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NEWS 2018 will soon be found within the ARCHIVE menu, labelled ARCHIVE 2018













JANUARY 2019


THE BIGGEST EVER DATA DUMP JUST HIT A COLOSSAL 2.2 BILLION ACCOUNTS
(Wired, dated 31st January 2019 author Matt Burgess)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.wired.co.uk/article/collection-data-breach-dump-leak

On January 17, security researchers published details of the world's largest online dump of personal data. Collection #1 contained passwords and usernames relating to 772,904,991 individual email addresses. These were spread across 2,692,818,238 spreadsheet rows in 12,000 files. Then along came Collection #2-5.

The new Collection leak, which was first reported by Heise, contains 2.2 billion unique usernames and passwords. In total it contains 845GB of data and more than 25bn records.

There are almost three times as many unique records in Collection #2-5 as in Collection #1. It's a goldmine for hackers. The files have been analysed by security researchers at Germany's Hasso Plattner Institute and cybersecurity firm Phosphorus.io.

Chris Rouland, the founder of Phosphorus, told WIRED.com that more than 130 people were making the data available to download and there have been more than 1,000 downloads so far. This increases the scope for the information to be abused and the fact that there isn't only one copy of the information means it'll never be removed from the web.

Like Troy Hunt, who publicised the Collection #1 database and allows people to see if their details have been compromised through haveibeenpwned?, there's a way to check if your details are caught up in the later Collection files. Hasso Plattner runs an Info Leak Checker. This allows anyone to enter their email address and find out if their details are included in the huge database.

And chances are you're in there. The data checker has details from 8,165,169,702 accounts spanning 810 leaks. It'll not only tell you if your email and password have been compromised over the last decade but in addition, it'll give you details about other personal information, such as telephone number, date of birth, or address.

While the details in the Collection dumps may not be new, they still pose a threat. Through credential stuffing, hackers are able to compromise accounts across the web that have use the same login details.

Earlier this month, video sharing platform Dailymotion has confirmed its users were being targeted with credential stuffing. "The attack consists in “guessing” the passwords of some Dailymotion accounts by automatically trying a large number of combinations, or by using passwords that have been previously stolen from websites unrelated to Dailymotion," the company said in a statement. Reddit has also prompted its users to reset passwords after it saw a rise in credential stuffing this month. Neither site has said the attacks are directly linked to Collection #1 or Collection #2-5.

As ever, the usual password advice applies. You should use a password manager to create and store secure passwords for all of your accounts. Never reuse passwords across different services: your Facebook password shouldn't be the same as your bank account.

And as it's likely that your details have been caught up somewhere in Collection #2-5, you should make sure you're using two-factor authentication wherever it's available.

(10th February 2019)


POLICE STOP PEOPLE FOR COVERING THEIR FACES FROM FACIAL RECOGNITION CAMERA THEN FINE MAN £90 FTER HE PROTESTED
(Independent, dated 31st January 2019 author Lizzie Dearden)

Full Article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/facial-recognition-cameras-technology-london-trial-met-police-face-cover-man-fined-a8756936.html

A man has been fined after refusing to be scanned by controversial facial recognition cameras being trialled by the Metropolitan Police.

The force had put out a statement saying “anyone who declines to be scanned will not necessarily be viewed as suspicious”. However, witnesses said several people were stopped after covering their faces or pulling up hoods.

Campaign group Big Brother Watch said one man had seen placards warning members of the public that automatic facial recognition cameras were filming them from a parked police van.

“He simply pulled up the top of his jumper over the bottom of his face, put his head down and walked past,” said director Silkie Carlo.

“There was nothing suspicious about him at all … you have the right to avoid [the cameras], you have the right to cover your face. I think he was exercising his rights.”

Ms Carlo, who was monitoring Thursday’s trial in Romford, London, told The Independent she saw a plainclothed police officer follow the man before a group of officers “pulled him over to one side”.

She said they demanded to see the man’s identification, which he gave them, and became “accusatory and aggressive”.

“The guy told them to p*** off and then they gave him the £90 public order fine for swearing,” Ms Carlo added. “He was really angry.”

A spokesperson said officers were instructed to “use their judgment” on whether to stop people who avoid cameras.

"Officers stopped a man who was seen acting suspiciously in Romford town centre during the deployment of the live facial recognition technology," a statement said.

"After being stopped the man became aggressive and made threats towards officers. He was issued with a penalty notice for disorder as a result."

Eight people were arrested during the eight-hour trial, although only three were a direct result of facial recognition technology.

A 15-year-old boy identified by the cameras was arrested on suspicion of robbery but released with no further action.

A 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of false imprisonment and another man, 35-year-old man, was arrested on suspicion of breach of a molestation order.

The other arrests were two teenage boys accused of robbery, a 17-year-old boy accused of firing a gun and two men, aged 25 and 46, for drug possession.

The deployment trial was due to continue on Friday, but rescheduled because of forecast snow and cold temperatures causing "low footfall".

Monitors saw several other people stopped outside Romford station, in north east London, including a student who had pulled his hood up and a man handcuffed and put in a police van.

Activists from the Liberty human rights group said they spoke to a youth worker who was stopped because he “looked like someone” on a watchlist, but had been misidentified.

Scotland Yard said the two-day deployment of cameras in Romford would be the last of 10 trials of the controversial technology.

The Independent revealed that more than £200,000 was spent on six deployments that resulted in no arrests between August 2016 and July last year. Two people wanted for violent offences were arrested after a trial in December.

Critics have called the force’s use of facial recognition a “shambles” and accused Scotland Yard of wasting public money.

Automatic facial recognition software compares live footage of people’s faces to photos from a watchlist of selected images from a police database.

Any potential matches are flashed up as an alert to officers, who then compare the faces and decide whether to stop someone.

The Metropolitan Police has described the deployments as “overt” and said members of the public were informed facial recognition was being used by posters and leaflets.

But no one questioned by The Independent after they passed through a scanning zone in central London in December had seen police publicity material, and campaigners claim the technology is being rolled out “by stealth”.

Detective Chief Superintendent Ivan Balhatchet, Scotland Yard’s lead for facial recognition, said a full independent evaluation will be carried out.

“The technology used in Romford forms part of the Met's ongoing efforts to reduce crime in the area, with a specific focus on tackling violence," he added.

“As with all previous deployments the technology was used overtly. We continue to engage with many different stakeholders, some who actively challenge our use of this technology."

(10th February 2019)


MAN EVADES CAPTURE FOR 15 YEARS BY USING FINGERPRINT IMPLANTS
(Guardian, dated 31st January 2019 author Sam Jones)

Full Article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jan/31/drug-trafficker-evades-capture-15-years-fingerprint-implants

A drug trafficker who managed to evade capture for 15 years by cutting and burning the skin of his fingertips and having it replaced with micro-implants has been arrested by Spanish police.

The man, who has not been named, was arrested on Tuesday by officers from the national police force in the city of Getafe, near Madrid.

In a statement, the Policía Nacional said the man, originally from the north-western Spanish region of Asturias, had been on the run for 15 years before specialist anti-drugs officers caught up with him.

“The suspect had modified and changed his fingerprints to such an extent that they were no longer recognisable,” said the statement.

“As well as cutting and burning, he had used micro-implants of skin. He had also had a hair transplant to avoid being recognised.”

A police spokeswoman told the Guardian: “He’d used very sophisticated methods to alter the fingerprints of both hands so that he couldn’t be identified. He used skin implants to change the shape of his prints so that the scars beneath couldn’t be detected. It was a very sophisticated, specialist process that took place over a number of years.”

The man, who had been the subject of four arrest warrants, had used false documents in the name of a Peruvian citizen to travel around the world. He had also adopted the cover of being a Croatian citizen to avoid being tracked down.

“Officers have managed to ascertain that the arrested man travelled to Morocco on numerous occasions over the past few months, presumably to engage in activities related to drug-trafficking,” said the statement.

“When he was arrested, he was found to be in possession of two encrypted phones – the kind of equipment usually used by criminal organisations.”

Spanish media reported that the arrested man was an associate of the Galician smuggler and drug-trafficker Sito Miñanco, who this week was jailed for four years and ordered to pay €6m (£5.25) fine after being convicted of laundering the proceeds of his drug trafficking.

Miñanco’s lawyer was recently fined €2,000 for vaping in court during the trial last November.

(10th February 2019)


CASH-STRAPPED POLICE "LACK ENOUGH BREATH-TEST KITS TO TACKLE DRINK-DRIVING"
(Mirror, dated 30th January 2019 authors Martin Fricker and Jeanette Oldham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/cash-strapped-police-lack-enough-13929598

Officers at one police force do not have enough breath-test kits to tackle drink-driving, it is claimed.

Cash-strapped West Midlands Police has 302 kits for 3,500 frontline officers.

It is feared some suspected drink-drivers are going free due to shortages.

Sgt Richard Cooke, chair of West Midlands Police Federation, said: “If there has been an accident or someone’s clearly drunk, they’ll be taken to the station and tested.

“But in cases where they appear compos mentis but you have a slight suspicion, being without a kit means you won’t test them. They wouldn’t be detained and taken to the station as that wouldn’t be proportionate.”

He said he recently pulled over a suspected drink-driver but no officer was available to bring him a breathalyser.

Sgt Cooke added: “Collea­gues are telling me this is a common thing.” WMP, which has been hit by Government cuts, is the second-biggest force in England and Wales, with more than 6,500 officers.

Figures show arrests for driving when over the limit in its area fell 26% in four years.

Nearby Northamptonshire Police has some 1,100 officers in total yet 400 breathalysers.

Sgt Jon Butler, of WMP’s road safety team, said they had a “zero tolerance” policy.

He added: “We carry out intelligence-led operations to catch those who drive under the influence and never hesitate to prosecute. We have a range of powers to arrest drivers suspected of [this].”

(10th February 2019)


ICELAND IS DEEMED THE SAFEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
(Daily Mail, dated 30th January 2019 author Ross Ibbetson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6649215/Iceland-deemed-safest-country-world-Europe-dominating-20-places.html

- Iceland - with a population of under 400,000 - has been crowned the safest
- The study considers war, crime and the risk posed by natural disasters
- Europe dominated the list with 15 out of the top 20 safest countries in the list
- The US came 65th, due to its high murder rate and risk of natural disasters

Iceland is the world's safest country while the Philippines is the most dangerous, according to a new study.

Global Finance Magazine considers war and peace, crime rates and the risk of natural disasters in working out its Safety Index Score for each nation.

Iceland came top due to its tiny crime rate, with under 400,000 residents - and although the island contains active volcanoes - there is a low risk to life.

The US was one of the exception's to the rule for economically developed countries - placing 65th - in large part due to its homicide rate.

World's safest countries 2019

Best Countries

1. Iceland : 6.16
2. Switzerland : 7.01
3. Finland : 7.04
4. Portugal : 7.07
5. Austria : 7.08
6. Norway : 7.27
7. Qatar : 7.28
8. Singapore : 7.34
9. Denmark : 7.41
10. New Zealand : 7.42

Worst Countries scores

1. Philipines : 17.7
2. Yemen : 15.93
3. Guatemala : 15.81
4. El Salvador : 15.43
5. Nigeria : 14.88
6. Pakistan : 14.8
7. Colombia : 14.79
8. Bangladesh : 14.66
9. Chad : 14.31
10. Mali : 14.15

Global Finance magazine included 128 of the 193 states recognised by the UN on its list, with notable absences including Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

It is not clear why such states - which regularly rank among the most dangerous in the world - did not feature in their calculations.

According to the FBI there were 5.3 murders per 100,000 people in 2017, this is more than double most of its European economic counterparts.

On the other hand, Iceland is said to be filled with guns but had just a single murder in 2009, according to the BBC.

Many believe the low per capita murder rate in Iceland is down to lack of a class system, which prevents jealousy and also low drug usage.

As well as America's high homicide rate the continental mass of North America puts US citizens at more risk of natural disaster than their European cousins across the Atlantic.

Japan was also an anomaly among the top economies for that reason, placing 43rd, due to their high risk of natural disaster with earthquakes in the region.

European countries scored particularly well, accounting for seven countries out of the top ten and 15 out of the top 20.

Global Finance attribute the scores to developed economies and healthcare systems which protect people from dangers such as undernourishment and disease.

The UK placed 38th, coming after Romania and Kuwait on the safety index. Australia was ranked 18th.

Yemen, which is a violent famine-ridden war zone, placed second-bottom on the list, with the Philippines found to be the most dangerous place to live.

Although Yemen is an active war zone, and people face a greater military and security risk, the magazine deemed the risk from natural disasters in the Philippines to be so grave it takes its score higher.

The Ukraine and Russia placed far down the list compared to other European countries.

This is due to a civil war raging in the Ukraine, in which Russia is playing a part.

Meanwhile the magazine said that Russians face disproportionate levels of violent crime and the dire economic situation puts them at a further security risk.

They used data from the World Economic Forum and the Global Institute for Peace to create their list.

Further information (uaware)

Global finance magazine website [Option 1]:

www.gfmag.com/global-data/non-economic-data/worlds-safest-countries-2019

The best countries from eleven to Forty

11     Canada     7.42
12     Slovenia     7.44
13     Sweden     7.50
14     Czech Republic     7.68
15     Spain     7.81
16     Ireland     7.82
17     Estonia     7.89
18     Australia     7.95
19     Belgium     7.98
20     Germany     8.09
21     United Arab Emirates     8.21
22     Croatia     8.27
23     Oman     8.34
24     Latvia     8.45
25     Lithuania     8.49
26     Slovakia     8.53
27     Poland     8.54
28     Hungary     8.61
29     Mongolia     8.74
30     Bhutan     8.79
31     Netherland     8.82
32     Cyprus     8.88
33     Romania     8.88
34     South Korea     8.93
35     Uruguay     8.93
36     France     9.01
37     Kuwait     9.10
38     United Kingdom     9.21
39     Malaysia     9.22
40     Italy     9.23

(10th February 2019)


THE WORLD'S MOST CORRUPT COUNTRIES
(Daily Mail, dated 29th January 2019 author Ross Ibbotson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6643529/Somalia-named-worlds-corrupt-country-Denmark-one-watch.html

Somalia is the most corrupt country in the world, Denmark the least, while America's falling score is a 'red flag', according to a global corruption watchdog.

Transparency International highlighted Hungary and the United States in their Corruption Perceptions Index for 2018, with America being knocked from the top 20 'cleanest' list.

Trump's America lost four points and dropped out of the top 20 least corrupt nations for the first time since 2011, while Hungary's politics has taken on more autocratic overtones, according to the researchers.

'A four point drop in the CPI score is a red flag and comes at a time when the US is experiencing threats to its system of checks and balance, as well as an erosion of ethical norms at the highest levels of power,' the Berlin-based organization said.

If this trend continues, it would indicate a serious corruption problem in a country that has taken a lead on the issue globally -this is a bipartisan issue that requires a bipartisan solution.'

Zoe Reiter, the watchdog's acting representative to the US, said they had serious concerns over the Trump administration but that corrupution had been a mounting problem for years.

'Conflict of interest wasn't a new problem, but it was illuminated in its glory when you have someone who is basically breaking norms.

'Trump is a symptom not a cause. His presidency is illuminating some of the problems.'

The US, Hungary and Brazil were all listed as countries to watch.

The most improved were Estonia, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Guyana; and decliners included Australia, Chile, Malta and Mexico. 

Somalia was rated the most corrupt with a score of 10, followed by Syria, South Sudan, Yemen, North Korea, Sudan, Guinea Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Afghanistan and Libya.

Many of the most corrupt regions are in throws of warfare which has ravaged government and any prospect of democracy.

The Corruption Perceptions Index showed more than two-thirds of countries scoring below 50, on its scale where 100 is very clean and zero is very corrupt.

In a cross-analysis of its survey with global democracy data, Transparency said a link could be drawn between corruption and the health of a democracy.

Full democracies scored an average of 75 on the corruption index, flawed democracies averaged 49, and autocratic regimes averaged 30, the organization said.

The US score dropped from 75 to a below average 71.

It noted that Hungary dropped eight points and Turkey nine over the past five years, to scores of 46 and 41, respectively.

At the same time, the report cited Freedom House's annual democracy survey, noting Turkey was downgraded from 'partly free' to 'not free,' while Hungary registered its lowest score for political rights since the fall of communism in 1989.

The ratings reflect the 'deterioration of rule of law and democratic institutions, as well as a rapidly shrinking space for civil society and independent media,' the organization said.

'Our research makes a clear link between having a healthy democracy and successfully fighting public sector corruption,' said Delia Ferreira Rubio, the head of Transparency.

'Corruption is much more likely to flourish where democratic foundations are weak and, as we have seen in many countries, where undemocratic and populist politicians can use it to their advantage.'

Overall, Denmark led the survey as the least corrupt nation, with a score of 88, followed by New Zealand, Finland, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland.

Rounding out the top group were Norway, Netherlands, Canada, Luxembourg, Germany and Britain.

Since 2012, only 20 nations had significantly improved their scores, including Argentina and Ivory Coast, which scored 40 and 35 respectively, up from 35 and 29.

At the same time, 16 have declined significantly in that time, including Australia, which slipped from a score of 85 to 77, and Chile, which dropped from 72 to 67.

The index is calculated using 13 different data sources that provide perceptions of public sector corruption from business people and country experts.

These include the African Development Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, the World Bank Country Policy and Institutional Assessment, the World Economic Forum Executive Opinion Survey and the World Justice Project Rule of Law Index Expert Survey.

Considered ranking of countries corruption

(List edited to compare European countries - for full list see original article)

1. Denmark (Best)
2. New Zealand
3. Finland
3. Singapore
3. Sweden
3. Switzerland
7. Norway
8. Netherlands
9. Canada
9. Luxembourg
11. Germany
11. United Kingdom
13. Australia
14. Austria
17. Belgium
18. Estonia
18. Ireland
21. France
22. United States
30. Portugal
36. Poland
36. Slovenia
38. Cyprus
38. Czech Repubic
38. Lithuania
41. Spain
51. Malta
53. Italy
57. Slovakia
60. Croatia
61. Romania
64. Hungary
67. Greece
77. Bulgaria
78. India
87. China
99. Albania
138. Russia

(1st February 2019)


SMART MOTORWAYS ARE MAKING IT HARDER FOR US TO PULL OVER CRIMINAL, SAY POLICE CHIEFS
(Telegraph, dated 29th January 2019 author Martin Evans)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/29/smart-motorways-making-harder-us-pull-criminals-say-police-chiefs/

Police have expressed concern over the roll out of new smart motorways, warning they will make it more difficult to catch dangerous drivers.

Large stretches of Britain’s motorway network is being upgraded with new technology intended to improve traffic flow and ease congestion.

Among the initiatives being rolled out is the removal of hard shoulders from around 300 miles of the busiest stretches.

But senior officers have warned that the lack of an emergency lane will mean it is impossible to pull over problem drivers.

David Blundell, who leads on roads policing for the Police Federation, said: “The difficulty with smart motorways is that they are difficult for the police to operate on, there’s no hard shoulder, so where do we safely stop another motorist if they have committed an offence or we want to give them some advice?

“The answer is we can’t and we have to wait miles and miles and miles until we’re able to do that. There are lots of questions that need to be asked.”

Smart motorways without hard shoulders have emergency lay-bys every 1.5 miles, but a recent RAC survey found the the majority of road users had no idea what to do if they broke down.

An all-party committee of MPs has also warned about the potential dangers of removing hard shoulders and has said it could put recovery drivers' lives at risk.

John Apter, the chair of the Police Federation, also warned about the impact of reducing the number of traffic patrols.

He said Britain’s roads were beginning to resemble “The Wacky Races”, with a significant increase in anti-social driving such as tailgating, speeding and drivers using their mobile phones while at the wheel.

The number of dedicated road traffic officers has fallen by 11 per cent over the last two years, with speed cameras and other remote technology taking their place.

But speaking at the National Roads Policing Conference, Mr Apter said cameras did not provide the deterrent that an officer in a marked car did.

He said: “It’s like The Wacky Races out there with some of the stuff we see. A lack of a visible deterrent for motorists will mean that their behaviour is not moderated.

“And those who wish to drive in an anti-social dangerous way, without fear of being caught, will do so.

“On journeys now, you’ll see motorists regularly driving in an anti-social dangerous and aggressive way. They’re just not being caught. They’re driving without a care.”

“What we need are police officers on the ground, the visible deterrent. We need the drink, drug, aggressive, dangerous driver to be fearful of being caught."

He added: "The motorway is a hostile environment to be on out of the vehicle. Tragically, we see more people killed who have been involved in a relatively minor collision who get out their vehicle on the hard shoulder and are hit.

"We have police officers who have been killed or have been seriously injured when they stop on the hard shoulder. Smart motorways must take all of that into account as it does cause a greater risk."

(10th February 2019)


MORE THAN HALF OF BOYS IN YOUNG OFFENDER JAILS ARE FROM BLACK OR ETHNIC MINORITY BACKGROUNDS
(Daily Mail, dated 29th January 2019 author Joel Adams)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6642529/More-HALF-boys-young-offender-jails-black-ethnic-minority-backgrounds.html

More than half of boys held in young offender institutions in 2017-18 were from a black or minority ethnic background (BME), a watchdog report has indicated.

The percentage of BME detainees was the highest recorded since HM Inspectorate of Prisons began carrying out the analysis in 2001.

The figure of 51 per cent was three percentage points up on the previous year's 48 per cent.

Only two years ago a landmark review by Labour MP for Tottenham David Lammy raised concerns that the proportion of black, Asian and minority ethnic youth prisoners had increased despite an overall fall in under-18s in custody.

Commenting on the latest findings, Mr Lammy said: 'This is deeply alarming and now must be viewed as an urgent national crisis.

'We are not only failing to make progress to address these racial inequalities; things are getting significantly worse.

'From childhood right through to courts and adult prisons, our justice system entrenches and exacerbates the divides in our society.'

Researchers found the proportion of boys who identified as being from a black or minority ethnic background varied significantly from facility to facility.

At the Keppel Unit - Her Majesty's Young Offenders Institute (YOI) Wetherby, a male juvenile prison outside York - it was one-in-five (21 per cent).

At HMP Feltham, a male juvenile jail in Hounslow in west London, in was nearly three-quarters (71 per cent).

The figures are detailed in a study of perceptions of those between 12 and 18 who were held in YOIs or secure training centres (STCs) in England and Wales from April 2017 to March 2018.

The assessment, published today, covers the experiences of boys in five male YOIs, plus a specialist unit for boys; and children, including a small number of girls, held in three STCs.

Black and minority ethnic children accounted for 42 per cent of the STC population, according to the paper. The percentage identifying as being from a BME background also varied between STCs, from 33 per cent at Oakhill in Milton Keynes, to 55 per cent at Medway in Rochester.

Frances Crook, chief executive of the Howard League for Penal Reform, said: 'For the first time, more than half of boys in prison identify as being from a black or minority ethnic background.

'Sixteen months after the Lammy Review was published, it is disturbing that disproportionality it is growing.'

In other findings:

- More than half of children (56 per cent) in STCs [and 50 per cent in YOIs] reported they had been physically restrained in their establishment.
   
- Three in 10 STC respondents had been 'victimised' by other children by being shouted at through windows.
   
- Children in STCs were more likely to report that staff treated them with respect (87 per cent compared with 64 per cent in YOIs)

Between 2013-14 and 2017-18, the number of children, including 18-year-olds, held in YOIs, STCs and secure children's homes fell by 24 per cent from 1,318 to 997, the report found.

The watchdog warned that too many youngsters feel unsafe while in custody.

It found that signs of improvement have yet to translate into a significant shift in children's perceptions of their treatment and conditions.

HMIP's analysis, based on a survey of 686 children detained in 2017-18, found just over a third (34 per cent) of those held in STCs reported feeling unsafe at some point since arriving at the centre.

Forty per cent of those in YOIs had felt unsafe during their time there.

