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Lewes District Police Weekly News and Alerts
Alert message sent 23/04/2020 10:28:00
Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police
Thursday 23rd April 2020
Lewes District Police Weekly News and Alerts
Online safety advice for parents and carers
We're all spending more time online and this is a great opportunity to get your children to show you their favourite apps and games.
We don't expect you all to become experts in online gaming but knowing where our children are spending time online helps us to keep them safe.
The NSPCC has some really practical advice and resources which can be found here.
Farms and rural business burglaries
Don't let this weekend's changeable weather stop you taking your daily exercise, it's good for both your mental and physical wellbeing but while you're out, can we ask you a favour?
If you're in the countryside and see something suspicious, please get in touch.
Local Sussex farmers and rural businesses have been targeted by an unscrupulous few and we need your eyes and ears as always to help us.
Report your suspicions to us online here, or call 101.
Always call 999 in an emergency or a crime in action.
Did you know we are offering grants to local groups assisting others during Covid-19?
The Police Property Act Fund (PPAF) is made up of monies received by the police from the sale of found property and from property confiscated by order of court and then sold.
The main aim of the fund is to support local projects undertaken by voluntary/charitable organisations that solely benefit the communities of Sussex.
Grants of £500 are available and could go towards petrol costs, equipment, hand sanitiser - anything that helps your support group function.
FareShare distribute surplus food supplies, donated by supermarkets, to front line charities and community groups. Their work is more crucial than ever before and they have just been awarded a grant for their ongoing efforts during Covid-19.
FareShare said: “We will be using the money to fit out our amazing extra volunteers with safety gear and training. This will help us get more food out to more people as quickly as we can."
Our officers, PSCOs, special constables, volunteers and contact centre staff are engaging with literally thousands of people every day.
Since the government legislation around the Covid-19 outbreak was brought in, we have recorded an increasing number of incident reports from members of the public through our online channels.
Some 65% of online reporting forms last week up until Sunday (12 April) were in relation to suspected/perceived Covid-19 related breaches (2,723 of 4,163 reports). This is nearly twice the percentage of reports compared to the week before (711 of 2,158 reports). They were in relation to reports of individuals, groups and businesses breaching the measures.
Policing as usual continues in Sussex, despite the extraordinary times we are living in. Every contact we receive is assessed and prioritised to ensure we are where we are most needed to keep the public safe.
Chief Superintendent Jo Banks said: “We are in unusual times and as a force we are seeing the impact with a new kind of demand coming via our online reporting system.
"Everything that comes into us whether online or via 101/999 will be assessed and prioritised to ensure that we are responding where there is the greatest risk of harm to life or a crime in progress. This does mean that for some less urgent reports you may not see a response immediately, and depending on the severity some issues we can resolve over the phone.
“Our priority is keeping communities safe and feeling safe. So we can respond effectively, we’re asking you to make the right call and to be sure your contact is a policing matter so we can focus our resources on those who genuinely need our help.
“There still remains confusion about what is a policing matter whether related to Covid-19 or not. Some reports or queries into us are answers that can be accessed via the Government website, where there are comprehensive answers to key questions.
“We are hugely grateful for people in the community acting as our extra eyes and ears at this time. We are always here to people to contact us if they need us. Where you feel there are significant breaches of the government guidance to stay at home, then please make us aware, but keep 999 for emergencies only.
“We continue to work 24/7 to protect the public, to protect the NHS and to help save lives. In an emergency, always call 999.”
Stalking Awareness and Support during Covid19 - Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop.
Statistics show that one in six women and one in 12 men will experience stalking nationally, but this is believed to be grossly underestimated.
And when they become victims, they tend not to report to the police until the 100th incident.
For those affected by stalking, current isolation as a result of Covid-19 may mean an increase in stalking online and special advice has been issued by Sussex Police here.
The Sussex-based stalking support agency Veritas Justice has seen an increase in reports of online stalking over the past few weeks, which is thought to relate to the current lockdown and isolation as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.
Help and support from Veritas is available online and on the phone at 01273 234773.
For details of a new online chat facility, funded by the Sussex Police Crime and Commissioner (SPCC) and delivered by Veritas Justice for victims of stalking to easily reach out for help and advice during this time, go to the Veritas website and to the SPCC website.
But always report stalking to the police, who are ready to respond to calls and help victims.
Police are already advising and supporting more stalking victims than ever. As the second highest recorder of stalking offences after the Metropolitan Police, reports in Sussex are up by more than 100% in just three years, with more victims feeling confident to come forward to report offences.
The force recorded 1005 stalking offences in the 12 months to March 2018, 1547 in the 12 months to 31 March 2019, and 2020 in the 12 months to 31 March 2020.
Detective Chief Inspector Mick Richards said: “We are committed to continually improving our understanding of stalking and harassment and our response to it.
"We have improved training for officers and staff and ensured specialists are on hand across the county to offer advice and support on a daily basis to keep people safe and feeling safe. We want victims to be confident and know we will take all reports seriously."
As soon as a new law came into effect in January this year, Sussex was the first force in the country to secure court Stalking Protection Orders (SPOs), which run for a minimum of two years. The force has already secured eight SPOs and applications for a further five are due to be heard by courts in Sussex by the end of April. These Orders equip police with valuable powers to better protect victims or anyone connected with them in stalking cases. Significantly, SPOs enable police to enforce both prohibitions and/or specific requirements.
