in cases of emergency while on holiday and entitle them to charge the NHS for the cost of any medical treatment they might urgently need while overseas within Europe.

But the NHS is handing out more than five million of these EHIC cards for free every year - and keeping no record of how many are being given to foreigners.

The cards are given out freely to any EU citizens who says they are living in the UK, even if they haven't actually worked or paid any tax here.

As a result, Eastern Europeans can obtain the cards, then return to their home countries and use them to have medical treatment they would usually have to pay for funded by the NHS.

And because the cards last for five years, they are worth a fortune to migrants with ongoing conditions, or who have multiple pregnancies and births.

In an undercover investigation, an Eastern European woman working for the Mail - who has never lived or paid taxes in Britain - was able to get one of the cards after visiting the UK for less than a day.

Hungarian journalist Ani Horvath took it to clinics and hospitals in her native Hungary which confirmed she could use it to get maternity care and even skin treatments paid for by the UK taxpayer.

When she asked maternity clinic staff how many Hungarian women had registered for appointments covered by the NHS, she was told: 'A lot of people. More and more.'

Using the card, she could have registered for a consultation with an optometrist costing a potential £150 or one with a dermatologist for £130 - or even antenatal and birth/maternity care for one pregnancy at £9,500, or a £47,000 liver transplant.

British ministers last night vowed to urgently review the use of EHIC cards.

Health Minister Alistair Burt said it was 'completely unacceptable that people living outside the UK think they can abuse our NHS'.

He said that as a result of the Mail's investigation, the Government would 'urgently carry out more work' to crack down on health tourism, 'including EHIC applications'.

In online forums, Romanians, Poles, Lithuanians and Slovakians can be found boasting of how they have managed to charge the UK for a range of superficial health treatments in their home countries.

They joke about how easy the fiddle is because the NHS pays and 'no one even blinks'.

Expectant mothers also admitted using the ploy to give birth in their home countries at the UK's expense before moving to Britain to claim benefits.

One migrant who had used the card wrote: 'Through the card, all necessary arrangements to do with the pregnancy and childbirth will be made free.

'I was very surprised that there were not so many run-ins with the authorities.'

Another said: 'No one even blinked. Everything was solved with the EHIC card.'

The NHS has spent more than £721million reimbursing other European countries for treating people with EHIC cards over the past five years.

But the Department of Health admitted last night it had no idea how much of that money had been claimed by foreigners using UK EHIC cards to get treatments in their own country.

Furious MPs said the practice was 'ludicrous' and demanded an immediate crackdown.

Tory MP Andrew Percy, who sits on the Health Select Committee, said: 'This is a complete outrage and will infuriate people.

'It is another example of how soft touch Britain has become the International Health Service.

'The NHS is there for British citizens who have paid in. The Government needs to urgently review how these health insurance cards are issued. It needs to get tough and act quickly.'

Dr Sarah Wollaston, a trained GP and chairman of the Health Select Committee, said the NHS must 'urgently' close the EHIC loophole to stop the abuse uncovered by the Mail.

'EHIC cards should only be issued to British citizens,' she said. 'You should not be offering EHIC cards to overseas citizens. This loophole will have to be rapidly closed because clearly this has very serious implications for the NHS.'

Peter Bone, Conservative MP for Wellingborough, said: 'It is extraordinary. It seems we will just happily squander taxpayers' money without checking.

'For the price of a return easyJet flight, people across Europe can get free health cover for five years.

'It is a ludicrous lack of rigour by the NHS and clearly the Secretary of State has got to look into this urgently and stop this abuse.'

Joyce Robins, from campaign group Patient Concern, said patients who were being refused routine treatments on the NHS because of lack of money would be appalled.

'People who have paid into the system all their lives are being told they cannot access treatments,' she said.

'Meanwhile those from abroad who haven't paid into the system can make free use of the NHS's money. It is disgraceful and it has got to be stopped.'

Campaigner Julie Bailey, founder of Cure The NHS, said: 'Those responsible must close this loophole immediately, stopping our valuable NHS resources being used on those who are not entitled.'

The investigation will renew calls for the Government to crack down on the abuse of NHS resources by those who are not entitled to them.

The true cost of health tourism to the NHS is unknown but a Government-commissioned report in 2013 put it as high as £2billion a year.

Experts say even this is an underestimate as the vast majority of overseas patients are never identified by hospitals, let alone made to pay for their treatment.

By law, only patients who usually live in the UK are entitled to free hospital care - unless their life is at risk or treatment is considered 'immediately necessary'.

GP appointments are free for everyone, along with A&E and maternity care, which are considered urgent.

The problem is many hospital staff assume that once a patient has an NHS number, which they easily get from registering with a GP, they are entitled to free care.

Health Minister Mr Burt added: 'This Government has already introduced tough measures to clamp down on migrants using healthcare without making a contribution, to save half a billion pounds within a few years.

'We are continually looking at ways we can tighten up the process further.'

How I signed up for five years free medical treatment in Hungary - at YOUR expense 
(Daily Mail, 10th August 2015 author Ani Horvath)

I have never lived, worked or paid taxes in Britain. But a few weeks ago, I registered for five years of health treatment at your expense at a clinic near my home in Budapest, Hungary.

I visited my local optician, dermatologist and even a transplant clinic - and was told the UK would pay for creams, eye tests and liver surgery if I needed them.

At my local maternity centre, dozens of Hungarian women like me are having their births paid for by the British NHS too.

A practice manager there took me into a bright office decorated with pictures of babies and showed me a stack of papers. There were dozens of forms, piled high. All of them had been filled in by expectant mothers in this one small area of Budapest whose appointments are now being paid for by the British taxpayer.

I asked how many women had registered for appointments covered by the NHS. 'A lot of people,' she said. 'More and more.'

If you are pregnant, in need of a transplant, or even just have a minor condition such as a rash or short-sightedness, all it takes to have your bills covered by the UK taxpayer is a little blue card.

And I got mine for free from the NHS without ever seeing a UK doctor or nurse. For the past few months, I have been working with the Daily Mail's Investigations Unit to test how easy it is for non-British people to have their healthcare paid for by the UK.

Healthcare is expensive in Eastern Europe and increasing numbers are charging their treatment to Britain. They are doing so using UK-registered European Health Insurance Cards.

These cards are meant to be used only by British tourists and entitle them to public healthcare while travelling in European Economic Area countries and Switzerland.

But there is no requirement to prove you work in Britain to get one. All you need is an NHS number - which anyone can get by signing up at a GP surgery, even if you are a failed asylum seeker.

In Hungary, you have to pay 8.5 cent of your monthly salary for state healthcare. So you can see why people so desperately want to get hold of them. They are a goldmine.

A concerned NHS doctor had told the Mail how easy it was for foreign nationals with no entitlement to free care to get hold of the cards.

So in June I phoned a GP surgery in London from my home in Budapest. I said I had recently moved to the UK and wanted to register with a doctor. I said my landlord could drop in my identity documents for me, and they said this was fine.

That afternoon, a reporter posing as my landlord visited the surgery and passed over scanned copies of my Hungarian ID card and driver's licence, which I had emailed him.

When they asked for proof of address, he handed them a tenancy agreement document claiming I was living at his flat in the area.

Yet such generic tenancy agreements are not official documents, and can be downloaded from dozens of internet sites or drafted by anyone on a computer.

Nonetheless, this was accepted as proper proof of address. NHS staff did not ask for any of the usual, official proof of address documents, such as a bank or utility bill.

Basic checks would have shown that I do not live there, in fact have never lived in the UK - and that the reporter posing as my landlord does not even own the property where I was supposedly renting a room.

The reporter was given a registration form to take away for me to sign. He was told it was 'preferable' for me to return in person with the form - but not essential. The form asked for my name, date of birth, place of birth, address, phone number and the date I came to the UK.

The reporter filled it in and returned it before making a new patient appointment for a few days later. 'Then she'll be registered,' a GP staff member told the reporter.

On June 11, I flew to London and walked into the surgery, where I was waved into a room for a full check-up. I was asked to show my Hungarian ID card and the lease agreement, but the receptionist did not read it - she simply scanned the front page.

The check-up was not done by a doctor or nurse. I was taken into a room and did it myself on a computer, answering questions about my health. I took my own blood pressure using a machine and weighed and measured myself before keying the results into the computer. The appointment took 35 minutes.

I flew back to Budapest and six days later, a confirmation letter was issued by NHS England with my own unique NHS number.

The reporter used this number to apply online for a UK EHIC card for me. Because I had an NHS number, the process was easy. Few details were required - just my name, date of birth, NHS number, UK address, phone number and email. The application took less than three minutes.

Two days later the NHS accepted the application and authorised a five-year UK EHIC for me. And so, in less than a month and with no proper checks, I am now entitled to state healthcare across Europe. And while EHICs are supposed to cover only emergency treatment, I have found the UK one can be used for anything in Hungary.

On July 9, I visited a variety of clinics in Budapest. The EHIC was accepted everywhere.

At an ophthalmologist, staff said the EHIC would cover emergency treatment, but then tried to book me in to see a doctor, without checking any 'emergency' symptoms.

I went to a transplant clinic and said I had liver problems and was told I could use the EHIC for an immediate appointment.

At the birth centre, a manager said the EHIC would cover appointments while I was pregnant in Hungary.

To have the delivery covered, I would have to get another form from the UK, called an S2. This simply requires a letter from a GP and asks for identification details, contact information, nationality, where you wish to give birth and your pregnancy dates.

'Bring back one of those forms and everything will be fine,' I was told in the birth centre. 'We can treat you even if it is not an emergency.'

The dermatologist manager said I could use the EHIC for a skin check-up and for face cream - clearly non-emergency treatments.

I did not use the card to obtain any medical treatment, but these cards are a treasure trove for people here because state health insurance is so expensive.

We can get Hungarian EHICs to use when we are abroad on holiday. But the process of getting one is much stricter than in the UK.

Scandal of online tips to 'screw the system' 
(Daily Mail, dated 10th August 2015 author Paul Bentley, Deputy Investigations Editor)

Health tourists are sharing tips online on how to 'screw with the system' and milk the NHS for free healthcare in their own countries.

Romanians, Poles, Lithuanians and Slovakians boast of how they have managed to charge the UK for superficial health treatments - and 'no one even blinks'.

The tips were discovered by the Daily Mail on foreign language forums and blogs on the internet.

Messages give step-by-step instructions on how to get hold of UK-registered European Health Insurance Cards, allowing them to charge the NHS for treatments abroad for all their family for up to five years.

Expectant mothers admitted using the ploy to give birth in their home countries - at the UK's expense.

On a forum for Slovakian mothers-to-be, a woman calling herself Bobocka states: 'I was working in the UK, but after starting maternity leave I went to Slovakia, where I gave birth.

'I received the maternity pay from the UK and when the paid maternity finished, I stopped the employment and we stayed in Slovakia.'

She added: 'You'll need a European insurance card - this is the blue card. Through the card, all arrangements to do with the pregnancy and childbirth will be made free. I was very surprised that there were not so many run-ins with the authorities.'

Another poster, Jantarsan, agreed, adding: 'Our baby was born in Slovakia and everywhere the European (the blue) card was enough.'

A Romanian blogger called Stella writes: 'This [EHIC] card you can get easy and fast, and most importantly, free. To get it, you need to fill an online form which does not last more than five minutes.

'Once the online application has been accepted and received your confirmation email, you are insured! The card you receive by mail about a week. Et voila! Free medical insurance for vacation in Europe!'

Forums advise Eastern Europeans on how to get round the requirement to show a GP receptionist a 'proof of address' document. 'Tell your friends to make you proof of address,' writes Iubitulondrei. 'Write that you live with them. It will be OK.'

Others suggest setting up UK bank accounts registered to a UK address.

One man even boasted that he got one by giving police a false address when he was caught shoplifting in Britain. Because the fake address then appeared on an official document, he was able to use it to get an NHS number.

Some forum users appeal to others for help. Luckaro asks: 'I worked in the UK for a year as a chambermaid. I am 21 and I got pregnant. I am thinking about giving birth in Slovakia, but only on the condition that I'll still get all of what I am entitled to here (maternity pay. Child tax credit, child benefit). How do I apply for the European cards?'

And a woman named Ludecka says: 'I work in the UK and I'm 13 weeks pregnant. I wondered what would be best, give birth here or at home? I wonder how "to screw with the system"?'

Ivanka replies: 'You need to explain why you go (I reported a strong family and personal reason).'

And Kobercek added: 'I've been in this situation before. No one even blinked. Everything was solved with the EHIC card.'

On Polish forums, members discuss how the EHIC can be used for superficial treatments.

Mehow writes: 'Having the card entitles people in Poland to primary health care, which includes gynaecologist and obstetrician, dentist, dermatologist, venereologist, oncologist, ophthalmologist, a psychiatrist.'

Access to a British EHIC card guaranteeing free treatment is valuable in large parts of Eastern Europe, where healthcare can be expensive.

Why the health cards are so sought after in Eastern Europe

Hungary: Healthcare is provided through an insurance system, with contributions of 8.5 per cent automatically deducted from wages (an average of £30 a month, double for self-employed).

Poland: Insurance-based health system funded through the National Health Fund, costing employees £40 a month on average. As in many other countries, the uninsured must pay for healthcare in full.

Slovakia: Everyone who is employed must make contributions to state health insurance, about £34 a month or double if you are self-employed. Those who are unemployed can have contributions paid by the state but the health provision is basic.

Bulgaria: Contributions to the National Health Insurance Fund are compulsory for anyone in work and are £19 a month on average.

Romania: Health service funded through mandatory insurance, costing £20 a month on average. Not all treatments are covered.

Slovenia: Compulsory health care insurance costing £46 a month covers all emergency health care services. Additional payments for other treatments.

Czech Republic: Mandatory health care insurance of an average £22 a month. Pensioners' premiums are paid for by the state.

(1st September 2015)


(The Telegraph, dated 7th August 2015 author Sir Hugh Orde)


Full article [Option 1]:

Sir Hugh Orde, former head of the Association of Chief Police Officers, says burglary remains a serious crime and investigating the dead for historic sex abuse is a poor use of police resources

It is a simple fact that in this country we police by consent.

In England and Wales around 130,000 officers and falling cannot protect 57 million people and rising without maintaining this bond.

This is not some banal statement; it underpins the point that maintaining the confidence of the overwhelming majority of people in this country is critical.

And with about one officer for every 400-odd citizens, it is highly challenging.

It is against this backdrop that the current furore around whether or not to investigate, burglary is based.

Burglary is by any definition a serious crime.

It is the invasion of one's home, and normally, the theft of very personal possessions.

Anthony Stansfeld, in his comment piece for the Telegraph earlier this week, is absolutely correct in his analysis of why such crimes should be investigated by the service. 

He also points out that by investing resources his force reduced the crime and increased the clear up rate.

I would add that if we step back from this task, it is inevitable that the essential confidence built up between police and citizen is eroded.

This has far wider implications, if one looks for example at the current terrorist threat to this country, it is clear that it has shifted from dealing with highly organised organisations, such as the IRA, to highly disorganised individual actors who self-radicalise within our law-abiding and diverse communities with the intent of committing one atrocity, not some strategic objective.

The information and intelligence we desperately need to combat this will come from the very communities in which they are embedded.

If we lose their confidence by simply failing to protect them from crimes that are so personal, a vital link in the intelligence chain will be lost.

So it seems straightforward; all crime should be investigated, but the service has been subject to substantial budget cuts.

Chief officers have to make hard choices on what to prioritise as they plan even deeper cuts to balance the ever shrinking book.

Thousands more officers are likely to be lost as the cuts bite even deeper and the choices become even harder.

As the 'service of last resort' the demand on the police to sweep up in other critical areas of public safety continue to increase, but something has to give.

Officers will not walk away from vulnerable people suffering from mental health conditions nor will they leave an injured person on the street when an ambulance is unavailable, they will look after them as the citizen would expect.

If we then add to the demand equation the huge pressure on forces to investigate the past few decades at the expense of the present, the challenge for the leadership becomes more acute.

Many of these are investigations into alleged sexual abuse by people who will never be prosecuted because they are dead.

I would not want to suggest victims of the past should be ignored.

But put simply: a criminal investigation will not deliver justice in these very difficult cases.

The College of Policing, owned by the Home Secretary, has found that whilst numbers of volume crimes such as burglary have dropped, demand on the service has not.

I think this explains why in Leicestershire an experiment around attempted break-ins gathered such interest and criticism.

The media debate could have been handled better without question, and it appeared clumsy.

But at its most basic, it appears that the force was trying to better understand how to deploy precious resources in the most effective way when responding to attempted burglary.

Residents of odd numbered houses in that area would see this somewhat differently, but it is a harsh reality that victims of crime will experience different responses which will be to a degree a function of seriousness and solvability.

What is critical in all of this is the vital role in reassuring the victim that we care and will do our best, reassurance remains in my view a key responsibility which is best served by an officer at the scene.

So chief officers will have to continue to make sensible choices of where to deploy their ever-shrinking resources, part of that will be looking at the most effective and efficient way of delivering the very best service they can.

Burglary has reduced substantially over the last 30 years, but that is cold comfort to current victims to have the right to expect a response, and a right to expect a service.

As the Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley observes: "Failing to take household burglary seriously is not going to solve anything."

Sir Hugh Orde was president of the Association of Chief Police Officers until April this year, and is a former Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland

(1st September 2015)


(BBC News, dated 7th August 2015 author Brian Milligan)


Full article :

Fraudsters trying to steal money from people's pension funds are increasingly offering to invest the cash into other scams, says Citizens Advice.

Individuals are typically told they should invest their pension money in fine wines or overseas property. But many of the companies involved are not regulated and are not qualified to give financial advice.

It is thought that the fraudsters may be capitalising on the new pension freedoms, introduced in April.Those freedoms allow people over the age of 55 to access their cash, subject to income tax.

Citizens Advice - which offers official guidance through Pension Wise - said that emerging scams include:

- Unspecified financial products. Fraudsters offer to invest pension money in other products, without explaining what those products are.

- Free pension reviews. Fraudsters posing as independent financial advisers offer to visit victims at home, in an attempt to access their pensions.

- Investment schemes. Victims are persuaded to invest money in property, or in fine wine.

"Opportunistic fraudsters are finding new ways to go after people's pension pots, including offering free pension reviews and promising to invest in funds that don't necessarily exist," said Gillian Guy, the chief executive of Citizens Advice.

'Be careful'

A number of sites on the internet advise investors to transfer pension money into fine wine.

Most are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

They typically suggest that investors can achieve long-term average returns of 12-15% a year, or that wine is a better investment than shares.

One pension advisory firm, Portal Financial, has reported 11 such websites to Google this year, to try to get their adverts removed.

"Unless you know that it is a legitimate investment, you should be very careful," said Jamie Smith-Thompson, the managing director of Portal Financial.

He said other investment scams included land banks and carbon credit schemes.

How to avod being scammed

- Never give financial information to a cold caller
- Find out whether the company approaching you is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority.
- Seek independent advice before agreeing to a pension transfer
- Never do anything in a hurry
- Follow further advice from the Pensions Regulator :

Previously, so-called pension liberation scams have targeted the cash in a pension pot, charging a fee for "liberating" it.

But victims can lose more than half their money in such scams, as anyone under the age of 55 is liable for tax at 55%, while others may have to pay 45%.

Action Fraud - part of the City of London Police - said that cases of liberation fraud tripled in May, the month after the reforms were introduced.

However, the pensions minister, Ros Altmann, said she was not convinced that fraud was increasing as a direct result of the pension freedoms.

(1st September 2015)

(The Guardian, dated 7th August 2015 author Press Association)

Full article [Option 1]:

Burglary victims should be able to expect police to visit them at home, Britain's most senior officer has said.

Metropolitan police commissioner Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe insisted his force will continue to investigate and attend break-ins, and questioned how much impact a watered-down approach to the crime could have.

His comments come amid controversy over suggestions that police may have to downgrade burglary inquiries to cope with budget cuts.

It emerged on Wednesday that Leicestershire police piloted an approach in which attempted burglaries at even-numbered houses would be fully investigated, with forensic teams sent - but this would not happen if the victim lived in an odd-numbered house.

Last month Sara Thornton, head of the National Police Chiefs' Council (NPCC), suggested people may not always be visited at home after break-ins as police prioritise other crimes.

Hogan-Howe declined to comment on the Leicestershire experiment, but said: "I will say in the Met, certainly while I'm here, we will visit burglaries and investigate them.

"I think it is a serious crime. If somebody comes into your home, then I think you should reasonably expect the police to come and investigate it."

He said there were an average of 130 burglaries a day in London - a rate of around four a day in each borough.

"Even if we have to change some things in the future, there aren't that many burglaries that this will make so much difference," he said.

"It's a serious enough issue and there's relatively few of them to mean that officers should attend. For me it's an important thing we should investigate."

The commissioner did say there would have to be "a compromise somewhere" as the Met, like other forces, faces further austerity measures.

He said: "We are going to have to look around Christmas about what all this lack of money means. We just don't know yet.

"It's clearly going to be significant on top of what we've already lost. Then we are going to have to look seriously at our priorities.

"In some areas we are going to have to articulate where we are going to struggle to do everything we used to do."

He said he would not speculate on what areas of policing in the capital could be affected.