Chief Inspector of Prisons Peter Clarke said: 'I trust that the details of this report will prove useful to those whose responsibility it is to provide safe, respectful and purposeful custody for children.

'As we all know, the perceptions of children in custody, will, for them, be the reality of what is happening.

'That is why we should not allow the recent improvement in inspection findings to give rise to complacency.'

A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: 'We are fundamentally reforming youth custody to make it safer and more focused on rehabilitation and, as the Chief Inspector recognises, there have been encouraging signs of improvement in safety.

'As part of our reforms, we are increasing frontline staff in public-sector YOIs by 20%, improving training for officers working with young people, and have recently announced a £5 million investment in a new secure school at Medway.

'But we recognise there is still more to do, including tackling disproportionality in the justice system, and a dedicated team is addressing this issue head-on.'

THREE OPTIONS FOR YOUNG OFFENDERS
Source: Lancashire Safeguarding Children's Board

There are three types of secure accommodation in which a young person can be placed:

Young Offender Institutions

YOI's are facilities run by both the Prison Service and the private sector and accommodate 15- to 17-year-olds. Young people serving Detention and Training Orders can be accommodated beyond the age of 17 subject to child protection considerations. The majority of YOI's accommodate boys, although there are four dedicated female units

Secure Training Centres


STC's are purpose-built centres for young offenders up to the age of 17. STC's can accommodate both male and female young people who are held separately. They are run by private operators under contracts, which set out detailed operational requirements. There are four STC's in England;

Secure Children’s Homes

SCH's accommodate children and young people placed there on a secure welfare order for the protection of themselves or others, and for those placed under criminal justice legislation. SCH's are generally used to accommodate young offenders aged 12 to 14, girls up to the age of 16, and boys 15-16 assessed as vulnerable.

Boys in young offender institutions from a black or minority ethnic background

2001-03 : 23%
2004-06 : 23%
2010-11 : 39%
2011-12 : 42%
2012-13 : 45%
2013-14 : 41%
2014-15 : 42%
2015-16 : 47%
2016-17 : 48%
2017-18 : 51%

----------------------
BRITAIN IS CRIMINALISING YOUNG BME PEOPLE COULD SPARK A NEW CRISIS ON THE STREETS
(Guardian -Opinion, dated 30th January 2019 author Kehinde Andrews)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/30/britain-criminalising-bme-young-people-racism

The latest figures to emerge showing racial inequality are sadly as unsurprising as they are shocking. Reading that more than half of the people locked in young offender institutions in England and Wales belong to an ethnic minority should be a cause for national alarm. Somehow things are actually worse than in 2017, when the Lammy review put the figure at 41%. But we have become so desensitised to institutional racism that the nation is numb to the reality. We are sleepwalking into the next crisis on the streets for a generation of black and brown young people.

A rise in violent crime involving young people has brought with it the expected hyperventilation of the rightwing press, as well as hollow words of concern from politicians, and calls to strengthen the powers of the police against the “gangs” who are supposedly to blame. Let’s ignore for a moment that most knife crime is committed by white people, making the idea that this is somehow a black issue absurd. Even if the sentiment behind these responses really was in an effort to help black communities, it would be entirely misplaced. Rather than blaming the family, community or music we should address the real cause of the problems in our inner cities, which is that successive generations are being marginalised from society.

It is no coincidence that violent crime is on the rise as the impact of almost a decade of austerity bites. Social research is usually the last place to look for general laws governing society (one of the reasons we should stop pretending to be scientists), but on the causes of crime the evidence is clear. The young black male unemployment rate across London is 29%, masking far higher figures in the most deprived areas. This unemployment crisis demands more well-paying jobs and not more police. When the government attacked the social safety net it, surely knowingly, set in process the chaos we are seeing on the streets.

In response to the moral panic about crime in the “ghettoes”, the government response just makes the situation worse. More police, disproportionate use of stop and search, and locking up increasing numbers of minority people, both young and older, only increases the marginalisation. It’s like we are stuck in a feedback loop, where the criminal injustice system is continually offered as a solution to a problem that it is one of the principal forces in creating.

Relations with the police continue to be marked by suspicion and distrust. Campaigns for justice for people who have died in custody or after contact with police, continue to fall on deaf ears, with the case of Kingsley Burrell being the perfect example. Following his death in hospital days after being forcibly detained by police in 2011, one officer was sacked in 2019 for lying to an inquest – but all the police officers involved were cleared of causing his death. Making things worse, organisers of a protest recently called off the march because of concerns over police surveillance and interference. When the police are seen as an occupying force, it only further alienates the community and its most disadvantaged from society.

Since the 80s, when the first mass generation of black young people who were born in the country expected our birthright to command equal treatment under the law, we have seen the result of racist policing. Frustration with the police boiled over in different parts of the country in 1981, 1985, 1995 and in 2011, with people taking to the streets in acts of either rebellion or riot, depending on your perspective. The latest stats on the make-up of the young offender institutions is just more fuel added to the impending crisis. History tells us that it only takes one spark to turn anger into disorder. In 1981, it was caused by Operation Swamp 81 flooding police on to the streets of Brixton. The death of Cynthia Jarrett after a police search set Broadwater Farm ablaze in 1985 and the police killing of Mark Duggan in 2011 also led to nationwide mayhem. By continuing to harass, arrest, charge and incarcerate ethnic minority young people at excessive rates, society is creating what Malcolm X called a “racial powder keg” in our cities.

It impossible to predict what will ignite the next explosion of frustration and resentment – but it is undeniable that the acceptance of racist treatment of minority young people in the criminal justice system – and beyond – makes another crisis inevitable.

- Kehinde Andrews is professor of black studies at Birmingham City University

----------------------
(10th February 2019)


COUNTY LINES DRUG NETWORKS RAPIDLY EXPANDING, SAYS NCA
(Guardian, dated 29th January 2019 author Jamie Grierson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/society/2019/jan/29/county-lines-criminal-drug-networks-rapidly-expanding-national-crime-agency

Criminal networks funnelling drugs into smaller towns and rural areas, a trade known as “county lines”, have rapidly expanded in the past year, the National Crime Agency has said.

As part of the county lines trade gangs and organised criminal networks use children and vulnerable adults to move drugs around the country using dedicated mobile phone lines.

Nikki Holland, the director of investigations and county lines lead at the NCA, told the home affairs select committee the number of individual phone numbers used for drug deals linked to established county lines networks has nearly tripled from about 700 to about 2,000.

The phone numbers – also known as deal lines – are central to the county lines trade, as each number has the potential to connect to hundreds of drug users and facilitate thousands of drug deals.

“We now have 2,000 lines in operation for county lines,” Holland said. “Multiple lines obviously being in operation allows this business model to be flexible and gives resilience to the gangs themselves, so as a line is taken out of operation then they can be flexible in their response as they have multiple lines.

“Obviously you will see county lines is increasing in terms of those lines, but this doesn’t necessarily indicate a worsening of the problem; what it actually indicates is an increasing awareness of law enforcement and our partners as to the scale of the problem.”

Duncan Ball, a Metropolitan police deputy assistant commissioner and the National Police Chiefs’ Council lead for county lines, told the committee the greatest number of county lines continue to originate from the areas covered by the Met, West Midlands police and Merseyside police.

Jacqueline Sebire, an assistant chief constable with Bedfordshire police and the NPCC’s serious violence coordinator, told the committee the county lines trade was reaching a peak, and much younger victims were being identified.

Sebire said the police were also seeing new crimes such as “cuckooing” – when gangs set up dealing bases in the homes of addicted or otherwise vulnerable people.

In an annual assessment of county lines published on Tuesday, the NCA said boys and girls aged between 15-17 made up the bulk of the vulnerable people involved in county lines.

Grooming techniques similar to those used in child sexual exploitation and abuse cases are common, the NCA said, and young people often do not think of themselves as victims.

Exploitation methods continue to involve sexual abuse and exploitation, modern slavery and human trafficking, and the threat of violence and injury to ensure compliance, the NCA said.

Holland added: “Tackling county lines is a national law enforcement priority. We know that criminal networks use high levels of violence, exploitation and abuse to ensure compliance from the vulnerable people they employ to do the day-to-day drug supply activity.

“Every organised crime group trafficking drugs is a business which relies on cashflow. County lines is no different. What we will continue to do with our law enforcement partners is disrupt their activity and take away their assets.

“We also need to ensure that those exploited are safeguarded and understand the consequences of their involvement. This is not something law enforcement can tackle alone – the need to work together to disrupt this activity and safeguard vulnerable victims must be the priority for everyone.”

-----------------------
COUNTY LINES DRUG TRADE FUELLING RISE IN LONDON VIOLENCE, MPs TOLD
(London Evening Standard, dated 29th January 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/county-lines-drugs-trade-fuelling-rise-in-london-violence-mps-told-a4051536.html

Street gangs and local criminals in London are fighting for control of the “county lines” drug trade, police chiefs warned today as they gave MPs evidence about rising violent crime.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said that more than four out of five of the violent organised crime gangs in the capital were involved in drugs distribution, and that half of all violent criminals had a drug offending background.

At the same time, the National Crime Agency (NCA) disclosed that as many as 2,000 “county lines” networks, in which children are used by older gang members to ferry drugs from cities to smaller towns, were now operating nationwide.

The NCA said that “serious violence” was resulting as gangs sought to “defend territory, intimidate rivals, and protect commodities that can be traded for significant profit”.

It said the gangs were exploiting “vulnerable adults and children, trafficking them across the UK, placing them into debt bondage, and taking over their homes in a practice called ‘cuckooing’.

“Victims are coerced and controlled through physical and psychological methods, which often involve violence in the form of firearm, knife and acid attacks,” the NCA added.

Today’s warnings, which follow police complaints that middle-class cocaine users are prompting street violence, came as senior figures from the NCA and NPCC appeared before the Home Affairs Select Committee.

Met deputy assistant commissioner Duncan Ball said “turf wars” provided “plenty of examples of violence by drug dealers or users to establish territory or control a situation”.

The police chiefs added that social media was “escalating violence between young people and enabling content that glamorises or encourages violence and crime”.

The NCA said that more than 600 people had been arrested in a coordinated national crackdown last week during which 140 weapons, including 12 firearms, machetes, swords, axes and knives, had been seized, as well as cash and drugs. Forty potential slavery victims had been rescued.

In numbers

82 per cent - proportion of London’s violent organised crime gangs involved in drugs distribution

2,000 - number of county lines networks sending drugs out from cities
 
600 - number arrested in a crackdown on county lines last week

-----------------------
(10th February 2019)


CIVILIANS GET THE RIGHT TO HANDCUFF
(Daily Mail, dated 29th January 2019 author Eleanor Hayward)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6641803/Civilians-right-handcuff.html

Private security guards are handcuffing violent suspects in Lake District towns after part of the region was left with just six frontline police officers on duty at a time.

Over-stretched police can be up to an hour’s drive away in the area, which is home to 100,000 people and visited by 15million tourists a year.

Security firms in South Lakeland have now trained staff to use handcuffs so they can detain suspects while waiting for the police to arrive.

The district in south Cumbria, which is the same size as Greater London, is covered by officers based at Kendal police station. Cuts mean a maximum of six frontline officers are on duty in the day and even fewer at night.

Karl Newton, manager of a security firm used by 30 venues in towns including Kendal and Windermere, said police agreed his staff could use handcuffs in a six-month trial. His firm employs around 30 staff at bars, hotels and restaurants across the Lake District.

He told the Daily Mail: ‘The police never make any arrests because they are never around.

If someone is being extremely violent we call police but often end up waiting for 40 minutes. It is much safer for us to use handcuffs, then we can hand the suspect over when police arrive.

‘Eight of the security staff have been trained in handcuff use. We will be sitting down with police in April to review it.’

Mr Newton said he lost all his bottom teeth after being assaulted at work, but police did not collect CCTV of the alleged incident. Instead they sent him a letter saying the case will be closed, which added: ‘Good luck with the rest of the reconstructive surgery.’ Cumbria Police say they are now reviewing the incident.

The Cumbria force has lost 10 per cent of frontline officers in the past decade, and is having to sacrifice neighbourhood policing resources to battle an epidemic of ‘county lines’ drug dealing.

Martin Plummer, chairman of Cumbria Police Federation, warned the force’s capacity had fallen since gunman Derrick Bird killed 12 people in a 2010 shooting spree.

He said the nearest available firearms cover could be up to a 90-minute drive away. Mr Plummer said: ‘We are England’s third largest county, but have one of the smallest police forces.

‘In rural areas like Cumbria, our village police stations have been sold off. Unfortunately we can no longer deal with crimes that were routine for us to attend five years ago. British policing is broken. Private security firms are having to plug gaps.’

Lib Dem MP Tim Farron, whose constituency includes Kendal and Windermere, said cuts meant criminals ‘knew they could get away with it’.

Last week, Cumbria’s council tax policing charge, or precept, was raised to fund an extra 20 police officers this year. Tory Police and Crime Commissioner, Peter McCall, said he believed ‘Cumbria is a policing success story’ but added: ‘At certain times resources do get stretched perilously thin and I understand people want to see more officers. But we are dealing with a growth in county lines drug dealing, child sexual exploitation and mental health issues.

‘I was surprised to learn security guards are using handcuffs in Cumbria. Obviously it is not a route we want to go down.’

Demand for security companies all over the country has soared as crime has risen while the number of officers has fallen by 22,000.

Security guards are allowed to use handcuffs as long as they are trained and licensed. They have no powers of arrest beyond an ordinary citizen’s arrest.

Superintendent Matt Pearman from Cumbria Police said: 'The decision to carry and use handcuffs by these security staff has been made independently by that security company.

'Cumbria Constabulary have not trained or delegated any powers or equipment in relation to this. The fact that this security firm has chosen to use handcuffs does not impact on the number of police officers available or where they are located.' '

He added: 'In 2018, Cumbria Police attended 84% of all emergency deployments within the historically agreed timescale of 15 minutes to urban and 20 minutes to a rural location, anywhere in the county.

'Our priority is to protect the public and we will always attend an emergency incident in as quickly and as safely as possible.

'The suggestion that such a small number of officers are routinely deployed at our peak times, such as when licenced premises are at their busiest is simply untrue.

'When officers are not attending emergency calls they will be deployed at locations across the South Lakes, making them available to serve the public effectively.'

(10th February 2019)


RACISM AND SPYING CASES BLIGHT "WORST POLICE FORCE"
(The Times, dated 26th January 2019 author Fiona Hamilton)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/racism-and-spying-cases-blight-cleveland-the-worst-police-force-5dsblx3mj

Cleveland has been branded Britain’s worst police force after it was revealed that it is facing multiple inquiries into racism, intrusive surveillance and suppression of evidence.

The northern force, which lost its fifth chief constable in six years this week, is accused of systematically targeting Asian officers in false corruption and misconduct cases. Joint legal discrimination action by a string of officers could cost it hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of pounds.

Cleveland has also been found guilty of misuse of surveillance powers in relation to whistleblowers, lawyers and journalists, including some of the Asian officers claiming discrimination. The Times understands an investigation by the policing watchdog into the force’s spying scandal is examining potential criminal and misconduct offences.

The Independent Office of Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched further, seperate inquiries into accusations linked to the racism scandal and the dumping of a sensitive dossier containing the names of paedophiles and their victims on a street in Hartlepool. Seperately and internal inquiry is examining the alleged suppression of evidence relating to a detective who was a sex pest.

The sudden resignation of Mike Veale as chief constable last week, after "serious allegations" we referred to the IOPC, will add to the pressure on Barry Coppinger, the force's police and crime commissioner. Mr Coppinger is already facing calls for his resignation over the hiring of Mr Veale, despite his controversial handling of abuse claims against the late Edward Heath.

Simon Clarke, MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, said that rank and file officers, and the public, had been let down by what appeared to be institutional failings at the force. He is seeking a meeting with the home secretary to ask him to consider disbanding the force.

Ben Houchon, Conservative mayor of Tees Valley, branded it the country's "worst police force". He said: "There should be an independent review into Cleveland police. History shows that its senior manaegement is completely rotten and [the force] is failing to protect the public and frontline officers."

A dossier compiled by Mr Houchen list nearly 20 major scandals in the last two decades, They range from allegations of officer corruption to missed opportunities to stop PC Wayne Scott, a serial rapist who was jailed in 2013 but served as an officer for nearly a decade after his first recorded sexual attack. The most notorious incident was the 2012 dismissal of the police chief Sean Price, after he lied about his role in recruiting the daughter of the former chairman of the authority.

In 2016 PC Nadeem Saddique, a firearms officer who gaurded Tony Blair and the royal family, was awarded 457,000 after claiming that hiss superiors racially abused him to force him out.

The case lifted the lide on alleged racism at the force, which has a tiny number of Asian officers but is accused of systematically targeting them in professional standards inquiries. One serving officer and three of his colleagues are now suing for discrimination in a joint legal action. Court papers seen by The Times claim they were not investigated because of any intelligence or reasonable belief that they were corrupt, but because they were Asian. There were claims of "intrusive surveillance solely on the basis of race", while the employment tribunal will also hear that one of the officers was unfairly subjected to a gross misconduct case, which could have resulted in his sacking, when his dog bit a postman.

In 2017 the force was found to have broken the law by spying on journalists and a whistleblower who was pursuing a racial discrimination claim. Officers illegally seized the phone data of Mark Dias, an acting inspector who was suing the force over racism, and Steve Matthews, chairman of the local police federation, who was assisting him.

Mr Dias confirmed that he had made a complaint that officers perverted the course of justice by attempting to cover up the extent of the scandal.

A senior police officer has also been suspended while the IOPC investigates claims that evidence about the detetcive and serial sex pest Simon Hurwood was suppressed.

All of the claims predate Mr Veale's time at Cleveland. Mr Coppinger said he had pushed a programme of reforms ad supported the force against "unfair criticism", pointing to an award for equality and diversity it received last year. He said: " The force is now on a journey of improvement and transformation, particularly in addressing and exposing poor behaviour and conduct."

(10th February 2019)


JUSTICE SYSTEM IN "CRISIS" AS ONLY 8% OF CRIMES PROSECUTED IN ENGLAND AND WALES
(Independent, dated 26th January 2019 author Lizzie Dearden)

Full Article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/crime-statistics-uk-justice-prosecution-rates-rape-victims-disclosure-police-funding-a8747191.html

Tens of thousands more crimes are not being prosecuted amid warnings of a worsening “crisis” in Britain’s criminal justice system.

Almost 92 per cent of offences do not result in perpetrators being charged or summonsed in England and Wales, with the number of offences taken to court dropping by almost 30,000 in a year.

Lawyers, police officers and victim support workers interviewed by The Independent blamed a perfect storm of police cuts, rising crime, rows over disclosure, falling confidence and the backlash to a series of collapsed rape cases.

Figures published by the Home Office show in the year ending September 2018 only 8.2 per cent of 5 million recorded crimes were prosecuted, down from 9.5 per cent the previous year.

The proportion of offences charged fell across all categories – from violence to drugs, robbery, weapons possession and theft.

The lowest figures were for sexual offences (4 per cent), with only 1.9 per cent of recorded rapes prosecuted – down from 2.4 per cent the previous year.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s shadow solicitor general, said the statistics made “very worrying reading”.

“This is, sadly, no surprise given the swingeing government cuts to both police and Crown Prosecution Service budgets,” he added.

“The government has to step up to the plate and provide the resources needed to properly support victims and ensure that no stone is left unturned in bringing people to justice.”

The reason for closing almost half of investigations was that no suspect had been identified, but almost a third were listed as “evidential difficulties”.

There was a sharp rise in the proportion of cases recorded as “victim does not support action”, increasing to 42 per cent for violence, 35 per cent with rapes and 29 per cent of sexual offences.

The victims’ commissioner, Baroness Newlove, raised concern that lengthy delays, poor conviction rates, demands for phones and personal records, and the prospect of cross-examination were making women drop claims.

“The very low percentage of rape and sexual violence cases that result in a trial is a huge concern, as are the increasing number of victims who do not want to endure the criminal justice process,” she said.

“I am often hearing from victims of sexual crime that their criminal justice journey is as harrowing as the crime itself. This is just not acceptable. I fear we are letting these victims down badly.”

Baroness Newlove warned of a “breakdown in confidence” between victims of sexual violence and authorities, calling failures “systemic and widespread”.

Alex Mayes, policy adviser at Victim Support, said falling prosecution rates could make people “reluctant to report crime if they feel that they’re unlikely to achieve justice”. 

Lawyers describe waiting years for a decision on some cases, and accused successive governments of “total disregard of our justice system”.

Richard Atkinson, co-chair of the Law Society’s criminal law committee, said plummeting prosecutions were “just one symptom of underfunding”.

“We are facing a crisis within our justice system, we are starting to see it crumble around us,” he added.

A solicitor who works with victims of rape and domestic abuse raised fears for the safety of women who report crimes but see the perpetrator go free. 

“A lot of women go through the system,” said Kate Ellis, of the Centre for Women’s Justice. “Offenders in these areas often reoffend.”

Repeating allegations made by police officers and lawyers last year, she accused the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) of “weeding weak cases out of the system” to raise conviction rates.

“The CPS is demanding a very high evidential standard,” Ms Ellis added. “Women are coming in with compelling cases and CPS is dropping it. That means the victims are not getting justice at all, it’s absolutely devastating.”

The CPS insists it has not changed its code, which states that only cases with a “reasonable prospect of conviction” can progress.

But Nazir Afzal, a former chief prosecutor, said the fact conviction rates have risen for serious offences “suggests cherry picking of those cases most likely to lead to conviction, and less risk-taking, which of course leads to the conclusion that they are looking for a higher threshold of evidence”.

Police say that bar is becoming harder to reach following the loss of more than 20,000 officers since 2010, an explosion in mobile phone data, and pressure to examine and disclose more messages following a scandal about collapsed rape cases.

Martin Plummer, chair of the Police Federation’s national detectives’ forum, said thousands of detectives’ positions were unfilled.

“With violence, sexual assaults and serious crime on the increase, the workload is up but there are fewer detectives to pick up those jobs,” he added.

“They are still being done to the very best of officers’ ability, but unfortunately most forces now have got to prioritise.

“We need more money for more officers, and to rebuild the foundations of the British police services that have been dismantled by the government’s funding cuts.”

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said it would be making its case at an upcoming spending review, while trying to make further efficiencies and respond to increasingly complex cases like grooming and historic sex abuse.

A CPS spokesperson said it only makes charging decisions for the most serious crimes, with 60 per cent left to police.

“The CPS can only prosecute cases which are passed to us by police to consider, and this drop reflects the overall fall in caseload numbers,” they added.

“Charging decisions must be made based on the merits of each individual case. We are increasingly offering early investigative advice to police – especially in rape cases – to make sure they are robust and appropriate for prosecution.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We are working closely with the police to look at ways to help forces better respond to reports of crime. We have also announced the biggest increase in police funding since 2010 and expect to see major progress in investigations as a result.”

(10th February 2019)


A CAR IS STOLEN EVERY 5 MINUTES IN BRITAIN
(Daily Mail, dated 26th January 2019 author Rob Hull)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/money/cars/article-6631925/Vehicle-thefts-risen-50-5-years-Home-Office-figures-show.html?ito=1490

The number of vehicles stolen in Britain has almost doubled in the last five years, new Home Office figures show.

Official stats show that 111,999 cars were pinched in 2017-18, up from 75,308 in the 2013-14 financial year.

That means, on average, a vehicle is stolen in Britain every five minutes, which amounts to 300 motors being nabbed every day.

Experts say the rise in vehicle crime is the result of organised gangs using advanced keyless technology to remotely steal cars and policing budget cuts that has seen officer numbers dwindle in recent years.

n the last half a decade, car thefts are up a staggering 48.7 per cent, according to the Home Office's new data published this week :

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/560132/pprc-user-guide-oct16.pdf

While the figures don't specify how vehicles have been stolen, there's no question that the spike directly correlates with the advent of remote keyless technology.

