Thu 24 September 2020

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Wealden Weekly Update

Alert message sent 03/09/2020 14:49:00

Information sent on behalf of Sussex Police


Thursday, 3 September 2020
 

News and appeals

 

Police warn of courier fraud rise in Sussex


Police are warning residents to be wary of unsolicited phone calls after seeing a rise in reports of courier fraud across Sussex.

Courier fraud is where fraudsters call victims pretending to be from police, a bank, or another trusted organisation and request money or information. Typically, the caller persuades the victim to withdraw a sum of money or disclose personal details such as a PIN number. A courier is then sent to collect it. 

In July and August Sussex Police received 91 reports of courier fraud relating to vulnerable victims. There were 25 cases where losses were recorded, totalling £243.035. Fortunately the majority of victims reported the fraud to police after realising they were being scammed or Banking Protocol was instigated to protect the victim from losing money.

On 13 August, police received a report that a 76-year-old woman in Horsham was called by a man pretending to be from her bank. She was asked to urgently attend a branch in Redhill as she had supposedly been the victim of fraud. When she said she couldn't attend, he arranged for a courier to come and collect her card and asked for her PIN number. Two ATM withdrawals of £500 were made in Crawley.

PC Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Safeguarding Officer for Sussex and Surrey Police said: "Sadly, this is a typical example of the way criminals will prey on the elderly to steal their money. Courier fraud often specifically targets the vulnerable by exploiting their trust in the police and their bank. 

"Courier fraudsters are nearly always part of wider criminal gangs who can be incredibly convincing and persuasive. It can be particularly intimidating for older people when scammers turn up on a victim’s doorstep and they may feel under pressure to comply with requests. 

"We would urge residents to be particularly vigilant about unsolicited calls at the moment. You can help by encouraging older and vulnerable members of the community to double check people are who they say they are. Never feel pressure to make a decision on the spot - if in doubt, hang up the phone or shut the door. The police and your bank will never ask you to transfer money and will not ask for your PIN or banking password.

"We understand some victims may feel frightened or embarrassed following courier fraud and may not want to talk about it. We're asking anyone who has experienced this sort of crime to report it to Action Fraud or police so it can be investigated."

You can do your bit to prevent courier fraud by checking on elderly friends, relatives and neighbours, and making sure they know what to look out for.

Please remember: The police and your bank will never

Phone and ask you for your full PIN or full banking password

Ask you to transfer money out of your account

For more information about Operation Signature, the force campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud see the website here.


 

Blue lights leaders condemn assaults on staff


The leaders of police, fire and ambulance services across Sussex have come together to condemn a steep rise in assaults against emergency workers.

Sussex Police Chief Constable Jo Shiner described the trend as ‘completely unacceptable’.

It comes as a national report is published with a wide-ranging set of recommendations around police officer and staff safety.

Chief Constable Jo Shiner said: "Police officers have experienced a rise in assaults over the last few months, but I was shocked to hear from colleagues in the ambulance service of more than a dozen incidents of serious assaults on paramedics over the summer - and that was just in Brighton. This is completely unacceptable.

"It can't be right that the very people dedicating their lives to saving others are increasingly coming under attack or when people think sharing videos of this is the right course of action. For communities to be protected, we must stand together to protect our frontline. Assaults on police, fire and ambulance workers, and indeed other public sector workers doing their job, will simply not be tolerated."

On Wednesday (September 2), the National Police Chiefs' Council released the Officer and Staff Safety Review (OSSR), which it had commissioned in September 2019 and included the biggest ever survey of police officers, staff and volunteers to canvass views on safety at work.

The review presented a broad range of 28 recommendations that have been unanimously approved by chief constables and fully supported by all staff associations. Assaults against officers were most likely when suspects were hostile, resisting arrest or intoxicated and the odds of assault were significantly reduced when officers drew their Tasers, compared to officers who used only handcuffs.

Lawrence Hughes, 29, of Southover Street, Brighton, was jailed for eight months for this attack on a police officer in Hove in April and a further four months for driving while banned. In sentencing him, Judge Mark Van Der Zwart congratulated PC Alex Ferguson, who had his radio grabbed and thrown away by Hughes to prevent him calling for help, and said:  “Police officers have a vital role in maintaining law and order and protecting us all. They are not there to be abused and assaulted. It is not part and parcel of their job. Those who think they can attack the police should understand the offences will be met with an immediate custodial sentence.”

However, police officers are not the only emergency service workers affected, with colleagues from the ambulance and fire and rescue services also reporting assaults on their staff. 


South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) Operating Unit Manager for Brighton, Tim Fellows, said: "Since June 1, we have seen an alarming spate of incidents of assaults and abuse of our staff. In Brighton and Hove alone, we have recorded 16 separate incidents and on occasions that has involved more than one of our team. What is clear, is that alcohol or drugs consumption is more often an aggravating factor. 