However, he said: "I've made clear patrolling, responding to emergencies, we've got to do, neighbourhood policing we've got to do, and we've got to investigate serious crime."

Leicestershire police said its three-month pilot, which saw police officers attending all scenes of attempted burglary, but only sending forensic teams to half of all potential crime scenes, had "no noticeable impact on victim satisfaction".

(1st September 2015)


(BBC News, dated 7th August 2015 author Chris Foxx)


Full article :

Moto G : #150808-014568

Samsung, LG and Google have pledged to provide monthly security updates for smartphones running the Android operating system.

In July, a major bug was discovered in the software that could let hijackers access data on up to a billion phones.

Manufacturers have been slow to roll out a fix because many variations of Android are widely used.

One Android expert said it was "about time" phone makers issued security fixes more quickly.

Android has been working to patch a vulnerability, known as Stagefright, which could let hackers access a phone's data simply by sending somebody a video message.

"My guess is that this is the single largest software update the world has ever seen," said Adrian Ludwig, Android's lead engineer for security, at hacking conference Black Hat.

LG, Samsung and Google have all said a number of their handsets will get the fix, with further updates every month.

Why the long wait?

Android is an open source operating system, with the software freely available for phone manufacturers to modify and use on their handsets.

The Google-led project does provide security fixes for the software, but phone manufacturers are responsible for sending the updates to their devices.

Some phones running old versions of Android are no longer updated by the manufacturer. Many companies also deploy customised versions of Android which take time to rebuild with the security changes.

Apple and BlackBerry can patch security problems more quickly because they develop both the software and the hardware for their devices.

BlackBerry's software is reviewed by mobile networks before being sent to handsets, while Apple can push updates to its phones whenever it wants.

"The very nature of Android is that manufacturers add their own software on top, so there have been delays in software roll-outs," said Jack Parsons, editor of Android Magazine.

"In the US it's even worse because mobile carriers often add their own software too, adding another layer of bureaucracy holding up security fixes.

"There's no real villain here, that's just how the system works. But there will always be security concerns with software, so it's right that some of the manufacturers are stepping up to deal with this now."

(1st September 2015)


(The Independent, dated 5th August 2015 author Chris Green)


Full article [Option 1]:

People who have witnessed a crime are significantly less likely to trust the justice system than the rest of the public, according to new research published by the Government.
An official analysis of national crime data carried out for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) concluded that witnesses had much lower levels of confidence in the police, Crown Prosecution Service and the courts than the rest of the population.

Witness support charities said the "alarming" findings proved that people who witnessed crime were being "completely overlooked by the criminal justice system" and called on the Government to do more to ensure they were not discouraged from coming forward.

The Witnessing Crime report analysed the findings of the 2013/14 Crime Survey for England and Wales, an annual study on the impact of crime based on interviews with around 35,000 adults. It found that a third of the population had witnessed a crime in the previous year.

Only 42 per cent of witnesses said they were "very" or "fairly" confident that the UK's criminal justice system was effective, compared to 51 per cent of people who had not witnessed a crime. Witnesses were also "significantly less likely" to be confident that the police were effective at catching criminals, the report said.

Witnesses were similarly pessimistic about the effectiveness of the CPS and the courts in dealing with criminal cases, and were less likely to agree that the justice system as a whole treats people fairly. Only 71 per cent of witnesses believed that those accused of a crime were regarded as innocent until proven guilty by the system, compared to 78 per cent of non-witnesses.

"Confidence in the Criminal Justice System does appear to differ between witnesses and non-witnesses of crime, with non-witnesses being generally more confident than witnesses," the report concludes. "Collectively, these findings suggest that witnesses' perceptions of the CJS are likely to be influenced by their own personal experiences of crime."

Karen Froggatt, the director of the charity Victim Support, said: "It is alarming that witnesses have less confidence in the justice system than the public as a whole, so more needs to be done to improve their experiences. This includes making sure witnesses are kept informed of where, when and if they are required to give evidence, and have access to special measures in court if required."

She added: "People who come forward as witnesses play a vital role in the criminal justice system. Without their willingness to testify and give up their time, it would be much harder to convict offenders and secure justice for victims of crime."

Guy Dehn, a barrister and the director of the charity Witness Confident which offers advice and support to witnesses, said that their experience is too much like "pedalling a bicycle uphill in the face of strong headwinds".

"We're not aware of any other sector where people who have first hand experience have less confidence than the people who don't," he said. "It's clear something is fundamentally wrong since the CPS says it is vital that witnesses come forward. It's terribly important that witnesses are welcomed and encouraged, but sadly the way the system operates makes this little more than an afterthought."

Many witnesses to crimes find it difficult to contact the police about what they have seen and are further discouraged by the adversarial atmosphere of court hearings, at which they are given no support, he added.

The situation has worsened in the last decade as the risk of witness intimidation has been "misrepresented" and "stoked up", Mr Dehn said. According to the MoJ report, intimidation occurs in less than 2 per cent of cases.

A Government spokesperson highlighted a statistic in the report which showed that almost two thirds of people who witnessed crime said they felt the criminal justice system gave victims and witnesses "the support they need".

They added: "It is absolutely vital that witnesses of crime have confidence in the criminal justice system. We are increasing specialist services to make giving evidence in court less stressful. This Government has taken action to boost public confidence and trust in the police. It is encouraging that police recorded crime figures show that more victims than ever before are having the confidence to come forward."

Further information

Victim Support website :

Witness Confident :

(1st September 2015)


(BBC News, dated 5th August 2015)


Full article :

Attempted break-ins at odd-numbered houses were not fully investigated by one police force as part of an experiment to save money.

Leicestershire Police said the pilot scheme had had no adverse effect on public satisfaction or crime rates.

Results of the three-month trial are being evaluated and could see it rolled out throughout the East Midlands.

Police and Crime Commissioner Sir Clive Loader said he was unaware of the idea but would have advised against it.

Due to cuts in central government funding, the force has cut £33.9m - about 17% of the entire budget - over the four years to March this year, but is expecting more savings to be needed.

The pilot was prompted by analysis by East Midlands Special Operations Unit (EMSOU), which covers Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, which found of 1,172 attempted burglaries scenes, few were found to contain any forensic evidence, and only 33 suspects were identified.

Jo Ashworth, director of forensic sciences with the unit, said: "The pilot was developed to look at what value forensic teams bring to the detection of attempt burglaries.

"At a time when we are operating within reduced budgets, it is even more critical that we make the absolute best use of our crime scene investigators' time."

Leicestershire's Deputy Chief Constable Roger Bannister said they were examining many ways to deliver more cost effective policing.

He said: "This pilot suggests that we may need to reconsider how best to deploy crime scene investigators, especially if we are currently sending them automatically to scenes where, despite their professionalism and expertise, there is no evidence for them to retrieve."

MP's questions

The force also said forensic teams were still sent to all attempted burglaries involving vulnerable people or those thought to be linked to other incidents.

But Sir Clive Loader said: "I was unaware of this trial and while I appreciate that technically this is operational policing territory, carried out by an East Midlands Collaborative Unit, I believe that I should have been informed, principally because it was taking place in Leicestershire.

"Had I been consulted, I would have advised against it, particularly in light of the controls chosen which, to me at least, are unlikely to inspire much public confidence."

Olwen Edwards, from Victim Support in Leicestershire, said: "All victims of crime deserve their cases to be robustly investigated and to feel that police have made every effort to catch offenders and bring them to justice.

"This may not always involve collecting forensic evidence, but where this doesn't happen, the police should explain the reasons why."

Leicester South MP Jonathan Ashworth tweeted he would be raising the matter with the home secretary.

(1st September 2015)


(Sky News, dated 4th August 2015 - Mark Wright
Full article [Option 1] :

(Daily Mail, dated 24th November 2012 authors Abul Taher and Martin Beck)

Full article [Option 1]:

The full scale of spending on private contractors by the UK's biggest police force is laid bare today as the nation's most senior officer is summoned by MPs to account for millions of pounds in wasted public money.

A leaked list seen by The Mail on Sunday shows the Metropolitan Police has signed deals worth £3.5?billion with more than 300 companies, to supply everything from high-tech weaponry to sandwiches.

The huge sums will be scrutinised when Met Commissioner Bernard Hogan-Howe appears before a powerful group of MPs on Tuesday, with Scotland Yard under pressure to save more than £500?million without losing officers from the streets.

Full details of the Met's spending with private firms, spanning more than a decade and with some contracts ongoing, reveal the force is paying out:

- £1?billion on a 'core' IT contract with Capgemini, plus millions of pounds on software and upgrades.
- £10.9?million on animals, including £7?million to keep dangerous seized dogs in kennels and
- £500,000 a year to clear horse manure from stables.
- £4.6?million on market research to find out what the public thinks about its services.
- £21.1?million on weapons and armour, including £50,000 on several of the 'world's first throwable robot', which can reconnoitre hostile environments even in darkness.
- £9.4?million on food and drink for canteens, including £2.1?million on sandwiches and £900,000 on milk.
- £43,700 to store evidence linked to Alexander Litvinenko, the former Russian spy killed in London by a radioactive poison.

Keith Vaz, the chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said: 'This is the first time that we have received such a comprehensive list about the expenditure of a  police force.

We will be exploring some of the expenditure with the Commissioner when he appears before the Committee on Tuesday.'

Joanne McCartney, chairwoman of the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee, said: 'I think procurement at the Met does need to be looked at. We have raised issues with the Met's spending on dog kennelling before. Its IT costs have been looked at before.

'I think the budget needs to be tightened, otherwise it will mean fewer police officers being employed.'
Jenny Jones, the deputy chair of the Police and Crime Committee, said: 'Police officers tell me they see waste all the time at the Met.

They tell me it costs the Met £100 just to put a whiteboard up in their office. The police officers say they get angry because it means bobbies on the beat are cut back. There is waste at every level of the organisation.'

With national responsibility for counterterrorism and protecting VIPs as well as keeping Londoners safe, the Met currently has 31,548 officers, a further 2,738 police community support officers and another 20,000 civilian staff.

Like other forces, it must cope with 20 per cent cuts to main Home Office funding, but the Met is yet to finalise how it will make savings totalling £548?million by 2015-16.

The Met is behind schedule after the phone-hacking scandal led to the departure of three senior figures, including the Commissioner, while much of the past year was spent preparing for  the Olympics.

However, although salaries account for a large proportion of bills, the Met cannot easily lose officers after London Mayor Boris Johnson made an election vow to protect police numbers.

His Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, has said that only about 500 posts will be cut and has promised to 'sweat' the assets and introduce 'smarter procurement' at an organisation he described as an 'enormous beast'.

Mr Greenhalgh told the Home Affairs Select Committee in September that he was 'staggered' by how much the force spends on IT.

It also employs 802 in-house computer maintenance staff because counterterrorism officers are worried about the security risks of using outside external contractors.

Mr Greenhalgh said the Met did  not need a 'plethora of expensive buildings' and spent a 'staggering' £200?million on running them.

Last month, the force announced plans to sell its New Scotland  Yard headquarters, famous for its revolving sign, in an attempt to  save money.

The reassuring presence of police stations across London is also under threat, with proposals to replace them with counters inside supermarkets and cafes.

The full list of the Met's 319 contracts with private companies, some dating back as far as 2003, suggest many more areas where the axe is likely to fall.

According to the document, the total value of the listed deals is £3.5?billion. A third of this has gone on IT alone.

The money spent on food and drink to be sold in canteens includes £920,000 on 'bread and morning products' and £148,000 on fruit squash.

The outlay on weapons and armour included £3.2?million on Tasers, £7,000 on 'grenade boxes', £641,000 on ammunition for sniper rifles and £400,000 on Heckler & Koch pistols. A Met spokesman refused to say what its Recon Scout robots were used for on 'security grounds'.

The document also shows the force has spent more than £40,000 on storing evidence relating to their investigation into the death of Mr Litvinenko, who detectives say was killed with the poison polonium-210 in 2006.

Among £13.7?million-worth of vehicles bought were a Volkswagen  Caravelle people carrier, 18 Ford Transit vans, mountain bikes, multi-vehicle transporters and six Jaguars. A Scotland Yard spokesman could not explain why it leased five electric cars for £64,000.

In total, £10.9?million was spent on caring for animals - both those used by the force and those seized from the public.

This included a £500,000-a-year deal with Balfour Beatty to remove manure from horse stables and dispose of it, and £1.3?million on 'forage/bedding'.

A further £22.6?million was spent on clothing, ranging from £151,876 for 'embroidered inspector epaulettes' to £46,134 on riot police balaclavas.

Major contracts included £280?million to clean and maintain police buildings, £107?million to provide concessionary travel for officers and £220?million to repair the Met's fleet of vehicles.

Millions of pounds were also spent on fees for doctors who check on the health of suspects in custody.

More unusual items of spending included £62,000 to improve oil storage at a bothy near Balmoral, £600,000 for 'conflict management services' and £358,696 to build a 'temporary armoury' in an 'underground car park'.

A spokesman for the Met declined to comment on individual contracts.  He insisted: 'The Met gets best value for money through stringent procurement processes.'

A spokesman for the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime said: 'The Mayor's Office has put tough new processes in place to monitor spending, cut out waste and ensure more money goes towards frontline policing.'

Further Information

Blue Light Procurement database. See what the regional police forces are spending their (our) money on :

The Bluelight e-tendering website for suppliers :

(1st September 2015)


(The Guardian, dated 2nd August 2015 author Agence France-Presse)


Full article [Option 1]:

A spate of thefts targeting post boxes that have been a feature of Britain's street corners since the 19th century have forced the postal service to fight back - with an arsenal of hi-tech tools.

Royal Mail has unveiled plans to use forensic tagging to identify stolen post boxes and even electronic tracking to keep a close watch on the treasured landmarks.

The company has warned of "a significant threat" to the boxes - particularly in "isolated rural localities" - and is teaming up with Historic England to protect the 115,500-strong network.

The Letter Box Study Group - an association of enthusiasts that has become the authority on the history of the British roadside letter box - estimates that up to 200 boxes are pinched every year.

Royal Mail puts the figure at around 100 on average.

Some of the more flagrant cases this year include four valuable Victorian-era post boxes swiped over just one weekend in January in three Norfolk villages.

Photos published in a regional newspaper showed one post box in Nunthorpe in northeast England had been crudely ripped away from the brickwork it was mounted on, leaving a sorry pile of rubble.

But Royal Mail has a strategy to tackle the letter box bandits.

"We have an internal security team at Royal Mail looking at equipment, including forensic tags, permanent metal-marking systems and electronic tracking," a spokeswoman told AFP.

"Theft of post boxes is relatively rare but there are spates involving individuals or gangs."

Robert Cole of the Letter Box Study Group said thieves were likely to have three major motivating factors.

"There are people who are after scrap metal, those who are interested in the contents and those who know the boxes' heritage value," Cole told AFP.

Along with rising metal prices, one theory behind the crimes is that when Royal Mail stopped auctioning off its old boxes in 2003 it reduced supply and thereby bumped up prices.

A search on a popular online auction site showed the prices people are willing to pay for more unusual Royal Mail boxes - one pillar box was being offered for £5,775, another at £5,200.

Post boxes vary hugely in size, shape and rarity.

The Letter Box Study Group has identified around 800 different types of box across the country, including the "Liverpool Special" pillar box dating from 1863 - one of only seven ever made.

Introduced in Britain by novelist and General Post Office official Anthony Trollope (1815-1882) following a reform in 1840, the locked roadside boxes are traceable to mid-17th century France.

They usually carry the insignia of the monarch reigning at the time of their placement.

There is a post box within half a mile of more than 98% of the UK population - a legal requirement that Royal Mail has to stick to as the country's universal postal service provider.

In its rallying call for post box preservation, Royal Mail said it hoped to conserve the legacy of objects that "are so highly regarded that they have become part of the national image".

(1st September 2015)


(Daily Mail, dated 2nd August 2015 authors Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter)


Full article [Option 1]:

If you need a phony ID or a fraudulent tax refund - or even Insurance money from a sham car crash - then South Florida may have just what you're looking for.

The beauty spot has just been named as America's fraud capital - where the most identity theft and false income tax returns originate from.

However, authorities don't exactly know why.

'Is it the weather? Is it because it's beautiful and the fraudsters want to live here? Is it because it's such a melting pot and you have organized crime from all ethnic groups?' said Kelly Jackson, top agent in the Internal Revenue Service's criminal investigative division in South Florida.

'Any fraud, it always seems to start here.'

Sunny South Florida has been synonymous with shady deals and scams since the first settlers hacked their way into the mangrove tangles and drained the swampland.

Yet in recent decades, the three most populous counties - Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach - have become more notorious for 'Miami Vice'-style drug shootouts.

But now these are being replaced by scammers stealing hundreds of millions from the government, banks and individuals by using laptops, stolen identities and fake medical procedures.

The endlessly creative crooks come up with fake Jamaican lotteries, false marriages for immigration purposes, mediocre seafood marketed as better seafood, insurance rip-offs from fake accidents and fires - even foreign substandard cheese passed off as domestic top shelf.

But the big money is in a trio of major fraud trends: Medicare, mortgage and identity theft-tax refunds.

The most popular current trend is identity theft coupled with income tax fraud.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, Florida ranks first in identity theft complaints at about 193 per 100,000 residents in 2013.

But that's dwarfed by the greater Miami area, which had 340 complaints per 100,000 residents that year.

The number of false federal income tax returns, meanwhile, is 46 times the national average in South Florida, according to a Treasury Department report.

George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI's South Florida office, said in many cases criminal organizations are shifting from violent crimes to those involving mostly digital data.

'Identity theft, the fastest growing crime here, is as easy as one, two, three. One, criminals steal someone's name and Social Security number. Two, they use that identity to file a fraudulent tax return online. And three, they collect the refund check. Repeat thousands of times,' Piro said.

Criminal organizations have used people from all walks of life to steal identities: hospital workers, prison employees, high school cafeteria workers, people at state agencies and assistants in law offices.

It's even become dangerous to be a letter carrier, because mail is great way to steal identities. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in 13 recent robberies of letter carriers in South Florida. One was slain in 2010 for his mailbox key.

Nationally, the Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration estimated in April that in 2012 more than 787,000 potentially undetected fraudulent tax returns were filed totaling more than $2.1 billion in refunds.

'The number of stolen identities and the dollar amount of the tax fraud involved in these cases is staggering,' said Miami U.S. Attorney Wifredo Ferrer.

The lure of stealing huge amounts of government money also drives fraud in the Medicare program, which provides services to America's elderly. Since 2007, nine regional 'strike forces' of the Justice, Treasury and Health and Human Services departments have charged about 2,300 people who had falsely billed Medicare for $7 billion.

The South Florida unit's share of that? More than 1,500 defendants through last September.

Stealing from Medicare can require a large organization: crooked doctors, people to handle the billing, patients willing to accept kickbacks, and so on.

Among those recently charged is Dr. Salomon Melgen, a prominent Palm Beach County eye doctor also accused in a corruption indictment with his friend, New Jersey Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez. Melgen, who has pleaded not guilty in both cases, stands accused of falsely diagnosing patients with eye conditions and performing unnecessary procedures to bilk Medicare out of as much as $105 million.

How Florida ranks number one in the nation for mortgage fraud

Since at least 2009, Florida has led the nation in mortgage fraud as a percentage of the number of loans originated, according to the LexisNexis research company.

The company reports that a financial industry index of mortgage fraud ranks the South Florida metropolitan area No. 1 nationally, with 12.3 percent of all such fraud reports in 2013, the most recent year available.

A trio of recent guilty pleas shows how a typical scheme works.

Hector Hernandez, 57, admitted in court that his company, Great Country Mortgage Bankers, paid kickbacks to borrowers whose applications for Federal Housing Administration loans were falsified so they would qualify.

Great Country would then sell the loans to banks and other institutions for a profit.

In all, Great Country stole $64million. To date, 25 people have pleaded guilty in the scam.

Paul George, a Miami-Dade College history professor who specializes in South Florida, noted that the region's reputation as a haven for schemers dates to the land speculation boom of the 1920s, when alligator-infested swampland was marketed to Northerners as a slice of tropical paradise.

Today, with the area such a melting pot, it's no wonder South Florida is also a cauldron of creative crime, he said.

'It goes back to the roots of Miami. It's always been a place for starting over again,' George said. 'People move here either from the north or the south.

'People have some anonymity, maybe they think they can pull off something here.'

(1st September 2015)


(CSO Marketing - Security Smart Briefing, August 2015)


Full article [Option 1]:

Ask yourself what a person with 20/20 eyesight and good short-term memory could learn about your organization's sensitive information if they were able to spend any time at all wandering around."

Stephen Northcutt, President (SANS Technology Institute)

At the end of a long day, do you arrange everything in your work area in a neat pile, chuck the unneeded papers into the recycling bin, power down your equipment, and head home for the night thinking you've cleaned up properly? If so, you're like many of us who think a tidy space equals a clean space. But in the world of security, a truly clean workspace is one that doesn't leave sensitive information exposed. Stephen Northcutt, president of the SANS Technology Institute, which offers information security training, certification and research, has the following advice for protecting sensitive information at work.


At a minimum, any printed or handwritten sensitive information should be stored out of sight so that it cannot be viewed by someone walking through the area. If you can keep those materials under lock and key, even better. It can also be a good idea to scan paper items and file them electronically.