Criminal gangs are use gadgets to hack into vehicles, allowing them to break into the car and drive it away without ever having to see a set of keys.

The majority of cars targeted are high-priced models from premium brands, such as Audi, BMW, Land Rover and Mercedes, which have strong resale values on foreign markets.

These vehicles can also be broken down into component parts and sold at high prices to unaware consumer.

But the RAC has warned that a plunge in policing numbers is also to blame.

In the last five years alone, forces have pulled 5,975 officers from their departments.

Forces up and down the country have reduced their officers by 15 per cent since 2006 - accounting for a loss of 21,958 personnel - meaning the police presence is the lowest it has been since the 1980s.

This could also explain why statistics for thefts from vehicles are also up.

Some 280,032 cases of cars being broken into a belonging taken from them were reported in the previous financial year, which was up from 258,356 just 12 months previous - an 8.4 per cent hike.

RAC Insurance director Mark Godfrey described the increase in vehicle crime as 'alarming' and said the latest data suggests the situation continues to get worse.

'The current financial year has also not started well, with nearly 60,000 vehicle thefts already recorded up to the end of last September,' he explained.

'They [the stats] also paint a very depressing picture of a society where it is all too easy for gangs of thieves to break in and steal vehicles, and where there are fewer police officers to catch them and bring them to justice.'

Mr Godfrey also warned that motorists are suffering from this crime wave on two fronts.

Not only are their vehicles less secure and more at risk, the rise in thefts is also reflecting on more expensive insurance premiums.

'Every vehicle stolen and not returned safely to its owner represents a cost that is borne by every motorist who lawfully pays their insurance,' he added.

'If the number of thefts could be reduced, then insurance premiums would undoubtedly be lower.

'Aside from this it is impossible to underestimate the impact on individuals and business who suffer from this type of crime.'

Cars vulnerable to relay theft



Audi: A3, A4, A6
BMW: 730d
Citroen: DS4 CrossBack
Ford: Galaxy, Eco-Sport
Honda: HR-V
Hyundai: Santa Fe CRDi
Kia: Optima
Lexus: RX 450h
Mazda: CX-5
Mini: Clubman
Mistubishi: Outlander
Nissan: Qashqai, Leaf
Vauxhall:Ampera
Range Rover: Evoque
Renault: Traffic
Ssangyong: Tivoli XDi
Subaru: Levorg
Toyota: Rav4
Volkswagen: Golf GTD, Touran 5T

Source: German Automotive Club as reported by This is Money in December 2017

Seven major car hacks

1. Relay hack keyless entry

Although, usually, your car keys signal cannot reach the car from inside your home, criminals using a 'relay box' can boost the signal from your car keys even when they're away from the vehicle and imitate the exact signal - causing your car to unlock and allowing the thief access.

Stay safe: The best way to protect yourself from this type of crime is to disable your key signal when not using your car or keeping your keys safe in a secure container that blocks the signal.
2. Keyless jamming

Another method used by criminals is preventing the car key locking signal from reaching your car - it means your car remains unlocked when you move away from it and the thieves are then able to access your unsecured vehicle.

Stay safe: To prevent this from happening, make sure to check your car doors manually and use a steering wheel lock that will stop thieves from being able to take your car, even if it is unlocked. 

3. Tyre pressure monitor systems


A less obvious - and not well known - method is hackers who are able to interact with sensors inside a vehicle's tyres.

This means they are able to track the vehicle and display false tyre pressure readings - this could then lure you to check the pressure at a garage and for thieves to pounce.

Stay safe: When you check your tyre pressure, lock all doors when you do and seek advice from a car garage if in doubt.

4. App flaw local remote control

Many cars possess telematics, often without the driver's knowledge, as many vehicle tracking apps integrate with their technology.

Although this can be handy for those with internet connected cars, it does mean that if a server is misconfigured or can be deliberately altered, hackers can locate, unlock and potentially start the engine of nearby cars.

Stay safe: Speak to your car manufacturer for support. 

5. Controller Area Network disabled safety features

Hackers can access the internal car network through vulnerabilities in a car's wi-fi or phone connections and send 'denial of service' signals which can shut down air bags, anti-lock brakes, and even door locks.

Stay safe: Changing your passwords regularly can help prevent hackers gaining access.

6) On-board diagnostics hack

Cars possess a feature called an 'on-board diagnostic port' which allows garages to access the internal data of a vehicle to perform tasks such as checking service light faults and programming new keys for their owners.

However, it is possible to buy kits which can use this port to program new keys for as little as £50, allowing hackers to use them to create new keys to access vehicles.

Stay safe: Use a steering lock to protect yourself and get advice from a reputable garage. 

7) Phone phishing

If you use wi-fi in your car, hackers may be able to access it through phishing schemes.

They can send emails with links to malicious websites and apps that, if opened, take your details and even take control of any apps that you have on your phone that allow you to interact with your vehicle.

Stay safe: Be cautious when opening emails from unknown senders and do not open links within these emails if you do not know the source.

(10th February 2019)


REGIONAL CRIME STATISTICS

ROBBERY SOARS 37% IN SUFFOLK BUT CRIME RATE STAYS BELOW NATIONAL AVERAGE
(Ipswich Star, dated 25th January 2019 author Tom Potter)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/suffolk-crime-statistics-2017-2018-1-5865583

Police recorded a 37% increase in robbery to 436 recorded between September 2017 and 2018, according to the latest annual figures released by the Office for National Statistics.

Overall crime increased by 5.8% in Suffolk - against an 8% rise across England and Wales.

The rate of crime per 1,000 residents remains lower in Suffolk (71.1) than on average across the country (86.4).

While weapons possession increased by 18% to 421, offences involving the actual use of knives or sharp instruments fell by 15% – although the reported fall is likely to be related more to how crime is recorded than the number of offences having taken place, and police are working with the Home Office on a way of better reflecting the proportion of crimes in future data.

here were also falls in other types of crime, including and drugs and public order offences (both down 7% to 1,360 and 4,944).

In the same time, Suffolk Constabulary hired 50 officers but dispensed of 14 PCSOs and 28 specials.

A restructure of neighbourhood policing then put more than 100 police officers into Suffolk safer neighbourhood teams in October.

The Home Office workforce figures were released on the same day as publication of the annual crime statistics – and as the Home Secretary announced aggregate amount of grants for each force in the latest police funding settlement for 2019/20.

Suffolk stands to gain £41m in core funding, almost £23m from the former Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) funding formula, along with a £6.8m in legacy council tax grants, payable to local policing bodies which chose to freeze or lower their share of council tax between 2011 and 2016.

The police and crime commissioner proposed a council tax precept increase this year to pay for the recruitment of additional officers.

Suffolk police are continuing to investigate an attempted armed robbery in Beccles on December 18, when two men entered the Oliver & J jewellery store just before 4.30pm and threatened members of staff with a knife before leaving empty handed.

This week, detectives released CCTV images of two men with their faces covered by scarves – both wanted in connection with the attempted armed raid.

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has urged commissioners to make tackling violence against shop workers a key priority.

It welcomed new commitments from Home Office minister Victoria Atkins to address the issue of violence and abuse against retailers.

An extraordinary meeting of the group on will focus exclusively on violence and abuse toward shop workers in February.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said violence against shop workers was a serious issue, affecting thousands of people on a regular basis.

He added: “Tackling violence against shop workers must be a key priority for all authorities – all the way from central government, through to police and crime commissioners and local beat police, and this must include targeted action to deal with shop theft, which is one of the most common triggers of abuse, along with challenging attempted underage sales.”

Temporary Assistant Chief Constable David Cutler said: “The Suffolk figures show a similar picture to that seen nationally.

“Some of the additional offences we record are down to the increasing confidence that victims have in reporting to us. However, we have continued to review and adapt the way in which we work to ensure we keep communities and individual safe and focus on preventing crime.

“In order to ensure we remain able to respond appropriately it is important that our policing model has the flexibility, capability and resilience that is required.

“We continually monitor and analyse where and what type of crime occurs so we can ensure our response is dynamic and effective. We gather information and intelligence from a wide array of sources to ensure we are can take the appropriate actions at the first opportunity.

“Our skilled and capable workforce of police officers, Police Community Support Officers, police staff, Special Constabulary and police volunteers work together to make Suffolk a safe place.

“It is not only the increase in the numbers of crime we are managing but also the increase in their complexity. Crime committed on-line, crimes against the most vulnerable and the national threat from County Lines drug operations mean we need to make challenging decisions on how to make the very best use of the resources and the budgets that we have.

“We remain absolutely determined to ensure that as a Constabulary we continue to do everything we can to protect the communities we serve and those who are the most vulnerable in our society.”

“We can’t do this by ourselves and the support and assistance we receive from the public is absolutely key.

“We do not take this public trust and confidence lightly and continue to work tirelessly to the benefit of our communities. The response we receive each time we appeal for help to prevent crime or catch criminals is really important to us. Preventing and detecting crime also requires effective partnerships and in Suffolk we have strong support from a range of partners in the public, voluntary and private sectors.”

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HUGE SPIKE IN VIOLENT CRIME IN HULL AND EAST YORKSHIRE AS FULL CRIME FIGURES RELEASED
(Hull Daily Mail, dated 25th January 2019 author Sophie Corcoran)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.hulldailymail.co.uk/news/hull-east-yorkshire-news/huge-spike-violent-crime-hull-2466049

Violence, robbery, stalking and harassment has risen dramatically in our region in just 12 months, figures show.

Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics show a huge 24 per cent increase in offences recorded in Humberside involving violence against another person in the year October 2017 to September 2018.

Humberside Police also recorded a 19 per cent rise in sexual offences, recording 2,964 in the year, which had gone up from 2,4217 in the year September 2016 to September 2017.

Robbery has also gone up by 17 per cent, rising from 810 to 955 in just a year.

Violence with injury had also risen by seven per cent, going from 9,951 to 10,648. Violence without injury had also risen by 17 per cent from 10,506 to 12,292.

Figures of crime regarding stalking and sexual harassment has gone up 95 per cent in a year from 1,051 to 3,615.

Overall, crime has gone up 13 per cent in the Humberside region from around 517,380 to 563,948 incidents recorded in the year from October 2017 to September 2018.

However, there was also a decrease in some areas of crime in the region.

Burglary is down nine per cent with just 8,443 burglaries recorded from September 2017 to 2018 and criminal damage and arson is down by three per cent, with just 12,939 recorded.

In the year September 2016 to September 2017, 9,284 burglaries were recorded and 13,340 reports of criminal damage and arson were recorded.

Humberside Police say that although the force has seen a rise in crime, the figures fit in with the picture nationally.

The Office for National Statistics recorded an eight per cent rise in recorded crimes in England and Wales.

These figures include a national three per cent increased in vehicle offences, a 17 per cent increase in robbery, a one per cent decrease in burglary and a one per cent decrease in shoplifting, which follows a longer period of increases.

National figures also show a 14 per cent increase in the number of homicides and a 4 per cent decrease in the number of police recorded offences involving firearms.

he force say the figures do not necessarily mean the level of crime has increased, rather the increase in the number of crimes recorded by the police.

Speaking about the national figures, Helen Ross, from the Office for National Statistics Centre for crime and justice, said: "In recent decades we've seen the overall level of crime falling, but in the last year, it remained level.

"There are variations within this overall figure, depending on the type of crime.

"Burglary, shoplifting and computer misuse are decreasing but others, such as vehicle offences and robbery are rising.

"We have also seen increases in some types of 'lower-volume, high-harm' violence including offences involving knives or sharp instruments."

What Humberside Police say

In response to the quarterly crime figures released, Humberside Police deputy chief constable, Chris Rowley, said: "We have seen a slight rise in crime in our area, however this is also the picture nationally with an increase across all crime types and is attributed to a variety of factors.

"The improvements of crime recording by police forces has resulted in more offences being recorded, rather than more crimes actually being committed and is one of the factors that has been associated with the increase.

"In our area, we have seen positive results and reductions in vehicle theft and drug offences, in addition to a nine per cent reduction in burglary. Burglary is an incredibly intrusive crime that can leave people afraid to be in their own homes.

"With the decrease in this type of offence type, which equates to 841 less burglaries in the 12-month period of October 2017 to September 2018 when compared to the same period for the year before, it is a positive indicator that our efforts to tackle this type of offending is really beginning to have an impact.

"Sexual offences continues to see a rise, again nationally, which given the current climate and the high profile reporting in the media over recent years, can be attributed to people having more confidence in the police and in coming forward to report this type of offending, knowing they will be listened to and taken seriously.

"Robbery in our policing area has also increased, however is in line with the national average rise. This by no means we are complacent and there is no continued work taking place to tackle this area of crime and ensure our communities are safe and protected.

"Violent crime has seen an increase which is above the national average, and in our force area can be largely attributed to the recording improvements around stalking and harassment, in particularly in relation to malicious communication offences.

"Our priority is to protect the public and ensure we have a good understanding of our communities so that we can work closely with them to help them prevent crime. However, when a crime is committed, we want people to feel reassured we will investigate thoroughly to hold those responsible to account."

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KNIFE CRIME DOWN BY 18 PER CENT IN WILTSHIRE : LATEST STATISTICS RELEASED
(Salisbury Journal, dated 25th January 2019 author Benjamin Paessier)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.salisburyjournal.co.uk/news/17385212.knife-crime-down-by-18-per-cent-in-wiltshire-latest-crime-statistics-released/

 WILTSHIRE Police is one of only four forces to see a reduction in overall crime, according to the latest figures released by Office for National Statistics.

The police is bucking the national trend of increasing crime figures by seeing a reduction of 1 per cent, as well as a reduction in knife crime by 18 per cent since September 2017.

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon, said: "The impact of knife crime can be devastating, not only for the victim and perpetrator, but also their families and friends.

"We are not seeing the same problems in Wiltshire that there are nationally because of the work being done by Wiltshire Police alongside the local authorities and other partners to tackle knife crime.

"This year I want to be able to allocate funding for a renewed focus on crime prevention using a range of tactics to target those who may commit crime in future.

"But the reality is that the police cannot tackle this alone and need to draw upon the strength of communities to play an equal part.

"Parents and schools can play their part by checking what their children are carrying in their bags; it's a good way to educate youngsters too that being caught with a knife could mean they end up in serious trouble as well as risking being injured themselves.

"Long term - good education and prevention means the wider community becomes a safer one.

“I am determined that we will continue to do as much as we can to eradicate knife crime in Wiltshire. Just one knife related incident is one too many and I am acutely aware of this.”

Assistant Chief Constable Deborah Smith, the Force lead for crime, justice and vulnerability said: “Wiltshire still remains one of the safest counties to live and work in, and the crime statistics released today show us as one of only four UK forces reporting an overall reduction in crime.

“Due to national media coverage of knife crime problems across the UK, we know this is an area that people have particular concerns about.

"However, here in Wiltshire, we have seen an 18 per cent reduction in knife crime since September 2017.

“There is still a lot of crime prevention work to do around people carrying knives, as incidents of weapon possession are up 3 per cent, but overall we are making very good progress.

“If you suspect someone of illegally carrying a knife, I’d urge you to report it to the police immediately by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.

"Alternatively information can be passed to Crimestoppers anonymously by calling 0800 555 111.”

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109 ARRESTS AND 65 VEHICLES SEIZED BY NORWICH'S OPERATION MOONSHOT TEAM
(Eastern Daily Press, dated 26th January 2019 author Luke Powell)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.edp24.co.uk/news/crime/operation-moonshot-109-arrests-in-norwich-1-5867162

Norwich’s Operation Moonshot team has made more than 100 arrests and seized 65 vehicles since its launch in November.

The mobile unit, which is made up of eight officers, focuses on disrupting organised crime groups as they enter or leave the city by road.

In just 42 shifts the team has recovered £11,000 worth of stolen property, made 109 arrests and seized everything from high-end vehicles to drugs and weapons.

Two Operation Moonshot teams are now active in Norfolk following a successful trial in the west of the county. The Moonshot City team has been operating in Norwich since November last year.

Supt Terry Lordan, from Norfolk police, said: “The team in the city is a 100pc proactive unit that uses technology and intelligence systems to target organised crime groups.

“Part of our strategic aim is to make Norwich a hostile environment for these criminals. This operation aims to disrupt and protect.”

The Moonshot City unit has access to police cars fitted with Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras, which allow them to spot vehicles of interest within seconds.

It is also supported by the roads policing team, and has access to dog units and drone technology.

Some of the team’s recent successes include:

- January 8, 2019: The team gave chase to a vehicle that failed to stop at Dereham Road in Norwich.

Once the car was pulled over, a search revealed containers filled with stolen fuel and cloned number plates.

Three men were arrested for failing to stop, fuel theft, cloning a vehicle and going equipped.

- January 19, 2019: The team spots an advert on the website Gumtree for pepper spray.

A vehicle was later stopped and a search revealed a canister or pepper spray, resulting in the driver’s arrest.

That led to a further search of the suspect’s home address, which uncovered more cans of pepper spray.

Operation Moonshot was launched in west Norfolk in April 2016 as a six-month pilot scheme under Norfolk Constabulary’s 2020 restructuring review.

As of May last year, the operation in the west of the county has resulted in more than £1m-worth of items being returned to victims.

More than six-year’s worth of jail time was also handed out by the courts as a result of the operation.

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THOUSANDS OF CRIMES ARE NOT BEING RECORDED BY DYFED-POWYS POLICE
(Wales Online, dated 28th January 2019 author Richard Youle)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.walesonline.co.uk/thousands-crimes-not-being-recorded-15743818

Violent, domestic abuse and sexual offences are among the 3,300 reported crimes Dyfed-Powys Police fails to record each year, say Government inspectors.

The inspectors blamed a lack of understanding by police staff and limited supervision to correct errors.

They said the force’s crime data recording required improvement.

Dyfed-Powys Police and crime commissioner, Dafydd Llywelyn, said he wanted to see higher standards, but added that improvements had been made.

The report, by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS), said the force had an 87.8% recording rate, based on analysis of six months of crime recording data.

It said: “We estimate the force is not recording over 3,300 reports of crime each year.

“These failings are potentially depriving many victims of the services they are entitled to.”

The average recording rate of reported violent crimes was 84.4%, meaning more than 1,500 reports of violent crime were not listed each year.

The HMICFRS report singled out domestic abuse reporting as a concern, and made a number of recommendations to remedy the issue, including that all identified crimes were recorded without delay and in all cases within 24 hours.

Sexual offences recording was higher at 93%, while nearly every offence of taking and sharing indecent images of a young person had been listed.

Six out of 68 rape reports had not been correctly recorded.

Inspectors acknowledged that, overall, improvements had been made since the previous inspection of the force in 2014.

Measures have included the introduction of an incident, crime and allocation team.

Addressing the Dyfed-Powys police and crime panel, Mr Llywelyn said the rating from the inspectorate was “not the standard we should be at”.

But he said the previous inspection in 2014 had found a 67% recording rate.  “The improvements have been quite dramatic,” he added.

The Plaid Cymru commissioner said the force was looking into acquiring a new record management system, and added: “I’m confident that will see us improve even further.”

Panel member, Professor Ian Roffe, described the inspectorate’s report as “relatively mixed”.

He said: “Here we are with that old chestnut again — the recording of crime.”

Mr Llywelyn, who was elected to his post in 2016, said: “It is not unique to Dyfed-Powys Police. Crime data integrity is something every force is grappling with.”

The Local Democracy Reporting Service asked HMICFRS how Dyfed-Powys Police’s 87.7% recording level compared with other forces, but a spokesman said: “For various reasons related to how the data is collected and analysed from forces, comparing rates between forces is not something that we’d recommend.”

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(10th February 2019)


CAT CLAW SPIKES BUILT INTO PAVEMENTS COULD SHRED TYRES IN CRACKDOWN ON BAD PARKING
(Sun, dated 25th January 2019 author Hana Carter)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thesun.co.uk/motors/8275701/cat-claw-spikes-bad-parking-pedestrian-safety/

VICIOUS claws that spring up from pavements have been created by an inventor in a bid to cut down on pedestrian deaths and poor parking.

Yannick Read, 47, who has a grudge against dodgy parkers came up with the tyre-shredding device to deter pavement mounting.

Catclaw' is a metal spike concealed in a dome, that when driven over by rogue drivers will plunge down and push the sharp point upwards - puncturing tyres.

The inventor, from Environmental Transport Association (ETA), told Bristol Live: "We’re addressing road danger – there’s a real problem with drivers parking on the pavement or driving on the pavement because they can’t be bothered to wait.

"In one terrible incident a four-year-old girl using a scooter and a delivery driver crushed her to death in front of her mother – it’s an extreme example but it happens far more than it should.

"When you think you’re safe on the pavement you aren’t safe.

"Last year 43 people were killed by cars as they walked on pavements," he added.

"It’s illegal to drive on the pavement, there’s no excuse to do it. So if you’re not breaking the law your tyres are safe."

He mentioned that the new precautionary measures could prevent terror attacks similar to the London Bridge attack last year where a terrorist plowed through commuters on the pavement.

Current law dictates that pavement parking is only illegal in London, and has been since 1974.

The devices are said to be cheap and simple to construct, but given the nature of the design they may be tricky to get the go ahead by councils.

It has not been made clear whether the Catclaws are safe for people to step on.

(10th February 2019)


HOMICIDES IN ENGLAND AND WALES RISE BY 14%
(Guardian, dated 24th January 2019 author Matthew Weaver)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jan/24/rise-in-homicides-in-england-and-wales-fuels-calls-for-police-funds

The number of homicides in England and Wales increased by 14% in the year to September 2018, according to official figures that have fuelled calls for more investment in policing.

The Home Office figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that homicide offences, which include murder, manslaughter and infanticide, increased from 649 in 2017 to 739 last year.

The 2017 figure excludes the 35 victims of the terrorist attacks in London and Manchester. If these victims are included, the number of homicides still increased by 8% last year. The ONS said excluding the victims of exceptional events such as terrorist attacks provided a more accurate picture of trends over time.

The ONS said homicides had been rising since March 2014 after a previous long-term decline. However, it pointed out that the rate remained relatively very low, at 13 homicides for every one million people in the population.

Homicides in England and Wales rose by 14% to 739 in the year to September 2018

2010 : 620
2011 : 639
2012 : 553
2013 : 558
2014 : 533
2015 : 539
2016 : 595
2017 : 649
2018 : 739

The figures have heightened concern about violent crime, although there was no change in the commonly occurring types of violent crime such as assault and violence without injury. The number of homicides where a knife or sharp instrument was involved increased by 10% last year, to 276.

Separate figures from the police and NHS suggest violence causing harm is increasing. The number of police-recorded offences involving knives or sharp objects rose 8%, and admissions to hospitals in England after assaults involving sharp objects were up 15%.

Overall, crimes recorded by police went up by 7% last year, to a total of 5,723,182. The ONS said there were 80,947 burglaries in the year ending September 2018, a 17% increase on the previous year. Vehicle offences were up 3% to 457,433.

The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said: “Serious violent crime continues to rise yet the government remains in denial about the effects of its own policies. The Tories have cut police officer numbers. They have also exacerbated all the causes of crime, including inequality, poverty, poor mental health care as well the crisis in our schools, especially school exclusions.”

David Jamieson, the crime commissioner for the West Midlands, where recorded crime increased by 10%, said the figures highlighted the need for more police resources.

“West Midlands police has faced £175m in central government cuts since 2010. Despite being recognised by independent inspectors as a highly efficient force, we have lost over 2,000 officers since 2010, meaning we are having to do more with less,” Jamieson said.

“These figures highlight the government’s short-sighted approach by continuing to apply real-terms cuts to police forces’ funding at a time when the pressures on policing are increasing. This is hampering proactive policing that prevents crime.”

