I hope that you all had a safe and enjoyable time over the Christmas and New Year period.  Fortunately, the weather was somewhat kinder to us than January of last year.

General Crime Information

Perhaps the reason why we hear so little from the police about ‘conventional’ crime – burglary, theft, ASB, vehicle theft of and from, etc. – is because the majority of crimes being committed currently revolve around ‘Cons, Scams and Cybercrime’.  These are among the most difficult crimes to combat, as in the majority of cases, they can originate outside the UK, either as emails, text messages, postal scams, unwanted phone calls and so on.

If you are like me, you will receive phishing emails almost every other day. Latest ones to hit my Inbox claimed to be from Halifax, TalkTalk, Council Tax and Payroll Service – whoever they are! – but a quick examination of the originating email addresses or of the links within the messages show them to be anything but genuine.

With any unexpected contact offering you amazing opportunities, money, or asking you for personal information, the safest solution is to simply IGNORE the request – put the phone down, delete the email or text message, and consign junk mail to the waste paper collection box.

You can keep abreast of the latest threats by receiving Thames Valley Alerts – either as a member of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme or directly from the police by registering your interest on the Thames Valley Alert website.  A very useful Newsletter is produced by the National Trading Standards Scams Team and is regularly distributed by TVAlerts or can be obtained directly from NTS by registering on their website.

Access to the Internet

If you happened to catch the TV programme – ‘I Daniel Blake’ – the growing reliance – and almost assumption – by the various government bodies and many civil organisations, that individuals have immediate access to the Internet, was vividly portrayed.  There seems to be little appreciation that a significant proportion of the population – especially the elderly – do NOT have this access, which can make their life extremely complicated and difficult to manage.  If you are in this position, one of the benefits of being a member of a Neighbourhood Watch Scheme, is that it does provide you with access to information distributed to Scheme Co-ordinators, who almost without exception have Internet access to receive TVAlerts.

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For further information about any of these topics or about Neighbourhood Watch, contact:

David Gresswell – Scheme Co-ordinator, Flackwell Heath

(Tel: 525019   e-mail: flackwell-nhwatch@talktalk.net)

Police General & Non-emergency number: 101

Community Safety Team (Anti-social behaviour): 01494 421 087

Crimestoppers (Anonymous): 0800 555 111

Trading Standards (Consumer Direct): 0345 4 04 05 06

Cyberaware – https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk/

ACTION FRAUD: 0300 123 2040 – https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/contact-us

The Information Commissioner’s Office: 0303 123 1113

NHS: 111