Mick Richards adds; "During the current Covid-19 pandemic your safety online is particularly important and there are a number of steps you can take to protect yourself.
"In particular, don’t be tempted to 'block' your caller, delete messages or throw away gifts as they could be used as evidence later on. This might include audio recordings, films or pictures, copies of emails, text messages, screenshots and similar material. You can also keep a log of all the incidents that have occurred.
"Always report it. Getting help early will assist in protecting you. This can be done by contacting us online, by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency."
Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne, said: "The theme for this week is ‘See Stalking Clearly’ and it’s very pertinent, especially during this crisis, that we all do start to see and take seriously these types of crimes.
“The rise in cyberstalking due to the ‘lockdown’ concerns me deeply. We know all too well that this behaviour causes extreme distress and can unfortunately escalate quickly.
“The severity of risk to a victim is now defined by the amount of time invested by the perpetrator in their obsession. So, with many victims receiving over 100 text messages/emails/phone calls a day, we know that these strong fixations could have a more sinister outcome.
“If you are experiencing behaviour that is Fixated, Obsessive, Unwanted or Repeated, then you are being stalked. It is a crime and you will be taken seriously when you ask for help. Please still report to the police and reach out to the team at Veritas Justice, they will both continue to be there for you whenever you need them.”
Claudia Ortiz, founder of Veritas Justice, says: “ For this National Stalking Awareness Week we are focusing on “Seeing Stalking Clearly”. More than ever it is important that stalking victims remain a visible priority during this crisis by enabling them to access the support and advice they need during these challenging times.
"We are already seeing an even more significant shift to cyber and online stalking behaviours, which are having a very negative impact on individuals and families, we are acutely aware that as domestic abuse increases so will stalking, anxiety and isolation, so we hope that the online chat facility will offer additional and flexible support to those affected by this devastating crime.
"Stalkers will continue stalking during lockdown and we will continue working with clients and partners to adapt to the changing landscape. We want to reassure victims that we are still here for them, you don't have to suffer in silence, check out website and chat to us.
"We would like to acknowledge our police partners who continue to respond to stalking incidents in unprecedented circumstances and also thank Katy Bourne and her office for their commitment to improve the lives of victims of stalking."
Background and detailed advice;
If you are being stalked or harassed it is important that you report it.
Stalkers are fixated and obsessive offenders who will not stop.
Stalking is when someone shows repeated and unwanted attention towards another person. Often when individual incidents are put together they can reveal a pattern of obsessive behaviour.
Stalking is a crime that is distressing and malicious and is something no one should have to put up with.
Think FOUR. Is the behaviour;
F – fixated
O – obsessive
U – unwanted
R - repeated
Visit the Sussex Police website to learn more about stalking and harassment and how to report this dangerous and debilitating crime.
Working Together to Prevent Terrorism – Let’s Talk About It!
While we are self-isolating and socially distancing due to Covid-19, social media is a great way to share thoughts, ideas, stay in touch and connect with people.
But online platforms can also be used to exploit vulnerable people, and target them into following links to extremist or radicalisation groups and pages; whilst this is rare, there are negative influencers and online groomers who use the internet, social media and online gaming to spread their extreme ideas, which people, especially children can be exposed to.
You may be in a position to identify and support someone who may be vulnerable to becoming involved in extremism or terrorism.
For the signs to spot, and more support on this topic click here.
Homeowners at a property off Heathy Brow, Peacehaven, reported finding what appeared to be crowbar marks on a rear door to the property on the morning of the 18th April. Fortunately no entry was gained and the damage was minimal. (0975 of 18/04 relates)
In the small hours of the 19th April, a property on Beacon Road, Ditchling, was entered by unknown suspects. Once entry had been gained, suspects targeted personal items including electronics, phones and laptops. (0257 of 19/04 relates)
There have been no further reports of residential burglaries on the Lewes district.
For a range of crime prevention advice, support and tips to keep you and your property safe can be found here.
If you have been the victim of a burglary, please report online, or by calling 101 – always dial 999 in an emergency/burglary in action.
Action Fraud scam watch
Did you know scams cost the UK economy £5-£10 Billion a year, with over 50% of people over 65 having already been targeted by scams; and only 5% of all scams reported?
This week’s scam and fraud warnings from Action Fraud:
Sextortion emails on the rise
We have received hundreds of reports about sextortion emails claiming to know your details, and request money to keep quiet.
If you receive one, do not reply or be pressured into paying.
For more information on how to protect yourself from sextortion scams, click here.
Covid19 scams continue
Coronavirus-related scams are on this rise, including scammers claiming to be from HMRC offering financial support as a result of coronavirus.
If you receive an email, text or call claiming to be from us that asks you to click on a link or give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it’s a scam.
Although fraud and cybercrime comes in many forms, there are some simple steps you can take to protect yourself.
Follow Action Frauds’ personal safety checklist to keep you and those around you safe from fraud here.
Help us keep Sussex safe
If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
You can also visit our website at www.sussex.police.uk where you can find our easy to use online forms to report all non-emergencies to us.
You can also find police advice to keep you safe and help you understand the law, and also browse our crime prevention pages for first-hand knowledge, industry best practices and practical crime prevention advice from officers and specialist teams all across the police.
Have you ever had a policing question that doesn't actually require direct police involvement to answer?
Ask the Police is a great online source of information for the most frequently asked policing questions, visit www.askthe.police.uk/ for more information.
Your local teams
You can find your local PCSO by entering your postcode at www.police.uk
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