You shouldn't leave digital media such as CDs or USB sticks in a computer or on a desk. Also remember to lock up or bring home portable devices such as laptops or PDAs.


Organizations are often pretty good at managing desk areas and removing information posted in conference rooms after a meeting, but the trash and recycling bins are easy targets for so-called Dumpster divers. Do your part by shredding sensitive information according to your company's policies.


"In various workplaces, I have found prescriptions and discarded medicine bottles with the labels, bank statements, and the occasional personal mail," says Northcutt. Don't toss any items or documents that you wouldn't be comfortable having a stranger read.


Be aware each time you step away from your desk, not just when you're heading home. When you know you'll be gone for an extended period, such as a lunch break, lock your
door. If you don't have a door, lock up sensitive information.


Clean-desk policies are typically explained during orientation and training procedures. What's your policy? Ask your manager or your security department if you don't know. These protocols are created for good reasons make sure to follow them.


WHO ARE SANS ? (In their own words)

SANS Institute is the most trusted and by far the largest source for information security training and certification in the world. It also develops, maintains, and makes available at no cost, the largest collection of research documents about various aspects of information security, and it operates the Internet's early warning system - Internet Storm Center. The SANS (SysAdmin, Audit, Network, Security) Institute was established in 1989 as a cooperative research and education organization. Its programs now reach more than 165,000 security professionals, auditors, system administrators, network administrators, chief information security officers, and CIOs who share the lessons they are learning and jointly find solutions to the challenges they face. At the heart of SANS are the many security practitioners in government agencies, corporations, and universities around the world who invest hundreds of hours each year in research and teaching to help the entire information security community

SANS Website :

(1st September 2015)


(Action Fraud, dated 24th August 2015)


Action Fraud has noticed a rise in reports concerning the purchase of pets, in particular puppies, advertised for sale via popular online auction websites.

The fraudsters will place an advert of the pet for sale, claiming to have recently moved abroad and the need to re-home the puppies.
Once a sale is agreed and payment is made, usually by money transfer or bank transfer, the pet does not materialise. The fraudster will usually ask for further advanced payments for courier charges, shipping fees or vet bills.
Protect yourself: 

- Stay within the auction guidelines. Be wary of paying fees via a Money Service Bureau, such as MoneyGram and Western Union.

- Consider conducting research on other information provided by the seller; for example a mobile phone number or email address used by the seller could alert you to any negative information associated with this number online.

- Request details of the courier company being used and conduct enquiries regarding the company.

- Agree a suitable time to meet face to face to agree the purchase.

- Be wary. If you think the purchase price is too good to be true then this is probably an indication that it is!

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online at or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

Uaware further information

My assumption is that these pets are not "mongrels" or "moggies". That the fraudsters are tempting people by advertising pedigree pets at bargain prices. The word pedigree and bargain do not go together. If actual animals were available at lower prices they probably come from breeding farms. The off-spring from these farms will possibly be inter-bred which will lead to some form of health issue; this will incur high vetinary costs in the future and/or heart break if the pet needs to be put down.

Always purchase a pet from a reputable breeder or why not give a home to a pet from the RSPCA.

Reputable breeders :

Kennel Club (dogs) :

The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy :

(29th August 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 23rd August 2015 author Kate Morley)

Full article [Option 1]:

The British public have been put on "red alert" for fraud - and with very good reason.

Since the new pension freedoms were introduced in April, giving over-55s access to their entire pension fund, there has been an explosion of fraudulent investments in the UK.

Billions of pounds of "unlocked" pension cash is a golden opportunity for con artists.

Nearly every consumer or security organisation - from Citizens Advice to the police - has issued warnings to deter people from handing over their cash to scammers, but no amount of warnings can protect everyone from being tricked.

For the unwise - or unlucky - ones who've handed their money to scammers, there's more bad news.

The chances of you getting your money back are tiny. This is because in many cases the authorities simply won't investigate your case.

Telegraph Money has heard from countless fraud victims who've reported incidents to Action Fraud, the Government's designated facility for dealing with such matters, only to be told that no "action" will be taken.

Even savers who've lost huge amounts (such as one man who lost hundreds of thousands in a wine scam) are finding that their cases simply aren't being dealt with.

Action Fraud's website says: "The first thing you should do if you've been a victim of fraud is to contact Action Fraud." It's also the first thing your bank will ask you to do - as banks say it's Action Fraud's job, not theirs, to investigate cases.

With a name like Action Fraud you might expect the organisation to be quick off the mark at chasing the criminals who stole your life savings. But in reality, when complaints are filed victims typically wait six weeks before their case is passed on to another police department to investigate.

This gives criminals plenty of time to move money offshore, escape and continue to trick other savers, often under a different guise.

Action Fraud says it passes cases on to the police only if it believes that the crime was perpetrated by a "network" - a criminal gang that has stolen very large sums from a lot of people. But in order for this to happen, several people have to be scammed, realise this, and then report the incident.

The fraud department at Smith & Williamson, an accountancy firm, said that, from a cost perspective, stings in which victims lost less than £100,000 were simply not worth investigating. It said investigating fraud was so expensive that the cost was highly likely to outweigh the (relatively) small losses.

To an individual, a loss of £10,000 or £50,000 is devastating. But it's small beer compared with the massive cases taken on by the Serious Fraud Office, where thefts of £1m or even £10m are about the smallest cases it will pursue.

If frauds are all lumped into the same basket, it makes sense that the Government would choose to investigate the biggest cases first. Our public services are so carefully scrutinised for value for money that the police are also refusing to visit some burglary victims at home - leaving them to make contact via email instead.

As a nation we need to face up to the fact that the authorities are not investigating this rising number of "small" fraud cases - because we simply don't have the resources. The public purse can't afford it, and asking the banks to pay would only result in them raising the cost of bank accounts and other services for everyone else.

This is why we must do more to prevent people being duped in the first place. It's ludicrous that in this day and age firms and individuals are still allowed to make cold calls to sell financial products. It should become illegal, with hefty fines and prison sentences for those who break the rules.

To protect people further it should also be made illegal to sell unregulated investments that fall outside the protection of the Financial Conduct Authority and the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Regulated investments should carry an easily recognisable logo which would be illegal to replicate.

And finally the watchdogs must be honest enough to deliver the most important warning of all: Action Fraud has virtually no hope of getting your money back.

(24th August 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 13th January 2015 author Kyle Caldwell)

Full article [Option 1]:

Investment fraud cases are up more than 25pc over the past year, with con-artists turning their attention to income starved investors who are desperate for higher returns.

Figures from accountancy firm KPMG show £212 million was lost to investment fraud last year, up from £168 million in 2013. The firm said the rise made investors the largest victims of fraud in 2014.

Over the past year Telegraph Money has highlighted several investment scams that have caught out the vulnerable.

Popular scams include con-artists selling overvalued commodity investments and carbon credits, always with the promise of higher returns than investors can obtain elsewhere.

Here we name nine ways to avoid falling victim to investment scams.

1. Be suspicious of all unsolicited calls 

Cold-calling for investment business is illegal, so reputable stockbrokers will not do it. But this is a common tactic boiler rooms use, so be on guard and hang up the phone.

2. Make your own inquiries 

This includes a check with the City regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Make sure the stockbroker who has called you is registered with the FCA. The regulator has a list of boiler rooms and also unauthorised firms but bear in mind new ones appear all the time.

3. Check out the company's credentials

The easiest way to do this is through Companies House. This will help you assess whether the company is genuine. Do not request any other information without checking that the company is legitimate.

4. Ignore the sales patter 

Con-artists will often tell unsuspected victims that the investment opportunity is so good they have invested on behalf of their children or parents. Ignore these false claims. They are used to try and make you feel more at ease about parting with your cash.

5. Turn the tables and ask questions 

Instead put the pressure on the caller and quiz them about their business and ask for their FCA authorisation number.

6. Consider using a nominee account to own shares 

Boiler rooms sometimes choose their targets by getting hold of the share register of a legitimate quoted company, reasoning that people who have bought shares in the past are more likely to do so again. By using a nominee account to own shares your name will not appear on the share register.

7. Beware of "safe investment promises" 

There is no such thing as an investment that carries no risk. In fact the higher the return, the higher the risk, particularly when many of these investment scams target specalist areas, such as commodities.

8. Do not invest in anything you do not understand

This is a sure-fire way to lose money and fall victim to an investment scam. Instead stick what you know and are comfortable with.

9."If it looks too good to be true, it probably is"

Last on the list but perhaps the most valuable tip is the old adage "if it looks too good to be true, it probably is". Making quick gains on any investment is notoriously difficult so ignore any of these promises and remember these claims are not guaranteed and are often unfulfilled.

(24th August 2015)


(Action Fraud, dated 19th August 2015)


Fraudsters have created a high specification website template advertising flat screen televisions for sale which are below market value and do not exist. Payment is being requested via bank transfer and will offer no protection to the consumer when the television does not arrive.
Protect yourself:

- Payments made via bank transfer are not protected should you not receive the item.

- Always make payment via a credit card or PayPal where you have some avenue of recompense should you not receive your product.

- Conduct some online research on the website, company name and business address to identify any poor feedback or irregularities.

- Check the authenticity of websites before making any purchases. A "whois" search on the website will identify when the website has been created, so be wary of newly formed domains. This search can be conducted using the following website -

- If the item advertised seems too good to be true, it probably is

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online at or by telephone on 0300 123 2040.

(24th August 2015)


A month ago I was discussing renewing my mobile phone contract with a friend of mine. During the chat my friend described what they had just experienced with their past provider. Funny enough, a similar story appeared in the last Computer Active magazine.

The friends story

Three years ago, on New Years eve they visited an "ABC" Mobile phone shop in Hertfordshire. The shop had a board outside advertising a special SIM only offer : 500 minutes, 3000 texts and 500Mb of data for £10. They went in and signed up.
The contract was for 24 months, but post contract the deal continued. Six months ago they saw another (better) deal with the same provider advertised in a National newspaper so they gave the freephone number a call. On getting through to the providers helpdesk they were told that the deal would not apply to them as they were a business customer. My friend stated to the Adviser that they were not a business customer and had only signed a domestic tariff contract. The Adviser completely ignored what my friend had to say and just repeated "the deal was not available for business customers".

The friend kept the contract going for a few more months then cancelled it and went Pay-as-you-Go with another provider. Well this lasted until they saw another deal being offered by the "ABC" provider. This time 800 minutes, 5000 texts and 2Gb of data for £12.97 for SIM only ! An offer too good to be true; and you would be correct !

The friend signed the domestic contract for the offer at the price of £12.97 and was informed that additional paperwork would be in the post within a few days. The additional paperwork arrived 3 days later and quoted the monthly payment as being £16.80 per month ! The friend immediately called the "ABC" helpdesk and stated that the higher amount was what the shop had specified; and as they were a business customer they also had to pay VAT. You can now imagine how the conversation went. The friend then asked for the contract to be cancelled under the cooling-off period; the Adviser stated that needed to be done in the "ABC" shop.

Later that day, the friend visited the "ABC" shop. This was 5 days after the original contract was signed. The situation was explained to shop Adviser who completed the contract. It was explained again to the shop manager. Then both the Manager and Adviser retreated to their back office for 20 minutes. On their return they stated that they had phoned accounts and that the monthly payment was going to be £13.67 !!!
They also refused to cancel the contract even though it was still within the 14 day cooling-off period.

The friend then wrote a letter to the "ABC" mobile company's HQ stating the full history. This was including a comment that they had been frauduently signed up as a business customer 3 years earlier. The letter was sent recorded delivery.

After 4 weeks there still had not been a written, texted, phoned or e-mailed response.
But there had been Direct Debit payments to "ABC" for £15.70, £5.80 and £1.71 ? Obviously none of which were the contracted payment of £12.97.

What to do next ?

Well the Office of Communications (Ofcom) will do nothing. They will not even log a problem. Their website just states the process :

- Send the Mobile service provider a letter stating your complaint....Did that
- Await the Mobile service providers response .... you must allow 8 weeks
- If the Mobile service provider cannot make a decision ask for a deadlock letter.
- If no response after 8 weeks refer to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

Well the friend waited 6 weeks, then sent another letter. This letter just stated that they were aware of their rights in respect of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme, that there was two weeks until that deadline. Finally, re-iterating that "ABC" was in breach of contract over monthly payments and that the only resolution was for the contract to be cancelled.

One week later my friend received a call from "ABC" customer services stating that contract had been sorted out and the monthly payment would be £12.99. After all the messing about my friend just wanted the contract cancelled and ABC Customer Services only took an hour on the same day to take that action.

In some recent TV news articles several mobile phone operators were burrated for their poor customer service. One of their main misdemeanours was that they did not inform complaining customers of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) scheme.

It also appears that their customer service departments try to "wait" customers out before they take any action.

In addition, where sales commissions are involved, promises are made to customers that either cannot be met or are lies. In the case of the original contract on New Years Eve the Hertfordshire store was trying to build up their business sales for end of year for a bonus. In the short term good for the customer, but business fraud all the same.

How to avoid

This applies to most contracts

- Ensure that there is a cooling-off period. In some cases where you invite a salesmen to your home or make an appointment for them to attend this does not apply.

- Ensure that you are signing the right forms for your circumstances (Residential/Domestic contract vs Business contract).

- Ensure that what is offered or what you have asked for appears on the contract you sign and not on paperwork you will be sent later.

- Ensure that the amount you have agreed to pay (including / excluding VAT) appears on the contract that you sign.

- Ensure that you have a copy of the contract to take away and that all the details match those held by the supplier.

(24th August 2015)



Earlier this year I vacationed in Washington DC. One of the places visited was the Smithsonian's National Postal Museum. I won't bore you with a description of the stamps, but I will describe the "Behind the Badge" exhibition

It showcases the work of one of the nation's oldest federal law-enforcement agencies. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service which dates back to 1776, when Benjamin Franklin first sent a surveyor to investigate the fledging nation's mail routes for efficiency and security. While post offices, postal employees and mail are common sights across the country, Americans may not realise that behind each is a network of U.S. postal inspectors working to keep the mail safe and empowering consumers to protect themselves and prevent crimes.

Postal inspectors play a key role in restoring mail service and returning a sense of normalcy to communities shattered by natural and man-made disasters, from floods and wildfires to airplane crashes and terrorist attacks. Historic and contemporary
cases that examine the wide range of work done by inspectors were interwoven throughout the exhibition.

The Postal Inspectors get involved in situations that you would expect to be more suited to organisation such as the FBI and Secret Service. Their involvement is due to mail being involved ! The following are some examples :

- Anthrax-laced letter addressed to Sen. Tom Daschle-On loan from the FBI is the
threatening message that was mailed with anthrax to the office of Sen. Tom Daschle in 2001.The examination and decontamination processes left the letter and envelope nearly illegible.

- Postal Inspectors were involved in the arrest of Unabomber Theodore J.Kaczynski. This occured at his Montana hideout on 3rd April 1996. Kaczynski, better known as the Unabomber, had terrorised the nation since 1978 with a series of mail bombs sent to seemingly random individuals.

- Mail collection box from 2001 anthrax attacks-Only a month after the nation suffered the 9/11 attacks in 2001, it faced a new danger in the form of anthrax-laced letters mailed to members of Congress and the national media. Those letters were deposited in this Princeton, N.J., collection box.

- The U.S. Postal Inspection Service responded to disasters in which the safety of postal workers and the security of the mail was at risk. Among the stories are :
Inspectors who worked to recover mail from the 2013 crash site of UPS airplane in Birmingham, Ala.
They restored mail service to Moore, Okla., residents following the 2013 tornado.
Partnered with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to reconnect families separated in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

The more basic stuff

The US Postal Inspectors also deal with Frauds and Scams where the vehice used is the US Mail service. These crimes may be basic, but they are far reaching and many victims may be involved. The scams and frauds that the Inspectors come across may have a different name to that used in the UK, but they are all crimes :

- Distributorship and Franchise Fraud
- Phony Job Opportunities
- Multi-Level Marketing Jobs (Pyramid Schemes)
- Six-Cent and Other Short-Paid Postage
- Postal Job Scams
- Work-at-Home Schemes
- Mystery Shopper Scam
- Advance-Fee Loan Schemes
- Charity Fraud
- Credit Card Fraud
- Schemes that Charge Money for Services the Government Provides for Free
- Cut-Rate Health Insurance Fraud
- Investment Fraud (Ponzi Schemes)
- Solicitations Disguised as Invoices
- Oil and Gas Investment Fraud
- Land Fraud
- Illegal Sweepstakes Information
- Chain Letters
- Free-Prize Scheme
- Foreign Lotteries By Mail
- Government Look-Alike Mail
- Free Vacation Scams

Quick Advice

You don't have to read reams and reams of words. It is quite simple and it is a term used in the UK as well as the US.

"If it looks too good to be true, it probably is!"
Further Information

US Postal Museum (Postal Inspectors) :

US Postal Inspection website :

US Postal Advice on identity theft :

US Postal Advice on dealing with dodgy sweepstakes :

UK Action Fraud :

(24th August 2015)


The following are some Action Fraud alerts that I have received during the last 10 or so days.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it:

Telephone : 0300 123 2040


(Action Fraud, dated 6th August 2015)

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has been alerted to an Advance Fee Fraud in which individuals believe they are being recruited by Business Loan Scanner who will be moving to 34 Lime Street, London on 24th August.
Applicants receive a job offer and are then asked to pay an upfront fee for CRB checks etc.
However, please be aware that there is NO such company at this location and this activity is a fraud.

(Action Fraud, dated 4th August 2015)

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has received several reports of rental fraud whereby empty premises are being targeted and the locks are being changed for the purpose of adding legitimacy to a rental fraud.
The suspect(s) will find and enter an empty property for the purposes of changing the locks and then advertising it on online platforms, such as Gumtree, as a rental property. The suspect(s) then invite interested victims to visit the property for a viewing. Those victims which are interested in renting the property are then requested to pay a deposit and/or rent upfront in cash.
In some instances the victims have moved into the property only to be evicted by the real property owner, or have found that the locks have been changed, once they have received the keys. There are several instances where this fraud has left victims homeless.
Property Owners:

- If you or someone you know currently has an empty property, encourage them to visit the property regularly to make sure that the locks have not been changed and no damage has occurred.
Prevention Advice:

- Avoid communication with only email or mobile phone, request to see the property owner and ask for valid ID. You can also check ownership of the property using the Land Registry.
- The landlord will carry out their own due diligence and should request all of your details, references and proof that you will be able to afford to rent the property. Make sure that these checks are completed prior to paying a deposit / rent.
- Always view the property and the tenancy agreement before paying any upfront costs.

(Action Fraud Alert, dated 3rd August 2015)

Seasonal rental fraud is an emerging trend with students looking for suitable accommodation around August, before the start of the new term.

Fraudsters use a variety of websites to advertise available properties to rent. often at attractive rates and convenient locations. Adverts will seem genuine, accompanied by a number of photos and contact information to discuss your interest.

Due to demand, students will often agree to pay upfront fees to secure the property quickly, without viewing the property, only to discover that the fraudster posing as the landlord does not have ownership of the property, or often there are already tenants living there.
Protect Yourself

- Only use reputable letting companies.

- Do some online research such as using Google maps to check the property does exist.

- Make an appointment to view the property in person.

- Always view the property prior to paying any advance fees.

- Look out for warning signs, such as landlords requesting a 'holding deposit' due to the property being in high demand.

- A landlord will usually conduct some due diligence on any successful applicant. Be wary of handing over cash without the landlord requesting employment or character references.


(Action Fraud Alert, dated 21st July 2015)

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau has been alerted to an Advanced Fee Scam whereby mainly persons of Asian descent are targeted by the suspects who cold call the victim, purporting to be from the Home Office UK Visa and Immigration department, and inform them that a case has been received by the department against the victim, sometimes with a request to deport.
A request is then made for money to be paid mainly by Ukash vouchers or MoneyGram. Occasionally, money is requested to be paid into a bank account.
Also on occasion, victims have been asked to provide bank account details.
A telephone number is given which is a genuine contact number for the Home Office to give the call a form of legitimacy.
The UK Visa and Immigration department would not make any request for payments in this form.
Protect yourself:

- Never respond to any such communication;

- Any unsolicited contact followed by a request for an advance payment/fee is a good indication that someone is trying to defraud you. Do NOT pay any fees unless you are 100% of what you are paying for!!!

- Never, ever disclose your bank details.


(8th August 2015)



The following is an extract of information that can be found on the Nationwide Building Society website. Many other financial service organisations provide similar warning information, but this one is quite comprehensive.


Card fraud online, over the phone or by mail order

This type of fraud occurs when a fraudster uses your personal card details to make purchases without the card being present. This may be online, over the phone or by mail order.

Your details may have been compromised electronically, or fraudsters may attempt to persuade you to disclose them via a phishing email or telephone scam.


Cheque fraud occurs when a fraudster uses a worthless cheque (i.e. no funds available), stolen or altered cheque or counterfeit cheque.

Fraudsters will try to use cheques to get cash or pay for goods and services but rarely use their own account. Instead they will often gain the trust of another account holder to process their fraudulent cheques. Below is an example of cheque fraud.