Alex Mayes, a policy and public affairs adviser at Victim Support, said: “Working with bereaved families through our national homicide service, we know just how destructive these shocking crimes are. Too many families and communities are being shattered by these crimes and we must focus on a joined-up approach with all agencies and organisations taking responsibility to tackle this together.”

The policing minister, Nick Hurd, said the government was doing “everything possible” to reverse the rise in crime, particularly violent crime.

He said: “We have listened to police’s concerns about rising demand and have proposed the biggest increase in police funding since 2010. I’m confident the new settlement, which delivers up to £970m of additional public investment into policing in 2019/20, will help the police continue to recruit more officers.”

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CUTTING POLICE HOMOCIDE TEAMS IS THE SURE SIGNS OF A FAILING SOCIETY
(Guardian - Opinion, dated 16th January 2019 author Kate London)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/16/police-homicide-cuts-failing-society

In August 1982, 17-year-old Yiannoulla Yianni was raped and murdered in her home while preparing food for her family. Thirty-four years later, in 2016, my former team at the Metropolitan police led an investigation that convicted her killer. After the trial, Yiannoulla’s brother, Rick, commented that the family never gave up hoping and were “truly grateful to the police for finally bringing him to justice”.

Every murder cries out for justice. That’s why the Met never closes an unsolved homicide.

The Met has been justifiably proud of its conviction rate for homicide. For a decade it has hovered at around 90% but now it has fallen to 72%. The police commissioner, Cressida Dick, says that with the increasing proportion of stabbings by groups of young people, murders are getting harder to solve. A painful fact hides inside her comments.

In London, murder victims are disproportionately black and young – in the rest of the country numbers are more proportionate to the wider population. The commissioner’s words suggest that the murders we are struggling to detect are of these young people. So here’s another reason why homicide detection matters; if we want to save young lives in London we have to show others that they cannot kill with impunity. We also need to prove that every killing matters, not just to the families of the victims, but to all of us.

It’s in this desperate context that we have learned that the number of police officers investigating homicides in London has shrunk by more than 25% since 2008.

Investigating murder is a painstaking, labour-intensive business. I once watched 48 hours of CCTV of people going in and out of lifts in the hope of seeing one suspect with his hood off. Since 2010 the Met’s annual budget has been cut by about 20%. Cuts have consequences: in 2014 some homicide teams were merged so that detectives could be deployed elsewhere. Homicide teams don’t operate in a vacuum either – they need firearms officers, administrative support and the intelligence that comes from neighbourhood policing. But the service has lost a third of its support staff, two-thirds of community support officers and around 10% of police officers.

It’s not just about numbers, but about training and experience. The Met has 15% fewer detectives than it needs and so, rather than the qualified, experienced detectives I worked with, the homicide directorate recruits officers at police constable level and trains them on the job.

Impossible workloads and the associated stress mean that the Met struggles to recruit and retain detectives. In some units the hours are brutal. A former colleague recalled working 14 long days in succession. She was so tired, she told me, that she had to stop her car and get out to be sick. For many the demands have been too much – sickness has increased and resignations have doubled in four years.

Falling detection rates for murder are the canary in the mine. Police have long been frustrated that they can’t deliver a better service or convince the public that the crisis in policing is real and important. That they are not, in Theresa May’s discredited words, crying wolf.

The police are part of a social system that is being played like a game of Jenga. The building blocks are being removed one by one – education, housing, support for families, mental health services, domestic violence refuges – and the tower is falling. The police are at the sharp end because the damage manifests itself most urgently in increases in violent crime. But this violence also has a relationship with women not being supported to leave violent partners, people with mental health issues struggling to access services and those boys on London streets, excluded from school, falling prey to individuals offering them something that society isn’t: money, a sense of belonging and respect.

A 2017 report from the National Crime Agency shows some street gangs evolving into more serious criminal enterprises: networked, technologically savvy, internationalised, more predatory and sometimes more violent.

Things can get worse. We have to wake up to what is happening, and quickly. Policing is only one, albeit important, ingredient in combating this.

• Kate London is a former homicide detective and the author of the novel, Gallowstree Lane, published by Corvus

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(10th February 2019)


FORTY KNIFE OFFENCES EVERY DAY AS FIGURES REVEAL SCALE OF CHALLENGE FACING MET
(London Evening Standard, dated 24th January 2019 author Martin Bentham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/40-knife-crimes-in-london-every-day-official-figures-show-a4047621.html

Knife crime in London remains at near record levels with more than 40 blade offences committed every day, official figures revealed today.

The Office for National Statistics said a total of 14,847 knife offences was recorded in the capital during the 12 months to the end of September last year.

The tally - which included 83 knife killings and 161 rapes or sexual assaults carried out with a blade - is 140 fewer than the all-time high of 14,987 registered in the previous rolling annual statistics released three months ago.

But it is still one of the largest 12 month totals ever in the capital. It also amounts to an increase of more than 50 per cent since 2015.

Today’s statistics highlight the challenge faced by the Met as it strives to reduce knife crime through a concerted campaign which has involved the increased use of stop and search, weapons sweeps and other tactics designed to deter and catch those carrying blades.

They came as national figures painted a similarly bleak picture with knife offending across England and Wales rising to its highest total since 2011 with an 8 per cent increase in such crimes recorded during the year to the end of September.

The nationwide statistics - which are significantly influenced by trends in London - also show a 15 per cent rise in admissions to hospital with knife injuries, a 14 per cent increase in homicides, and a 17 per cent leap in the number of robberies.

The figures for the capital will, however, add to concerns about the extent of street violence, often fuelled by the drug trade and gang conflict, and the deaths and injuries that are occurring as a result.

They show that on overall knife offending, today’s 12 month total of 14,847 knife crimes is 8 per cent up on the equivalent total a year earlier and far higher than many of the annual total recorded by the Office for National Statistics over the past decade.

Figure released by the statisticians show, for example, that in the year to the end of March 2015 a comparatively low total of 9,684 offences was recorded. The tally for the following 12 months was also below 10,000, while the only previous occasion before this year that the year total topped 14,000 was in 2012.

Meanwhile, on knife killings, today’s figures show that the latest total of 83 is virtually identical to the 82 a year earlier, but significantly down on the 110 recorded in the year to the end of March 2018.

It is, however, much higher than the knife homicide totals for much of the previous decade, with most years showing totals between 50 and 60 such killings.

In response, Mayor Sadiq Khan said that the causes of violent crime were “extremely complex and deep-seated” and fuelled by problems such as “poverty, inequality, social alienation and a lack of opportunities for young people” which had been worsened by government funding cuts.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said today’s figures showed the challenges that London was facing and that recent investment from City Hall would allow police to devote more officers to tackling violent crime.

(10th February 2019)


CRIME STATS SHOW SWITCH IN FOCUS BY CYBER CRIMINALS
(Computer Weekly, dated 24th January 2019 author Warwick Ashford)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.computerweekly.com/news/252456397/Crime-stats-show-switch-in-focus-by-cyber-criminals

The latest crime survey for England and Wales from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for the 12 months to September 2018 shows cyber crime is more likely than physical violence or robbery.

The survey found that 1.83% of adults experienced a computer misuse crime, making it more likely than violence (1.75%), theft (0.8%) or robbery (0.3%).

Overall, there was a 33% decrease in computer misuse offences estimated by survey, which is attributed to a 45% decrease in crimes involving malware. However, stats contributed by Action Fraud – which include businesses in their data – found reported compute misuse increased by 12%.

This correlates with the finding of a report from the Parliament Street think tank published in December 2018, which said police investigations into cyber crime were up 14% in a year, with officers forced to follow up over 2,500 complaints of Instagram, Facebook, email and website hacking, and bitcoin ransom, despite a rise in violent crime.

Action Fraud also logged a drop of 25% in reported malware, but saw a significant rise in social media and email hijacking, which increased by 35% in the 12 months under review.

The findings suggest hackers are switching tactics to become more covert, attempting to hijack social media and email accounts and profiteer through spying on organisations and impersonating victims, according to Fraser Kyne, CTO for Europe at malware protection firm Bromium.

“Once again we’ve seen a drop in computer misuse, but what’s particularly interesting is that Action Fraud – which collects data from businesses – saw a 12% overall rise in reported cases, driven by an increase in email and social accounts being compromised,” he said.

The results support what Bromium has seen in the past few years. “As hackers have become much more resourceful, changing their tactics to get the best results,” said Kyne.

The statistic show that while there was a 145% rise in malware in 2017, that dropped by 25% in 2018 as hackers switched tactics to hijack email and social media accounts.

“The risk here for organisations is that hackers are still exploiting the weakest link in security – people. Business email compromise can be particularly effective for spying on organisations or impersonating users to gain funds, hijack further accounts or attempt to gain access to critical IP [intellectual property],” said Kyne.

It is also worth noting, he said, that Action Fraud’s stats reflect only reported crime. “These detected events prove that hackers are still bypassing defences. But we must also assume that malware is breaking through and remaining undetected.

“This is why we need tools that can protect us from the things that we can’t see or detect, particularly as hackers are constantly changing tactics,” he said.

According to Kyne, organisations in the UK need to stay vigilant, adopting layered defences that utilise application isolation to take the responsibility of security away from users. “Keep critical IP protected and ensuring they can stay one step ahead of resourceful cyber criminals,” he added.

At the International Security Expo 2018 in London, detective chief superintendent Pete O’Doherty, lead of cyber and head of economic crime at the City of London Police, described cyber crime as the “most significant harm” in the UK facing police, but said cyber crime is still “significantly under-reported”, which is a big problem.

“We want every victim of crime, which includes businesses, to report those crimes – because if we know what the true scale of the problem is, we can start to develop an intelligence-led, coordinated response,” he said.

(10th February 2019)


TERRIFYING CATALOGUE OF ALL THE KNIVES SEIZED FROM CAPITAL'S STREETS THIS YEAR
(Mirror, dated 23rd January 2019 author Bradley Jolly)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/terrifying-catalogue-knives-seized-london-13897115

Scotland Yard continues to tackle the horrific knife crime epidemic which plagued London, and other large cities, in 2018.

And in just two weeks, the force has seized a shocking number of weapons - including a machete and a hunting knife.

It has tweeted almost 50 pictures of the confiscated knives, used in robberies, left in bushes and gathered in stop and searches.

One terrifying image, shared by the Metropolitan Police, shows a crook’s attempt to conceal a razor-sharp knife in a plastic shopping bag.

Officers also discovered a discarded weapon lying by a walkway on an estate in Tottenham, north London.

Meanwhile, a machete, at least 25 inches long, was recovered following a moped chase in Catford, southeast London.

Other large blades were seized from children as young as 15 over a two-week period.

In one incident in Camden, north London, three knives were taken from the same thug after he decided to use a meat cleaver as a weapon.

And a sickening picture tweeted by police in Islington shows a 20-inch sword a suspect was allegedly carrying along with several bags of cannabis.

Affluent areas like Notting Hill and Highgate - home to celebrities including Kate Moss and Jude Law - aren't free from those who choose to carry blades either.

One was unearthed on a Highgate street, while officers attending a disturbance in upper-class Notting Hill allegedly took a kitchen knife, baseball bat and a rolling pin from a group of three men.

And according to Kensington and Chelsea Police’s Twitter account, a Batman-shaped knuckle duster was discovered on an estate during a stop and search for driving offences.

Last year was one of the worst in recent years for murders in London.

Figures show the number of people killed hit a 10-year high with more than a fifth of victims teenagers or children.

The 134 homicides recorded by the Metropolitan Police included 24 where the victims were aged 19 or under.

Of those, 18 were stabbed, five were shot and one woman was killed by a head injury.

It was London’s highest homicide total since 2008, which saw 154 people killed, and a 15 per cent rise year-on-year.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick had recently named street violence as her "number one priority" and acknowledged that 2018 was "challenging".

Knife crime campaigners have welcomed the ongoing work to remove weapons and praised police for putting the images on their Twitter accounts.

Patrick Green, of the charity Ben Kinsella Trust, said: "It’s really important to take knives off the streets.

"Some of the work the Metropolitan Police have been doing extends beyond stop and search - we know that they are now doing sweeps of parks and public areas.

"That’s really an important piece of work for us because we know that habitual knife carriers who are fearful of being stopped will place knives in locations so they can go to that location and retrieve them so the work being done by the police there is really welcomed.

"We have also seen that they are doing a lot of those searches in conjunction with members of the public or community groups so there is a sense of helping other members of the community support to them in their work.

"That’s good because local people have a lot of intelligence about where things might be hidden.

"Targeted use of stop and search done in an intelligence led way we are happy with - it’s an important police tactic.

"We are really pleased to see the police take a proactive stance however as good as the measures the police take are, they will not on their own solve the knife crime problem.

"Part of the issue we have got to address is the step before someone carries a knife.

"Preventative work and early intervention is as important as everything the police do."

Dr Mark Prince runs the The Kiyan Prince Foundation, which works with young people to end violence.

His son Kiyan, 15, was stabbed to death on May 18, 2006, receiving a single lethal knife wound as he intervened to stop the bullying of another teen.

Dr Prince said: "Work like this does make a difference because every area has to be responsible for the part that they play and for enforcing the law.

"You could have been on the way to using that knife and because you’ve been caught you’ve saved a life, so there is sense behind the enforcement and we need that.

"It’s collective - everybody needs to be doing their part."

MP Stephen Timms, who was stabbed at one of his constituency surgeries in May 2010, added: "I’m pleased the Met is putting so much emphasis on confiscating knives.

"But we also need to stop people getting them in the first place. That means tackling the online platforms which supply them."

(10th February 2019)


GMAIL SCAMS : GOOGLE QUIZ WILL TEACH YOU HOW TO STAY SAFE ONLINE
(Mirror, dated 23rd January 2019 author Ian Morris)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/tech/gmail-scams-google-quiz-teach-13898136

Email scams and phishing are a real problem for many people who get drawn in to realistic looking emails that trick them into giving over their usernames and passwords to nefarious people.

Google is taking the problem seriously, and has released a short interactive quiz that is designed to help educate you on what to look for in a phishing email.

During the quiz you'll be shown emails and you have to say if they are real or phishing scams.

You'll need to look for subtle clues, because most aren't obvious. That includes hovering over the "log in" link and checking the URL of the site you're being sent to.

In some cases this would look legit, but little clues will show that it's phishing.

For example, a Google log in might direct you to the address google-mail.com instead of gmail.com. It's subtle, but not impossible to spot.

The quiz is quite hard, and one question seemed like it was a bit unfair as it asked about a PDF, which isn't necessarily a phishing attempt.

You can find the quiz on : https://phishingquiz.withgoogle.com/

What is phishing?

Unlike hacks, which may use password cracking software to gain access to your account, phishing uses social engineering to get you to hand over details willingly.

The usually take the form of an official looking email and they are often warning you that your account might be suspended or that you've purchased something expensive.

The idea is to trick you into panicking and thus forgetting the rules of safe online practices.

By saying "your account will be locked if you don't act" or "thank you for your purchase, please log in here to cancel your order" they encourage you to abandon common sense through worry.

How does phishing work?


You'll be sent an email that will look like it's from Apple, PayPal, Google or pretty much any other company. Phishing emails tend to use big name companies because there's a good chance you have an account with one of them.

The email will look legitimate and might be copied from a real email that a company would send.

But instead of taking you to a real account log in page, they forward you to a lookalike site that harvests your details.

How do I avoid a phishing scam?


The single best way is to not click links in an email. So, for example, if PayPal emails to say your account is locked because of a big purchase then simply go to paypal.com and sign in.

You should also use two-factor authentication on any site that allows it.

What is two-factor authentication


It's a second password, basically. When you log in to Google you can be sent a second code via text message, or press a button in the Google app on your phone, which will confirm your login.

If an attacker has your email and password, two-factor will stop them from being able to log in.

It adds a lot more security for a minimal amount of extra hassle.

(10th February 2019)


WIRED FOR CRIME : GANG ACTIVATES KEY FOB WITH AERIAL AND STEALS CAR IN 30 SECONDS
(London Evening Standard, dated 23rd January 2019 author Isobel Frodsham)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/gang-hacks-key-fob-with-aerial-and-steals-car-in-30-seconds-a4046561.html

A COUPLE’s keyless car was stolen from their driveway in just 30 seconds by thieves who hacked into its key fob signal from 25 feet away.

Three masked and hooded thieves were caught on CCTV using an aerial antenna to unlock the £ 40,000 Ford Focus R S. Video shows the trio approaching the £1.3 million home in Hampton, while one waves the aerial in the direction of the house.

Despite the key fob being 25 feet from the driveway, apparently safely stashed in an upstairs bedroom, the aerial picked up its signal. Once the signal was scanned from the fob, the thieves only had to press the “start” ignition button to drive the car away. The theft technique is known as relaying.

Video from a doorbell-mounted security camera shows the thieves were able to strike in just 30 seconds.

The victims said the “creative and very clever” thieves had struck while they were asleep early last Thursday. The woman, who did not want to be named, said: “I woke up at 5am and saw a notification on my phone from my security camera at 1.25am. I opened up the video and I couldn’t understand what was happening so I showed my husband. He said, ‘They just took my car!’

“He saw they were hacking the signal to the car key. They did it very efficiently. In about 15 seconds, the guy holding the antenna was able to find where the keys were by moving it about, and then they opened the car, pressed the button, and off they went.”

She added: “It’s very creative and very clever. I wish they would use that cleverness to do something more positive to people’s lives.” The couple have been left feeling unsafe in their home and fitted more security at the weekend.

Police are investigating. They warned owners of keyless cars to use signalblocking pouches to store their fobs.

(10th February 2019)


KNIFE CRIME EPIDEMIC ON BRITAINS RAILWAYS AS POLICE RESPOND TO THREE INCIDENTS A DAY
(Telegraph, dated 23rd January 2019 author Telegraph Reporters)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/23/knife-crime-epidemic-britains-railways-police-respond-three/

Police officers are having to deal with three knife offences a day on Britain’s railways, new figures show.

Knife crime on the rail network has more than tripled in the past three years, with British Transport Police (BTP) recording 1,059 offences involving a knife or bladed article last year, up from 338 in 2015.

The number of people caught carrying a knife rose steeply as possession of an offensive weapon increased more than five times from 24 in 2015 to 136 in 2018.

Figures for having an article with a blade or point in a public place rose from 103 in 2015, to 164 in 2016, 222 in 2017, and 387 in 2018.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Furnell from BTP insisted the chance of being a victim of crime on the rail network is "rare", with 19 crimes recorded for every million passenger journeys in the year to March 2018.

Mr Furnell said: "Tackling any rise in crime and removing weapons from the rail network remains our top priority and nationwide, officers have been working tirelessly in the battle against knife crime.

"In response to a national rise in violence and knife crime, officers have conducted a number of intelligence-led operations, focused on cutting knife crime.

"These operations involve plain clothed and uniformed officers and have been highly successful in knives being seized and surrendered.

"Likewise, these targeted operations act as a deterrent to those intent in carrying weapons, these types of offences will be rigorously tackled and our overriding interest is protecting people who use the rail network.”

A range of offences involving a knife were recorded by the force, including violence against the person, sexual offences, criminal damage, robbery, theft and drug crime.

Violence against the person involving a knife, which includes crimes such as murder, attempted murder, GBH and possession of a bladed weapon, showed a stark increase from 180 offences in 2015 to 695 last year, the figures show. The number had nearly doubled from the 402 offences recorded in 2017.

“It’s comes as no surprise that in a time of brutal cuts to police funding, crime is rising,” Nigel Goodband, Chair of BTP Federation told The Telegraph. “This increase on the railways reflects the worrying rise in knife crime in communities across the UK. I know the proactive approach taken by our colleagues has an impact in identifying offences but it’s not the full story.”

“Policing is being hampered by the Government’s desire to cut spending to the bone. Communities are being harmed by these decisions. Ministers have got to come down from their ivory towers and see what’s happening on the streets.”

The safety of those travelling was brought into fresh focus earlier this month when a 51-year-old man was stabbed to death on board a train travelling from Guildford to London.

IT consultant, Lee Pomeroy, was killed in front of his 14-year-old son after getting into a dispute with another passenger.

A 35-year-old man, Darren Pencille, has been charged with murder and possession of an offensive weapon.

Ed Davey, Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesperson, told the Telegraph:  “These alarming figures show the utter failure of Tory Ministers to protect people from crimes involving offensive weapons, especially knives.

 “The number of dangerous incidents that police forces across the country have to respond to has grown sharply. Yet this Conservative Government has cut their budgets by £700 million, putting officers in ever greater danger.

 “The Home Secretary said he is determined to tackle knife crime, but we have yet to see actions to match his words. He should start by urgently investing in community policing and putting more officers on the streets.”

The new figures come after the Telegraph revealed earlier this month that violence on the rail network has soared by 75 per cent over the past five years with experts claiming a lack of ticket barriers at stations is helping to fuel lawlessness on trains.

Oliver Lewis, from the Bring Back British Rail campaign group, said the new figures “underlie the importance of having visible staff on trains and at stations, to ensure the personal safety of the travelling public.”

He added: “For far too long Britain’s privatised railway has had cost savings and economy as its number one priority, de-staffing stations and reducing overall staff levels as much as possible”.

-----------------------
VIOLENT CRIME RISES BY 43% IN THREE YEARS ON LONDON UNDERGROUND
(Guardian, dated 18th Janaury 2019 author Amy Walker)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/jan/18/london-underground-violent-crime-rmt-tfl

Violent crime on the London Underground has risen by more than 43% in the past three years, figures have shown.

Data from British Transport Police (BTP) showed 2,838 reported incidents took place between November 2017 and September 2018. Between November 2015 and October 2016, there were 1,980.

King’s Cross St Pancras, one of the capital’s busiest stations, had the highest number of recorded offences. There were 1,339 incidents during the three-year period.

The London assembly, which published the findings, noted almost 11 million passengers travelled on Transport for London (TfL) services every day, “with very few of them ever experiencing or witnessing crime”.

The data, released after a request from Greater London Authority Conservatives, covered the period up to September last year because figures for October were not available.

Weapons offences have increased by 126% since 2015, from 42 to 95, while sexual attacks have risen from 925 to 1,047.

The figures also showed a 25% increase in the number of criminal offences recorded on the tube network, from 10,450 in 2015-16 to 13,101 in 2017-18.

The RMT union blamed government cuts to TfL’s budget for the increase.

“We now routinely have reports of stations being left unstaffed and the safety culture being ripped apart as London Underground is turned into a thugs’ paradise,” said Mick Cash, the RMT general secretary.

“Those cuts to staffing and budgets must be reversed and these appalling figures should serve as a wake-up call to those calling the shots.”

Between November 2017 and September 2018, Stratford was the scene of the highest number of violent crimes, followed by Oxford Circus.

Robin Smith, an assistant chief constable at BTP, said: “London has one of the busiest transport networks in the world and the chances of being a victim of crime remains incredibly low, with less than 10 crimes recorded for every million passenger journeys made.

“In the past year, crime involving a weapon has increased. However, it is important to bear in mind that these figures also include the many knives seized in our targeted, intelligence-led operations against knife crime.”

TfL funds more than 2,500 Metropolitan police, BTP and City of London police officers to patrol the capital’s transport network.

Susan Hall, a Conservative London assembly member, called on the mayor, Sadiq Khan, to cut the millions of what she called “City Hall waste” to provide more officers on London’s streets.

(10th February 2019)


POLICE HOPEFULS MUST DECLARE THEIR TATTOOS - INCLUDING THOSE IN INTIMATE PLACES
(Telegraph, dated 17th January 2019 author Martin Evans)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/17/police-hopefuls-must-declare-tattoos-including-intimate-places/

Candidates wanting to join the police are being asked to submit photographs showing any tattoos they have - even if they are in intimate areas.

Current rules mean hopefuls wanting to join the force are barred if they have inked designs which are deemed inappropriate or offensive.

