23 January 2015 Advice on Creating Strong Passwords from Action Fraud
Fraudsters regularly hack into personal online accounts to obtain details which will allow them to defraud you. To prevent fraudsters, it’s very important to use strong passwords when setting up and accessing online accounts and online banking.
Passwords should be memorable enough not to have to write them down and long enough to be unique and hard to guess, which will ensure they are less vulnerable to being stolen. If it is not possible to remember passwords a password manager could be used to store them securely.
• Make sure passwords are memorable so that you don’t have to write them down. Make sure they are unique.
• Th!nk ab0ut how you could change the l3tters in your n0rmal passw0rds to make them more difficult to gue55!
• Use long, non-dictionary words and use different ones for each of your personal accounts and online banking. Make sure you change them regularly.
• Make sure passwords are not stored on devices that have shared access by other people, for example in internet cafes and when using other public Wi-Fi.
Thurrock now boasts its own Neighbourhood Watch shop in Thurrock High Street in what is believed to be a first for Essex. The main aims of the shop are to actively promote Neighbourhood Watch across the Borough and to sell various crime prevention items. The shop is run by volunteers and chairman Roger Passfield is keen to recruit more people to assist. If you can spare an hour or so, Roger would be pleased to hear from you. He can be contacted on [email protected]
The picture shows the shop front with some volunteers standing in front of it
21 January When is a scam not a scam? When it’s a hoax
I frequently receive e-mails from worried Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinators where they have received details of scams. A case in point occurred today when a county colleague, in good faith, forwarded details of a voicemail message where the recipient was asked to call a number starting with a 0906 dialling code. The warning accompanying the message stated that anyone calling a number with that code would be charged £1500 per minute for the call etc. Using the search string on Google of “0906 scam” revealed that it is a malicious hoax probably designed to overwhelm the e-mail system, So there you have it a trick of the trade in separating hoaxes from scams or wheat from chaff even
21 January 2015 Crime Victims in Essex now have direct access to support, information and advice at the click of a button thanks to a new website launched by Nick Alston, Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex.
The website, www.essexvictimsgateway.org, went live today – Monday January 19 – and offers access to the many local support groups for people who have been subjected to crimes ranging from rape to anti-social behaviour.
Victims can simply type their postcode into the site’s search facility to find out more about the support available locally to them.
12 January 2015 Spam Text Messages
An increasing number of residents are reporting receiving spam text messages to their mobile phones often orginating from firms specialising in PPI and personal accident claims. It is now possible to report such spam to the service provider by forwarding the received spam message to 7726. Whilst using 7726 will not block all spam, it will allow service providers to filter such messages and possibly go some way to reducing the amount of spam received via text
22 December 2014 - Operation Insight
Operation INSIGHT is Essex Police’s response to burglaries and is based on the theory of “predictive policing” which, as the name suggests, is about using a particular form of crime pattern analysis indicating where crimes are most likely to happen.
Academic research indicates that criminals are habitual in behaviour and go back to the locations where they have had previous success, this supports the theory of Repeat and Near Repeat Offending (i.e.; you are more likely to become a victim if you live near a victim).
Predictive Policing uses crime pattern analysis to indicate where offences are most likely to occur next. Given the ability to ‘predict crimes’ logic dictates we should concentrate our policing efforts in these areas which are mapped as circular zones around victim’s addresses. Resources are directed to conduct intensive patrols within these zones, supported by the process known as “cocooning”. These zones are shared with key partners such as Community Safety Accredited organisations.
Following a burglary, we will visit near neighbours, the number of dwellings to be visited will be site specific, but would normally include 10 houses either side, 10 in front and 5 behind (see map below).
Attending officers will conduct an initial assessment of security and vulnerability which may inform referrals to other scheme such as crime prevention officers or local handy man schemes. These households will receive bespoke crime prevention advice and reassurance. Staff will also be expected to advise householders of ECM by providing a postcard and encouraging them to sign up. This process should be followed up by sending an ECM dwelling burglary message (using standard template) to the local area.
10 December 2014 Immobilise.com
Essex Police would like to make you aware of a service available to homeowners and businesses which is www.immobilise.com . This is an online service accessible by members of the public and is the world?s largest register of possession identification ownership details. Members of the public as well as businesses can register their details on the site and list all of their possessions as long as they are identifiable by a unique reference number (e.g IMEI, serial number, bicycle frame number etc). It takes only a minute or two to register, and listing individual items is a very quick process too, meaning that a household could list all of their identifiable items/possessions within just a few minutes. If items are subsequently stolen, the owner can click on the relevant preregistered item and it will immediately be recorded on the site as stolen. Alternatively, if an item is stolen but has not previously been registered by the owner they can register it and record it as stolen, providing the unique reference number is known.
9 December 2014 - Some Seasonal Advice from the Braintree Crime Prevention Tactical Adviser Christmas gone and you have some new goodies
Following Christmas a lot of us would have been lucky to have received some rather nice gifts.
What did you do with the packaging? Left it by the roadside for the recycling collection? What better advert to the thief of where to find some new things to steal. Where possible fold the boxes inside out, or tear the box up, or package it in something else, or take it to the recycling centre yourself.