Identity theft can lead to fraud that can have a direct impact on your personal finances and could also make it difficult for you to obtain loans, credit cards or a mortgage until the matter is resolved. Fraudsters can use your identity details to:

- Open bank accounts
- Obtain credit cards, loans and state benefits
- Order goods in your name
- Take over your existing accounts
- Take out mobile phone contracts
- Obtain genuine documents like, passports and driving licences in your name.


Scams can look and sound believable, with slick websites or sophisticated brochures and leaflets. this can make it hard to tell them apart from genuine investment opportunities, but remember if it sounds too good to be true - it probably is!

These include :

- Telephone scams (Vishing)
- Money Mules
- Advance fee schemes
- Inheritance money
- Job scam
- Bank cold callers
- Pension liberation
- Ponzi and Pyramid schemes
- Land banking schemes


Having your mobile phone stolen isn't just costly in time and money, it can also lead to much more.

If you've had your mobile phone stolen, tell your provider straight away. They can blacklist and deactivate it remotely. You should then change any passwords for online accounts you access through your phone as soon as possible, for example Mobile Banking.

How can I protect my phone?

- Set up a password or passcode on your phone or tablet and keep it locked when you're not using it.

- Never store personal details like passwords or PIN numbers on your mobile device.

- Set up a secure pin on your voicemail so that only you can access your messages.

- Many smartphones and tablets now come with the ability to remotely lock and track it if it's lost or stolen. There are a number of apps but some handsets themselves are capable of this.

- Get up-to-date anti-virus software, operating systems and firewalls if your phone supports them


Online fraud is where you're tricked into giving away your Internet Banking log in details and other confidential information. The information is stolen via social engineering, phishing techniques or by infecting your PC with malware. The fraudster then uses this information to move money from your account to a fraudulent beneficiary account or 'mule account'.

Phishing emails

Phishing is a way of attempting to get your personal information and Internet Banking credentials in order to access your account fraudulently, for example through an email pretending to be from your financial services institution.


Vishing involves a fraudster making a phone call posing as an official caller from a credible organisation.

They try and persuade victims to reveal financial and/or personal information so they can gain access to your bank accounts.


A 'Trojan' takes its name from the term 'Trojan Horse' in Greek mythology and is a type of computer virus that can be installed on your computer without you realising.

Trojans can be capable of recording passwords and other personal details by capturing keystrokes or taking screenshots of sites you visit. This information is then sent to the fraudsters over the internet.



(8th August 2015)



JULY 2015


(The Register, dated 29th July 2015 author John Leyden)

Full article [Option 1]:

A third of employees would sell information on company patents, financial records and customer credit card details if the price was right.

A poll of 4,000 employees in the UK, Germany, USA and Australia found that for £5,000, a quarter would flog off sensitive data, potentially risking both their job and criminal convictions in the process. The number of employees open to bribes increased to 35 per cent when the offer was increased to £50,000.

But a small minority of workers (three per cent) would sell private information for as little as £100, according to a poll sponsored by net security firm Clearswift. The exercise was designed to highlight the well-understood problem of insider threats posed by potentially corrupt or disillusioned employees.

(The Register, dated 29th July 2015 author Alexander J Martin)

Full article [Option 1]:

Boffins from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have demonstrated a vulnerability in Tor which, if exploited, could lead to hidden services being identified with up to 88 per cent accuracy.

The researchers demonstrated how an adversary can infer a hidden server's location, or the source of the information reaching a given Tor user. This becomes possible by analysing the traffic patterns of encrypted data passing through a single computer in the all-volunteer Tor network.

Tor, originally an acronym for "The Onion Router", wraps communications in several layers of encryption, which is supposed to allow information to be passed through a number of parties without the recipient of the traffic from being uncovered.

(Computer World, dated 27th July 2015 author Maria Korolov)

Full article [Option 1]:

Vulnerabilities in Android's "Stagefright" code allows criminals to send malware to any user via text message -- and the user gets infected without even having to open it, according to a new report from Zimperium zLabs.

This is the most serious Android vulnerability discovered so far, said Joshua Drake, VP of platform research and exploitation at San Francisco-based security vendor Zimperium, Inc.

That's because the user doesn't have to do anything to get infected, and the attacker doesn't have to be in close proximity to the victim.

"Now you can send malware directly to any Android device if you know their phone number," he said.

In the prototype code that Drake put together, the only indication that there might be something wrong is an MMS notification from an unknown number.

The message itself could be anything, he said.

Plus, since the vulnerable code is executed before the notification happens, an attacker might be able to eliminate it, or delete the original message so that there's no trace of an attack.


(Computer World, dated 24th July 2015 author Lucas Mearian)

Full article [Option 1]:

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), the world's seventh largest automaker, today issued a recall notice for 1.4 million vehicles in order fix a software hole that allowed hackers to wirelessly break into some vehicles and electronically control vital functions.

The National Highway Safety Administration also plans to look into the matter.

Security experts Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek collaborated with Wired magazine to demonstrate how they could remotely hack into -- and control -- the entertainment system and more vital functions of a 2015 Jeep Cherokee.

"We could have easily done the same thing on one of the hundreds of thousands of vulnerable vehicles on the road," Miller told Computerworld

The hackers were able to use the cellular connection to the Jeep's entertainment system, or head unit, to gain access to other systems; the head unit is commonly connected to various electronic control units (ECUs) located throughout a modern vehicle. There can be as many as 200 ECUs in a vehicle.


(Computer World, dated 24th July 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

Full article [Option 1]:

Companies often fail to hide if an email address is associated with an account on their websites, even if the nature of their business calls for this and users implicitly expect it.

This has been highlighted by data breaches at online dating sites and, which cater to people looking for one-time sexual encounters or extramarital affairs. Both were vulnerable to a very common and rarely addressed website security risk known as account or user enumeration.

In the Adult Friend Finder hack, information was leaked on almost 3.9 million registered users, out of the 63 million registered on the site. With Ashley Madison, hackers claim to have access to customer records, including nude pictures, conversations and credit card transactions, but have reportedly leaked only 2,500 user names so far. The site has 33 million members.

People with accounts on those websites are likely very concerned, not only because their intimate pictures and confidential information might be in the hands of hackers, but because the mere fact of having an account on those websites could cause them grief in their personal lives.


(Computer World, dated 22nd July 2015 author Robert C Covington)

Full article [Option 1]:

Some years ago, a popular spam message began making the rounds with a title that read something like "Did you enjoy your free cup holder?" Clicking on the link or attachment would cause your CD drive bay to pop open, which had a hole in it the size of a standard cup. Versions of that old joke still linger today. We should have realized at the time that it was a harbinger of bad things to come.

Verizon, in its 2015 Data Breach Investigation Report, found that for three years running, phishing attacks were a factor in over two-thirds of cyber-espionage incidents. More astounding is the fact that more people than ever are acting on these messages, having increased to 23% opens and 11% clicks as of the 2015 report.

(The Register, dated 15th July 2015 author Jennifer Baker)

Full article [Option 1]:

The European Parliament's civil liberties committee LIBE voted on Wednesday in favor of collecting and storing information about all air passengers traveling into or out of the EU.

The so-called Passenger Name Record (PNR) scheme requires the storage of all data collected by airlines about passengers - including sensitive and personal information such as email addresses, credit card details, phone numbers, and meal choices (halal, kosher, etc) - for use by security agencies. The committee approved the scheme by 32 votes to 27, and also agreed to start negotiations with national ministers with a view to agreeing on a new law by the end of the year.

However, civil rights groups have been outraged at some of the proposals, particularly after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled the old Data Retention Directive illegal and disproportionate in April last year.

(Computer World, dated 14th July 2015 author Grant Gross)

Full article [Option 1]:

A Vietnamese man linked to a data breach of 200 million personal records at a subsidiary of credit monitoring firm Experian has been sentenced to 13 years in prison, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Hieu Minh Ngo, 25, was sentenced Tuesday on charges including wire fraud and identity fraud in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Hampshire, the Dept of Justice said.

Ngo was linked to a data breach at Court Ventures, a data broker Experian purchased in 2012.

Ngo apparently tricked Court Ventures into giving him access to a personal records database by posing as a private investigator from Singapore, according to news reports. Much of the information about the breach came out when he pleaded guilty to multiple charges in March 2014 in the New Hampshire court.

Ngo was arrested in Guam in February 2013, according to court documents. He had been selling personal information, including credit card numbers and Social Security numbers, since 2007, and had about 1,300 customers at the time of his arrest, according to court information. Ngo allowed his customers to make more than 3 million queries of the database compromised through Court Ventures.


(Computer World, dated 14th July 2015 author Evan Schuman)

Full article [Option 1]:

Sometimes, emotions make it difficult to see the most effective way of accomplishing an objective. And emotions can definitely arise when the subject is underage cyberthieves.

Security blogger Brian Krebs (KrebsOnSecurity) recently took a hardline stance in opposition to the lenient sentencing of a Finnish 17-year-old, who was found guilty of 50,000 cybercrimes "including data breaches, payment fraud, operating a huge botnet and calling in bomb threats." Julius Kivimäki was given a two-year suspended sentence and ordered to pay the equivalent of about $7,200. The judge pointed to the youth of the defendant, noting that he had been much younger when some of the crimes were committed, that it was his first offense, that he had already served some jail time while awaiting the trial to start and, perhaps most crucially, that no one was physically hurt by his crimes.

(Computer World, dated 9th July 2015 author Jeremy Kirk)

Full article [Option 1]:

The company - Hacking Team warned that a devastating data breach it suffered will allow its spying tools to be used by criminals and terrorists.

The Milan-based security company, which develops surveillance tools for mostly government clients, saw more than 400GB of internal data released on Sunday, including emails, clients lists, financial information and source code.

"Terrorists, extortionists and others can deploy this technology at will if they have the technical ability to do so," wrote Hacking Team spokesman Eric Rabe in a news release on Wednesday. "We believe this is an extremely dangerous situation."

Hacking Team's flagship product is the Remote Control System (RCS), also known as Galileo. It is marketed to law enforcement and other government agencies as a tool that can stealthily intercept data on desktop computers and mobile devices.

(The Register, dated 8th July 2015 author John Leyden)

Full article [Option 1]:

Ford's recall of more than 400,000 cars in North America to fix a software bug may be just the first of many for the motor industry as automobiles become increasingly complex, security researchers warn.

As previously reported, a total of 433,000 2015 Focus, C-MAX and Escape cars are being recalled to dealerships for a software update as a result of the snafu - which means drivers may not be able to turn off engines on some of the latest vehicles, even if they remove the ignition key - as a notice by the car maker explains.

Dealers will update the body control module software at no cost to the customer, Ford promises.

(Computer World, dated 8th July 2015 author Jonny Evans)

Full article [Option 1]:

There is a growing chance your next vehicle will be a connected car, augmented with Internet-connected intelligent systems and services.

By 2017, every new car sold in Europe will be required to have an embedded SIM and built-in emergency calling features. "By 2018, most new vehicles will come with integrated apps as standard," said Juniper Research analyst, Anthony Cox. By 2024, Analysys Mason expects 89% of new cars will include embedded connectivity.

While I don't imagine anyone will buy these vehicles for making on-dash Facebook updates or the chance to shop online while driving, many people may want the convenience of always-available, contextual, predictive navigation to get them from Point A to Point B. Many will welcome the potential these vehicles have to cut fuel bills and lower CO2 emissions (4.8 billion hours were wasted by U.S. drivers trapped in traffic congestion in 2010). These reductions are of great significance to combat climate change; each of the over 1 billion cars in use today is estimated to release six tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year. We're choking the planet.

But for all the convenience, there are consequences.

(Computer World, dated 1st July 2015 author Lucian Constantin)

Full article [Option 1]:

A hacker group known as Team GhostShell is publishing snippets of sensitive data allegedly stolen from the databases of hundreds of compromised websites.

The group, which previously targeted government organizations, law enforcement agencies and companies from various industries in 2012, announced in March 2013 that it was halting its activities.

In a surprise return Monday, the group started posting on Twitter the names of websites it claims to have hacked as part of a new campaign, along with links to samples of data extracted from their databases.

So far the group has published the names of more than 450 websites, but claims that it has hacked many more. The alleged victims range from companies to education institutions and government organizations from different countries.

Based on its Twitter messages so far, the group's goal is to demonstrate "how truly deplorable cybersecurity has become" and that Internet security has not improved despite a flood of security technologies and products in recent years.


(Computer World, dated 22nd June 2015 author Mikael Ricknas)

Full article [Option 1]:

Fingerprint authentication will become more common on smartphones of all prices as sensors get cheaper, and Google's integration of the technology in the next version of Android will make it much easier for app developers and service providers to make use of them.

Today, fingerprint sensors are mainly available on high-end models from Apple and Samsung Electronics. But that is about to change, according to sensor manufacturers Synaptics and Fingerprint Cards.


(1st August 2015)

(International Business Times, dated 30th July 2015 author Lewis Dean)

Full article [Option 1]:

Parents cannot protect their children from sex offenders if police forces across the UK withhold information made available under "Sarah's Law", the NSPCC claims.

A study by the children's charity found just one in six applicants received information on suspected sex offenders between 2011-2014.

Under the Child Sex Offenders Disclosure (CSOD) - known as "Sarah's Law" after the schoolgirl who was murdered by convicted sex offender Roy Whiting in 2000 - parents, carers and guardians,or any concerned member of the public can formally ask the police to tell them if someone has a record for child sexual offences.

However, it is claimed forces are not making full use of powers under the law after it emerged 877 applications out of 5,357 yielded information.

Sussex Police, the force that investigated Sarah Payne's murder, gave out information for only 7% of applications - 14 out of 193 applications - while Warwickshire Police gave information about people who pose a risk to children in 10% of applications (six out of 59 applications).


Peter Wanless, NSPCC chief executive, said the figures were concerning. "We are both disturbed and surprised by this wide discrepancy of figures across the country, revealing that there is a postcode lottery when it comes to how forces deal with Sarah's Law," Wanless said.

"Families need to know if there are individuals in their area who pose a risk to children. How can you expect parents to make the right choices in order to protect their children if they don't know who is a threat?

"The police need to be proactive in empowering communities to protect vulnerable children. The wide variation in disclosure numbers doesn't breed confidence that the scheme is being understood or applied consistently and that is a concern."

Sussex and Warwickshire police forces said the numbers were skewed as in some cases applications simply did not reveal any convictions to report.

Detective Chief Inspector for Public Protection Pierre Serra said in a statement: "Sarah's Law has helped us to protect children across Sussex since 2011.

"Out of the 193 applications, 14 were given disclosures. Of the remainder there may have been information already shared with partner agencies, no information about that person to disclosure, information may already be in the public domain and at times we have made disclosures to family members who have direct responsibility for a child. Each case is assessed after careful consideration, thorough checks and risk assessments."

He added that previous convictions will only be disclosed if it is lawful, necessary and proportionate to prevent.

A Warwickshire police spokesperson said information was sometimes withheld to prevent a convicted sex offender from "going underground".

"The decision not to make a disclosure where there is relevant information is actually a very rare occurrence and only takes place after consultation with a multi-agency panel," she added.

(1st August 2015)

(Police Oracle, dated 28th July 2015 author Helena Hickey)

Full article [Option 1]:'making-little-difference'-to-foreign-police-forces_89040.html

The UK is spending millions of pounds to improve foreign police forces despite the programmes making little difference to the lives of the poor, a report has found.

A review by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact found that support for policing, courts and community justice in fragile and conflict-affected states is "an increasingly important part" of the UK aid portfolio but there is little sign the programmes are leading to wider improvement.

It cites the example of Bangladesh, in which police trained by the Department for International Development (DFID) police project, collected fingerprints from 40,000 convicted prisoners and entered 24,000 into a fingerprint database – despite fingerprint evidence not yet being admissible in court and the fact that the police have very limited capacity to preserve a crime scene.

The development of "model police stations" - where a station is built or renovated based on modern design principles and with training for staff - had also failed to improve police behaviour, yet were still being built in a number or areas, the report found.

"The assumption is that, once the value of these innovations is demonstrated, the police senior command will be persuaded to implement them across the country",it states.

"This approach has been tried at various times in Bangladesh, Malawi, Nigeria, DRC and Sri Lanka. It has clearly proved challenging to deliver successful innovations even in the model police stations themselves. There is little evidence that reforms introduced in model police stations have been picked up and implemented more broadly, due to a combination of budget, organisational and political constraints."

"In Nigeria, for example, our review of anti-corruption programming found that, while police skills and practices had improved in model police stations, the cost of the model police station initiative is too high to have any prospect of being replicated nationally."

The review also raises concerns about the way in which community policing is being developed across many countries – such as in Bangladesh where funding has been provided to Community Policing Forums including a monthly "open day" at police stations.

It states: "Our own observations suggested that relationships with communities were not greatly improved by these meetings. We saw no evidence of resulting changes in police practice."

One area in which aid was being put to better use was local community justice, the report found, such as in Malawi where a programme strengthening traditional courts in villages had reduced the payment of bribes and encouraged more women to bring their complaints forward.

The most promising results across the S&J portfolio are, without question, at the level of local community justice. This is usually an area with fewer political interests at play, where DFID has more space to work."

"Women have been important beneficiaries of this assistance. In Malawi, the local justice work is beginning to show signs of reducing "land grabbing"
- that is, the practice of dispossessing women of their property after divorce or widowhood. According to data generated by the programme, across more than 2,000 tribunals trained, 85 per cent of women involved in land claims are winning their cases against attempts to dispossess them, against a baseline of 60 per cent."

In response to the report, the DFID has said they are already more focused on tackling specific challenges in local contexts and will produce an updated security and justice position paper by December 2015.

Earlier this year, the Home Affairs Select Committee revealed the College of Policing provides training to forces in countries including Saudi Arabia and China, despite their human rights records.

(1st August 2015)

(Daily Mail, dated 28th July 2015 author Chris Greenwood)

Full article [Option 1]:

Burglary victims should no longer expect the police to come to their homes, one of the country's most senior officers said yesterday.

Chief Constable Sara Thornton, the £252,000-a-year head of the National Police Chiefs' Council, said public expectations had to change in the light of budget cuts.

Forces needed to shift their focus away from 'traditional' crimes, she said - admitting that officers might not call round for offences such as an iPad being stolen by intruders.

'Crime is changing in this country,' she said. 'There are a lot less burglaries than there used to be and a lot less car crime.

'The sorts of crimes that are on the increase, sexual offences, concerns about terrorism, cyber crime, that's where we really need to focus. We need to move from reacting to those traditional crimes to thinking about focusing on threat and harm and risk and really protecting the public.'

Mrs Thornton's comments reflect the growing mood among police chiefs that 'something has to give' among frontline policing.

Many feel that spending cuts have left them struggling to provide the services millions of people expect, although crime is at a record low. But critics warned that the impact of a burglary remains 'devastating' and victims need long-term reassurance and support.

Above all, they said, those who have suffered at the hands of thieves want to know police are determined to catch those responsible.

Speaking to the BBC, former Thames Valley Police chief Mrs Thornton said: 'What we are saying is if we are really serious about putting a lot of effort and resource into protecting children for example, that might mean that if you've had a burglary and the burglar has fled, that we won't get there as quickly as we've got there in the past.

'Of course we will still want to gather evidence, but we might do it in different ways.'

Pressed on whether an officer will always attend a burglary victim's home, she said: 'Our budgets have been cut 25 per cent over the last four years.

'We are anticipating those sorts of cuts again. Over ten years we will have lost about 70,000 posts and I don't think it's possible for us to carry on doing what we've always done.

'Because we will just fail the public but also we will cause unacceptable stress among our officers and staff. I think in terms of the threat to children from sexual offences, from sexual abuse, from online abuse, I think that's what we've got to prioritise.'

Chief constables will pay close attention to the comments by Mrs Thornton, the head of the organisation that replaced the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO).

She will be at the vanguard of police reform over the next few years amid simmering tension among police chiefs, who are under pressure to continue traditional beat policing while tackling new threats from cyber crime to child slavery.

They are braced for more difficult years as the Government holds a tight rein on budgets and the numbers of officers and staff fall.

But Lucy Hastings, of Victim Support, said burglary victims deserve the highest levels of service from police. She said: 'Victims tell us that they suffer far more than lost possessions when their home is burgled.

'There can be a lasting effect on the whole family and victims often feel violated as their home is no longer a safe haven. It's so important that all victims have access to the practical help and emotional support they may need to cope and recover from crime.'

Criminologist Liz Yardley, of Birmingham City University, said victims are being 'lost' in the row over police priorities.

She said: 'Attending the scene of a burglary is significant for victims - it shows that someone actually cares about the burglary and that someone wants to take steps to catch the perpetrator.

Further Information

National Police Chief's Council :

(1st August 2015)

(BBC News, dated 28th July 2015)

Full article :

Disneyland Paris is facing a pricing probe following accusations that UK and German customers are being frozen out of certain price promotions.

The Financial Times said people in the UK were paying 15% more for one day tickets.

The European Commission told the BBC that it had "received a number of complaints" from customers.

A Disneyland Paris spokesman said promotions were seasonal.

The newspaper said in a report that in some cases French consumers were paying €1,346 for a premium package, while British visitors were charged €1,870 and Germans €2,447.

The European Commission is concerned that Disneyland Paris is stopping consumers in some member states from shopping around for the best deals, EC spokeswoman Lucia Caudet told BBC Business online.