Some forces only allow tattoos if they can be hidden from view while on duty, while others permit designs on the arms but not on the neck or face.

But applicants wanting to join some forces are being asked to declare all tattoos wherever they are on the body and submit two photographs of the design for consideration.

Among the forces that ask for photographs of all tattoos are Kent, Nottinghamshire and South Yorkshire.

According to South Yorkshire's Appearance and Standards Policy, having a tattoo does not automatically prevent someone from successfully becoming an officer, but each design has to be assessed by senior officers.

The guidelines state: "Tattoos visible on your forearms or visible in an open collared/short sleeve are not considered appropriate for those in public facing roles and must be covered.

"If you have tattoos you will need to make a declaration at the time of application. We will ask you to send in two digital pictures of each tattoo. Please note you must declare ALL tattoos, whether visible in uniform or not.

"One distance photograph clearly showing where on the above body area the tattoo is located and a second close up photograph that we can use to assess this against our standards."

In 2017 the College of Policing issued new guidelines intended to relax the rules around visible tattoos in the police.

With almost a third of young people having inked designs on their bodies, there was concern that bans in the police was affecting recruitment.

The Police Federation, which represents 120,000 rank and file officers, also expressed concern that different policies being adopted across the country was making it difficult for people to transfer between forces.

In 2012, the then Met Commissioner, Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, ordered that all visible tattoos must be covered up while on duty claiming they damaged the professional image of the Met.

But last year that policy was relaxed under the current Commissioner, Cressida Dick, who said the ban on visible tattoos was putting many young people off joining.

Officers joining the South Yorkshire force are also barred from having any facial or tongue piercings.

(10th February 2019)


UPSKIRTING TO BECOME CRIMINAL OFFENCE CARRYING TWO YEAR JAIL SENTENCE AS HOUSE OF LORDS BACKS BILL
(London Evening Standard, dated 16th January 2019 author Sean Morrison)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/upskirting-to-become-criminal-offence-carrying-two-year-jail-sentence-as-house-of-lords-backs-bill-a4040006.html

Upskirting is set to become a criminal offence in the spring, with the offence carrying up to a two year jail sentence.

A new law passed its final legal hurdle yesterday when it received its third reading in the House of Lords’ Upper Chamber.

The legislation is now only awaiting the formality of Royal Assent.

It comes after campaigners argued existing laws for voyeurism and public decency did not provide enough scope for a conviction.

Gina Martin was a victim of upskirting at a gig in Hyde Park and following this launched a campaign to make the act a sexual offence.

The campaigner, who lives in London, said she was “over the moon” that the bill passed its final stage in the Lords.

In a statement, she said: “We have change the law!! I always thought politics was impenetrable, but with the right help and the willpower you can do it.”

------------------------
WHY THE NEW UPSKIRTING LW CAN'T STOP TECH-SAVVY ABUSERS
(Independent, dated 16th January 2019 author Caitlin Morrison)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/voices/upskirting-criminal-offence-revenge-porn-stalking-cyber-bullying-harassment-cps-a8731106.html

Upskirting is to become a criminal offence in England and Wales, punishable by up to two years in prison, and it’s about time.

It is a resounding success for an 18-month campaign by activist Gina Martin. She began the fight for legislation after being upskirted at a music festival, only to be told that police could not deal with it as it wasn’t a specific offence.

By and large, however, the law has been slow to get to grips with how technology can be used to make people’s lives miserable, and specifically how it’s used against women.

Upskirting was made possible by new technology that has become part of everyday life. The same goes for revenge porn, which was made a criminal offence in England and Wales in 2015, and also carries a maximum sentence of two years in prison.

Incidentally, the passing of this new law is also a depressing reminder of how Northern Ireland is failing to protect the rights of the women (laws on upskirting have been in place in Scotland since 2010). No upskirting legislation exists there – and with Stormont still at a standstill it’s likely to be a long time before it does.

Revenge porn offers a chastening example of how the legal system is playing catch up when it comes to tech, and how victims have been badly served by a failure to get ahead of sinister trends.

A law may have been introduced, but victims who have had sexual images or video footage shared by a former partner prior to 2015 have little recourse to justice through the courts, forced to rely on older legislation that refers generally to malicious communications. In other words, a victim who is alerted to posts today would not be helped by the new law if the images were shared before 2015.

The law also requires proof of “intent to cause distress”, which makes securing convictions pretty difficult. The phrase seems redundant. It’s rare that a case of revenge porn won’t cause distress.

Tech-facilitated stalking is another growing problem. Social media has given stalkers more access to victims than ever before, often providing multiple platforms through which to communicate with them.

It’s also much easier to track a person these days, and what makes it truly terrifying is that a person does not need to be active on social media to have a presence online. So much can be gleaned about someone solely through the accounts of friends and family members, which must make it unspeakably frustrating for stalking victims used to being advised against sharing too much personal information online. That’s official advice handed out by police, who clearly are yet to find a way to really tackle the use of social media by stalkers – which suggests it will be a long time before the authorities are ready to deal with the threat posed by newer technologies.

Last summer, the domestic violence charity Refuge reported that it had seen an alarming rise in the number of incidents of technological abuse, which included stalking via smart home and web-connected gadgets.

When you stop to consider how quickly these devices have proliferated and become everyday items in so many people’s homes, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the perpetrators of abusive behaviour have almost as quickly found ways to use them to do harm. 

There have been widespread calls for specific laws relating to cyber stalking and harassment to be put on the books – at the moment, the legal principle is what’s legal offline is legal online. But online offenders are harder to track down, and offline stalking is hard enough to prove. Meanwhile, the number of stalking offences reported has gone up in recent years, while prosecutions have sunk.

So while the upskirting legislation is definitely to be welcomed, the application of the law should be monitored carefully. We’ve got the words – including the 100,000 signatures Gina Martin gathered on her petition to criminalise the act – now it’s time to see some action.

-----------------------
(10th February 2019)


WEST MIDLANDS POLICE "FAILS TO RECORD 16,600 VIOLENT CRIMES"
(BBC News, dated 15th January 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-46867657

West Midlands Police is "failing victims" and not recording more than 16,600 violent crimes each year, a watchdog has said.

The force was rated inadequate by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services, who said victims felt let down and not believed.

Only 78% of violent crime and 89% of sexual offences reported were recorded, it found.

The force said it had made "substantial progress".

About three-quarters of police forces around the country have already been inspected and of those, two-thirds were rated as either "inadequate" or "requiring improvement".

Reports from inspections were first published in 2016, after police forces throughout England and Wales were found to have an "utterly unacceptable" rate of accurately recording crime.

The recording rate by the West Midlands force remained "unacceptable and must be urgently addressed", the watchdog said.

"Too often the force is still failing victims of crime, including domestic abuse victims," it said.

Victim Support, an independent charity for crime victims in England and Wales, said the findings had "the potential to undermine public trust in the criminal justice system".

An "unrecorded" crime is one that has been reported to the police but not recorded as an offence, and means the alleged crime may not have been investigated.

In 2017 HMICFRS said five out of six reported crimes were recorded by West Midlands Police but 38,800 crimes each year were not.

It was re-examined for violent crime and sexual offences in 2018, with inspectors auditing a sample of reports from 1 March to 31 May.

But they could not look at other types of crime because the force was updating its systems.

Of the 2,176 reports of crime audited, 470 related to domestic abuse - of these 354 were recorded.

Of those not recorded, 95 included offences classed as violent, such as common assaults, ABH, harassment and malicious communications.

The report said: "We found several examples of attending officers letting down victims by simply not believing them.

"Some incident logs contained closing comments that were completely different to the initial call and recorded no crime, without an adequate explanation."

Deputy Chief Constable Louisa Rolfe, from West Midlands Police, claimed the watchdog had failed to recognise its strengths in recording crime overall.

She said: "It is frustrating that, despite substantial progress, our grading has remained as inadequate."

Ms Rolfe said the force was confident its current position was "much improved" and it could not be criticised for failing to put more resources into crime recording.

The watchdog also published a report on Leicestershire, which was again rated as "inadequate".

When it was first inspected in 2017, Leicestershire had the worst rate for recording crime out of 30 forces reported on.

While there were some improvements for 2018, the watchdog found the overall recording rate and the rates for violent crime and sexual offences were too low.

In 2018, the force recorded about 84% of reported crime, up from 75% the previous year, and 79% of violent crime, rising from 66%. For sexual offences, 88% were recorded.

In terms of cancelled crimes, HMICFRS said Leicestershire's standards had become worse. Among 49 victims who should have been told a crime had been cancelled, 15 were not informed, which the watchdog said "remains a concern".

Leicestershire Chief Constable Simon Cole said: "Crime recording is a complex issue and this inspection looks at our technical compliance with a national crime recording system - something which is focused on numbers, categories, how crimes are manually logged on systems and then audited."

Diana Fawcett, of Victim Support, said: "By not recording crimes accurately the police are not then in a position to help victims access the help and support they need.

"These reports have the potential to undermine public trust in the criminal justice system and deter people from reporting crimes in the future."

Kate Russell, a spokeswoman for Rape Crisis England & Wales, said the reviews were "seriously concerning".

"Anyone who reports a sexual offence should be treated with respect, empathy and impartiality and have their report properly investigated," she said.

Under-recording of violent crime (Source: HMICFRS crime data integrity reports)


Estimated percentage of reports that are not recorded by police forces

Thames Valley : 31%
Linconshire : 27%
North Yorkshire : 25%
West Midlands : 22%
Lancashire : 22%
Leicestershire : 21%
Humberside : 21%
Cambridgeshire : 20%
Cleveland : 19%
Nottinghamhire : 17%
North Wales : 17%
Dyfed-Powys : 16%
Hertfordshire : 15%
Bedfordshire : 14%
South Yorkshire : 14%
Greater Manchester : 13%
Metropolitan : 12%
Wiltshire : 12%
Merseyside : 12%
Avon and Somerset : 12%
Gwent : 11%
South Wales : 10%
Staffordshire : 10%
Durham : 7%
Surrey : 7%
Devon and Cornwall : 7%
Northumbria : 6%
Cheshire : 5%
Sussex : 4%
Kent : 4%

(10th February 2019)


TOWN HALLS CUT SERVICES BUT SPEND MILLIONS ON CCTV
(The Times, dated 15th January 2019 author Andrew Ellson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/town-halls-cut-services-but-spend-millions-on-cctv-bx2rsb9kb

Councils are spending millions of pounds spying on residents despite cutting services in almost every other area.

Local authorities in England have spent more than three quarters of a billion pounds on CCTV over the past decade, an increase of 17 per cent a year since 2010. Over the same period councils have reduced spending on street cleaning by 12 per cent, food safety by 16 per cent, trading standards by 32 per cent and libraries by 35 per cent.

Critics said the increase in spending on CCTV while other departments had their budgets cut was “offensive”.

Silkie Carlo, of the civil liberties group Big Brother Watch, said: “Research consistently shows that public cameras are ineffective at deterring, preventing or even solving crime, but that CCTV does curb citizens freedom. The UK is already one of the most surveilled nations in the world, with six million CCTV cameras recording us every day.

"Surveillance is no substitute for policing and this will prove to be a terrible waste of money."

John O'Connell, of the Taxpayers' Alliance, said: "Taxpayers will want to know exactly how effective these CCTV cameras are in preventing and investigating crimes.  Any spending decisions should prioritise the safety of residents and the most effective means of delivering public services." The figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government show that England's councils spent £78.5 million on CCTV last year compared with £66.3 million in 2010.

Local authorities also appear to be recruiting additional staff to monitor their cameras as more councils use CCTV networks to fine residents for minor traffic and other offences, such as straying into bus lanes or dropping litter. The figures show that local authorities spent £31 million on wages for CCTV staff, up more than 20 per cent on 2010.

Over the same period, £60 million was wiped from the street cleaning workforce and £38 million taken from the Trading Standards payroll, with thousands of road sweepers and inspection officers made redundant.

The higher spending on CCTV follows concern about the effectiveness of the cameras. In 2016 Westminster council decommissioned its network of fixed cameras syaing that there was only "limited evidence" that they helped deter crime.

However, under pressure from Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, the council has since agreed to help to fund a new network of cameras.

Councils say that the higher spending is justified. Simon Blackburn, of the Local Government Association, said: "CCTV plays a vital role in protecting the public by dissuading crime and antisocial behaviour, assisting police officers on the ground and supporting prosecutions for offences ranging from fly-tipping and traffic violations to acts of theft, robbery and serious violence.

"Public surveillance cameras have helped bring criminals to justice, help increase conviction rates after crimes are detected, and are an important tool in tracking terrorist suspects.

"CCTV also reduces costs to the public purse as anyone caught committing an offence on camera is likely to plead guilty, saving time on trials. This is why councils have continued to prioritise investment in CCTV where possible, while improving the value for money they get from their systems."

Big Brother Watch is calling on councils to report statistics on the number of crimes detected, investigated and solved by each camera to demonstrate their necessity.

(10th February 2019)


SCOTLAND YARD MURDER SQUAD HAS SHRUNK BY A QUARTER OVER PAST DECADE
(London Evening Standard, dated 15th January 2019 author Sean Morrison)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/scotland-yard-murder-squad-has-shrunk-by-a-quarter-over-past-decade-figures-show-a4038826.html

Scotland Yard's murder investigation unit has lost a quarter of its officers and staff over the past decade, data shows.
The unit’s overall strength decreased by a huge 26 per cent between 2008 and last year, the figures suggest.

And the number of major investigation teams (MITs) appears to have decreased from 26 to 18.
The revelation comes amid a rising tide of violence on London’s streets, with the number of homicides reaching 128 in 2018.

This is the highest level seen in a calendar year this decade, according to analysis.

Last year there were 315 fewer police and civilians working for the Met’s homicide and major crime command (HMCC) than there were in 2008, the same data revealed.

Data from Britain’s largest police force showed that there were half the number of officers within the specialist HMCC and MIT teams last year than there were a decade earlier.

The figures were released to the Press Association under freedom of information law.

Scotland Yard said its HMCC includes murder detectives as well as specialist operations, such as Winter Key - its child sex abuse probe - and investigations into alleged electoral fraud and the Grenfell Tower fire.

Explaining the figures, a spokeswoman for the force said: "The Metropolitan Police Service frequently adjusts resources to respond to violence in London."

However, London Mayor Sadiq Khan blamed a shortfall in police funding, which has seen the overall number of police officers drop below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years.

"This is the stark reality of years of damaging government cuts that have seen the Met having to make colossal savings of £850 million," a spokesman said.

The revelations come amid a rising tide of violence in the capital with the number of homicides reaching 128 in 2018 - according to PA analysis - the highest level in a calendar year this decade.

London has seen a bloody start to 2019, with six murder probes launched so far, including one into the death of 14-year-old Jaden Moodie.

The youngster was rammed off a moped and repeatedly stabbed in east London last week in what detectives believe was a targeted attack.

Data showed that the total strength of the Metropolitan Police's HMCC dropped from 1208 in 2008 to 893 in 2018 - a 26 per cent decrease.

The number of HMCC officers dropped from 850 to 715 - a dip of nearly 16  per cent - over the period, while the number of other staff members fell from 358 to 177 - a 50 per cent plunge.

In 2008, the Met had 717 police officers and 168 other staff working across 26 MITs. But last year there were 402 officers – 43 per cent fewer - and just 36 other staff - a 78 per cent reduction -working across 18 MITs, which represents a 50 per cent overall decrease in MIT strength, according to the data.

Scotland Yard's HMCC dropped to its lowest staffing levels across the period in 2017, when there were just 590 officers and 168 other staff, making a total strength of 758.

However, a boost in officer numbers to 715 and civilian staff members to 177 last year, saw an increase in total HMCC strength to 893 - a percentage increase of almost 18 per cent from the previous year and a return to its highest level since 2014.

Figures released separately in December by the Mayor's office show the overall strength of the Met police went from 31,460 on October 31 2008 to 29,654 on the same date last year - a decrease of 5.7 per cent.

A spokesman for the Mayor said: "This is the stark reality of years of damaging government cuts that have seen the Met having to make colossal savings of £850 million, which has resulted in officer numbers falling below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years.

"While even the Home Office admits there is a link between the increase in violence and a decrease in officer numbers, it's fallen on deaf ears with ministers failing to reverse the cuts which could see the number of police officers fall still further by 2022."

Scotland Yard said last week: "The Metropolitan Police Service frequently adjusts resources to respond to violence in London.

"The remit of the Homicide and Major Crime Command (HMCC) incorporates murder detectives as well as a number of specialist operations including the Met's special enquiry team, operation Winter Key and enquiries into election fraud.

"HMCC staff figures also reflect those working on the Grenfell Tower fire investigation."

Reporting by the Press Association.

(10th February 2019)


POLICE IGNORED FEARS OVER UNQUALIFIED INTERPRETERS
(The Times, dated 15th January 2019 author Fiona Hamilton)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/police-ignored-fears-over-unqualified-interpreters-r3bv99xwv

Police used an interpreting company that recruited unqualified translators even after a criminal trial collapsed because one of its linguists told a suspect what to say.

Three police forces paid £1.1 million to ITL North East despite concerns over its employees because the interpreter told a suspect: “Don’t tell them too much.” Jan Kartak, 76, a Czech citizen, continued to be used as an interpreter after the transcript of the police interview resulted in the collapse of the trial in 2016.

Concerns over translations by the company also caused delays in the trial of an eastern European slave gang, costing the taxpayer about £200,000.

ITL, run by Grace Tia Bon Bon, recruited students at jobs fairs and used an untrained woman who had been in the UK for only a few months as a translator in a police interview.

Northumbria, Durham and Cleveland police forces have now stopped using the company but their expenditure on ITL was uncovered in a freedom of information request.

Stephen Bishop, of the National Register of Public Service Interpreters, said: “I’m really concerned that people are being picked up off the street because they can speak a language and then are being used as interpreters. This seems to me to be a complete misunderstanding of what interpreting is about — it needs specific skills and a high level of language ability.”

Mr Kartak had been brought in to a police interview to interpret for a juvenile suspect but was unable to explain the police caution in full, meaning that the interview was not compliant with legislation. Transcripts obtained by BBC Newcastle revealed that Mr Kartak interrupted the suspect and said: “Listen, don’t tell them too much — just tell me what I ask you.”

The youth was tried at Teesside crown court with Jioi Istok and Michal Cina, charged with blackmail, in August 2016 but because of the quality of the interpretation the case collapsed. When it was heard again in October 2016 the juvenile was acquitted and the two men were convicted and jailed for three and a half years each.

Last year Mr Kartak worked on the case of the Rafael family, a gang of Slovakian gypsies jailed for 40 years for keeping slaves in the cellars of their homes. The trial, also at Teesside crown court, was delayed for three weeks while qualified interpreters examined the work of Mr Kartak and two of his ITL colleagues.

Northumbria police, which leads on interpreting services for the forces, requested a full audit of all ITL interpreters’ qualifications after concerns were raised at the slavery trial. It said that interviews were independently re-examined but this did not lead to any substantial change to the prosecution case. It confirmed that “the force has instructed a new supplier”.

The BBC investigation found that Eugenija Steponkut was among the students recruited by ITL at job fairs. She was driven to a Newcastle police station to interpret an interview with a Lithuanian man accused of attacking his partner. She said: “It had only been two or three months since I’d been in England in total so when I came there I didn’t get everything the policeman was saying. I tried my best.”

Ms Steponkut said that she had no interpreting qualifications and was given no training by ITL.

ITL said: “All interpreters supplied by ITL meet the qualifications required and are suitably registered. Students may be recruited but are only used when trained and registered.”

(10th February 2019)


NI SCAM : PENSIONER CONNED OUT OF £45,000 SAVINGS AFTER BEING TARGETED
(Belfast Live, dated 15th January 2019 author Sarah Scott)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/belfast-news/ni-scam-pensioner-conned-out-15680818

A con artist has scammed a pensioner in Northern Ireland out of her £45,000 savings in what police have described as an "absolutely despicable crime".

The woman, based in Craigavon and aged in her seventies, had tried to access her email last week but kept getting a message telling her she was typing in the wrong password.

On Tuesday, January 8, she contacted her telecoms provider in a bid to resolve the issue and, after a short time, she could access her email.

But then she was called by a man claiming to represent the same telecoms and internet provider. He asked her to complete a number of things on the computer, claiming it was all part of checks he was conducting.

Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: "Among the instructions the fraudster gave the woman was to log on to her banking app. It appears software - TeamViewer - was subsequently installed giving the fraudster remote access to the victim's computer, her bank account and the ability to transfer close to £45,000 from her account.

"This is an absolutely despicable crime.  The women has lost her hard earned savings and this has left her extremely distressed. "

But this was not the only report of fraud last week and on Friday, January 11, police received a further 11 reports of fraud, including reports of people being targeted by scammers claiming to represent HMRC.

Chief Superintendent Walls added: "A second woman was contacted on social media, via Facebook. She replied to a message which she believed was genuine and was from someone she knew informing her she'd won a competition. Replying, she was re-directed to a site which advised she would have to transfer £2,000 before she could get her winnings. As a result of the communication, she unknowingly passed her personal details to the scammer and lost £2,000.

"Sadly, this is just another example of how easy it is for scammers to fool people. This is why it is so important that people become scam aware. Families also need to keep an eye on their loved ones, especially older members of their family. Have the conversation; sit down and talk about these types of scams and what they need to do to protect themselves online, on the phone and post.

"While it's reassuring some people are able to spot these scams, and they are picking up the phone to report them to us, other people are being still being caught out. I would continue to urge members of the public to always err on the side of caution with any text, call, email or letter asking for payment or personal details in order to release money, refund fees, pay lottery wins or supply a holiday, giveaway or service.

"If you are at all suspicious about a call you receive, hang up and phone the organisation the person is purporting to represent to check their authenticity. Ideally, make the call from another telephone so you can be sure the original caller has not remained on the line. Never be pressured into a transaction over the phone.

"Guarding your personal and banking details is essential. Never disclose them to any unauthorised person or allow anyone access to them via your computer.

"Telecoms providers will never call to tell you they have found a problem with your computer; they will never ask for payment details over email or live chat; and they will never call out of the blue and ask for remote access to your computer or other devices.

"Internet/Broadband providers will never call to tell you your router or IP address has been compromised or that your broadband has been hacked. They will also never call to threaten to disconnect your service if you don't make a payment immediately.

"If you have received any calls asking for any of these details or are concerned by the intent of unsolicited calls, emails or letters then please report it to Action Fraud via their website  www.actionfraud.police.uk or by phoning 0300 123 2040, or call police on the non-emergency number 101. "

(10th February 2019)


LONDON POSTCODES MAKE TOP 20 IN COUNTRY'S MOST BURGLED HOTSPOTS LIST
(London Evening Standard, dated 15th January 2019 author Justin Davenport)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/london-postcodes-make-top-20-in-countrys-most-burgled-hotspots-list-a4039236.html

Two London postcodes are ranked in the top 20 of the country’s most burgled hotspots, according to research.

The worst postcode for burglary in the capital is said to be Clayhall, or the IG5 postcode, in Redbridge, east London.

The Ilford suburb is ranked third in the country for burglary hotspots, behind Ingatestone in Essex and Henley-in-Arden on the outskirts of Birmingham, which recorded the most burglary claims in the UK.

Also in the top 20 is ­Teddington, or TW11, which is ranked 19th, a fall from eighth in the previous year’s list.

Buckhurst Hill on the borders of Essex and London — one of the ­settings for reality television show The Only Way Is Essex — came 20th in the rankings.

The data, compiled by price ­comparison site MoneySuperMarket, analysed more than 2.5 million home ­insurance quotes from the last two years to identify burglary hotspots.

The top five burgled postcodes in London were Clayhall, which registered 47 claims per 1,000 quotes, followed by Teddington, Hampton (or TW12), Woodford Green (IG8) and the HA3 postcode in Harrow.