“The huge majority of patients and members of the public know that this kind of behaviour is deplorable and would never think of hurting someone who saves lives and serves the community. Sadly there is small minority who seem to think this is acceptable. We will always work to take action against anyone who attacks or abuses our staff.”

“We encourage staff to report and take action against anyone who physically attacks or verbally abuses them and they must never be made to feel that violence or the threat of violence is just a part of their job.”

Attacks on firefighters in East Sussex trebled in 2018/19 from seven the previous year to 21, which included nine in Brighton and Hove. In December last year, firefighters dealing with a fire in Eastbourne came under attack by a group of teenagers. A firefighter required hospital treatment after being struck by a pebble.

CC Shiner said that assaults on emergency workers must never be seen as 'part of the job'. 

"Working for the police can be a dangerous and unpredictable job and every day our brave officers and staff work hard, often in difficult and challenging circumstances, to keep people safe. Being assaulted while they are doing that is completely unacceptable and must never be seen as part of the job.

"However, I am astonished by the reports that I receive from colleagues in other blue light services about assaults on their staff who are often responding to and assisting people in need of their urgent help. In some cases, these are attacks on paramedics by the very person they are trying to help.

"Every day emergency workers go out on the frontline to protect the public and this often means helping them at times when they are going through or find themselves in challenging or difficult situations. While distressing, this does not give anyone the right to physically or verbally assault our teams. If anyone is assaulted while on duty, the impact can be both physically and psychologically significant. Not only is that individual affected, but also their team and their family.

"These are incredible people doing incredible jobs and it is simply not acceptable. On behalf of all of my colleagues in other services I will be raising the issue with the Crown Prosecution Service to see how we can work together to send a very clear message to those who perpetrate these attacks."

Assaults on officers in Sussex rose by nearly 20 per cent in 2019/20 with 628 being recorded. Since 2014/15, recorded assaults have risen by 185 per cent. Many of these have resulted in injuries and included kicks, punches, scratches and bruising, through to more serious incidents such as dislocations, fractures and concussion. Additionally, officers are regularly subjected to being spat at, which in many cases leads to them having to undergo a worrying wait following HIV and hepatitis tests. More recently, there has been a significant rise in spitting incidents associated with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dawn Whittaker, Chief Fire Officer for East Sussex, said: "Emergency service and health staff have had a challenging time during Covid, having to adapt their ways of working and undertake new duties, but have done so in order to help keep our communities safe. 

"In light of that, it is just completely unacceptable that we have seen an increasing number of attacks on these workers. We all understand that there are some in society who simply will not behave decently to us as we carry out our work and we also understand that there are people with frustrations and health issues themselves, but it’s just simply not acceptable to attack other people who are just trying to do their job. 

"I would like to implore people to remember that we are blessed in the UK to have these services to protect our communities."

Chief Fire Officer of West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service Sabrina Cohen-Hatton said: “It is hard to believe that anyone would see emergency service staff as a target for attack, but sadly this is an issue that emergency services face up and down the country.

“In the last four years, attacks on firefighters have risen by 66% nationally to 961 incidents in 2018/19. An attack on a firefighter is not just an attack on a firefighter. It's also an attack on the person they're trying to rescue - someone who is already hurt, afraid and in danger. It is an act of cowardice. 

“Firefighters protect their communities and save people's lives. I would welcome an increase to the maximum sentence for attacks on emergency service workers. We need to be clear that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”


 

New Police Scheme Has Given Extra Support to more than 1400 people reporting Domestic Abuse


Since the beginning of lockdown, a new police scheme in Sussex has given extra support to more than 1400 people reporting domestic abuse.

The 39-strong specialist unit, the Local Resolution Team, introduced in March this year, deals by appointment with any cases that are not immediately urgent, including a new video appointment service when conversations can’t take place face to face.

If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic abuse in any shape or form, you can always talk to us #YouAreNotAlone - if you can't talk to us, you can find help and support on the Safe:SpaceSussex website here: http://orlo.uk/vtX4f

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​​​​​​​Crime summary

A burglary occurred on Church Lane, Pevensey on 26/08/2020 whereby a residential premises was broken into and electrical and jewellery items were stolen from within (Ref: 47200146514)

A burglary occurred on Oakleaf Drive, Polegate on 27/08/2020 whereby a residential premises was entered and cash stolen from within (Ref: 47200147367)

A burglary occurred between 27/08/2020 – 28/08/2020  in Hartfield whereby a garage was broken into and a quadbike stolen from within (Ref: 47200147411)
 
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, email us at 101@sussex.pnn.police.uk 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
 

Links and attachments: Sussex Police will only ever link you to secure Websites we trust. We will only send you attachments where we believe it is absolutely necessary.
 

 
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Eastbourne, Lewes and Wealden team (Police, Prevention team, Sussex)

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