Under European law, firms can not stop consumers from doing this, she said.

The BBC understands that consumers in countries including the UK, Germany and Italy have made pricing complaints.

The problem potentially lies in, for example, a UK holidaymaker trying to order a Disneyland Paris ticket from a French website but being unable unable pay because they do not have a French credit card.

The French government has now been asked to investigate.

A spokesman for Disneyland Paris said that the price of a standard ticket was the same across the European Union market.

He said that the firm runs different promotions at specific times of year based around, for example, seasonal events and school holidays.

Customers are not subject to so-called geo-blocking, where promotions are closed to those people whose computers are located in a certain country, the spokesman said.

But he added that customers would not be able to directly pay for tickets for a promotion for a certain country unless their credit or debit card is registered in that country."It's an anti-fraud measure," he said.

(1st AUgust 2015)

(Police Oracle, dated 27th July 2015 author Josh Loeb)

Full article [Option 1]:'overwhelmed'-rape-teams_89033.html

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe's self-imposed deadline for finding around 200 extra officers to bolster the Met's crisis hit rape investigation teams has now passed.

But the force has still made no decision about exactly where the desperately needed additional personnel will come from.

The delay is likely to increase frustration among rank and file officers crying out for backup to cope with burgeoning workloads.

The Met Commissioner, the country's most senior officer, vowed in a London Assembly meeting on June 3 that a decision about the matter would be made urgently at a management board meeting "within the third week of July".

He refused to elaborate when asked him if the extra officers were going to be abstracted from borough neighbourhood policing teams.

He would only say that they would come either from "the street" or other detective units. has now asked the Met's corporate press office to finally come clean about which areas of the force will be losing manpower to support the rape teams, called Sapphire units.

One London Assembly source said: "He [the Commissioner] said the decision was going to be made in the third week of July. He couldn't have been more specific."

Almost two months have now passed since QC Dame Elish Angiolini made public her report into the investigation and prosecution of rape in London.

Dame Elish, who was commissioned by the Met to write the landmark report, documented chronic under resourcing and enormous caseloads that "overwhelmed" officers - many of whom are frequently off sick due to stress - are struggling with.

Officers working in Sapphire teams were 30 per cent more likely to be off sick than their police counterparts elsewhere in the Met, Dame Elish found.

Because of the relatively high proportion of female officers in such teams, officers going on maternity leave is also an issue, and concern has been raised that the Met does not have sufficient resilience to cope with this.

Retired Met officer Chris Hobbs, who is still in touch with serving and recently retired officers, said: "He [the Commissioner] may not himself know where these officers will be coming from.

"I would imagine there's a real scrap going on about people trying not to lose officers."

Andrew Boff, the leader of the Conservatives on the London Assembly, said: "As far as we're concerned the only place those extra 200 officers could come from is the borough police."

"There is very little at the centre they could support that from, so they would have to be abstracted from the borough policing model. Of course the problem there is the borough policing model - that's a whole other story."

Joanne McCartney said she was aware the Met was reviewing workloads but that "we now need to see tangible steps taken to getting those [extra] officers in place."

According to Dame Elish's review, one detective inspector described working in a Sapphire team as "backs to the wall stuff", adding it felt like there were perpetual crisis points in terms of personnel".

You've always got people in tears, you've always got a number of people off sick, you've always got another person going off on maternity or some other long term abstraction,"they added.

At the time the force said an "immediate and longer term review of resources" should result in stress levels and workloads among Sapphire officers being reduced.

A spokesman for the Met confirmed no decision about where the extra officers would come from had been made, saying only that "this piece of work remains ongoing".

(1st August 2015)

(Daily Express, dated 27th July 2015 author Dan Macadam)

Full article [Option 1]:

Nearly £1billion is thought to have been lost in the scams already and a Government-led task force says tricksters are coming up with new cons all the time.

Savers are particularly at risk from bogus schemes linked to the new pension freedoms which started in April this year.

Regulators fear that criminals are likely to capitalise on the changes, which allow more than 4.5 million people with defined contribution schemes access to their pot from age 55.

Fraudsters will often contact victims offering early access to their pension cash or promises of get-rich-quick schemes.

Baroness Altmann, the Pensions Minister, said: "I cannot urge people enough: just hang up. No bona fide company will ever cold call you about your pension."

She warned that the schemes often look attractive, but only ever end up with scammers stealing the victim's money.

She added: "The criminals behind this illegal activity often lay a sophisticated trap complete with glossy brochures and professional websites that make them look highly credible. Don't fall for it.

"Their aim is to catch you off your guard so they can steal your hard-earned savings. Scammers wreck people's lives; it really is as plain and simple as that."

One man nearly handed over his £90,000 pension pot but avoided the scam after checking with official government advice.

After being offered a free pension review last year, he was persuaded to sign a form authorising the release of his pension data.

He was visited by someone posing as an independent financial adviser with a deal to invest in overseas property.

Fearing a scam he passed on details to Action Fraud, the hotline for reporting financial scams.

He also alerted the Pensions Advisory Service which was aware of the scammers.

The hidden nature of pension cons and the reluctance of victims to come forward makes it difficult to calculate exactly how much money has been lost.

About £500million is known to have been transferred into bogus schemes, but the Pensions Regulator says the actual figure is likely to be "substantially higher".

With tens of thousands of savers affected, experts say losses are likely to be closer to £1billion.

Chief executive of the Pensions Regulator Lesley Titcomb said: "The people behind pension scams are shape shifters. They are sophisticated and well organised so we have to be resourceful, tenacious and work collaboratively."

Project Bloom, the task force set up to tackle pension fraud, has already resulted in several police raids.

So far 15 scam websites have been suspended, and the National Crime Agency has snapped up 70 domain names to prevent them from falling into the hands of criminals.

The Pensions Regulator is also investigating nine cases of suspected pension scams.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Fraudsters aren't just trying to tempt people's pension pots away with offers of pension schemes; they also try to entice people to hand over their money with big investment opportunities such as property abroad and fine wines.

"Think twice before responding to a cold call or an advert offering a free 'pension review', or high-return investment."

(1st August 2015)

(The Guardian, dated 26th July 2015 authors Karen McVeigh and Elena Cresci)

Full article [Option 1]:

When Lindsay's friends dropped her off a block from her home in a cab after a night out, they expected that the Oxford law student would return there safely. But Lindsay, then in her second year, never made it to her home that night in October 2011.

When she came to in the morning, she was in the bed of a stranger that, it turned out, was about 30 minutes' walk from her home. The man began to sexually assault her. He told her he had found her wandering the streets, lost and cold.

"When I woke up, I was completely out of it," said Lindsay. "It was surreal. I didn't process what was going on. I was completely nonresponsive.

"That still haunts me, but apparently it's not uncommon to seize up. I felt disconnected and dissociated, like I wasn't in my own body.

"The only self-defence I could muster was saying: 'Don't come in me.'"

She remembers someone on top of her, having sex with her, pushing him off, waking up and feeling confused. Later, she wondered if she had been drugged. Yet, amid her confusion, her hazy memory and the missing details, she knew she had been violated.

Lindsay, who was "horribly drunk" after a breakup, can recall only fragments of the night before, but her experience is all too frequent. A study by the National Union of Students in 2010 showed that one in seven students were victims of serious sexual assault or serious physical violence.

A Guardian investigation in May found fewer than half of Britain's most elite universities were monitoring the extent of sexual violence against students, and one in six said they did not have specific guidelines for students on how to report such allegations.

Following that report, scores of students got in touch to report allegations of sexual violence at university towns, where Rape Crisis groups say there is a a "hit or miss" approach to dealing with sexual violence.

"At first I felt really stupid and I blamed myself for being drunk enough for this to have happened," said Lindsay. "The stereotype of stranger rape, down a dark alley, is so damaging. But, academically, I know I was in no state to consent to sex. I was too incapacitated.

"I know the law, and I was raped. If you come across somebody who is lost and cold, then your response should not be to sexually assault them."

With the help of a friend from the US, where universities have a legal obligation to investigate a sexual assault, she combed her institution's website for support. "There was nothing like that," Lindsay said. "There is still nothing on sexual assault on the student welfare counselling page."

Lindsay's friend took her to an emergency doctor, where she was given the morning-after pill and anti-HIV medication. She emailed the counselling service for an appointment. But once there, she said, a counsellor told her: "Well, it's not your fault, and it's not his fault either. I want to talk to you about why you were so drunk."

Lindsay said: "I found the whole thing to be deeply traumatic. I was so upset, I threw up."

Taken together, the stories of those who contacted the Guardian provide a remarkable insight into how universities' policies and practices to combat sexual violence are failing in terms of advice and support to students, let alone action to deter sex attackers.

Susuana Amoah, women's officer at the National Union of Students, said: "It's really disheartening, but not surprising, to hear that students reporting sexual assault are being met with victim-blaming and poor advice.

"Many students don't even make it to the reporting stage because of the lack of clarity around the complaints and disciplinary procedures available to victims of sexual harassment and assault by universities."

The NUS, which has examined the policies of 35 higher education institutions in England, Wales and Scotland on sexual violence, is expected to publish its report today. It is calling for Universities UK to develop national guidance to tackle the problem.

Some of the 50 students who contacted the Guardian reported historical allegations, although many told of recent experiences. They told harrowing stories of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, in one case, attempted suicide, that followed their alleged attacks.

Some had dropped out, failed to obtain expected grades or taken a longer time to obtain their degrees.

Only one reported a positive response, and that was from a student union. Most were women, although at least one was a man. Many spoke of being blamed for the attacks on them, others of a failure to provide support or practical help such as counselling or time off from their studies.

What they had in common was how alone they felt in being left to cope with the most traumatic experience of their young lives.

Lindsay, rare among alleged survivors of rape in that she did report her attack to police, as well as to her institution, said she was let down by both authorities.

Home Office figures show that only 15% of sexual assault survivors report to police. When they do report, only a fraction of alleged assaults make it to prosecution. Research by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary in 2015 showed that only 28% of alleged rapes of adults and children in England and Wales reported to police were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service.

uaware comment

The Met Police Commissioner has stated that the reason the number of reported rape cases has increased is because victims have more confidence in the Police !

Further article :

(1st August 2015)

(The Guardian, dated 26th July 2015 author Press Association)

Full article [Option 1]:

Hundreds of motorists have had their driving licence revoked after failing roadside eye tests under new police powers, figures have shown.

In 2011 Cassie McCord, 16, died from serious head injuries when 87-year-old Colin Horsfall lost control of his vehicle in Colchester, Essex. It later emerged he had failed a police eyesight test days earlier but a legal loophole had meant he was allowed to continue driving.

Cassie's mother, Jackie Rason, campaigned for a change in the law and this eventually led to the introduction of new powers - popularly known as Cassie's law - which allowed the driver and vehicle licensing authority (DVLA) to revoke licences more quickly.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show that since the powers were introduced in 2013, police forces across Britain applied 631 times to revoke licences based on failed attempts to read number plates.

In most of the cases - 609 - the DVLA revoked the drivers' licences.

Rason said this was "brilliant news" which had potentially saved dozens of lives.

"I had no idea until now that it was being used so widely, and it is very satisfying to know it is making a difference," she said.

"That's more than 600 people who could still be driving, perhaps without even knowing there was a problem with their sight.

"You can't say that in every case they would have killed somebody, but it is very likely to have prevented fatal accidents and other casualties."

Three days before Cassie's death, police in Essex had spent two hours trying to persuade Horsfall not to drive again after he was involved in a minor collision and failed an eye test.

At the time police had no powers to immediately suspend a licence. He later mounted a kerb, hitting Cassie as she walked with a friend.

Under the new procedure, when an officer feels the safety of other road users would be put at risk if the driver remains on the road, they can ask for the licence be urgently revoked.

There are three levels of revocation under the new system - immediate, within 48 hours and postal - whereby the driver will be dealt with via letter sent within 24 hours of notification from the police.

If a banned driver continues to drive, they commit a criminal offence which may lead to their arrest and their vehicle being seized.

When the change was introduced, Sue Harrison, Essex police's assistant chief constable, said: "I very much welcome this new procedure.

"It is a positive step forward and will enable our officers to immediately refer serious cases to the DVLA.

"This new procedure is a great testament to Jackie's relentless determination and resilience, which I highly commend."

Rason hopes to continue campaigning for mandatory eye tests for all drivers and extra checks for over-70s.

"If your car is more than three years old, you have to have an MOT [a mechanical and emissions test] to certify it's roadworthy," she said. "Why shouldn't that be the same for drivers?"

Individual police forces could not say how many times they had applied under the new powers, known as D751E referrals, because such information is only recorded in officers' notebooks.

(1st August 2015)

(International Business Times, dated 25th July 2015 author Peter Carty)

Full article [Option 1]:

People living in some parts of England are up to seven times more likely than residents in other areas of the country to suffer a violent assault that puts them in hospital, according to new figures.

Hospitals on Merseyside have 13 assault admissions per 10,000 people, against 2.3 per 10,000 in the Thames Valley.

The rate on Merseyside is much higher than anywhere else in England.

The second highest rate is in Lancashire, which has eight admissions per 10,000 people. The average across England was 5.2 per 10,000.

The figures, released by the Health and Social Care Information Centre, show a general decline in violence admissions into NHS hospitals.

However, the number of women going into hospital accident and emergency units after being attacked is falling at a slower rate than for men.

The reasons for the high Merseyside figures are unclear as categories and classifications may not be consistent for this data across NHS Trusts.

Also transfers of data within and between different NHS computer systems are not always wholly reliable.

(1st August 2015)

(BBC News, dated 23rd July 2015 author Adam Pearson)

Full article :

People stare at Adam Pearson wherever he goes. But when looks and whispers turn more violent, he is left feeling scared. He looks into the issue of disability hate crime in the UK.

Living with a facial disfigurement, in a busy city like London, means I am rarely invisible. Even something as simple as a train journey can turn into a gauntlet of stares, pointing and whispers.

I have neurofibromatosis type 1, a condition that causes benign tumours to grow on nerve endings - in my case, on my face.

I can understand why people stare. Disfigurement is so widely unrepresented in our media heavy culture it is little wonder people don't know how to react to it. But stares and whispers are not in themselves hate crimes, even if it does mean I have to experience people's prejudice and misconceptions of disability on a daily basis.

While I don't enjoy being looked at constantly, what I experience cannot be labelled as a disability hate crime. That is a more serious issue. The term itself is banded about a great deal, and yet remarkably very few people know what it is or recognise it. It's any criminal offence where the victim, or another person, thinks it has happened because of prejudice based on their disability, or perceived disability.

But the behaviours I do come into contact with, if left unchecked and unchallenged, can become the origins of such hate crime. Pointing and staring can quickly progress into name-calling, particularly on nights out when alcohol is added to the equation.

It's in the pub, when I'm having a pint of beer after a hard week of work that I feel at my most vulnerable and exposed.

When people get drunk, they like to call me names. I have been called "spastic", "elephant man" and "deformed mutant". Whatever motivates such behaviour, following the definition, this is disability hate crime.

I'm certainly not the only one who experiences this.

My friend Lucas also has a facial disfigurement. Growing up, he was also ridiculed, spat at and even had his head stood on. In both of our cases the schools we attended didn't do anything about it. The attitude seemed to be that of "boy will be boys", and the teachers tended to just ignore it.

This is a dangerous attitude to have. School is the place where we learn how to interact with the world around us. The person you become at school quite often acts as the blueprint for who you will be for the rest of your life. When this behaviour happens in the "real world" it is considered hate crime, so by simply labelling it as "bullying" in schools sends out the impression, at a young age that it isn't a crime.

My mother used to count down the school terms. "Only seven more to go," she would say, and I would wake up every morning dreading the days and weeks ahead. Don't get me wrong - I was by no means a fine, upstanding pupil, but nevertheless I felt utterly alone and unsupported.

The tide is slowly turning though, and schools are taking bullying much more seriously than when I was a pupil 15 years ago. As part of my role as a patron for the charity Changing Faces I go into schools and talk to pupils. I want to teach people about disability while they're young so they know the impact words and actions can have.

People may think I simply need to toughen up and grow a thicker skin, but I think this attitude is part of the problem. When disability hate crime does take place, be it in a relatively mild form such as my own experiences or even in stronger incidents, it often isn't treated as seriously as other forms of hate crime.

This is even more noticeable when looking at the laws surrounding it.

Hate crime laws protect five different minority groups on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, transgender and disability. But there are different laws that cover these groups, and disability is excluded from certain hate crime laws.

Disability hate crime is considered a basic offence, whereas race and religious hate crimes are considered aggravated offences. This means that if someone were to assault me because I'm disabled, the judge has the option of extending the perpetrator's sentence by up to six months, but if the attack was race-related, for example, the sentence can be extended for longer - up to two years.

When I first discovered this I felt frustrated, and still do now. I struggle to see how this is equality.

Disability hate crime

- Disability hate crime is defined by the CPS as based on offensive, senseless prejudices that have a degrading and destructive impact on the lives of others.

- In 2013/14, there were 44,480 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales. 4%, or 1,985, of these were disability hate crimes.

- Research by the Disability Hate Crime Network showed that 57% of disabled people asked are attacked on the streets.

- Prosecutions for disability hate crime have trebled since 2007, according to the CPS.

(1st August 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 23rd July 2015 Tom Marshall)

Full article [Option 1]]:

A security flaw in contactless bank cards means they can be "easily and cheaply" exploited for fraud, a leading consumer group has warned.

Tests showed that thieves can steal the details of debit and credit cards using easily obtained scanning equipment - enabling them to launch an online "shopping spree" with someone else's money.

The researchers for consumer group Which? were able to order a £3,000 television using the "stolen" data.

The group tested contactless payments with six debit cards and four credit cards - and the scanners were able to extract key details including card numbers and expiry dates every time.

The security risk was exposed after data from the UK Cards Association revealed more than £2 billion was spent through contactless payments last year, as the system continues to grow rapidly in popularity.

Contactless payment cards allow consumers to pay for things by simply tapping their cards on a reader, rather than entering a PIN number.

A spokesman for Which? said: "Contactless cards are coded to 'mask' personal data, but using an easily obtainable reader and free software to decode data, we were able to read the card number and expiry date from all 10 cards.

"We were also able to read limited details of the last 10 transactions, although no cards revealed the CVV security code (the number on the back).

"We doubted we'd be able to make purchases without the cardholder's name or CVV code - but we were wrong.

"We ordered two items - one a £3,000 TV - from a mainstream online shop using 'stolen' card details, combined with a false name and address."

The group said it ordered the scanning technology from a "mainstream" website, and that it was "easily and cheaply" available.

The limit for a single contactless transaction is £20 - but from September 1 onwards a higher limit of £30 will be rolled out.

The Which? spokesman added: "By touching volunteers' cards to our card reader, we got enough details to allow us to go on an internet shopping spree.

"With these card details, the contactless transaction limit is irrelevant, because online transactions aren't contactless."

Richard Koch, head of policy at the UK Cards Association, said: "This is not a new story. Consumers are fully protected against any fraud losses on contactless cards and will never be left out of pocket.

"Instances of fraud on contactless cards are in fact extremely rare, with losses of less than a penny for every £100 spent on contactless - far lower even than overall card fraud.

"The method shown by Which? is not a new discovery and was first reported two years ago. However, any such technology can only obtain the card number and expiry date - information that has always been available simply by looking at the front of a card.

"The vast majority of online retailers require additional data such as the card security code, along with the cardholder's address, which cannot be harvested electronically. Any retailers that do not will do so at their own risk and will be liable for any fraudulent transactions."

uaware comment

Well the information in this article is approaching 1 year out of date. Even the shopping channel QVC has been selling products to prevent this problem. Even Marks and Spencers has been selling wallets with an in-built screen to prevent cards from being "read"; they started selling this product at the start of the year.

In all honesty, you need to ask yourself, why do you need a contactless debit or credit card ? How much time are you really going to save ? Contactless cards just allow the larger retailers (and coffee shops) to have a larger throughput of customers.

(1st August 2015)

(The Telegraph, dated 23rd July 2015 author David Barrett)

Full article [Option 1]:

Police officers who stumbled across the aftermath of a sexual assault on a late night bus refused to arrest the attacker and told the victim to report the crime at a police station.

The 36-year-old female victim, the director of a marketing agency, reported the crime to two women constables just moments after it occurred.

But the officers, who are seen on CCTV footage carrying plastic bags of takeaway food, refused to investigate.

Their failure to act allowed the assailant to get off the bus unhindered and, despite a later investigation by Scotland Yard, he remains at large.

The pair have now been disciplined after a misconduct hearing found them guilty of "breaching the standards of professional behaviour".

The victim, who declined to be named, was aboard a No 134 night bus at 1.30am heading home to north London after a Christmas meal with friends last December when a young man lunged at her.

She was sexually assaulted - but not physically harmed - in front of other passengers.

She told the Evening Standard newspaper: "I pushed him away and asked 'What are you doing?'

"I was shocked but seconds later two female police officers boarded the bus.

"I told them what had happened.

"I pointed at the man, saying that was the man who assaulted me, and I said the attack was witnessed by my friend.

"They told me they could not deal with the crime because I had to report it at a police station.

"I can't believe the police let him walk away from the scene."

The victim said it was only later that the shortcomings of the Metropolitan police officers' behaviour dawned on her.