The five least-burgled postcodes in London also included some of the wealthiest, and the best policed. They were SW3 in Chelsea, the EC1Y postcode in Barbican, SW1X in Belgravia, SE11 in Kennington, and the Westminster SW1P postcode, which includes the Houses of Parliament.

While only two London postcodes made the top 20 burglary hotspots, the website also released survey data showing that 28 per cent of Londoners believe their area is a burglary hotspot, while the UK average is 19 per cent.

The MoneySuperMarket data indicated the number of burglary claims to be rising at a rate of 16 per cent nationally, compared with Met police data showing break-ins in London rising at a rate of 11 per cent.

Emma ­Garland, data scientist at Money­SuperMarket, said burglars tended to target suburbs and urban areas, with small towns and villages the safest places to live.

She advocated more use of deterrents such as window locks and burglar alarms.

She said: “It’s surprising that almost half of people haven’t put any additional protection in place, despite one in five believing they live in a burglary hotspot. For thieves, it’s all about risk versus reward — if the reward looks likely to exceed the risk, they are going to target that home. Homeowners must do as much as possible to tip the balance in their favour and make things harder for burglars.”

(10th February 2019)


GANGS ARE EXPLOITING A LEGAL LOOPHOLE TO RECRUIT CHILDREN AS COUNTY LINES DRUG MULES
(Daily Mail, dated 15th January 2019 authors Ian Drury and Rebecca Camber)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6595941/Gangs-tell-drug-mules-cite-modern-slavery-laws.html

Gangs are ruthlessly exploiting a legal loophole to get away with luring children as young as 12 to become 'county lines' drug mules, police revealed yesterday.

Hundreds of vulnerable boys and girls have been groomed by gangs based in Britain's biggest cities to carry cocaine and heroin to small market towns and seaside resorts, exposing them to horrific violence.

Gangs tell the children that if they are caught by police peddling drugs they should cite Section 45 of the Modern Slavery Act – effectively protecting them from prosecution.

MPs were told yesterday that 'Mr Bigs' are abusing the law, introduced by Theresa May as home secretary in 2015, to safeguard their illicit networks.

Meanwhile, police chiefs said that 505 suspects had been arrested since Home Secretary Sajid Javid launched the National County Lines Co-ordination Centre to strengthen the fight against crime gangs.

The gangs' operations are named after the phone lines used to organise the trade.

Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, modern slavery lead for the National Police Chiefs' Council, said that under Section 45 anyone aged under 18 is not guilty of committing a crime if it is carried out as a 'direct consequence' of 'exploitation'.

He told the Commons home affairs select committee: 'Section 45 is a brilliant piece of legislation but it is having an unintended consequence. It is enabling top-end serious and organised crime people to coerce others by building it into their defence.'

However, it also emerged that county lines gang bosses will be charged with slavery offences. Police and prosecutors believe the labels of 'slave master' and 'child trafficker' are more likely to deter gang bosses than if they were solely prosecuted under drugs laws.

The modern slavery laws also enable the courts to impose tougher penalties.

(10th February 2019)


RECRUITING POLICE TO REFLECT DIVERSITY OF LONDON "WILL TAKE MANY DECADES"
(London Evening Standard, dated 14th January 2019 author Sophia Sleigh)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/recruiting-police-to-reflect-diversity-of-london-will-take-many-decades-a4038531.html

A Met chief today said it would take “many decades” for the force to accurately reflect the make-up of London’s population at present rates.

Black and ethnic minority officers account for 14 per cent of the Met’s 29,700 police officers, despite constituting 40 per cent of the capital’s population. Only 27 per cent of the force are women.

Deputy commissioner Sir Stephen House said: “The rate that we are going, it’s going to be many decades before we get there.”

He told the London Assembly’s Police and Crime Committee that figures for ethnic minority officers were “very poor” and said the force was not retaining mothers returning from maternity leave.

He added that the Met’s decision to temporarily lift a ban on recruits from outside the capital would further reduce the proportion of black and Asian officers.

Sir Stephen said: “It was a very difficult decision. There was agonising around what this would do to the mix of our recruits. But eventually we felt we were simply not making progress in increasing our numbers.”

The Met recently launched a recruitment campaign focused specifically on women. However, co-leader of the Green Party and London Assembly member Siân Berry said more needed to be done to remedy the disparity.

She calculated that at the current rate of change it would take until 2070 before black and Asian officers represent their numbers in the population.

Ms Berry told the Standard: “They should be going out and specifically recruiting cohorts from particular communities. We do have a problem with trust with the police in particular groups. The only real way [to solve this] is for the police to look, sound, feel and be part of these groups and communities.”

Sir Stephen told the meeting he had “reservations” about affirmative action. At the last census 40.2 per cent London’s population were recorded as from ethnic minorities.

In November the Met extended its recruitment drive for officers from outside London as part of efforts to recruit more than 2,500 officers to bring total officer numbers up to 30,700.

(10th Febraury 2019)


NEW SAFETY FEARS AT ZEBRA CROSSINGS AFTER 71 ARE HIT BY BUSES IN UNDER TWO YEARS
(London Evening Standard, dated 14th January 2019 author Ross Lydall)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/new-road-safety-fears-after-71-people-are-hit-by-london-buses-at-pedestrian-crossings-in-under-two-a4038481.html

New concerns about road safety emerged today as dozens of people were revealed to have been hit by London buses at pedestrian crossings.

There were at least 71 collisions at zebra and traffic light-controlled crossings between January 2016 and last November, according to figures provided by Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The true figure could be far higher due to weaknesses in the way bus companies report crashes to Transport for London.

Eight people were killed and 719 seriously injured in collisions involving London buses in the year to last June, a separate analysis of TfL data by the GMB union revealed.

Mr Khan, who has a Vision Zero policy of eliminating road deaths in London, has described this as “chilling”.

He told bus safety campaigners last month: “It is absolutely unacceptable for anyone to be killed or seriously injured on our transport network.”

Today’s figures, obtained by the Liberal Democrats, reveal Oxford Street to be the most common location for pedestrian injuries involving buses at “designated crossings”.

There were two incidents involving the 159 bus, one involving the 94 and one the 390. There was also a crash in New Oxford Street involving the 19.

TfL and Westminster council want to reduce the number of bus routes on Oxford Street to no more than four, but they have fallen out over the Mayor’s wish to part-pedestrianise the street.

Lib-Dem assembly member Caroline Pidgeon, who obtained the figures, said: “Despite all the rhetoric about achieving zero deaths and injuries on our roads these figures are a stark reminder of how far we need to go to make our roads safer for everyone.

“It is absolutely vital that we ensure pedestrian crossings are a place of total safety for pedestrians.”

TfL is cutting speeds to 20mph on its roads in central London and will launch a new training course for all 25,000 drivers in April. All buses will be required by 2024 to have automatic brakes that operate when a pedestrian is detected in front of the vehicle.

Technology trials will begin later this year. Claire Mann, TfL’s director of bus operations, said: “We are taking every action possible to reduce the unacceptably high number of people killed or seriously injured on our streets.

“We are introducing better bus driver training and a range of improvements to the buses themselves.

“This focus will take us towards our aim of reducing to zero the number of people killed in or by a London bus by 2030 or sooner, and for all deaths and serious injuries from road collisions to be eliminated.”

The total number of road deaths in London increased from 116 in 2016 to 131 in 2017 — including 73 pedestrians.  Buses or coaches account for five per cent of injuries to pedestrians. Cars account for 61 per cent.

(10th February 2019)


LONDON KILLINGS IN 2018 : HOW HOMICIDES IN THE CAPITAL ROSE TO A DECADE HIGH
(Guardian, dated 14th January 2019 authors Paul Torpey, Pablo Gutierrez and Cath Levett)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/cities/ng-interactive/2019/jan/14/london-killings-2018-homicides-capital-highest-decade-murders

uaware note : The original article provides names of the victims and London borough where their life was taken.

Last year 135 people were murdered or unlawfully killed in London – the highest total since 2008. Many of the victims were teenagers or in their twenties and most were stabbed.

Of the 132 victims of homicide in London last year for whom data is available, 76 were stabbed, 15 were shot and 41 were killed by other means. Every borough bar Harrow, Sutton and Bexley saw at least one killing.

A deadly year

News of several fatal stabbings in London over New Year’s Eve 2017 foreshadowed the year to come. A high rate of killings was evident throughout the first half of 2018 with March the single deadliest month. Two teenagers were shot and killed on consecutive days in early April; the deaths of 17-year-old Tanesha Melbourne-Blake in Tottenham and 16-year-old Amaan Shakoor in Walthamstow heightened a sense of crisis.

In September the homicide toll hit 100 at the earliest point of the year since 2008. The tally then became the highest overall for a decade in mid-December when the 2009 figure of 130 was surpassed.

Young male victims predominate

More than two-fifths of all people killed in London in 2018 were men aged under 30. These deaths were heavily concentrated in the 15-24 age group. Five teenagers died in both February and April, when two of the dead were women aged 17 and 18. Overall, there were almost three male victims of homicide for every woman killed. Female victims were more evenly distributed throughout the age groups and more likely to die by means other than stabbing or shooting, including domestic abuse.

Most homicides are stabbings

Those killed under the age of 30 were predominantly stabbed to death and all but three of last year’s fatal shootings also involved victims in this age group. Surgeons have spoken of how horrific gun and knife injuries are now commonplace. The high number of deadly stabbings is reflected nationally, with 2018 the fourth worst year on record for knife deaths among under-20s in England and Wales.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has faced criticism for the high number of deaths. Middle-class cocaine use fuelling drug-related gang violence, cuts to police budgets and the normalisation of carrying knives for personal security and status have all been blamed. Khan has announced a number of initiatives including a £45m fund for educational and cultural projects to steer young people away from crime, as well as an attempt to replicate a successful Scottish approach that treated violence in Glasgow as a public health issue.

With 2019 off to a similarly lethal start, pressure to reduce the number of killings is unlikely to relent. Two people were stabbed to death in the early hours of New Year’s Day and on 8 January 14-year-old Jayden Moodie was hit by a car and stabbed in Leyton.

Data sources: Metropolitan police, Murdermap and Guardian research. The Met’s current total for homicides in London in 2018 is 135 but the force does not habitually provide an itemised list.

Murdermap weebsite : www.murdermap.co.uk/investigate.asp

(10th February 2019)


BRITAIN'S WORST DRINK-DRIVE TOWNS REVEALED
(Daily Mail, dated 12th January 2019 authors Richard Spillett and Connor Boyd)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6484757/Britains-worst-drink-drive-towns-revealed.html

Britain's postal areas and occupations with the highest rate of drink and drug driving convictions on their car insurance policies have been revealed.

Hereford emerged with the greatest number of drink and drug driving convictions at 2.30 for every 1,000 drivers - an increase of 0.8 compared to last year.

Crewe, 1.86, and Blackpool, 1.68, follow closely behind, while Sunderland, which last year took the top spot, has dropped to fourth place with a rate of 1.62 convictions per 1,000 people.

At the other end of the scale, London dominates the list of postcodes with the lowest conviction rates for the third year in a row.

North West London boasts the lowest rate, with just 0.45 convictions per 1,000 drivers, while four other London postal areas also feature in the bottom ten.

North, 0.56, East, 0.61, South West, 0.61, and West London, 0.67. Outside of London, the Scottish town of Galashiels is joined by Bradford, Perth, Cambridge and Luton as areas with the lowest drink and drug driving offences.

When it comes to gender, the data reveals that men, 1.34, are more than twice as likely to drink and drug drive as women, 0.66, while the total number of convictions for women has halved over the last year (1.20 to 0.66).

The analysis looked at over six million car insurance quotes run on MoneySuperMarket over 12 months - from 1 November  2017 to 31 October 2018.

In terms of occupation, plumbers are most likely to get behind the wheel while under the influence, an increase of 17.26 per 1,000 since 20174.

Students still remain in the top two, though numbers have decreased considerably since last year, from 28.48 to 5.93 per 1,000.

Scaffolders, ground workers and builder labourers are also amongst the top five with a greater likelihood of drink or drug driving.

Despite this, the data from MoneySuperMarket reveals that the overall drink and drug driving rate has decreased by 29 per cent since last year, from 1.47 to 1.05 per 1,0005- though this trend doesn't apply to 17-24-year olds, for whom rates have risen by 10 per cent.

Toyota, Fiat and Porsche owners have significantly reduced their drink and drug driving conviction rates in the last 12 months, nearly halving the number of offences from 1.18 to 0.56 (Toyota), 1.95 to 0.99 (Fiat) and 0.82 to 0.47 (Porsche).

Emma Garland, data scientist at MoneySuperMarket, said: 'With Christmas parties and festivities coming up, there is more chance of people getting behind the wheel under the influence as they may not realise how much alcohol they've had.

'Driving the next morning while unknowingly still over the limit is also a key factor, especially for those who may have particularly early starting times, such as labourers and plumbers. However, it's reassuring to see that convictions have decreased since last year and hopefully they will continue to do so year on year.

'Drink or drug driving can be damaging not only to your licence, but also to yourself and others - so if you are doubting your sobriety, don't put yourself or others at risk by driving, even if it seems like an inconvenience at the time.'

(10th February 2019)


MORE THAN A THIRD OF PEOPLE HAVE NOT SEEN A POLICE OR COMMUNITY SUPPORT OFFICER ON THE BEAT IN THEIR AREA IN THE PAST YEAR
(Daily Mail, dated 11th January 2019 author Charlie Bayliss)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6580909/Over-not-seen-police-officer-area-year.html

More than a third of people have not seen a police officer or community support officer on the beat in their area for the past year, according to new figures.

The survey of more than 17,000 people in England and Wales also provided the latest indication of public views on police visibility.

Research found two in five people in England and Wales believe crime and anti-social behaviour are a big problem in their area.

The survey was commissioned by HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) to assess the public's perceptions of police and crime in 2018.

The percentage of people who believe crime and anti-social behaviour in their area is a 'very big' or 'quite a big' problem also rose from 30 per cent in 2017 to 40 per cent last year.

Respondents are split as just over half (56 per cent) believe there is not much of a problem, or none at all, the report said.

It added: 'Nonetheless, compared to 2017, more people now think that crime and ASB (anti-social behaviour) are a problem.

'This is a trend that can be seen since 2016 when only 26% said that crime and ASB were a problem in their area.' 

When it comes to seeing an officer or PCSO on foot at least once in the past year, 36 per cent of respondents said they had not. Of those that had, 35 per cent said the frequency of seeing a police office had decreased compared to the previous year. 

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the findings were not surprising 'when you consider our neighbourhood and response teams have been cut back to the bone'.

He added: 'Our communities deserve better, and we want to deliver, but in order to do that we need an immediate and significant, centrally-funded investment from the Government.

'Without this my colleagues will struggle to provide the service they joined up to provide.'

Following sustained pressure to provide a cash boost, Home Secretary Sajid Javid last month announced nearly £1 billion of additional police funding.

Minister for policing Nick Hurd said: 'I am pleased to see public perceptions of the police have improved over the last year and also that visibility of police officers on the front line has risen.

'The funding settlement we have proposed for 2019/20 is the biggest increase in police funding since 2010 and will see up to £970 million additional funding for policing next year, including money raised through council tax.

'This extra funding will enable police to recruit more officers, better respond to reports of crime, and tackle serious and organised crime, while also meeting the financial pressures they face.'

(10th February 2019)


MECHANIC SAVES STALKING VICTIM WHEN HE FINDS TRACKER UNDER HER CAR DURING MOT
(Telegraph, dated 11th January 2019 author Telegraph Reporters)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/11/mechanic-saves-stalking-victim-finds-tracker-car-mot/

A mechanic saved a victim from a stalking ordeal after spotting a tracking device fitted to the underside of her car during an MOT.

Nigel Lamberth's victim had no idea she was being traced, and was able to alert the police after the discovery on November 8 last year.

Officers then searched Lamberth's flat and found the receipt for the tracker and a small torch that police found was a working "electronic stun gun".

It also emerged he had stuck new number plates on to her car with a twisted message claiming the two were lovers under the registration. 

The 50-year-old had already been convicted of stalking the woman, who was not named, and was serving a suspended sentence at the time.

The court heard how the victim, who hasn't been named, had previously moved home and changed jobs in an attempt to escape Lamberth's advances.

Appearing at Leeds Crown Court on Thursday Lamberth, from Leeds, was jailed for two years and 11 months.

Prosecutor Andrew Horton said Lamberth had left his victim "sick with worry" and "close to suicide."

Judge Tahir Khan, sentencing, said: "At one point she described how she felt close to suicide, constantly looking around to see where you were."

The defendant had also sent the victim numerous letters and parcels and one card which included the words 'If I could turn back time' from a Cher song.

He admitted stalking, having a stun gun and breaching a restraining order.

Abbi Whelan, mitigating for Lamberth, said: "He accepts his actions have caused her considerable upset."

(10th February 2019)


BRITAINS BURGLARY HOTSPOT POSTCODES REVEALED WITH AFFLUENT TOWN LIST
(Mirror, dated 11th January 2019 author Bradley Jolly)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/britains-burglary-hotspot-postcodes-revealed-13839717

The UK's burglary hotspots have been revealed in a huge study into crime across the country.

More than 2.5million home insurance quotes over the last two years have identified the areas worst-hit by lowlife thieves.

And worryingly, burglary increased by 16% in 2018 on the previous year.

But Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire, an affluent town where average house prices exceed £460,000, tops the list with a rate of 50.46 claims per 1,000 insurance quotes in the last two years.

It knocks Guildford, Surrey, off top spot.

Ingatestone, near Chelmsford, Essex, is not far behind with 49.76 claims per 1,000 insurance quotes.

But Whitehaven, Cumbria, had the lowest burglary rate with 0.76 claims per 1,000 quotes.

Cockermouth and Mayport, both in the area, are also areas least likely to be burgled, the study shows.

Other areas successfully keeping burglars at bay include Falmouth, Cornwall and Aberystwyth, Wales.

10 postcode areas with the highest burglary rates


Contents theft rate (per 1000)

B95 - Henley-in-Arden, Warwickshire 50.46
CM4 - Ingatestone, Essex 49.76
IG5 - Ilford, Essex 47.56
EH4- North-west Edinburgh, 46.43
LS8 - Harehills and Roundhay, Leeds 46.30
B94 - South Solihull, West Midlands 45.80
GU23 - Woking, Surrey, 45.30
SK8 - Cheadle, Greater Manchester, 45.29
EH13 - Portobello and Joppa, Edinburgh 43.99

Those in Leeds (31%) and London (28%) are the most likely to believe they live in a burglary hotspot.

The data has been compiled by MoneySuperMarket, which found that, on average, those who have been subject to a burglary over the past five years pay an average of 16.8% more for their contents insurance policy.

Emma Garland, data scientist at the firm, said: "Over the past 12 months, burglars have mostly been targeting suburbs and urban areas, with the safest areas dominated by smaller towns and villages.

"Anyone that has ever been burgled will tell you that the cost goes beyond the value of the items stolen, from the psychological impact of your home being violated to the difficulty of replacing things with sentimental value.

"That's why it's surprising to see that almost half of people haven't put any additional protection in place for their home, despite one in five believing they live in a burglary hotspot."

10 postcode areas with the lowest burglary rates


Contents theft rate (per 1000)

CA28 - Whitehaven, Cumbria 0.76
TR11 - Falmouth, Cornwall 0.92
CA13 - Cockermouth, Cumbria 1.08
SY23 - Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, Wales 1.08
CA1 - Botcherby and Garlands, Carlisle 1.10
PL19 - Tavistock, Devon 1.23
DD10 - Montrose, Angus, Scotland 1.24
NR10 - Hevingham, Horsford, Cawston, Badersfield and surrounding areas in Norfolk 1.29
KY4 - Cowdenbeath, west Fife, Scotland 1.32
KY5 - Lochgelly, Fife, Scotland 1.35

Ms Garland added: "For thieves, it's all about risk versus reward - if the reward looks likely to exceed the risk, they are going to target that home. Homeowners must do as much as possible to tip the balance in their favour and make things harder for burglars.

"People who have been targeted by thieves previously pay an average of 16.8 per cent more for contents insurance, so it pays to ensure your home is as protected as possible.

"If you take precautions - such as fitting new door and window locks, installing bar windows where necessary and using security cameras - you can reduce both your contents insurance and your anxiety about getting burgled.

"Looking for the best deal possible at every renewal will also help keep premiums low."

(10th February 2019)


CASH-STRAPPED POLICE SIGN UP "MISS MARPLE VOLUNTEERS" TO SOLVE RAPES AND MURDERS
(Mirror, dated 10th January 2019 author Louie Smith)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/cash-strapped-police-sign-up-13839904

Desperate police are signing up "Miss Marple volunteer detectives" to help solve serious crimes including murders and rapes.

Successful applicants will work alongside Major Crime Unit detectives in Essex where the force faces a £16.8 million budget shortfall.

In a recruitment drive, DSI Stephen Jennings asks: "Want to help investigate the most serious crimes in Essex, including murders, attempted murders, stranger rapes and kidnappings?

"Could you help us investigate complex fraud and corruption cases, money laundering and electoral fraud?

"If so, you could be a great fit for our Major Crime Unit or our Serious Economic Crime Unit."

Forces across the country already rely on unpaid "special constables" to free up regular PCs.

But Essex Police is believed to be among the first to allow volunteers to work on serious crimes.

DSI Jennings promises volunteers will "execute warrants, capture evidence and give crime prevention advice for a minimum of 16 hours a month".

But Essex Labour councillor Michael Lilley was one of several officials to blast the move, saying: "We don't want people to come in and play Miss Marple, we need properly trained officers.

"I believe the public deserve better. If they report a crime serious enough to warrant a detective, a detective should turn up.

"It just seems like policing on the cheap by the government and it just isn't right."

Councillor Dave Harris added: "I think it is disgraceful. Detectives should be trained to a high standard.

"It all comes down to cuts, it is disgusting - that thin blue line has become even thinner. My residents are sick to their back teeth of calling police and there being no one there to answer."

And Essex-based solicitor-advocate Laura Austin added: "It's most concerning that unpaid and possibly untrained volunteers are being sought to work in an area where the highest standards of investigatory techniques are required."

Essex police has more than 600 fewer officers than in 2012, with just 1.7 officers per 1,000 residents.

The force is preparing to ask for more council tax for the second year running, with households having to stump up an extra £16.8 million to help balance its budget.

Last year bills were raised by 7.62% to fund 150 extra police officers.

Roger Hirst, Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex, defended the volunteer move saying: "This is not policing on the cheap. Volunteering as a Special Constable is a great way for people to get involved in keeping their communities safe.

"Many people have specialist skills who may not want to be full time police officers and this is an ideal way that they can contribute to society and use their expertise to help others.

A spokeswoman for Essex Police added: "The recruitment offers people a fantastic opportunity to experience life on the frontline without making the commitment to joining full-time."

And Steve Taylor, chair of Essex Police Federation, said: "We are talking about special constables. When you have been as chronically underfunded as we have they are one of the few rays of light.

"It isn't a question of taking a job over from a regular officer, it's supporting busy roles regular officers have to do."

-----------------------
POLICE ARE BEGGING PEOPLE TO SIGN UP AS UNPAID VOLUNTEER DETECTIVES TO HELP SOLVE MURDERS AND RAPES
(Sun, dated 11th January 2019 author Rob Pattinson)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thesun.co.uk/news/8168349/police-beg-unpaid-volunteers-solve-crimes/

CASH-strapped cops are recruiting volunteer detectives from the general public to help solve murders and rapes.

Essex Police is advertising for two unpaid roles a year after it emerged it had 600 fewer officers than in 2012.

Yet the county's council tax is about to go up for the second year in a row - and the force is getting a £3.3million grant after an appeal to central government.

The job ad seeks "driven, organised and self-motivated individuals who can volunteer for a minimum of 16 hours a month as special constables alongside serving detectives".