How many of us have thought about recording the serial numbers or property marking it, be it a cycle, electrical goods, garden equipment or mobile phone it may have a serial number. You can record your serial numbers free or charge at www.immobolise.com and there are a number of property marking products available like indelible pens, SelectaDNA, SmartWater, CRE mark by CRE products to name but a few.
Mobile phone and personal music devices:Don’t forget to make a note of the IME number of a mobile phone, to find it key in *#06#, with this if it’s stolen you can block it. Many mobile phones and computers come pre-loaded with security and tracking software, make sure that it is activated. You can download an “App” on mobile phones to find your phone and more importantly wipe that data stored on it, check your “App store” or mobile phone provider.
When texting or talking on phones, or listening to music remain “in touch” with your surroundings, a number of road accidents, thefts and assaults occur when we fail to note what’s going on around us, don’t forget to pass it on to the children.
If you would like further crime prevention advice contact your local Crime Prevention Advisor by using the Police Non-Emergency Telephone Number of 101.
Essex Police, Braintree District
Crime Prevention Advisor
1 December Nominated Neighbour Scheme
Southend has re-launched the Nominated Neighbour scheme - see http://www.southendwatch.org.uk/newsline.html for details
1 December Police and Crime Commissioner for Essex: Annual report 2013-2014
I have pleasure in enclosing my Annual Report for2013/14.
There are many examples of excellent practice within the report and I thank you all for your commitment, energy and resolve to making these happen. There are also areas where we know further improvement is needed.
I look forward to continuing to work with you over the next year, building on our strong partnership foundations and helping to make Essex an even safer place to live, work and learn.
Please feel free to contact the PCC Office, should you require a hard copy of the report.
Nick Alston CBE
27 November - Downloads of interest
To download the Essex Police Local Community meetings and street meets presentation click here
To download the Community Agents information sheet click here
24 November RESIDENTS have the chance to raise their concerns and questions about policing in the county at the next Essex Police Challenge event.
The event, devised by Essex Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Nick Alston, gives members of the public the chance to raise concerns with the PCC and the Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh.
The event takes place in Thurrock on Thursday December 11, from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at Grays Community Hall, 64 Maidstone Road, RM17 6NF.
To submit a question for the PCC and/or Chief Constable write to the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner at 3 Hoffmanns Way, Chelmsford, Essex, CM1 1GU or email: [email protected]
5 November - 101
101 – The easy to remember police number
A quick way to contact the police
101 is an easy-to-remember number for the public to call the police from anywhere in the UK. Calling the right number allows the police to respond more quickly to genuine emergencies, such as when someone is in immediate danger, a crime is happening right now, or a suspect for a serious crime is nearby.
The 101 service covers all police forces across the UK (including Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland), and has replaced individual forces’ local numbers. A call to 101 costs just 15 pence no matter when you call or how long your call is. Not only is this cheaper than some of the forces’ local numbers it replaced, the single rate for every call means you know exactly how much your call will cost.
PCC surgeries will directly precede the PCC’s district public meetings, and will be a chance for members of the community – particularly those who may not be comfortable speaking up in a public meeting, to raise issues, ideas and concerns with the PCC directly and in a more private setting.
This will not replace the existing process for making complaints to the PCC or to Essex Police, and members of the public may be referred to these processes as part of their consultation.
To book an appointment to attend a surgery near you please send an email to [email protected]
9 October - Community Engagement
From 1st October there are a number of important changes to the way Essex Police will engage with local communities through the introduction of weekly ‘street meets’ and Local Community Meetings (LCM).
All ‘street meets’ and LCM’s will be advertised in advance on the Essex Police web-site, via social media channels and Essex Community Messaging (ECM).
To find out when your next meeting is, visit the neighbourhood pages of the Essex Police web-site. www.essex.police.uk.
By using this link, you can among the first to sign up to receive messages directly from Essex Police. Later on, you will also receive a separate invitation to sign up using the database that currently contains your contact information. There is no need to apply more than once.
7 August Rochford NHW now has its own facebook page. It will at different times have information from ourselves, the Police and the Fire Brigade The relevant information can be seen here
4 August Some advice to reduce the opportunity for identity theft can be found below
Always shred financial documentation after use - especially your bank statement/ credit card statement, which will have your full name, address, account number and even your balance and overdraft limit.
Keep your card safe - the security code on the back of your cards are designed to prove you are in possession of the card when you buy online or by mail or telephone order. Never share this code and make sure any sites you use are encrypted (indicated by a padlock symbol).
Be mindful of what is on your mobile phone - smart phones can hold lots of information, including passwords to online accounts and apps, contacts and other personal information.
Check your wallet or handbag - it's always a good idea to empty out the contents of your purse and wallet on a regular basis and check what you're carrying around. Documents such as bills and medical prescriptions all contain personally-identifiable information, so if you don't need it every day, get rid of it.