"At the time I did not question it because you believe the police and what they say," she said.

She lodged a complaint which led to the two officers being brought in front of a local disciplinary panel.

Commander Richard Tucker, of the Metropolitan Police, said: "I was disappointed that these officers choose to behave in such a way which was well below the standard I expect.

"They let down the victim, which has had the knock on effect of damaging the reputation of the police in London.

"Both officers have received a final written warning which is the most severe sanction available to the local panel."

The alleged bus attacker was a white man in his late 20s with brown hair, and was wearing a suit and a "hoodie" jacket.

The victim said the experience had deeply affected her confidence.

"I don't feel safe walking the streets after dark any more and spend a fortune on taxis," she said.

"I've always kept on the right side of the police and you think the one time you need them you can rely on them."

uaware comment

You would have thought that in the police service dereliction of duty would be a sackable offence by-passing the requirement for a warning letter. Was it the case that these officers had not got to the chapter dealing with sexual offences in their training ! So were not "qualified to complete the "collar".

(1st August 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 23rd July 2015 author Ross Lydall)

Full article [Option 1]:

More than a thousand London cyclists were injured and two were killed in hit-and-run collisions last year, figures revealed today.

The total of 1,014 incidents is up 13 per cent on the 896 reported in 2013 and means that almost a fifth of all cyclist injuries were caused by drivers who failed to stop.

There was also a 16 per cent increase in the number of pedestrians injured in hit-and-runs - up from 1,043 to 1,212 cases, including four fatalities and 132 serious injuries.

The figures, published by Boris Johnson, emerged as the London Cycling Campaign called for urgent action from the Mayor - including a rush-hour ban - to end the danger posed by lorries.

The cyclists killed were teacher Asaad Ahmed, a 32-year-old father of two, who was fatally injured in Commercial Road in November, and engineer David Blake, 57, who was hit in Whitechapel in December. A total of 91 cyclists suffered "serious" injuries and 921 "slight" injuries.

Baroness Jones, the Green assembly member who uncovered the figures, said the "culture of lawless roads" was getting worse.

She said: "Something has gone very wrong when a fifth of the injuries to pedestrians and cyclists involve a failure to stop. There are far too many arrogant drivers who think they can get away with injuring someone, just as they think they can get away with breaking the rules on speeding, jumping red lights and using mobile phones."

Transport for London figures show the number of cyclists killed or seriously injured in London in all collisions fell 11 per cent last year to 432 but the total number of cycling injuries rose to 5,146.

This is 10th successive year-on-year increase and the highest injury toll since 1989, when 33 cyclists were killed and 752 seriously injured among a total of 5,164 cases.

Today the London Cycling Campaign marked the month anniversary of the HGV death of 26-year-old cyclist Ying Tao at Bank to demand a 8am-9.30am ban on lorries over 7.5 tonnes, HGVs with better vision for drivers and stronger enforcement against rogue operators. The tipper truck driver stopped at the scene and City of London police launched an investigation after the death of Ms Tao.

The LCC fears the Mayor's Safer Lorry scheme, due to be introduced in six weeks, does not go far enough as it will only require lorries to have basic safety equipment, which most already do. Lorries have been involved in seven of the eight cycle deaths in London this year.

Ashok Sinha, chief executive of LCC, said: "Forty per cent of cycling fatalities involving lorries occur in the morning rush hour. Almost all of these fatalities involve the construction and waste industry lorries that flood onto our roads at the same time thousands of people are cycling to work.

"The Safer Lorry scheme will do nothing to prevent this from happening, nor will it protect cyclists from lorries with restricted vision or unlicensed, untrained lorry drivers on London's roads. Unless more is done, more people will lose their lives."

Andrew Gilligan, the Mayor's London Cycling Commissioner, said: "There are many difficulties and practicalities with imposing a rush hour ban in a major city like London. What we don't want to see is heavy goods vehicle activity simply dispersed to other times of the day - HGVs flooding into town once the rush hour is over won't deliver benefits for cyclists or pedestrians.

"In September, we will be banning lorries and construction vehicles without certain safety equipment from entering London at all - at any time of the day or week."

(1st August 2015)

(The Guardian, dated 22nd July 2015 author Press Association)

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Two people are being convicted of child abuse image crimes every day on average, two years after a government pledge to crack down on the offence, the NSPCC says.

The charity said its analysis of news reports showed there had been at least 1,000 court cases involving indecent images of children since David Cameron's July 2013 speech in which he threatened to impose tough new laws on internet companies if they failed to blacklist key search terms.

The NSPCC said a snapshot of 100 cases revealed that 4.5m child abuse images were discovered among them, with one in three of the 101 convicted criminals involved having held a position of trust or a role that allowed them access to children.

Claire Lilley, head of child safety online for the NSPCC, said: "The scale of the problem is shocking and even more so because of the number of people who hold positions of trust in our communities. This is just a fragment of the hundreds of other similar convictions during the same time.

"It is a myth that there is no harm in just looking at these images. Defenceless babies and children are being molested to feed the appetite of offenders and that demand is just not going away.

"The prime minister made a bold attempt to tackle this problem, but it is clear that, two years after he called for a crackdown, the scale of the problem is proving to be massive. We need urgent action to prevent this horrendous abuse from appearing online."

The NSPCC said those convicted of abuse image crimes in the last two years included doctors, teachers, scout leaders, clergymen, police officers, a magician and a Santa Claus. Only two were women.

Six out of 10 were jailed. Those convicted included a father and son, and a teenager who confessed to viewing such pictures from the age of 12. More than a quarter were also convicted of other sexual crimes, including grooming, voyeurism, and indecent assault, and one in six already had criminal records for similar offences.

In July 2013, Cameron called on internet companies to protect children from "poisonous" websites that are "corroding childhood", including introducing family-friendly filters that automatically block pornography unless customers choose to opt out.

In a speech at the NSPCC headquarters in east London, he acknowledged the issue of extreme and child abuse images is "hard for our society to confront" and "difficult for politicians to talk about".

Karen Bradley, minister for preventing abuse and exploitation, said on Wednesday that the government was leading the fight against online child sexual exploitation.

"At last year's #WeProtect summit (addition - see below), the prime minister announced a series of new measures to improve the global response to online child sexual exploitation, including funding of £10m for further specialist teams within the National Crime Agency (NCA).

"Measures also include new collaboration between the NCA and GCHQ using the latest techniques to target online offenders, making it illegal to communicate sexually with a child, and technological developments to ensure victims of online abuse can be identified more quickly and offenders are subject to speedier justice.

"The government has also prioritised child sexual abuse as a national threat and is due to make live streaming of abuse images punishable in the same way as recorded images, in order to ensure perpetrators face the toughest possible sentences."



Link :

Today we; Adobe, Apple, AskFM, BAE Systems, Dell, Ernst and Young LLP, Facebook, Getty Images, Google, Microsoft, PA Consulting, Symantec, Twitter, Vodafone, Visa and Yahoo reiterate and expand on our commitment to work together, in ways relevant to our different products and services and under established legal processes, to combat the use of the Internet to further the sexual exploitation of children. We will:

- Engage in, and inform, international initiatives that seek to increase the volume of hashes used to detect and remove images of child sexual abuse, including the industry shared list and ones provided by NCMEC and the IWF

- Support the expansion of mechanisms for public reporting of online child abuse content in regions around the world

- Continue to support leading NGOs which work to remove child sexual abuse content from the Internet

- Building on the success of technologies such as Photo DNA and video hashing, we will continue to work on new tools and techniques to help improve the detection and removal of images and videos of child sexual abuse

- Deploy expertise and resources to enhance cooperation among industry and organizations dedicated to protecting children from sexual exploitation, in order to identify and safeguard victims of abuse.

Today, we BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, together the 4 leading UK ISPs, reaffirm our continued support for the leaders of countries, law enforcement agencies, NGOs and global technology companies in coming together to tackle child sexual exploitation.

- We are committed in our support of leading bodies that are responsible for removing child sexual abuse from the internet.

- In particular, we continue to fund the Internet Watch Foundation, and in April 2014 we increased our contribution to it by 87.5% allowing it to substantially increase its remit and effectiveness.

- We are committed to continue working with the IWF and CEOP to understand the effectiveness of serving informational 'splash pages' when blocking access to child sexual images so that we can continue to improve the efficacy and impact of the messaging.

- We will continue to further the work of the Stop it Now! Campaign which is a child sexual abuse campaign, including the provision of long term funding allowing them to increase the support they provide.

- We will also work with those organisations that enable children who suffer sexual abuse and exploitation via internet to recover and live safe, fulfilling lives. We have committed to provide funding to the Marie Collins Foundation over a four year period.

(1st August 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 22nd July 2015 author David Churchill)

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Barely one in 10 alleged cyber thefts and frauds on Londoners and the capital's businesses are being investigated by police, figures revealed by the Met Commissioner indicate.

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe has admitted the figures are "worrying" for his force's reputation, and warns that the "hidden threat" from online swindlers will continue to go under-investigated across the country if a fresh approach is not adopted.

He revealed that between February and May this year, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau recorded 10,355 reports of online scams in the capital, worth £86?million.

But in the same period only 1,331 reports (12.85 per cent) were passed on to UK police forces to investigate, while 874 (eight per cent) were referred to the Met. Meanwhile, 5,964 reports were passed on to the force in the same period when victims from outside London are included. Last year, the Met received 24,000 such reports, which are now tackled by its FALCON cyber unit, which was launched in October.

Online fraud and theft reports are assessed by analysts at the NFIB, run by City of London police, which decides which force to pass them on to for investigation. However, in a letter to London Assembly member Roger Evans, Sir Bernard said: "There is significant under-reporting in this area but, more worryingly in my view, is the amount of reports that are not disseminated to forces for action as this particularly impacts on the public's confidence and satisfaction in the Met.

"The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau disseminate crimes for investigation on agreed criteria that does not necessarily locate an investigation in the force area where the victim lives… With online crime being reported in a separate way to all other offences there is a danger that this hidden threat continues to receive less attention nationally than it rightly deserves."

He said he was working with the Home Office and the Association of Chief Police Officers to improve the situation.

Mr Evans, chair of City Hall's Online Crime Working Group, said: "We need a general level of capability in the Met police so this isn't just investigated by specialists."

A City of London police spokesman said: "The crime reports which are disseminated by the NFIB are those crimes that officers have the best opportunity to detect and deter. However, all reports are stored for further analysis so that if new evidence is unearthed, the information can be used as part of any future investigation."

(1st August 2015)

(The Telegraph, 20th July 2015 author David Barrett)

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Immigrants from outside Europe will be required to provide details of their criminal records or be refused entry to Britain, under new measures to be introduced by the Government.

From September everyone applying to come to Britain under certain visa routes will have to provide proof of criminal record checks from every country they have lived in for the last 10 years.

The scheme, designed to prevent foreign criminals reaching British soil, will initially apply to applicants in the "investor" and "entrepreneur" visa routes - and is due to be extended to other visa types from 2016.

However, the checks will not apply to anyone from within the European Union who enjoy "free movement" rights to come to Britain.

• Foreign criminal can stay in Britain because he is an alcoholic

It means the scheme would not have covered the case of the killer of Alice Gross, the 14-year-old schoolgirl who went missing from her west London home in August last year and was later found murdered.

Arnis Zalkalns, a 41-year-old Latvian immigrant, had been named as a suspect in her disappearance but his body was later found hanging in woodland nearby.

He was a convicted killer when he arrived in Britain, having previously served seven years for murdering his wife Rudite in Latvia.

Lawyers for Alice's family demanded answers about what checks, if any, were made on him when he arrived here in 2007.

James Brokenshire, the immigration minister, said: "Foreign criminals have no place in the United Kingdom and this scheme will help keep them out.

"Since 2010, checks on foreign nationals going through the UK criminal justice system have increased by more than 1,000 per cent, helping ensure more foreign criminals are taken off our streets and making our communities safer.

"But we want to go further still by preventing these people getting into the country in the first place. Mandatory police certificates will serve as an additional tool to help us achieve this."

The Home Office also confirmed the scheme will not apply to short-term visa routes because it would be a "disproportionate requirement" for millions of visitors coming to Britain.

A spokesman confirmed the roll-out of the scheme will depend on the results of the first stage of the investor and entrepreneur routes, known as "Tier 1" visas under the Government's points-based immigration system.

The new requirements will apply to all nationalities who are applying under the Tier 1 routes, even if they are citizens of countries such as the United States who do not require a visa to visit this country.

"A US national or any other non-visa national coming to the UK as a Tier 1 investor or entrepreneur still requires entry clearance, even if they don't necessarily need a visa," the spokesman said.

"Therefore they will still need to produce a police certificate."

Not all countries have a direct equivalent of Britain's criminal records checking authority, now known as the Disclosure and Barring Service.

The Government spokesman said it would be possible for foreigners who have lived in a country which does not have a similar service to obtain an exception - or partial exception - from the rules.

But they will have to provide evidence that they have made efforts to undergo a criminal record check, he added.

(1st August 2015)

(International Business Times, dated 17th July 2015 author Mary-Ann Russon)

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Microsoft has released a new, free version of its child porn image-detection software PhotoDNA to enable all websites and photo-sharing service providers to be able to spot illegal images.

PhotoDNA was created by Microsoft in collaboration with Dartmouth College back in 2009 to aid the work of the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US.

The software giant says that 1.8bn pictures are uploaded to the internet every day, and 720,000 of those images are child pornography.

Over 70 companies are already using PhotoDNA to detect these illegal images and aid law enforcement around the world, including Facebook, Twitter and Flipboard, but they have to host the software on their premises and have the money and technical expertise to keep it running and up-to-date.

"Finding these known child sex abuse images in that huge universe is like finding a needle in a haystack," said Courtney Gregoire, a senior attorney at Microsoft's Digital Crimes Unit.

"We needed an easier, more scalable way to identify and detect the worst of the worst images ... and that's how the concept for PhotoDNA in the cloud was born."

Microsoft has launched the PhotoDNA Cloud Service so that smaller companies, online communities and other organisations that enable users to upload content can detect and identify these images for free.

Although the original suspects might have long since been caught and their victims freed, these illegal images continue to be traded online by other paedophiles.

Using hashing technology to detect images

PhotoDNA works by using "hashing" technology to tag known child sexual abuse images held in databases by Interpol, NCMEC and other law enforcement agencies around the world, so that the system flags up duplicate copies of the images found elsewhere without humans having to view them.

When an illegal image is run through the software, it converts the image into a greyscale format with a grid, assigning a numerical value to each tiny square. The software then scans images from content uploaded by websites to see if they match that numerical hash.

Although paedophiles now try to alter images by cropping them, changing the file extension or altering a few pixels, PhotoDNA is still able to detect the files and flag them.

"At its core, this is really one of the most heinous crimes that can happen to a child during some of their most vulnerable years," said Gregoire.

"My hope is much wider-scale deployment of this important technology to better protect these victims of sexual abuse."

(1st August 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 17th July 2015 author Justin Davenport)

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A squad of police officers and civilians with special powers to remember faces are driving down thefts at concerts and crime hotspots.

The team of "super recognisers" are being deployed at sites such as Buckingham Palace and the British Museum to deter and catch pickpockets and thieves.

The officers, skilled at picking out faces from a crowd, are also being sent to rock concerts, which became notorious for attracting phone thieves.

At a Pharrell Williams concert at the O2 last October, one "super recogniser" spotted a gang of five suspected thieves in the mosh pit who were intercepted by police. There were no crimes at the concert that night, an almost unprecedented event. At an Arctic Monkeys concert, 17 suspects were identified and prevented from entering the venue.

The Scotland Yard-based team are used to spot faces in crowds at events such as the Notting Hill Carnival or to patrol pickpocketing hotspots such as Oxford Street.

Acting sergeant Paul Smith, who co-ordinates the group, said: "Their talent is holding an image in their head and going out, sometimes months or even years later, and being able to recognise that person and say, 'That's John Smith'. We are deploying the group to tourist areas where pickpockets and thieves operate and they go out to spot known thieves."

At rock concerts, it was once common for dozens of mobile phones to be stolen at each event, but the figure has now dropped to a handful or even zero.

Details of the new squad emerged as the Met held a three-day event for 72 "super recognisers" in an effort to identify criminals from CCTV images of 3,000 suspects. "Super recogniser" Lee O'Brien, 34, a Police Community Support Officer, said: "You look for facial features that do not change, such as people's ears or nose or mouth. I don't think I have any special ability, but I do remember names and faces. I can remember people from school who I have not seen for years."

Pc Damian Thorne, 37, identified one suspected thief from his distinctive hat and coat, even though his face was blurred. Another super recogniser picked out seven images of the same suspect who was wanted for distraction thefts, but who frequently wore different clothes and hats.

Detective Chief Inspector Mick Neville said: "We are the only police force in the country doing this. By the end of three days we will have identified around 150 suspects, treble the number of identifications that we would have done in a week. Around 75 per cent of the suspects end up in court.

"This is old-fashioned policing, putting names to suspects but we are now doing it on an industrial scale."

(1st August 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 17th July 2015 author Justin Davenport)

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Gangs are arming themselves with massive combat and "zombie killer" knives in a terrifying new trend in London, police warned today.

Teenage gangsters are brandishing the weapons in YouTube videos and carrying the knives "almost as status symbols," according to a senior gangs unit officer.

Det Insp Dan Brown, of the Trident Gang Crime Command, said there was a "new culture" among gangs of carrying long blades such as combat and so-called Zombie-killer knives.

He said: "I have never seen these large combat knives before, most are coming off the internet. They are easy to get hold of and cheap."

The officer said gangs were brandishing the weapons on YouTube videos as an incitement to rivals.

His warning came days after police found a two foot long "Zombie killer" knife hidden in a Hackney alleyway

Scotland Yard today announced new measures to combat knife crime as mandatory "two strikes and you're out" laws for carrying blades came into force.

Police are deploying mobile fast reaction squads to respond to gang incidents such as the machine gun killing of an innocent bystander in Wood Green last Friday.

In the last three weeks, the teams have made 79 arrests, recovered more than 13 knives and seized at least 10 guns.

Officers are also carrying out personal visits to the homes of 281 young people in London - 70 of them known gang members - who have convictions for knife crime offences in the past three years.

They will be warned that under the new legislation they face being jailed for a minimum of six months and a maximum of four years if they are caught again.

Young offenders aged 16 and 17 will face a minimum four-month detention and training order.

Police are also installing "surrender" knife bins in 16 boroughs across London and deploying airport-style metal detector arches to check for people carrying knives.

The surrender bins - sponsored by the charity Words for Weapons - are being set up in boroughs worst hit by the recent rise in knife crime.

Latest figures show the number of offences involving knives is rising by 18 per cent in London - though senior officers point out this follows five years of falling crime figures.

However, the statistics show the rise in knife offences is five per cent above the national average with almost 650 more offences in the year 2014/15.

Labour's London Assembly policing spokeswoman Joanne McCartney said: "Over half of stabbing victims in London are now under 25, the Mayor must do everything he can in his final year to stop this deeply disturbing trend."

Detective Chief Superintendent Dean Haydon, the head of the Trident gangs unit, said: "We welcome this new legislation and we hope to deter people, mostly young people, from carrying a knife on the streets of London. Our primary aim is to keep people safe and remove knives from circulation."

He said police are also investigating people who order "Zombie" knives on the internet. "We are looking at who is ordering these weapons, whether they are habitual knife carriers," he said.

Yvonne Lawson, whose 17-year-old son Godwin was stabbed to death in Stamford Hill in 2010, said: "I think the new legislation is one step in the right direction but it is not the entire solution. Education has to be the main thing, young people need to be educated about the risks before they get to secondary school."

(1st August 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 14th July 2015 author Justin Davenport) [Option 1]

A Hard core of criminals have been identified as being responsible for a surge in motorbike and moped crime in London.

Scotland Yard said around 150 suspects had been arrested a total of 500 times in less than 3 months.

Details of the arrests emerged as new figures showed that moped and motorcycle associated crimes jumped more than 60 percent in the first six months of this year, from 241 offences in January to 392 in June.

Earlier this year the Met revealed that theives stole more than 9,500 bikes in London last year - around 27 a day, or more than one an hour, in a £28 million crimewave.

Bikes are being stolen to commit other crimes, such as smash and grab robberies on stores in the West End.

Police have launched a new drive against the moped gangs, codenamed Operation Attrition, with officers drawn from the Met and the City of London forces. The initiative is focused on the boroughs of Islington and Camden, and uses a mix of overt and covert tactics to target the gangs.

So far, police have made 1,600 stops and 467 searches, as well as trying to "educate and engage" young people involved in crimes.

Police say the 500 arrests of 150 suspects have involved a range of offences including robbery, theft, driving offences and possession of drugs, and resulted in 200 criminal charges.

The Met said dozens of the "target group" were in custody, while dozens more are the subject of various orders such as ASBO's.

To highlight the risk thefts officers are to spend two days hanging advice leaflets on handlebars of bikes in robbery hotspots.


(London Evening Standard, dated 22nd April 2015 author Justin Davenport)

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Children as young as 12 were targeted in police raids today in a massive crackdown on a £28 million racket in the theft of motorbikes and mopeds in London.

Police launched a pan-London operation against motorcycle theft with figures revealing more than 9,500 bikes were stolen in the capital last year - or 27 each day.