Temporary Det Supt Stephen Jennings said investigations with the Major Crime Unit and Serious Economic Crime Unit will include "murders, attempted murders, stranger rapes, kidnappings and fraud".

Volunteers will help to execute warrants and capture evidence.

A recruitment event will be held next week. But kitchen designer Paul Walker, 53, of Chelmsford, said: "Why are special constables being introduced to murder cases? They need experience. It's bonkers."

Last year it emerged that Essex struggled with 0.17 police officers per 1,000 residents. This year households will have to stump up an extra £16.8million in council tax to help the force balance its budget - equal to an extra £2 per month for a Band D household.

Essex Police Federation chairman Steve Taylor said: "Due to funding cuts we have to rely on special constables and they continue to do a fantastic job."

----------------------
(10th February 2019)


A THIRD OF PEOPLE HAVE NOT SEEN ANY BOBBIES ON THE BEAT IN THE LAST YEAR
(Telegraph, dated 10th January 2019 author Charles Hymas)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/10/third-people-have-not-seen-bobbies-beat-last-year-say-situation/

More than a third of people have not seen a single police officer on the beat in their local area in the last year and say the situation is getting worse, according to a survey for Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC).

More than a third said the frequency of seeing police on foot in their local area had decreased in the past year while a fifth said they had not even seen any officers in a police car in the past year, almost double the proportion of the previous year.

Almost half (48%) said they were unhappy with the number of times they saw police on foot in their local area and 35% were dissatisfied with the frequency of car patrols.

John Apter, chairman of the Police Federation, which represents rank-and-file officers, said the findings reflected the loss of almost 22,000 officers since 2010 which meant neighbourhood policing and police response teams had been "cut to the bone."

"Our communities deserve better - and we want to deliver - but in order to do that we need an immediate and significant, centrally-funded investment from the Government, without this my colleagues will struggle to provide the service they joined up to provide," he said.

It comes amid a rise in violence with knife crime up by 22% to an eight-year high and gun crime up by 11% and will increase pressure on the Government in the run-up to the comprehensive spending review this Autumn.

The findings, based on a survey of 17,000 people by BMG Research, found more than three quarters of the public believed a visible police presence was important to prevent crime, deter criminals and provide "reassurance" and "peace of mind."

More than a fifth (22%) of the public felt the service provided by police had got worse in the past year, against 8% who said it had got better. Some 58% reported no change.

They also perceived crime to have risen. Some 40% said crime and anti-social behaviour in 2018 was either a very big or quite a big problem in their local area, up from 30% in 2017.

Overall satisfaction with the police, however, remained high with 61% were satisfied with their local police, up on the level for 2017. Only 12% were dissatisfied.

Of those who were unhappy with the police, the most common reasons were their perceptions that police had not taken action against crimes or lack of visibility.

Asked to list what crimes police should prioritise, they cited terrorism or extremism (49%), child sexual exploitation or abuse (46%) and violent crime (41%). The least important were commercial or business crimes (27%), online abuse (22%) and anti-social behaviour (19%).

Some 42% of respondents felt local police were dealing effectively with anti-social behaviour and crimes that mattered to them in their area, with only 19% disagreeing.

There was more consensus that online crime was a problem (81%) and most (63%) considered it to have got worse over the past 12 months.

Confidence in local police to effectively deal with online crime has increased  to 34% against 26% in 2017, which HMIC acknowledged was still relatively low.

There was a majority in favour of stop and search (51%) as an effective strategy to prevent crime, with just 14% against, though a third admitted they did not know enough to pass judgement.

Most respondents (60%) had had no contact with the police in the past year and where they had, it was either as a witness (11% of all respondents), or as a victim of crime (10%).

Six in 10 (61%) were happy with their contact with police.

Mr Apter said it was reassuring that most people still supported policing but it also showed "the cuts are increasingly evident to the communities we serve."

Last month Sajid Javid, the home secretary, announced a £970m cash boost for police which was hailed as the first significant increase since 2010, but most police chiefs see the comprehensive spending review as a more critical test.

(10th February 2019)


LONDON PHONE SNATCH VICTIM PRAISES "GREAT TECHNIQUE" OF ASSAILANTS
(London Evening Standard, dated 9th January 2019 author James Morris)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/crime/london-phone-snatch-victim-praises-great-technique-of-assailants-a4033961.html

A crime victim praised the "great technique" of his assailants on their bikes on Twitter after his phone was snatched in a London street.

London sports journalist Michael Timbs said the speed and efficiency of the crooks was akin to Great Britain's gold medal winning 4 × 100 metre relay team from the 2017 World Championships.

He tweeted: "Just had my phone stolen walking back home ffs. Two geezers on bikes emulating the GB 4x100m team in the 2017 World Champs. Very clean exchange on the bend, no fumbling or loss of speed. Great technique to be fair.

"I just hope the t**** enjoy my phone. There's some quality content on there, and maybe a cheeky semi-nude from yours truly in the camera roll too. If you use my apple pay, remember I like fruit and veggie pret."

It's not clear where the theft took place.

Research by the BBC last year found there were more than 23,000 moped offences, most involving phone snatches, in the capital last year.

The huge spike, from just 827 offences in 2012, prompted the Met to change introduce "tactical contact" by ramming moped gangs.

The technique came under fire from shadow home secretary Diane Abbott, who said "knocking people off bikes is potentially very dangerous".

Some forces have reported success in dealing with the crimewave, with Islington Police - which covers one of the traditionally worst affected areas in London - reporting 397 moped enabled theft snatches between June and November last year. For the same period in 2017, there had been 2,715 in the north London borough.

(10th February 2019)


WHAT BAILIFFS CAN LEGALLY DO WHEN THEY VISIT YOUR HOME
(Cornwall Live, datd 8th January 2019 author Ginette Davies)

Full article [Option 1]:

The festive season can be extremely difficult for many, particularly those who have ended up in debt.

A steep rise in the use of bailiffs by local authorities saw more than 2.3 million debts passed over in 2016/17, according to the Money Advice Trust. Figures for 2018 are not yet available.

Bailiffs, also known as enforcement agents, have the right to visit a property to remove and sell goods to repay certain debts, including council tax arrears, parking notices and other debts owed to councils.

Research by the charity which runs the National Debtline shows the the figure jumped by 14 per cent in just two years.

This is despite government guidance stating that bailiff action should only ever be used as a last resort.

However, the Money Advice Trust said an increasing number of councils are working hard to improve their debt collection practices - and that four in 10 (38 percent) actually reduced their reliance on bailiffs in that time.

Council tax arrears accounted for 60% of cases sent to bailiffs in that period, while parking referrals were up by 27% on the previous two years and referrals for Housing Benefit overpayments up 20% in that same period.

At the same time, nearly four in 10 local authorities in England and Wales (38 percent) reduced their reliance on bailiffs over the two years, and the Money Advice Trust's survey of council debt collection found many examples of good practice.

The vast majority of local councils surveyed signpost residents in financial difficulty to free debt advice, and more than 50 councils signed up to the Local Government Association's joint Council Tax Protocol with Citizens Advice.

Joanna Elson, Chief Executive of the Money Advice Trust, said: "The growing use of bailiffs to collect debts by many local authorities is deeply troubling. Councils are under enormous financial pressure, and they of course need to recover what they are owed in order to fund vital services.

"However, many councils are far too quick to turn to bailiff action - which we know can seriously harm the wellbeing of residents who are often already in vulnerable situations. It can also push people even further into debt."

In December the Government's Justice Committee launched an inquiry into the enforcement of debt by bailiffs in England and Wales.

The Committee's inquiry will run alongside an MOJ consultation and will focus on High Court and Civil Enforcement Officers, who collect debts such as Council Tax, parking fines and utility bills.

Reforms were introduced in 2014 which aimed to provide protection to debtors from the aggressive pursuit of their debt from enforcement agents, whilst balancing this against the need for effective enforcement and the rights of creditors.

However, debt advice charities suggest that the reforms have had only a limited effect and that there are still widespread problems with the conduct of bailiffs.

What is a bailiff?

Bailiffs are enforcement agents who are instructed by creditors (the people you may owe money to) to retrieve any debts.

Before you let a bailiff in, you should always ask for proof of their identity, such as a badge, ID card or enforcement agent certificate.

You can ask for proof of a bailiff's identity and authorisation even if they've visited before - for example, ask them to put it through the letterbox or show it at the window.

All bailiffs must have a certificate unless they're exempt or they're with someone who does have a certificate.

When and why would a bailiff be called?


According to the Government website, a bailiff may visit your home if you don't pay your debts - such as Council Tax bills, parking fines, court fines and county court or family court judgments.

This will happen if you ignore letters saying that bailiffs will be used.

A bailiff may also visit your home for other reasons, for example to serve court documents or give notices and summons.

There are different kinds of bailiffs, known as:

- 'certificated enforcement agents'
- 'high court enforcement officers'
- 'county court and family court bailiffs'
- 'civilian enforcement officers'
 
How much notice must bailiffs give before visiting your home?

Bailiffs must usually give you at least seven days notice of their first visit.

If you think a bailiff might visit you to collect debts, you can stop this by paying the money you owe. Get advice about how to pay your debt from whoever you owe money to as soon as possible.

Do I have to open my door?


You usually don't have to open your door to a bailiff or let them in.

Bailiffs can't enter your home:

- by force, for example by pushing past you
- if only children under 16 or vulnerable people (with disabilities, for example) are present
- between 9pm and 6am
- through anything except the door

Bailiffs are allowed to force their way into your home to collect unpaid criminal fines, Income Tax or Stamp Duty, but only as a last resort.

What if I don't let them in?

If you don't let a bailiff in or agree to pay them:

- they could take things from outside your home, for example your car
- you could end up owing even more money

If you do let a bailiff in but don't pay them they may take some of your belongings. They could sell the items to pay debts and cover their fees.

What bailiffs can and can't take

If you let a bailiff into your home, they may take some of your belongings to sell.

Bailiffs can take luxury items, for example a TV or games console.

They can't take:

- things you need, such as your clothes, cooker or fridge
- work tools and equipment which together are worth less than £1,350
- someone else's belongings, such as your partner's computer

You'll have to prove that someone else's goods don't belong to you.

Paying a bailiff

You can pay the bailiff on the doorstep - you don't have to let them into your home.

Make sure you get a receipt to prove you've paid.

If you can't pay all the money right away, speak to the bailiff about how you could pay the money back.

Offer to pay what you can afford in weekly or monthly payments. The bailiff doesn't have to accept your offer.

Help or advice

You can get free help or advice on dealing with bailiffs from:

- National Debtline : www.nationaldebtline.org
- the Money Advice Service : www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk
- Citizens Advice : www.citizensadvice.org.uk/debt-and-money/action-your-creditor-can-take/bailiffs/
- StepChange Debt Charity : www.stepchange.org/

(10th February 2019)


ILLEGAL TOBACCO "COMMODITY OF CHOICE FOR ORGANISED CRIME"
(BBC News, dated 7th January 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46522438

Organised criminals selling illicit cigarettes target Wales due to a lack of investment in enforcement, a senior investigator has said.

Powys Council Trading Standards' Clive Jones said tobacco control strategies will be undermined unless central enforcement is introduced.

New figures show some 150,000 illegal products were seized in Wales since 2013.

The Welsh Government said it was considering proposed strategies.

Up to 15% of all tobacco sold in Wales - equating to about a million cigarettes a day - is illegal, according to a survey of 2,500 people carried out by Ash Wales in 2014.

At the time, Wales had a higher proportion of illegal product than any English region.

New figures obtained by BBC Wales show more than 150,000 illicit products - including cigarettes and rolling tobacco - were seized by council-run Trading Standards departments across Wales.

"The real threat to Wales is that we don't become a dumping ground for criminals to make money from the fact that the enforcement ethos and capability is not there," said Mr Jones.

"I think criminals see it as an open door to make money in Wales from this type of criminality. And that is a challenge to Welsh Government - to say, as part of their strategy, where is the emphasis on enforcement?

"It's great having tobacco control strategies but the enforcement arm of that needs to be in place, and if it's not it completely undermines the wider strategy."

Experts say counterfeit cigarettes, in particular, can contain poor quality tobacco, plastic and human or rat faeces; they can also pose a greater fire risks due to the way they are produced.

Suzanne Cass, chief executive of Ash Wales, said the Welsh Government should back the antismoking charity's plan to tackle illicit trade via a central communication and enforcement programme.

"We know that illegal tobacco is a real problem here in Wales," she said.

"We know that children are accessing cheap cigarettes through the illicit market. We also know that people are continuing to smoke because the illegal tobacco is available and ready for them to buy."

Trading Standards and public health fall under the remit of the Welsh Government or local authorities and, while tackling crime is funded by the Home Office, the proposed scheme would be need to be funded by Cardiff Bay.

Aside from Trading Standards, the big tobacco firms also carry out their own investigations into, and prosecutions of, black market sales.

Among them is Japan Tobacco International (JTI), which has run undercover buys throughout Wales.

Steve Wilkins, a former Dyfed-Powys Police detective chief superintendent who is now anti-Illegal trade operations director at JTI, said there were "vast amounts" to be made from illegal tobacco.

"It is the commodity of choice for organised crime because the profits are high, the chances of getting caught are low and the actual sanctions are very, very low," he said.

John Parkinson, who runs Broadway Newsagents in Penrhyn Bay, Conwy, said a "dramatic increase" in illegal sales had harmed local businesses, including a Colwyn Bay kiosk which closed after an illicit seller took some of their trade.

"You will find most young people have bought from an illicit source," he added. "People selling illicit tobacco or cigarettes aren't worried whether you're over 18 - they are only interested in the profit."

The Welsh Government said it was considering Ash Wales' recommendations.

A spokesman said: "Illegal tobacco can undermine our efforts to protect young people from buying tobacco, as it is offered at much lower prices, without age restrictions.

"It also removes the motivation of saving money for those trying to quit. Reducing the number of smokers in Wales requires us to stop young people from starting to smoke, and to support smokers to quit."

(10th February 2019)


MOST POLICE FORCES FAIL TO MEET FINGERPRINT EVIDENCE STANDARDS
(Guardian, dated 7th January 2019 author Hannah Devlin)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/science/2019/jan/07/police-forces-fail-to-meet-forensics-fingerprint-evidence-standards

Less than 10% of police forces have met basic quality standards for fingerprint evidence, the government's forensic science regulator has warned.

All UK forces were ordered three years ago to ensure their laboratories met international standards for analysing prints found at crime scenes. But only three forces have complied, with almost every force missing a deadline set by the regulator to gain accreditation by November.

Police forces that have failed to obtain accreditation, which include the Metropolitan police and Greater Manchester police, will have to declare this in court, prompting concerns that cases could collapse as a result of unreliable evidence.

Gillian Tully, the government's forensic regulator, said: "The shortcomings identified do not mean that all fingerprint evidence is of poor quality, but they do highlight risks to the quality of evidence.

"The risks are greatest in situations where the comparison is complex, for example because the fingermark is partial or distorted."

The National Police Chiefs' Council lead for forensics, Ch Const James Vaughan, said: "We are treating delays in in gaining accreditation as a critical incident, with a chief officer overseeing forces' progress and assisting them in gaining accreditation as soon as possible."

The failures are the latest problems to have affected forensics in the past year. Alleged data tampering at Randox Laboratories in Manchester led to dozens of criminal convictions being overturned and required thousands of samples to be reanalysed.

Problems in digital forensics caused the collapse of a number of rape trials and police were criticised for outsourcing digital work to unaccredited private labs that are subject to no regulatory oversight.

In a recent submission to a House of Lords inquiry, the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science raised broader concerns about the way fingerprints, tool marks, footwear, tyre marks and ballistics evidence were being used in courts.

Prof Niamh Nic Daéid, the centre's director, said: "The majority, if not all of those techniques, are not robustly researched. In a lot of cases, the comparative process is left to the subjective opinion of the person doing the comparison. It often could be described as no better than spot the difference."

She said more rigorous research was needed on error rates associated with this type of evidence.

In her submission to the same inquiry, Tully said there had been a resistance in fingerprint evidence to move away from the traditional approach of an expert declaring an identification towards a more transparent, scientific approach, with objective measures and an acknowledgement of the possibility of false matches.

Vaughan said forces that had failed to meet official standards had been asked to consider outsourcing work to existing accredited labs, and that they would be open in providing declarations to court if analysis was carried out at unaccredited facilities.

"It is then for the court to test the veracity and admissibility of the evidence and, to date, no concerns raised have been raised by courts," he said.

(10th February 2019)


WHERE CAN I FIND MY NEAREST DEFIBRILATOR ?
(Ipswich Star, dated 5th January 2019 author Megan Aldous)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.ipswichstar.co.uk/news/simon-herbert-hitcham-suffolk-launches-defibsearch-1-5840388

A Suffolk man has created a website which locates your closest 24-hour defibrillator and provides you with directions on how to get to it.

The site, which is called Defibsearch, covers Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.

https://defibsearch.co.uk/

###uaware warning - this website asks for details of your location

Simon Herbert, a computer science graduate, spent several weeks creating the tool.

He said: "I was building a new website for my computer business and initially I just wanted to add something to add some local value to it.

"To start with it was just a simple local defibrillator list but I thought I could make this much better. I used an online database, the Google maps API, a few tricks and some web HTML code.

"It was something I just got interested in and then it just grew and grew. At the beginning it was intended to only cover around a 10-mile radius - now it covers all of East Anglia.

"It is a useful free tool and I just want people to use it."

Mr Herbert had to locate each defibrillator and manually add it into a database for the tool to work.

There are currently more than 1,600 defibrillators listed but the database is constantly growing.

Mr Herbert only lists the defibrillators which are available 24/7.

He added: "I have found rural postcodes can cover a large area and are unsuitable for accurate position location. So I used longitude and latitude coordinates rather than postal addresses and postcodes."

The Hitcham man is still working on ways he can advance his creation.

He said: "I am currently working on a feature which will push the data to a Bluetooth device for those who are driving in the car.

"I haven't come across any other tools which does this."

Suppliers of defibrillators can add themselves to the map and have access to amend their listing at anytime.

(10th February 2019)


UNIVERSITIES SPENDING MILLIONS TO ENSURE BUDGET STRAPPED POLICE FORCES STILL PATROL ON CAMPUS
(Independent, dated 5th January 2019 author Tim Wyatt)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/police-university-northampton-officer-patrol-crime-drugs-theft-campus-students-a8713326.html

Universities across Britain are paying the police to protect their students from crime.

More than £2m has been paid out to 17 police forces over the last three years by 27 universities, and a further £1.2m allocated to current academic year.

The figures were unearthed after freedom of information request by The Times.

Northampton University has earmarked £775,000 over the next three years for one sergeant and five constables.

Sheffield, Durham and Liverpool are among the campuses taking part in the project, where universities can ensure they keep a team of dedicated officers at a time when the numbers of regular neighbourhood patrols have fallen.

Police budgets have reportedly decreased by 19 per cent since 2010 and the overall number of officers has fallen by around 20,000 over the same period.

Densely-packed campuses containing valuable equipment including computers, laptops and mobile phones can be a target for thieves, and drug dealers have been reported on campuses and in other student areas.

A Northampton University spokesman told The Times that it signed up "at a time when central funding to officers is reducing", adding they wanted to support the police in town "rather than stretch it further".

Five universities have begun paying for their own police in the past year.

At some universities, the police are being called in not just to deter theft but also drugs.

The University of Buckingham is not among those who pay for campus police but it does request officers and sniffer dogs visit to look for illegal substances.

Vice-chancellor Sir Anthony Seldon said: "We also offer advice to help improve mental health. To act as a deterrent, however, we invite police and sniffer dogs onto campus.

"Our students are involved in formulating our drugs policy and work with us to implement it.

"Universities must put far more resources into preventing students taking drugs in the first place, rather than paying a fortune on mental health services to pick up the bits, or on policing to keep drug-pushers away from students."

The university aims, with student involvement, to have a drug-free campus by 2020.

Labour's shadow minister for policing Louise Haigh, told The Times the revelations were creating a "two-tier system" where poorer areas missed out from public services.

"This is yet another example of the police, who have been shrunk to their lowest ever level, being unable to protect the public in the most basic sense."

John Apter, the national chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, told The Times: "The universities involved obviously see and value the need for campuses to be properly policed and this of course is only right.

"It is, however, astonishing that the government continues to ignore what is staring them in the face - the fact that we do not have enough police officers."

(10th February 2019)


OPERATION SNAP : 2,300 DASHCAM CLIPS SENT TO POLICE
(BBC News, dated 5th January 2019)

Full article [Option 1]: www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-46424514

Dashcam footage sent to police has led to hundreds of motorists being fined and prosecuted in Welsh courts over the last year.

As well as dangerous driving and using a phone behind the wheel, two drivers were caught with dogs on their laps.

Operation Snap was rolled out across Wales to process footage as police try to tackle "bad driving".

More than 2,300 dashcam films were sent in and action was taken in more than 650 cases.

Insp Lee Ford of Gwent Police said the public response had been "exceptional".

"It has been a practical way for various forms of bad driving to be addressed," he added.

Depending on the seriousness of the motoring offence, drivers have been fined, sent on awareness courses or prosecuted in court.

Teresa Ciano, partnership manager at all-Wales road safety partnership, Go Safe, explained the project was set up to gather footage being sent to police forces already and which is now used formally.

A pilot project in north Wales in 2016 led to 150 motorists being punished.

"Sometimes the footage shows out-and-out dangerous driving but some are a lapse of judgement," said Ms Ciano.

According to GoSafe, a total of 2,353 clips were submitted between November 2017 and October last year.

In a request for further details under the Freedom of Information Act, South Wales Police said it had received 1,000 submissions, with 100 fixed penalty fines issued, 83 court prosecutions and 90 drivers sent on an awareness course.

A further 53 warning letters were sent to drivers advising them about their driving.

North Wales Police confirmed it had received 650 clips over the same time with 81 drivers sent on a "retraining course", along with 25 prosecutions and 24 fixed penalty fines issued.

Gwent Police received 231 submissions between January and October with action taken in all but two cases after the footage highlighted "dangerous driving, using a mobile phone whilst driving and speeding".

Dyfed-Powys Police said it had received 430 video submissions with 120 offences being considered for possible prosecution.

So far, 25 people have been sent on an awareness course with 11 others prosecuted.

In November, the Department for Transport announced it was setting up a unit to analyse video evidence submitted to police in England following the "successful" north Wales pilot.

And police from Hong Kong and Japan have also met with Go Safe staff to learn more about the project.

(10th February 2019)


NEIGHBOURS CLUB TOGETHER TO PAY PRIVATE SECURITY GUARDS TO PATROL THEIR STREETS
(Daily Mail, dated 4th January 2019 author Faith Ridler)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6557451/Neighbours-club-pay-private-security-guards-504-month-patrol-street.html

Neighbours on a street plagued by burglaries and car thefts have clubbed together to hire private security guards to patrol the road.

Around 140 homeowners living in Sutton Coldfield, near Birmingham, have decided to pay £504-a-month for a team of guards to safeguard their homes three times a week.

Those on Warwick Street connected through WhatsApp after they noticed a spike in the number of burglaries and car break-ins on the road since November.

Some 69 of the families opted to pay an extra £10-per-week for added security.

John Edkins, 67, and wife Janice, 61, put forward the idea to hire a team of guards from security firm Innovative Security Control.

Mrs Edkins said: 'Home break-ins and car thefts started happening every four or five days, and at any time of the day or night.

'Recently, residents had noticed a number of unknown cars driving up and the street.

'We felt like we were being watched, it made us scared to leave the house. 

'We decided to run a five week-long trial period to hire private security for the street.

'We offered to pay the first week on behalf of our community. We didn't want to use resident's money if our idea didn't work.

'As more residents discovered what we were doing, they put their names on the list.'

West Midlands Police, which covers the town, has seen a 24 per cent decline in its total funding since 2010, a report by the National Audit Office revealed.