15 July The new sponsors for NW window stickers is the insurance company Compare the Market.com They have issued a special edition of the standard NW sticker - see below
1 July Information on erection of NHW Street signs
Signs application form click here NB This policy only applies to areas covered by Essex County Council and notthe Unitary authorities of Southend-on-Sea and Thurrock
2 June On Sunday the 1st June we took the Epping Forest District Recruitment Stall to the Loughton Farmer's Market. We were able to discuss security and policing with the local residents many of whom showed a great interest in Neighbourhood Watch. We will be following up these contacts with a view to starting new NW groups. To encourage interest, as well as literature, we had a selection of goodies available, UV pens, Message in a Bottles, and Cycle Marking kits but as usual it was the purse bells that seemed the most popular.
We will be attending a number of events during the year and will publish the dates when the programme is confirmed.
24 April Revolutionary new Community Agents Essex service launched to support elderly people
Essex County Council has agreed funding for an innovative new service that aims to make it easier for the elderly to live independently and safely in their own homes.
Through a network of specially trained agents and volunteers, the Community Agents Essex service will work across the whole of the county supporting older people and their carers to identify their care needs, access community-based help and build their confidence enabling them to carry on managing their own lives.
The service, which is expected to support 6,000 people a year, will be delivered through a dynamic new voluntary sector partnership comprised of the Rural Community Council of Essex, who will lead the project, the British Red Cross, Age UK Essex and Neighbourhood Watch Essex.
Community Agents Essex aims to help alleviate the increasing demand on health and social care by offering targeted help and advice on mobility issues, practical living skills, social isolation, caring for someone and personal safety. Community Agents will work with those who have been referred by Social Care Direct, GP surgeries or through the networks own outreach activity in the community.
Essex County Council will be funding the scheme for an initial period. As part of the five year agreement the delivery partnership will be expected to produce a sustainable funding strategy, identifying other longer term funding sources.
Recruitment of over 36 Community Agents has already begun and it is anticipated they will begin initial work in the community in July 2014 before referrals can begin in October 2014.
Essex County Councillor John Aldridge, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care said: “The Community Agents scheme is innovative, current and responsive to the needs of Essex communities. I’m delighted that we are able to help facilitate the scheme and I look forward to working together with the four voluntary sector partners to provide such vital support for individuals to remain independent and supported in their own home and community.”
Andrew Gardner, Chief Executive of Age UK Essex: “The Community Agents Essex Project is an exciting opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of older people in Essex. Age UK Essex provides essential support services for those over the age of 50 and we believe by working in partnership with our voluntary sector partners will enable us to engage with more older residents, support independent living and prevent people from reaching crisis point.”
Tricia Earp, Area Operations Director, British Red Cross "We are delighted to be working with our partners on this new service which will undoubtedly improve the quality of life for older people in Essex.The Red Cross already delivers numerous services across the UK designed to empower older people to remain safe and independent in their homes, so are staff and volunteers we are well placed to deliver this exciting new service."
Brain Goodwin, Village Agents Manager: “This is excellent news for the people of Essex and a tribute to the work of the Village Agents in mid Essex over the last four years”
Alan Johnson, Chair of Essex County NhW Assocation: “Neighbourhood Watch operates across Essex with a network of Co-ordinators who care for their local communities, and particularly those who are more vulnerable. Our involvement with the Community Agents service will support identification of those in greatest need and early referral to the other service providers.”
23 January 2014 Essex Fire and Rescue Service has offered the following advice to home owners in the wake of a series of fires involving domestic appliances.
Make sure your appliances are safe
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to make sure their kitchen appliances are safe after five fires in one week recently, were started by using tumble dryers, washing machines and dishwashers. All of these large kitchen appliances
Essex County Fire and Rescue Service is warning people to make sure their kitchen appliances are safe after five fires in the last week were started by using tumble dryers, washing machines and dishwashers.
All of these large kitchen appliances have heating elements, motors and complex moving parts which can easily start a fire if they are not in full working order.
Over the last year 10% of all house fires started with a faulty kitchen appliance, making this one of the single largest causes of house fires in the county. Between December 2012 and December 2013 there were 210 Essex homes which suffered an electrical fire and six people were hospitalised by injuries caused in these fires.
A build-up of fluff in washing machines and tumble driers can easily ignite sparking a potentially deadly house fire.
Sub Officer Andre Turner, Home Fire Safety, said: “We all have these appliances in our homes and use them regularly so it is important that we check them regularly to make sure that they are working properly and safely.
“It is important that filters are regularly checked and cleaned to ensure they do not become blocked. A build-up of fluff and lint inside the machine is a major fire risk. Machines should not be overloaded with clothes and the manufacturers’ instructions for use, including the maintenance, should be followed at all times.
“Only use these appliances when you are home and never leave them to run overnight when you are in bed asleep.
“The best advice we can give is to fit and regularly test smoke alarms in your home. They are proven life savers.”
31st October 2013 A Southend NW co-ordinator has supplied me with the following film clip that was produced by his team at Hertfordshire Trading Statndards on Rogue Traders. It is relevant to Essex as a lot of the footage was filmed here. www.hertsdirect.org/actweb/tradstandvideos/roguetraders.cfm