Scotland Yard said there had been a 31 per cent surge in thefts of bikes and mopeds - with criminals stealing machines to commit crimes such as smash and grab raids and mobile phone snatches.

Officers said children as young as 11 were involved in moving stolen mopeds around London to avoid detection by police.

One group being targeted including several children of school age.

Detective Superintendent Raffaele D'Orsi, who is leading the operation, said : "We recorded more than 9,000 offences last year which is a massive number and equates to a total of around £28 million a year in stolen mopeds and motorcycles. Around 50 per cent of these are never recovered.

"But it is not just about the thefts, these stolen mopeds and motorcycles are being used in a wide variety of criminality including mobile phone snatches and smahs and grab offences."

Mr D'Orsi said intelligence showed children - including girls - as young as 11 were being used to ferry stolen bikes around London and being paid around £50 a time.

He added: "These guys and girls are putting the public at serious risk, they are riding mopeds the wrong way down streets and on pavements when they are trying to get away."

Most mopeds are hot-wired and stolen for joyrides or muggings and robberies while organised crime gangs are behind thefts of high powered motorbikes which are broken down into parts and re-sold.

Hundreds of police are being deployed across London today in the initiative codenamed Operation Venice to carry out mass checks on parked mopeds, roadside checks on bikes and high visibility patrols in robbery hot spots.

Police say crime gangs tour London to steal high powered motorbikes costing up to £15,000 which are loaded into the back of vans three or four at a time.

Recent robberies involving stolen bikes include the raid on Carr Watches and Diamonds store in Liverpool Street in January when a gang on mopeds escaped after a smash and grab raids.

Last year members of a five man mobile phone robbery gang were jailed after a court heard they struck 46 times in just 11 days in south London, taking goods worth £120,000.

The team - including Courtney Morgan, 19, and Walid Hnida, 18, - drove a high-powered scooter to steal phones from their victim's hands as they walked in the street.

The operation follows a trial initiative in three London boroughs last year which saw significant falls in the theft of motorcycle and moped theft.

Westminster and Camden saw monthly offences halved and Islington recorded a third less monthly offences.

Police say they are focusing on the ten worst boroughs for bike theft which account for half of all moped and motorcycle theft in London.

The worst boroughs in volume from highest to lowest are : Wandsworth, Tower Hamlets, Islington, Southwark, Camden, Lambeth, Westminster, Kensington, Hammersmith and Croydon.

Police are also working with local councils to reduce thefts. In Camden local officers have put in ground anchors and better locks for mopeds. In Tower Hamlets, where there has been a rise in the number of thefts from garage forecourts, police have put posters in forecourt windows to advise people to put on steering locks while filling up.

Detective Chief Inspector Clinton Blackburn from City of London Police added: "We are working with partners as well as owners of motorbikes and mopeds we can reduce these crimes and bring the criminals to justice. I would urge anyone that sees someone acting suspiciously around these vehicles to call police immediately on 999."


(The Telegraph, dated 9th January 2015 author Paul Hudson)

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An anti-theft initiative has meant that motorcycle thieves are now avoiding St James's Square in London, where previously 52 machines were stolen from its parking bays every year.

Throughout the whole borough, 191 motorcycles and scooters worth about £1 million were stolen since April 2014.

The location had been identified as one of four "hotspots" for motorcycle theft by Westminster City Council.

There have been no reported thefts since last September because the council, working with the Metropolitan Police and security marking specialist Datatag, offered riders the chance to add security tags to their bikes. The council says that a steady stream of riders took up the £50 offer.

The tagging involves applying a combination of highly visible and hidden security markers, which deter thieves but also help the police recover vehicles if they are stolen. The process takes about 25 minutes.

The Met checked the Police National Computer to make sure the bikes weren't stolen in the first place, and warning signs were erected to let thieves know that users of the parking bay had security-marked their bikes.

Paul King, community protection officer for Westminster City Council, said: "We are determined to reduce motorcycle theft and to give parking customers the best possible experience, which includes coming back to find your bike where you parked it. We have applied a combination of measures in partnership with the Metropolitan Police and Datatag, which alerts riders as to the risk and gives them the means to avoid them.

"We aim to repeat the opportunity for riders to have their motorcycles and scooters marked in 2015 for riders who use Berkeley Square parking, as we feel this provided a turning point in St James's Square, which we would like to repeat for other theft 'hot spots' in the City.

"We would also urge any rider who parks near an anchor point to make sure they use it. All these measures clearly work, but only if riders stay vigilant."

Steve Kenward, CEO of the Motorcycle Industry Association, which invented the Master Security Scheme, the UK's first national, official tagging scheme for new bikes, says this concerted effort by Westminster proves that marking works.

He said: "We are delighted to hear the part security marking is playing in eliminating theft in St James's Square and applaud Westminster City Council's systematic approach in dealing with it and would like to see other London councils making such an effort.

"The underlying message gained from this exercise is that thieves like easy pickings. Make it as hard as possible for them to steal in the first place and, if they do, make sure your bike is marked. This makes it easy for the police to secure a prosecution when they find a stolen motorcycle or scooter and helps them return it to its rightful owner."

Westminster City Council has since added 78 ground anchors to the parking bay, which offer an additional highly visible deterrent. When riders secure their bikes to anchor points it makes it difficult for thieves to just lift up a scooter or motorcycle and put it into a van - a common way for thieves to steal an unsecured bike.

Over the past few years an average of 24,000 motorcycles have been stolen annually in the UK, half of which are taken from London streets. Of all vehicles stolen in Westminster, 55 per cent are motorcycles.

This is becoming much less of a problem for newer bikes, as most major manufacturers have signed up to the Master scheme, which means bikes are tagged from the beginning.

First year figures for the scheme show that between January 2013 and January 2014 only 185 Master-tagged motorcycles were stolen across the whole of the UK. During this period, 31,000 new motorcycles were tagged, which represents a theft rate of 0.6 per cent, compared to an historic rate of 2.4 per cent.

Motorcycles or scooters unprotected by security marking or any visible means of security are now far more likely to be stolen than those which are protected.

(1st August 2015)

(Daily Mail, dated 13th July 2015 author Sam Creighton)

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- 14,000 attacks reported to police over the past five years
- Report found average rise of 1,500 assaults each year against pensioners
- This was despite overall violent crime falling between 2010 and this year
- Dame Esther Rantzen, Silver Line founder, said it's 'absolutely horrific'

The number of violent crimes committed against pensioners has risen by 75 per cent over the past five years, worrying figures suggest.

An investigation found 14,000 were reported to police last year, up from 8,000 in 2010 - despite overall violent crime falling during the period.

Dame Esther Rantzen, who founded Silver Line to help older people, said yesterday: 'That's absolutely horrific.

'There have been times when old people have become so frightened of violent crime that they become imprisoned in their homes and it's really important that does not happen. If that happens they become very lonely and more vulnerable.'

The Home Office has claimed the rise could be because of more 'accurate crime recording by forces' and an 'increased willingness of victims to report domestic abuse'.

The figures were uncovered by Channel 4 show Dispatches, which airs this evening.

The show features the story of Alan Barnes, the disabled pensioner who was mugged in January by 25-year-old Richard Gatiss.

Simon Bottery, director of policy for Independent Age, said: 'Any act of violence against an older person is unacceptable and can have devastating effects, some of which extend beyond the victims themselves.

'It can lead to an increase in fear and anxiety among other older people, leading them to limit their day-to-day activities and risk becoming isolated.'

The show also calculated that 4million people aged 60 or over live alone, while an Age UK survey recently found that a quarter have no one to turn to for support.

Caroline Abrahams, from the charity Age UK, said: 'Any rise in reported crime against older people is worrying, especially in violent crime, but we think this increase may well be due to a greater preparedness to report.

'Certainly at Age UK we have no reason to suppose it reflects a rise in the numbers of actual attacks against older people, who thankfully are considerably less likely to become victims of violent crime than other groups in the population.'


Silver Line website :

What they do (their own words)

The Silver Line Helpline provides three functions to support older people:

- a sign-posting service to link them into the many, varied services that exist around the country.

- a befriending service to combat loneliness.

- a means of empowering those who may be suffering abuse and neglect, if appropriate to transfer them to specialist services to protect them from harm

(1st August 2015)

(International Business Times, dated 13th July 2015 author Ian Silvera)

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Morale for police in England and Wales is at a low as one in six officers plan to leave the force over the next two years, according to the Police Federation of England and Wales.

The staff association, which represents around 124,000 members, conducted a major survey of 32,598 officers.

The study found that almost 16% of police are planning to quit their jobs because of the impact of the occupation on their health and family life.

The report found that nearly all (95%) of the respondents who planned on leaving cited "how the police as a whole are treated" as having an impact on their decision.

Labour's shadow policing minister Jack Dromey partly blamed the Home Secretary Theresa May for the low morale within the force.

"As the thin blue line is stretched ever thinner so too are police officers under ever more pressure. One in six police officers are now planning to leave within two years and both sickness and stress leave have reached a record high," the Birmingham Erdington MP said.

"Sadly many of those who have devoted their life to protecting the public are now leaving in despair both because the police service is suffering the biggest cuts of any in Europe and because of the way that the police service has been treated by May."

The survey also revealed that more than three quarters (79.4%) of those planning to leave said the draw of better job opportunities outside the force had an effect on their decision.

Jim Battle, the deputy police and crime commissioner for Greater Manchester, told IBTimes UK: "We recognise that police officers and staff are under a great deal of pressure as numbers fall and demand increases, particularly as they are having to face increasingly difficult issues such as child abuse and domestic violence.

"While there are many strains and stresses on the police service, the public is impressed by the high standard and performance of officers and staff, knowing they will go the extra mile to keep people safe."

The survey comes after a separate report from the National Audit Office (NAO) on 4 June warned that forces across England and Wales do not have a "clear understanding of the demands placed upon them".

But the watchdog said forces have "successfully" reduced costs since 2011, with an estimated fall of up to 23% between 2010/11 and 2015/16.

"Although police forces have successfully reduced costs, without a thorough understanding of demand or the factors that bear on their costs it is difficult for them to transform services intelligently," said Amyas Morse, head of the NAO.

"The Home Office also needs to be better informed to discharge its responsibilities. It needs to work with Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC), the College of Policing and forces to gain a clearer understanding of the health of the service, particularly around demand and on when forces may be at risk of failing to meet the needs of local communities."

The Home Office had not responded to request for comment, relating to the Police Federation of England and Wales survey, at the time of publication.

(1st August 2015)

(London Evening Standard, dated 13th July 2015 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

Commuters and tourists travelling on the Central line are more likely to fall prey to pickpockets than any other London Underground line, according to new figures.

The statistics also show that thieves are most active at Oxford Circus station, followed by King's Cross and Victoria. The total number of thefts on the Tube is falling, a total of 3,332 offences were reported last year, compared with 4,763 the previous year.

Passengers on the Central, Piccadilly and Circle lines are most at risk, with reported thefts on these lines accounting for nearly half of the reported pickpocketing incidents last year.

The data reveals that July is the worst summer month for pickpocketing with professional gangs flying into the capital to target wealthy tourists. Senior officers pointed out that the Central line is one of the busiest in London with more targets for criminals. Some 15 per cent of all passenger journeys on the Tube are on the Central line.

Superintendent Chris Horton, of the British Transport Police, said: "The Central line is the second-highest capacity line after the Northern line and in general there are constantly increasing numbers of passengers. In that sense, it is inevitable you will see more crime on that line than others." He said 40 per cent of all crime on the Underground included theft of passengers' property - and stolen mobile phones made up around a quarter of all property theft.

He added that with 6.7 crimes per million journeys on the Underground, the network could be considered a "haven of safety" compared with some London boroughs. Police say they deploy specialist pickpocket squads on the Tube to target thieves.

The figures obtained in a Freedom of Information request by insurance group LV=, also show that women passengers were targeted by thieves more than men. There were 1,247 women victims compared with 1,116 men. The gender of the remainder was not recorded.

Overall, statistics show that crime on the Underground is at its lowest figure in recent years with a total of 13,496 offences last year, compared with 16,766 the previous year.

Detective Inspector Paula Jones, of the BTP, said: "Theft of passenger property is an issue. Thefts on the rail network are very rarely opportunistic; they are committed by determined thieves whose sole intention is to steal from other passengers."

Steve Burton, TfL's Director of Enforcement and On-Street Operations, said: "Crime on the London Underground network is now at its lowest ever level and in 2014/15 fell for the ninth consecutive year.

"The Central line is the second busiest Tube line on our network as it passes through key night time spots and is heavily used by commuters and tourists. Our busiest lines and stations will often have higher levels of pickpocketing than quieter areas and we and our policing partners focus our efforts in these areas for this very reason. "

(1st August 2015)

(BT News, dated 13th July 2015)

Full article [Option 1]:

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is warning people to be ready for a host of changes coming up in driving laws in the UK - and fear many are totally unaware of what is in store in 2015.
New regulations that have changed driving licences, drug-drive limits and speed limits have already taken place in 2015. There are, however, other changes expected to take place later in the year.
For motorists oblivious to these changes, the IAM is raising awareness to ensure all road users understand the new driving laws and changes.
In March, a new law on driving under the influence of legal or illegal drugs including cannabis and cocaine and prescription drugs including diazepam, methadone and morphine came into force across England and Wales.
Motorists convicted of drug-driving will get a minimum one-year driving ban, unlimited fine, up to six months imprisonment and a criminal record.
In April, the speed limit for the largest heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) travelling on a single carriageway across England and Wales increased from 40mph to 50mph, and on a dual carriageway it has increased from 50mph to 60mph.
Changes to driving laws and other-related procedural changes have also come into force this year to take advantage of the internet, increase convenience and save time on administration.
From the Government's launch of the 'Make a Plea' service in March, which enables motorists charged with minor motoring offences including speeding, failing to identify the driver or using a vehicle without insurance to respond to the charges made against them digitally, to the scrapping of the the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) paper counterpart of the photo card on June 8, in which all driver information such as endorsements and which category of vehicles you are entitled to drive is stored electronically - the changes have allowed motorists to access information remotely.
Important changes have also come into force with how motorists provide proof of their driving records to a third party and will need to obtain a special code from online to allow sharing of data.
A new scheme in London will be introduced later this year on September 1 that ensures all lorries and construction vehicles over 3.5 tonnes are fitted with basic safety equipment.
The Safer Lorry Scheme, which will be enforced by the Metropolitan Police, City of London Police and the Driver Vehicle Standards Agency, will aim to tackle the number of fatal collisions involving cyclists and pedestrians.
Upcoming changes to driving laws will also see smoking in cars carrying children under the age of 18 becoming illegal from October 1. Potential fines and penalties are expected to be announced closer to the time.
Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said: "This year has seen some of the biggest changes in motoring procedures we have ever seen.
"It is very important drivers and riders are fully up-to-date on what is happening - they will affect everyone in one way or another. So don't get caught out, get informed."

(1st August 2015)

(The Times, dated 11th July 2015 author Graeme Paton) [Option 1]

Up to two thrds of drivers caught breaking th rules of the road ar being "let off" with re-education courses as an alternative to prosecution.
Researchers found tha 66 per cent of drivers in some parts of Britain are being offered training instead of a fine or penalty points on their licences.
The majorit of courses related to speeding offences although large numbers were also given for not wearing a seatbelt, careless driving and using a mobile phone behind the wheel.
Critics have claimed that the courses, which motorists have to pay to attend, are being treated as a money-spinner for some police forces. The figures, obtained under the freedom of information act, show that numbers can differ between forces in different counties. In one area, 15% of motorists were given the chance of the speeding course.
Motoring experts criticised the disclosure, insisting that drivers were experiencing a "postcode lottery" legal system. Neil Davies, senior partner at the solicitors Caddick Davies, which collected the figures, said: "It is clear that an ad hoc approach has been taken to what driver re-training courses are offered by different police forces. For the motorist it means that you may be treated differently dependent upon where you commit an offence. We would like to see greater consistency and uniformity of the courses.
Government-backed driver awareness courses, introduced in 2006, give wayward motorists the chance to learn from mistakes after being caught. They can often accept the offer of a course instead of a fine and points.
Motorists typically pay between £80 and £195 to complete a course, which usually consists of a half-day lecture.
Norfolk police revealed that 45,351 speeding offences were recorded between April 2013 and March 2014, with 29,951 drivers, 66 percent, being offered a course. The proportion was as high as 61 percent in Essex and 60 percent in Durham. In Suffolk, 51 percent of speeding drivers were offered an awareness course.
In Thames Valley, 67 percent of those were offered a course for breaking the laws on seat belts, 63 percent for mobile phone use and 50 percent for speeding. In West Yorkshire , only 15.3 percent of motorists caught speeding were allowed to take a course although almost 70 percent were given the training option for other offences.
The number of motorists offered courses for speeding and other offences was as low as 21.9 percent in Cambridgeshire, 25 percent in the city of London, 33 percent in Gloucestershire and 36 percent in Cheshire.

(1st August 2015)

(International Business Times, dated 10th July 2015 author Umberto Bacchi)

Full article [Option 1]:

Tourists driving at night in the French Rivera have been targeted by robbers posing as policemen, French authorities said, warning motorists to be cautious.
Using an unmarked car with flashlights, the criminals have been pulling over vehicles travelling on highways in France's southern Mediterranean regions in recent weeks.
Following a well-oiled scheme, the disguised robbers stop their victims on the emergency lane to then quickly surround the vehicle, pointing flashlights at the passengers to disorient and intimidate them.
With the excuse of searching for the car for drugs, in a couple of minutes they seize all valuables and also demand to be handed bags, wallets and other belongings, get back to their vehicle and flee.
"They also steal mobile phones and car keys to delay the raising of the alarm," Police captain Alain Archaimbault told France Info.
The robberies have been reported in the coastal regions of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, home to famed seaside resorts such as Saint Tropez and Cannes, and Languedoc-Roussillon, mostly between two and six in the morning.
A police statement said the gang preferably targeted foreign plated vehicles, exploiting tourists with lesser knowledge of French authorities' uniforms and modus operandi.
Urging motorists to be alert, Archaimbault explained that police do not stop vehicles on highway's emergency lanes for routine controls at night, preferring safer spots as lay-by areas, and do not demand to be given bags and wallets.
In case of emergency or doubt, motorists should dial 17 for police or alternatively 112, the European emergency number.

(1st August 2015)

(Russia Today, dated 9th July 2015)

Full article [Option 1]:

Criminals are exploiting lax postal security to import illegal firearms into the UK from legitimate retailers in the United States, senior police officers have warned.
Gangs in the UK are purchasing blank firearms, which are illegal in Britain without a license, and converting them into lethal weapons.
The United States is the source of more than half of all firearms seized at the UK border, according to a threat assessment by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
A senior police officer said criminals were turning to blank weapons because operations to restrict the supply of illegal weapons had been relatively successful.
The authorities estimate hundreds of blank guns have reached the UK from the US by taking advantage of poor postal security.
Operation Eaglehead, a joint US and UK operation to restrict the supply of blank weapons, has resulted in the seizure of 50 guns across Britain in less than two years.
The operation, which involves the NCA, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Homeland Security Investigations, collected intelligence on British residents who bought blank guns.
Authorities in the UK then recovered and seized the weapons, while in the US suppliers were warned the weapons are illegal in Britain.
Seized weapons include 12 homemade shotguns in London and a blank-firing pistol from a 14-year-old boy in Merseyside, who used his grandfather's credit card to buy the gun.
David Thompson of West Midlands Police told the Times that, once converted, the blank weapons were lethal and looked "as close to a handgun as you can get."
The deputy chief constable and national lead for firearms said criminal gangs were turning to blank guns because the authorities had been relatively successful in curtailing the import of illegal weapons.
Popular firearms include Beretta blank pistols, which are treated as 'toy guns' and used for target practice in the US.
Senior NCA officer David Armond said blank firearms were the "tip of the iceberg" in many cases.
"When officers have gone to seize the replica firearm they have also found fully working ammunition, which is often being used as part of a criminal lifestyle," the director of intelligence and operations added.
According to the NCA, more than 700 firearms, including 165 guns, were seized in the UK during the first year of the agency's existence.
Founded in 2013, the law enforcement agency is tasked with fighting organized crime, including human, weapon and drug trafficking.

Further information

See also THE TIMES article, dated 9th July 2015

(1st August 2015)


(International Business Times, dated 8th July 2015 author Mary-Ann Russon)

Full article [Option 1]:

A new facial recognition system being used by the FBI has managed to track down and capture a convicted paedophile on the Most Wanted List who disappeared 19 years ago.
Lynn Cozart, 63, from Beaver County, Pennsylvania was convicted for sexually assaulting his three children in February 1996, and he went missing just before his sentencing hearing two months later.
He managed to leave the state and stay under the radar for almost two decades, until the FBI used the $1bn (£650m, €900m) Next Generation Identification (NGI) system built by Lockheed Martin to track him down.
The FBI submitted Cozart's mug shot to the NGI system, which used facial recognition to capture biometric data of his face.
The system then sought matches from other databases belonging to state agencies across the US, from government-issued licence databases to any form of government-collected data of scanned facial images taken from video or photos.
The system spotted a match amongst driving licence photos held by Arkansas' motor vehicle department, and from there, the fugitive was tracked down to yet another state - Muskogee in Arkansas, more than 1,160 miles away from Pennsylvania.
Cozart was found working in Walmart under an assumed name, David Stone, and was apprehended by the town's police officers.