This is the second biggest cut in the country - behind Northumbria Police which suffered a 25 per cent reduction. 

West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson said the lack of police on the streets is to blame for the residents' 'deeply concerning' action.

He said more than 2,000 officers have been lost due to cuts of £175 million in the past nine years.

Innovative Security Control, which employs the guards, has erected signs letting would-be criminals know the area is patrolled.

Company director Riz Dean said: 'The residents came across our website and got in touch, so our operations manager went there for a meeting.

'We do mobile patrols across several business, but residential was nothing we had thought about up until now.

'Since our patrols started, they feel a lot safer.

'It's also making the street a more community-driven place.

'We think it's a great idea for residents, because it makes criminal think twice when they know there's an extra layer of protection in the area.'

The neighbours plan to maintain patrols for as long as they think they need it.

Mr Edkins said: 'The area hasn't always had this many problems, but we've taken note of the increase and decided to supplement our local police force by coming together and helping where we can.

'We understand the police are stretched at the moment. We want to help where we can.'

Mr Jamieson said: 'West Midlands Police is largely funded by central government.

'Over the last nine years it has cut the force's budget by £175 million, which has resulted in the loss of more than 2,000 officers.

'Despite this, West Midlands Police has managed to maintain a very effective service.

'However, it is deeply concerning that communities feel they need to pay private contractors to patrol their area.

'The message to the government is clear: The public are not prepared to tolerate an under-funded police service any longer.'

(10th February 2019)


GANGS USE JACKS TO LIFT UP CARS AND STEAL CATALYTIC CONVERTERS
(The Times, dated 4th January 2019 author Graeme Paton)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/gangs-use-jacks-to-lift-up-cars-and-steal-catalytic-converters-w08vzt5sw

Motorists have been warned over a spate of thefts of catalytic converters as criminal gangs use hydraulic jacks to steal precious metal from beneath cars.

Figures obtained under freedom of information laws suggest that almost 13,000 catalytic converters, part of the exhaust system, have been stolen by thieves since 2013.

Manufacturers have gone to extra lengths to make converters more difficult to access in recent years but police figures indicate that 1,245 were still taken from driveways, roads and car parks during 2017.

Experts insisted that thefts were likely to grow in coming years because of a failure to enforce new laws that are supposed to make it harder to sell on precious metal.

Separate figures from the Home Office show that all thefts from vehicles increased by 14 per cent last year to 656,000 incidents, despite improvments to security measures.

Catalytic converters turn toxic gases into water vapour and less harmful emissions. They contain metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium that can be recycled for use as jewellery and in electrical components, commanding prices up to twice as high as gold.

The AA warned that taller vehicles typically 4x4s, were particularly at risk as they were higher from the ground, making it easier to get beneath them.

Last month police warned that thieves were using high-powered hydraulic equipment to lift cars and strip out catalytic converters in daylight. In one incident a number of cars in the same supermarket car park in southeast London were targeted in a few minutes.

The Times submitted freedom of Information requests to 43 police forces for data on thefts. Of the 22 that were able to submit data, 637 incidenst were report in 2017. Extrapolated for all forces it was equivalent to 1245. Numbers have come down each year in the areas that provided figures.

Over the past five years, 6632 thefts were recorded by forces, equivalent to 12,963 nationally.

In Lincolnshire 156 thefts were reported in 2017, the same as 2016, although incidents peaked at 506 in 2013. Essex police said 96 thefts were logged in 2017 compared with 65 a year earlier.

Many forces that provided data insisted they were successfully tackling the issue, with thefts in the West Midlands declining from 284 in 2013 to 43 in 2017.

A crackdown on all types of metal theft was launched in 2013 when the government made it illegal for metal recyclers to pay cash for scrap and forced sellers to produce identity documents.

However, the British Metals Recycling Association warned that custs to council and police budgets meant that the requirement was "no longer being enforced". Antonia Grey, the associations public affairs manager, said:" Illegal operators are so unconcerned that they are openly advertising cash for scrap and many of them will no longer have the required scrap metal dealer licence. It is highly likely that people stealing catalytic converters will head to these cash-paying yards rather than legitimate sites".

The AA said that it had received 31 insurance claims since February relating to thefts of catalytic converters. Model targeted included the Honda Accord, Honda Jazz and Toyota Prius. It urged motorists to park cars in garages if possible or in well lit areas and suggested that owners consider marking the metal shell of the converter so that it could be traced if removed.

(10th February 2019)


CHARGING FORCED MARRIAGE VICTIMS RESCUE FEES IS A FOREIGN OFFICE RACKET
(Guardian Opinion, dated 3rd January 2019 author Pragna Patel)

Full article [option 1]:

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/03/charging-forced-marriage-victims-rescue-fees-foreign-office

In recent days the abhorrent practice of the Foreign Office whereby it forces British nationals who are victims of forced marriage abroad to pay for their protection and rescue has again hit the headlines. It is left to the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, to say he wants "to get to the bottom of the issue".

But this is not a new issue that has only just come to light. Southall Black Sisters, the charity I run, has sounded the alert about this for some time, but without success. The Guardian reported that this was happening over years ago. This is why Hunt's appeal to British embassies for"more humanity and compassion" appears disingenuous.

Victims of forced marriage abroad are required to pay for the costs of their rescue before they board a plane to the UK. Those who cannot find the money have to sign up to a loan, usually around £700, which they are required to repay within the stipulated six months, subject to a 10% surcharge thereafter. Any passport in their possession is retained until they have repaid the loan in full. Most will sign up to the loan out of desperation, without any understanding of what they are signing or of the legal consequences of doing so. When faced with the alternative - enslavement, rape, sexual and physical violence, martial captivity, fear and even death in the form of so called honour killings - what choice do they have?

Successive governments have proclaimed that protecting victims of forced marriage is a priority; that young women have "rights", "freedom" and "choice" in marriage. But that clearly comes with a heavy financial price tag for some minority women and girls.

Five young British girls - rescued from appalling violence, abuse and torture at a so called "correctional school" in Somaliland - were shown little compassion by the British embassy, which arranged for them to be repatriated to the UK. Following their return to the UK, they told us at Southall Black Sisters that what weighed most heavily on their minds was the financial debt that they incurred in order to obtain their protection: they had been required to sign up to loans of £740 each to cover the costs of their flights, accommodation and food. For them - highly vulnerable, acutely traumatised and isolated young women, who were brutalised at the hands of the very people they trusted and loved - the debt was a cause of palpable distress and anxiety; it hung around them like a hangman's noose, preventing them from starting new lives, from imagining a future free from fear and violence.

What is particularly disturbing and shocking is that there appears to be a chain of financial exploitation running through the entire story in this particular case, beginning in the private sphere and ending with British state complicity. The owner of the "correctional" school saw an opportunity to exploit parental anxiety about their girls becoming "too westernised" in the UK: preventing "westernisation" is a familiar trope in cases of forced marriage where the key goal is to control women's bodies and minds. At the school, the girls experienced serious institutional abuse consisting of imprisonment, sexual and physical assault, and torture for the purposes of re-education into religious and cultural norms on gender roles, including conformity to the practice of forced marriage. This continued until one of the girls escaped and raised the alarm. The British embassy - and those from other countries - stepped in to repatriate the girls to their respective countries.

But this intervention provided the British government with an opportunity to effectively penalise the girls for their own predicament. The sums involved are really a paltry amount to the state, but deeply overwhelming to the young victims involved. Would we accept the Home Office inflicting a call-out charge on victims of domestic violence, or any other type of crime, when they pick up the phone to the police?

When questioned about the practice of seeking reimbursement with interest for the costs of protection, the Foreign Office has provided no meaningful justification for the demand for reimbursement. With regard to the demand for interest, they said initially that none was charged. However, when faced with written evidence produced by SBS, they said they were only applying a surcharge of 10%, required because the state has an obligation to the public purse, comparing the practice to that applied to tourists who get into trouble abroad.

This goes much further than the need for "humanity and compassion" urged by Jeremy Hunt. What is at stake here is not a question of rescuing tourists in trouble abroad but a question about the rights of some of the most vulnerable people in our society: the right of forced marriage victims to be protected as British citizens; those who, but for being taken abroad, would be entitled to protection without discrimination in the UK.

The British government is undoing its stated aim of addressing forced marriage as an abuse of human rights. The clear obligation to protect victims of forced marriage and repatriation appears to be routinely flouted. The current practice amounts to discrimination and a derogation of duty. Protection from forced marriage is being reduced to a racket, a commercial transaction into which the state coerces victims of the crime of forced marriage: those who, through no choice of their own, are taken abroad by abusive families and then made to pay for their return by the state. This is why the current practice of charging victims for protection amounts to complicity in the enslavement and exploitation of young vulnerable minority women and girls. It is morally and politically indefensible. It must stop.

• Pragna Patel is the director of the Southall Black Sisters

-----------------------
VICTIMS OF FORCED MARRIAGE ASKED TO PAY HUNDREDS OF POUNDS FOR RESCUE BY FOREIGN OFFICE
(London Evening Standard, dated 2nd January 2019 author Bonnie Christian)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/victims-of-forced-marriage-forced-to-pay-hundreds-after-being-rescued-by-foreign-office-a4028211.html

Young women sent abroad for forced marriages are being charged hundreds of pounds for the cost of being rescued by the Foreign Office, it has been revealed.

The department has helped 27 victims of forced marriage return to the UK in 2017 and 55 in 2016, according to figures acquired by The Times under freedom of information laws.

The victims are asked to pay for the price of plane tickets or basic food and shelter themselves.

Those who are over 18 and cannot pay are made to take out emergency loans with the department before boarding their flight home, the paper reported.

Their passports are confiscated until they repay and if they do not clear the debt within six months, officials add 10 percent to their bill.

In the past two years the Foreign Office has lent £7,765 to at least eight forced marriage victims who could not pay for their repatriation.

Around £3,000 has been repaid, although debts of more than £4,500 are outstanding.

The Foreign Office said that it has an obligation to recover money spent on repatriating victims when public money is involved, such as the cost of a flight back to the UK.

It is understood the women are not charged for staff costs and the department does not profit from the repatriations.

In 2018 four young British women sent by their families to a "correctional school" in Somalia, where they were imprisoned and physically abused, were charged £740 each, the paper said.

Left destitute by the loans, two are living in refuges and two have become drug addicts since returning to the UK, they told the paper.

The practice of making the women pay for the costs of their repatriation has been criticised by MPs, including heads of the influential foreign and home affairs committees.

Tom Tugendhat, the Tory chairman of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, which monitors the work of the Foreign Office, said the Times' report was "astonishing".

"(The Committee) will ask questions about this decision to charge forced marriage victims to be rescued," he tweeted.

"(The Foreign Office) is rightly proud of the work the @FMUnit (forced marriages unit) does. They should be. But we shouldn't be charging the most vulnerable for their own protection or dissuading them from asking for it."

Yvette Cooper, chairwoman of the Home Affairs Committee, said she was "completely appalled".

"Forced marriage is slavery. For Govt to make victims pay for their freedom is immoral. Ministers need to put this right fast," she tweeted.

The Prime Minister once described forced marriage as a "terrible practice" and a "tragedy for each and every victim".

In August Home Secretary Sajid Javid said forced marriage was "despicable, inhumane (and) uncivilised" and vowed to "do more to combat it and support victims".

The Foreign Office said on Wednesday that whenever it is asked to help people return to the UK it works with them to access their own funds, or help them contact friends, family or organisations that can cover the costs of repatriation.

"However, many of the victims who the Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) help are vulnerable, and when offering any type of support their safety is our primary concern," a spokeswoman said.

"In very exceptional circumstances, including in cases of forced marriage overseas, we can provide an emergency loan to help someone return home.

"We recognise that an emergency loan can help remove a distressed or vulnerable person from risk when they have no other options, but as they are from public funds we have an obligation to recover the money in due course."

The FMU also provides funding for safe houses and NGOs overseas and in the UK to help victims of forced marriage get to a place of safety as soon as possible.

"We do not charge British nationals for this service and work with organisations in the UK to support them on return," the spokeswoman said.

The Foreign Office said the UK is a "world-leader in the fight to tackle the brutal practice of forced marriage, with our joint Home Office and Foreign and Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit leading efforts to combat it both at home and abroad".

-----------------------
GIRLS TAKEN ABROAD FOR FORCED MARRIAGES URGED TO HIDE SPOONS IN UNDERWEAR TO ALERT AIRPORT SECURITY
(Daily Mail, dated 16th August 2016 author Deni Kirkova)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2395449/Girls-taken-abroad-forced-marriages-urged-hide-spoons-underwear-alert-airport-security.html

British girls being taken abroad for forced marriages are being urged to hide spoons under their clothes in order to alert authorities to their plight.

As Britain puts airport staff on alert to spot potential victims, one campaigning group says the trick has saved some youngsters from coerced unions in South Asia.

The concealed cutlery sets off the metal detector at security control in Britain. Girls - and sometimes boys - can then be taken away from their parents to be searched, which gives them a last chance to seek help from airport staff.

The British school summer holidays, now well under way, mark a peak in reports of young people - typically girls aged 15 and 16 - being taken abroad on 'holiday', for marriage without consent, the government says.

The bleep at airport security may be the last chance they get to escape a union to someone they have never met in a country they have never seen.

The spoon trick is the brainchild of the Karma Nirvana charity, which supports victims and survivors of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

Based in Derby, central England, it fields an average of 6,500 calls per year from around Britain. However, the organisation says this number has already been reached with another four and a half months to go until the end of 2013. It says this increase is due to increased awareness of the issue.

When petrified youngsters ring, 'if they don't know exactly when it may happen or if it's going to happen, we advise them to put a spoon in their underwear,' said Natasha Rattu, Karma Nirvana's operations manager.

When the spoon sets off an alarm, 'they will be taken to a safe space where they have that one last opportunity to disclose they're being forced to marry,' Rattu told AFP.

'We've had people ring and tell us that it's helped them and got them out of a dangerous situation. It's an incredibly difficult thing to do with your family around you - but they won't be aware you have done it. It's a safe way.'

The charity is working with airports - so far London Heathrow, Liverpool and Glasgow, with Birmingham to come - to spot potential waring signs, such as one-way tickets, the time of year, age of the person and whether they look uncomfortable.

'These are quite general points, but there are things that if you look collectively lead you to believe something more sinister is going on,' said Rattu.

People who come forward can be escorted out of a secure airport exit to help outside.

Marriages without consent have led to suicides and so-called honour killings.

Officials fear the number of victims coming forward is just the tip of the iceberg, with few community leaders prepared to speak out and risk losing their support base.

One woman, whose identity has been protected by Essex Police in southeast England, was forced to get married in India.

She said she was threatened by her father 'because he said if I thought about running away he would find me and kill me'.

'I was shipped off with a total stranger.

'That night I was raped by my husband and this abuse continued for about eight and half years of my life.' She eventually fled.

Last year, the Foreign Office's Forced Marriage Unit dealt with some 1,500 cases - 18 per cent of them men.

A third of cases involved children aged under 17. The oldest victim was aged 71; the youngest just two.

The cases related to 60 countries: almost half were linked to Pakistan, 11 per cent to Bangladesh, eight per cent to India, and two per cent to Afghanistan. Other countries involved included Somalia, Turkey and Iraq.

Calls to Karma Nirvana tend to spike before the British school summer holidays and again at the end, said Rattu.

'The holidays are a really good time for young people to go missing because there is nobody accounting for where they are at school,' she said.

Since Ramadan ended last week, calls have risen again, including one from an 18-year-old who has fallen pregnant - her family is trying force her into marriage to conceal it.

Burdened by codes of 'izzat', or family honour, youngsters can be put under extreme physical and emotional pressure to marry relatives in a culture and country they were not brought up in.

If they refuse, they are often threatened with being thrown out of the family - or worse.

'It really takes a brave person to stand up against their family,' said Rattu.

What the Forced Marriage Unit in the UK say

'In June 2012, the Government announced that forced marriage will become a criminal offence and by doing so we are sending out a clear message that this brutal practice is totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated in the UK.

'The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) provides direct assistance to victims as well as undertaking a full programme of outreach activity to practitioners and communities, to ensure that people who are in contact with victims are fully informed about how to approach such cases.  Statutory guidance is already available to support those agencies that exercise public functions to safeguard children or vulnerable adults.  

'This year the FMU is handing out "Marriage: it's your choice" cards, to all professionals across the UK, including airport staff, safeguarding professionals, teachers and NGOs.  These cards will provide victims and potential victims with key information, in addition to signposting them to where further confidential advice and support can be obtained.'

-----------------------
(10th February 2019)


FEWER POLICE ON STREETS FEARED AS CITY HALL FUNDING SCHEME FACES AXE
(London Evening Standard, dated 3rd January 2019 authors Justin Davenport and Rachael Burford)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.standard.co.uk/news/london/fewer-police-on-streets-feared-as-city-hall-funding-scheme-faces-axe-a4029426.html

Sadiq Khan was today criticised over plans to axe a scheme providing ­hundreds of police officers working for councils.

City Hall and the Met police are reviewing the Patrol Plus scheme in which the Met funds a new police officer for every one paid for by a local authority.

Dubbed "Buy One Get One Free", it was launched by former mayor Boris Johnson and is currently funding 339 police officers.

More than half of London boroughs take part in the scheme, with Kensington and Chelsea council running 34 officers, Hammersmith and Fulham 48, Tower Hamlets 38 and Newham 40.

They tackle local priority issues such as gangs and anti-social behaviour.

However, Mr Khan said the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime was looking at funded officer roles as part of budget cuts.

Met Commissioner Cressida Dick said the initiative is "skewing" the activities of the Met when the force is short of resources.

Police are concerned that the scheme is too inflexible and does not allow officers to be transferred to meet alternative demands such as violent crime.

But London Assembly Conservative member Tony Devenish said the scheme's success was "widely acknowledged" and that without the incentive to recruit from match-funding, boroughs could simply not invest in frontline officers.

He added: "This is yet further evidence that Sadiq Khan has completely the wrong priorities. The Mayor is looking to cut frontline policing while millions more has been spent on crime bureaucrats at City Hall."

Kensington and Chelsea, which pays for extra officers to tackle gang-related crime, said scrapping the scheme would mean "a reduction of extra police officers of around 20 per cent in the next financial year".

A spokesman for the council said it "could halve the number of officers on some streets in some boroughs pretty much overnight".

The local authority's leader, Elizabeth Campbell, added: "Crime is on the rise and council budgets are stretched. The Mayor must make policing and fighting crime on the streets the priority for 2019."

Newham council spends £1.4 million a year employing its officers, many of which are placed in Stratford town centre to help deal with anti-social behaviour.

Matthew Hooper, its director of enforcement, said: "It is something councils are worrying about. We have a couple of years left on our contract, but we are not sure what will happen after that."

Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Sophie Linden, said: "Government cuts will have forced the Met to make £1bn of savings since 2010 and seen officer numbers fall below 30,000 for the first time in 15 years.

"In light of this, the Met Patrol Plus scheme is being reviewed but no decisions have been taken. The Mayor is showing leadership by investing in the Met's violent crime taskforce and creating a new Violence Reduction Unit to tackle the root causes of crime.

"However, this alone will not fill the huge gap left by government cuts. Assembly members should be working with City Hall to put pressure on Ministers to reverse their cuts to policing so we can put more officers on our streets."

The Met said in a statement : "The scheme has delivered benefits for both the Met and Local Authorities in terms of police visibility and overall officer numbers.

"However as our operational demands have grown and overall officer numbers have fallen, the scheme has become difficult to sustain because it is limited to delivering contracted objectives, and the officers are therefore unavailable to fulfil core roles targeting Met priorities, such as violent crime and safeguarding."

The force added that it was talking to the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime about a replacement scheme to allow councils to continue funding officers.

(10th February 2019)


FIGURES FROM THE ANNUAL REPORT OF THE BRITISH TRANSPORT POLICE

The following information is from the British Transport Police annual report:

http://media.btp.police.uk/r/15934/british_transport_police_releases_its_annual_repo


Total notifiable recorded crimes dealt with by BTP

2017/18 = n, 2016/17 = [n]

Violence against the person : 11,711 [9,263]
Sexual crime : 2,472 [2,132]
Criminal Damage / malicious mischief : 5,510 [4,540]
Line of route crime : 1,047 [1,485]
Theft of passenger properly : 13,006 [11,844]
Motor vehicle / cycle crime : 9,140 [8,089]
Robbery : 553 [362]
Theft of railway property and burglary : 4,397 [3,888]
Public Order : 10,313 [7,713]
Fraud : 454 [353]
Drug Crime : 454 [353]
Total other notifiable crime / offences : 942 [965]

In the last 10 years

Violence against the person : +47%
Sexual Offences : +167%
Criminal damage and malicious mischief : -30%
Serious line of route offences (crossing railway line) : -57%
Theft of passenger property : -33%
Motor vehicle and cycle offences : -7%
Robbery offences : -49%
Theft of railway, commercial property & burglary : -35%
Serious public order offences : +28%
Serious fraud offences : -60%
Drug offences : -61%
TOTAL CRIME : +13%

British Transport Police Numbers

Ethnic minorities = (n)
Women = [n]

Police Officers :                   3,079 (280 - 9%) [649 - 21%]
Police Community Support Officers : 271 (46 - 17%) [271 - 29%]
Special Officers :                  322 (45 - 14%) [45 - 14%]
Police Staff :                      1,526 (352 - 23%) [802 - 53%]

British Transport Police budget 2018/19

We have agreed with the British Transport Police Authority an overall gross budget of £298.3m for 2018/19. Of the overall gross budget, £250.9m is for core overground policing and £47.4m is for core underground policing.

Other income, including Enhanced Policing Service Agreements, is £20.4m.

A drawdown of reserves has also been agreed at £9.03m.

------------------------
Further information

VIOLENT CRIME ON RAIL NETWORK UP 75 PER CENT AS TRAIN OPERATORS URGED TO ACT AGAINST TICKLESS TRAVELLERS
(Telegraph, dated 12th January 2019 authors Martin Evans, Yohannes Lowe and Ashley Kirk)

Full article [Option 1]:

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/12/violent-crime-rail-network-75-per-cent-train-operators-urged/

-----------------------
(10th February 2019)


HAPPY NEW YEAR - SOME SUGGESTED RESOLUTIONS - FOR YOUR SAFETY

Personal Safety

- 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 either public transport or your own means (car).
- Be aware of how you can walk home from your place of work, the shops or an excursion
- Always use a licenced taxi or mini-cab. DO NOT except offers from "drivers" hawking outside nightclubs, etc.

Home

- Test your smoke alarm and replace old batteries - replace unit if necessary, they are only £5 !
- Always ensure that uPVC doors are locked correctly
- Always ensure that you home looks occupied, even when you are out. Use a timeswitch on a tablelamp so it lights up when dark.
- Don't allow anyone into your home unless there is a pre-arranged appointment and the caller has a valid passcard. Also take the passcard and call the helpdesk telephone number, bonafide employee's will not mind.

Online

- Keep computer security software up to date on your computer, mobile phone, tablet etc.
- Activate the Parental controls within security software on your childs PC, laptop and tablet.
- Discuss and regularly remind your children about being safe online.

Car

- Ensure tyre pressures are correct for your vehicle.
- Reduce liklihood of skidding - check that the tread on your car tyres meet the legal depth.
- Ensure windscreen washer bottle is full and has a cleaning / ice preventer in it.

Banking


- 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.
- Before withdrawing cash from an ATM check the machine and surround for suspicious items or individuals. Ideally withdraw cash from ATM's sited at banks or ask for "cashback" when instore (supermarket etc).
- Don't give any personal details to anyone requesting them, even if they say they are the Police
- Don't give any time to unsolicited phone calls, regardless of who they say they are. Hang-up
- Don't give your bank details to anyone requesting them, even if they say they are the Police.

(7th January 2019)