###What state-of-the-art identification systems can do

NGI was developed over multiple years to replace the FBI's existing Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). It was rolled out in September 2014, containing almost 125 million fingerprints from both criminals and civilians, as well as 24 million mugshots.
The new system includes advanced fingerprint identification technology (AFIT) that improves the accuracy of matching fingerprints up to more than 99.6% from 92% with the old system, and the number of manual fingerprint reviews required by police officers is cut by 90%.
Then there is the repository for individuals of special concern (RISC), which can rapidly search a captured face from videos or photos against a database of wanted persons, sex offenders, known or appropriately suspected terrorists and other people on the persons of special interest list.
Millions of palm prints are also stored on the national palm print system, which is now part of NGI, and it is possible for the system to scan and analyse tattoos, scars and even irises for a match.
The use of facial recognition software by law enforcement has not been well-received by privacy groups, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation in particular sued the FBI in 2013 to find out more information.
"NGI will result in a massive expansion of government data collection for both criminal and noncriminal purposes," EFF staff attorney Jennifer Lynch said at the time.
"Biometrics programs present critical threats to civil liberties and privacy. Face-recognition technology is among the most alarming new developments, because Americans cannot easily take precautions against the covert, remote, and mass capture of their images."
In May, Lockheed Martin revealed that it has also worked on technology for the NSA that can identify individuals by their finger swipes on a smartphone.

(International Business Times, dated 21st January 2014 author Mary-Ann Russon)

Full article [Option 1]:

Police could soon be able to identify individual criminals in crowds of 1,000 people simply by the way they walk.
Japanese scientists have designed the first computer program for criminal investigators that can identify people captured on CCTV security camera footage with 99% accuracy by measuring how they walk, together with other physical characteristics.
A sequence of images from one camera that shows an individual in movement is fed into the specially designed piece of software, and once the person's walking style, including hand movements and stride - collectively known as gait recognition - has been identified, the system can see whether the footage from other CCTV cameras offers up a match.
The team of scientists from the Institute of Scientific and Industrial Research at Osaka University, led by Professor Yasushi Yagi, used the computer program to successfully single out individuals in videos that featured 1,000 people.

###Gait recognition

When only walking measurements were used to analyse the videos, the computer program achieved a 90% identification rate, but once facial recognition and other physical statistics like height were added, the program was able to successfully identify individuals 99% of the time.
Gait recognition is a fairly new addition to biometrics, the technology that measures physical characteristics related to the body, such as facial recognition, fingerprints, iris recognition, and even DNA.
Movies and particularly serialised crime investigation dramas on TV are often ridiculed for showcasing criminal ID systems whereby the police only need to click a few buttons and a low-resolution CCTV image is magically enhanced, clearly showing the face of the suspect, however this could soon become a reality.
Daigo Muramatsu, Haruyuki Iwama, Yasushi Makihara and Yasushi Yagi state in a paper: "An advantage of gait recognition is its ability to ascertain identity from a distance and hence it works well even if the image resolution is significantly low (eg just 30 pixels in height)."
A seminar has been planned to educate Japanese police on the new system "in the near future", but there is no timeline given for a wider release for the system.

UK courts

The scientists believe that their system, which is able to analyse multiple perspectives from a single camera, has potential to be applied to "real situations", since criminal investigators are not always able to obtain multiple views of the suspect from multiple cameras, which is what some of the other research into gait recognition concentrates on.
Automatic gait recognition footage from CCTV cameras was first admitted as evidence in UK courts to convict a burglar in 2008.

(1st August 2015)

(London Evening News, dated 8th July 2015 author Sophia Sleigh)

Full article [Option 1]:

Commuters on the Central line are almost 200 times more likely to be victims of crime than passengers on the Waterloo and City, according to new figures released today.

The statistics, released following a Freedom of Information request, reveal there were 2,100 offences on Central line carriages in 2014 compared to just 12 on the Waterloo route - with theft the most common crime.
Organised pickpocketing gangs are targeting the 49-station line because of its high volume of passengers and fewer CCTV cameras, according to the police.
The Piccadilly Line had the second worst crime rate on the network with 1,924 incidents.
British Transport Police recorded 15,635 offences across the Underground as well as Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and Overground services last year.
Commuters were most likely to be victims of crime in January,
Overall, the crime rate on the London Underground has fallen in recent years - down from 17,828 in 2012 and 19,223 in 2013.
Supt Chris Horton of the British Transport Police said the volume of passengers using the Central Line meant there were more targets for criminals.
He also blamed a lack of CCTV on the older rolling stock and pinpointed stations popular with City commuters such as Bank, Liverpool Street and Stratford as hot spots.
He said: "The Central Line is the second highest capacity line after the Northern Line and in general there are constantly increasing numbers of passengers. Fifteen per cent of all passenger journeys are on the Central Line. In that sense, it is inevitable you will see more crime on that line than others."
In the 2013-14 financial year, 1.265 billion people used the Underground, meaning the crime rate was one offence for every 67,883 people.
Supt Horton said compared to the crime rates in some London boroughs, the Underground was a "haven of safety".
He said while 40 per cent of all crime was theft of passenger property, it had dropped from a previous rate of 50 per cent.
He added: "It is a particularly nasty crime as it is an invasion of the victim's privacy and it affects their perception of London. We are really targeting organised crime groups who make good money from the theft of property."

(1st August 2015)

(Internation Business Times, dated 7th July author Lewis Dean)

Full article [Option 1]:

Faces of British fugitives thought to be on the run in the "Costa del Crime" coastal resorts of Benidorm, Malaga and Puerto Banus have appeared on a huge 13ft screen.
Tourists and ex-pats have been looking up at the faces of criminals wanted in connection for crimes including murder, rape and drug dealing after the National Crime Agency (NCA) and Crimestoppers renewed efforts to catch the suspects as part of Operation Captura.
The digital screen, which is attached to the back of a van, is touring the areas, parking outside nightclubs, bars, British supermarkets and restaurants - "the fugitives' backyards" - in the hope that putting their faces in plain sight will help to flush them out.
The organisations are hunting 18 suspects in the area and the appeal comes months after one in March landed three fugitives within a matter of weeks.
Convicted killer Shane Walford, 38, from Coventry, was detained in the Canary Islands and Paul Monk, 54, from Romford, Essex was arrested in April at his home in Alicante, Spain, in connection with drugs offences. Jason McDonald, 37, originally from Bristol, was picked up by police at an apartment in Amsterdam hours later. He was also wanted for drugs offences.
NCA deputy director Steve Reynolds said: "We've caught 68 out of 86 fugitives on the Captura list and the rest know we won't stop until we catch them too.
"By taking our campaign directly into Spanish communities where we believe they are living and socialising, their lives will become even more uncomfortable. We want British expats and locals to help us by being extra eyes and ears and telling us what they know.
"These fugitives are wanted for serious crimes. Anyone who is helping them stay on the run, such as girlfriends, wives, family members back home, or criminal associates, should know that assisting them is an offence too.
"There may also be people in the UK with vital information on the whereabouts of these fugitives and we would urge them to get in touch."
Roger Critchell, director of operations for Crimestoppers, added: "This is something that we have never done before but we believe that broadcasting these fugitives' faces right in their backyards will not only encourage the public to speak up but show these individuals that there really is nowhere to hide.
"There will be no avoiding the faces on this screen - they'll be broadcast in all the popular ex-pat areas.
"I would urge anyone who recognises any of those faces to contact Crimestoppers anonymously. We don't take personal details and you won't have to give a statement or go to court.
"Many of these fugitives are currently living a life of leisure funded by serious crime. They cannot be allowed to hide forever, they must be brought to justice. Do the right thing and help us find them."

(1st August 2015)

(Daily Mail, dated 7th July 2015 authors Katherine Faulkner, Paul Bentley and Lucy Osborne)

Full article [Option 1]:

Mail investigation finds Britain's biggest charities ruthlessly hounding the vulnerable and elderly for cash, even if they have opted out of receiving calls.
- Charity giants have been hounding vulnerable people on a 'no-call' list
- British Red Cross, Oxfam and Macmillan are exploting loopholes in the TPS
- The TPS was set up to stop people being hounded at home by cold callers
- One call centre supervisor told fundraisers he wanted more 'ferocity'
- Another stressed 'the whole point' was simply asking people for money

Charity giants have been hounding vulnerable people on an official "no call" list, the Daily mail can reveal today.
British Red Cross, NSPCC, Oxfam and Macmillan have all been making calls to households registered with the Telephone Preference Service.
They are exploiting loopholes in the TPS system, which was set up to stop people being hounded at home by cold-callers. Their fundraisers are told to be 'brutal' and 'ferocious' and that no one has an excuse not to give, even the poor or elderly.
The Information Commissioner's Office vowed to investigate immediately, saying the charities could be breaking the law.
Charities were already in the spotlight following an outcry over the death of 92-year-old Olive Cooke, who had been swamped by fundraising appeals.
Rob Wilson, who is the minister for civil society, said the behaviour uncovered by the Mail was 'immoral'.
He added: 'The evidence is mounting that totally unacceptable practices are taking place at fundraisers.'
Oxfam has suspended all telephone fundraising in the UK while it investigates the Mail's evidence. The other charities have vowed to investigate.
The Mail's undercover investigation found that:
Donors who reveal they have dementia are still being asked to commit to direct debits;
Charities also take money from people who admit to confusion and memory problems;
Supporters as old as 91 are being repeatedly called even if they have opted out;
The British Red Cross is hounding people for up to three years after they have cancelled their donations;
Fundraisers have been handed special scripts to deal with questions about Mrs Cooke.
An undercover Mail reporter worked for three weeks for London-based GoGen, a company that carries out campaigns for 40 of the country's biggest charities, including Cancer Research UK, Save The Children and Age International.
Major charities, including the NSPCC, the British Red Cross and Macmillan, were found to be calling people who were registered with the Telephone Preference Service.
Such people have deliberately opted out of receiving unsolicited calls.
But a loophole means that if they have failed at any point to read the small print in privacy policies, and don't object to receiving calls, they lose the protection of the TPS system.
After reviewing the Mail's evidence, Stephen Eckersley, the ICO's Head of Enforcement, said: 'We'd like to thank the Daily Mail for bringing this to our attention. On the face of it this could be a breach of both the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.
'We will be launching an investigation into the call centre and charities involved.'
He said charities must follow the same rules on marketing by calls or texts as any other company. Rule breakers face fines of up to £500,000.
Existing supporters are harassed repeatedly to increase their donations - with some Macmillan supporters being called four times in a row, even if they have already said no.
Richard Lloyd, of the consumer group Which?, said: 'The Government must now carry out a full review of fundraising rules and regulations to put an end to this and save the sector's reputation.'
Bernard Jenkin, the Tory chairman of the Commons public administration committee, said: 'The Daily Mail is right to expose this, and I will be asking my committee to look into it.' Dame Esther Rantzen, a trustee at the NSPCC, said she was 'horrified' her charity had been calling vulnerable people on no call lists.
She said: 'I welcome the investigation, I think it is really important.'
The Fundraising Standards Board - the self-regulatory body for charities in the UK - said it was 'very concerned' by the revelations and would investigate fully.
All of the charities denied acting unlawfully but said they would look into the Mail's evidence as a matter of urgency.
A spokesman for the British Red Cross said the charity was 'deeply concerned' by the claims. She said the charity believed it was obeying the law on the TPS but will be 'seeking clarification' from the ICO and Institute of Fundraising. The NSPCC said it had 'contractual arrangements in place with those that fundraise on our behalf, including strict guidance on vulnerable people, and expect the highest standards of behaviour.'
But it added: 'Any suggestion of inappropriate activity is deeply worrying and we would want any concerns to be raised with us immediately so that they can be quickly addressed.'
A Macmillan spokesman said: 'We take the claims made by the Daily Mail seriously and are looking into these as a priority.
'We do not wish to contact people if we are aware this is unwanted. We take the requests of our supporters very seriously and all supporters can choose to unsubscribe from communications at any time.
'We would not hesitate to take robust action if we found our agencies were not acting with upmost integrity on our behalf.'
Oxfam said it had suspended all telephone fundraising activity to 'ensure companies who work on our behalf meet not only the regulatory standards but also our own high moral and ethical standards'.
It said the dementia and Alzheimer's policy was all about 'enabling people with dementia to live as full a life as possible, including supporting their favourite charity.'
Tim Hunter, fundraising director, said: 'Oxfam fights for the rights of poor and vulnerable people across the world and we apply our values to all aspects of our work. We would never exploit an individual's vulnerability in our marketing.
'Our guidelines around telephone fundraising are also aligned to those of the Institute of Fundraising, who consulted the Alzheimer's Society, Scope and AgeUK.
'Our agencies have clear, regulated policies that help strike the appropriate balance between enabling people with dementia to live as full a life as possible, including supporting their favourite charity, and protecting them from the vulnerability caused by dementia.'

Yesterday it also emerged that Save The Children had decided to end cold-calling.
Giuseppe Iantosca of GoGen said he had suspended two members of staff while the firm investigated the Mail's evidence.
He also said GoGen would not ask those with dementia for money in future.

(1st August 2015)

(Action Fraud, author National Action Fraud Administrator)

Action Fraud, is the marketed name of the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.
The Action Fraud organisation have started to send out alerts via e-mail to recipients who have registered with them. The e-mails are sent out as required. As you can see from the notifications below, you are not flooded with them !

The messages will be sent from : (so watch out how the address is spelt)

To become a recipient of the alerts, register at :

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

(Dated 15th July 2015)
The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) has received intelligence regarding two new Lottery Fraud letters/email attachments (Scam 1 & Scam 2) using the 2016 Rio Olympics as a theme.

The scams try to trick people into believing they have won the following:

Scam 1: An online lottery prize of £650,000 and a trip to Brazil to watch the Olympics as the recipient's email address was chosen out of a possible ten million at random.

Scam 2: An online lottery prize of £820,000 and a trip to Brazil to watch the Rio Carnival and the Olympics as the recipient's winning numbers 8 17 34 38 42 and 51 were selected.

In order to collect the winnings the recipient is requested to contact:
Scam 1:
Mr Dima Robert
MillMan Street, WC1N 3JB. London A5200.
Tel: +447035973561
Scam 2:

'UK Pay out Officer'
+44 7937428753
Protect yourself from lottery fraud

- Never respond to any such communication. If you have not entered a lottery then you cannot have won it.

- Official lotteries in other countries operate in much the same way as the UK's National Lotto.

- No official lotteries that we know of contact people to tell them of their win.

- We do not know of any official lottery operators who ask for fees to collect winnings. Any request for a fee payment is a good indication that someone is trying to defraud you.

- Never disclose your bank details or pay fees in advance.

- If they have provided an email address to respond to, be very suspicious of addresses such as or or numbers beginning with 07 because these are free to get hold of.
- Genuine lotteries thrive on publicity. If they ask you to keep your win a secret, it is likely to be a fraud.

- Many fraudulent lotteries have bad spelling and grammar - see this as a warning that fraudsters are at work.

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

(Dated 14th July 2015)

People looking for a cheap designer bargain online are being targeted by fraudsters advertising fake designer goods. The items received are usually cheap and inferior counterfeits of handbags, clothes and sunglasses amongst other things.
The general rule is 'if it looks too good to be true then it probably is.' Designer products sold at heavily discounted prices are an immediate sign that something isn't quite right.
What can you do to protect yourself?

- Where possible, buy from well-known, High Street retailers. If you've never heard of a firm, or it is based overseas, be sceptical.
- Avoid paying by cheque or bank transfer. Use PayPal or a credit card as they will give you additional protection.
- Search the internet. Type the website you are buying from and look for reviews of what others customers are saying about the company. Bad customer service feedback usually finds their way online quite quickly.
- Check for spelling mistakes or poor grammar on websites as this may suggest the website has been put together by a fraudster.

(Dated 10th July 2015)

A scam email is currently being sent to victims fraudulently claiming to be from British Gas or The Ministry of Justice. The attached document or link leads to the TorrentLocker ransomware.

This malware encrypts files on the victim's system and requests a ransom be paid in order for the files to be decrypted; one reported amount has been £330 worth of Bitcoins.

It has been reported that some anti-virus vendors are detecting this and stopping the pages and or documents from being opened.
Protect yourself
- If you receive an email that you are suspicious of do not follow any links or open attachments until you can verify that the email is genuine. To do this contact the organisation that the email has come from by sourcing the number independently from the email received.
- If you believe the email to be fake, report it to your email provider as spam.
- Ensure your anti-virus software is up to date this will help to mitigate the potential for virus to be downloaded. It should be noted that anti-virus software is constantly being updated and may not stop all viruses especially if they are new or been adapted. It has been reported that some anti-virus vendors are detecting this and stopping the pages and or documents from being opened.
- If you have opened an attachment or followed a link which you believe to be suspicious it is recommended that you run your anti-virus and/or take your machine to a reputable company to have it cleaned.
- In cases where files have been encrypted it can be very difficult to retrieve them, and in most cases they will be lost. It is recommended that you always back up all files on a separate device or cloud storage to ensure they are not lost. Please remember that if a device is attached to the infected machine the files on this could also be encrypted with the virus so ensure they are kept separate.

(Dated 8th July 2015)

Courier fraudsters have been identifying themselves to victims on the telephone as "Detective Constable Martin Benton of New Scotland Yard Fraud Department". The fraudsters will invent a story regarding fraudulent activity on your card and request your bank/card details.

No such person exists at the Metropolitan Police. If you receive a call from someone purporting to be this individual, terminate the call immediately.   
Protect yourself against courier fraud:
- Your bank will never send a courier to your home
- Your bank and the police will never collect your bank card
- Your bank and the police will never ask for your PIN
- If you receive one of these calls end it immediately

Victim Advice:
- If you have handed over any details to the fraudster, call your bank and cancel your cards immediately.
- If you want to call your bank, then do it from another telephone.

(Dated 7th July 2015)

Fraudsters are targeting individuals who have recently expressed an interest in an online loan. Unsolicited calls are made by fraudsters who appear to be calling from a genuine company. They state that the recently applied for loan has been agreed, but an "advance fee" is required before the money can be transferred.
Once these "fees" have been paid, either directly to the fraudsters' bank accounts or through a money service bureau, they are unrecoverable.
In many cases, fraudsters have asked for multiple upfront "fees" to address issues arising with the loan. 
Protect yourself:

- Authentic credit companies do not charge fees in advance.
- Be wary of anyone calling who says they represent a credit company.
- Report any instances of a credit company attempting to request fees in advance of a loan to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

(Dated 3rd July 2015)

The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) wishes to remind investors that fraudsters are still active and are using various methods to dupe victims into investing in fine wine.

Whilst it might be easy to identify a fraudulent investment in non-existent fine wine, there is another tactic which is much harder to detect that relies on limited knowledge of the investor in this specific area.

In many cases, the fraud relates to the value of the wine as opposed to the existence of the wine. Therefore, fraudsters will be able to prove to the victims that they have the wine in stock, however the wine in stock will be significantly cheaper than the inflated price the fraudsters ask the victims to pay.

Whilst it may look like a 'real deal', the dramatically inflated prices make the promise of any returns unrealistic.

Assessments of reports show that fraudsters charge victims an average of 47% more than the comparative market values at the time of sale.

The brokers who typically cold call victims boast that an increasing market in China will guarantee tax free profits. When questioned about risk, fraudsters will convincingly say that it is "extremely low".
How to protect yourself against investment fraud:
- If you're considering any type of investment, always remember: if it seems too good to be true, then it probably is. High returns can only be achieved with high risk.If you get a call out of the blue, be wary; if in doubt don't be polite, just hang up.
- Take the time to seek independent legal or financial advice before making a decision.
- Always check the credentials of the company you're dealing with. Check for known fraudulent organisations at the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

If you believe that you have been a victim of fraud you can report it online or by telephone 0300 123 2040.

(Dated 26th June 2015)
Fraudsters are targeting classified advertisement websites like AutoTrader to advertise vehicles for sale. Buyers are then contacting these 'sellers' to find out more about the vehicles and are being told to pay for them via 'Apple Pay'. In this case the fraudsters are not using the genuine Apple Pay service and potential victims pay money directly to bank accounts in control of the fraudsters. Individuals receive emails claiming to be from Apple Pay with a web link to a cloned website with false terms and conditions of the 'escrow' service. Any money remitted to the fraudsters is then unrecoverable and the vehicles are not delivered.
Protect yourself:
- Meet the seller 'face to face' and view the vehicle before parting with any money.
- Be cautious of web links in an email. They may not direct you to the genuine website.
- Report scam advertisements to the classified advertisement websites.
- If the vehicle is below market value, consider whether this is an opportunity too good to be true!

(Dated 22nd May 2015)
People nationwide are receiving cold calls and are being persuaded to invest in 'Fine Art'.

Concerns around this include:
- How the commodity is being offered, such as how the cold callers persuade victims to part with their money.
- Hidden costs charged to the victims to view the product, shipping costs or additional fees to store the item.
How to protect yourself:

- If the investment sounds too good to be true it probably is.
- Hang-up on investment cold calls. Legitimate companies will not ring-up and offer you an investmen