Heatwave brings out scam gardeners

August 16th, 2018 by

Cornwall’s hot sunny weather this summer has sparked an increase in doorstep scams involving garden or outside maintenance.

Now Cornwall Council Trading Standards are urging residents to be vigilant after a surge in reported incidents over the past two weeks, especially at park home sites.

Different scams have featured gardening and tree surgery work targeted for unnecessary and over-priced repairs.

In one recent case, the cold caller started work clearing grass clippings before getting any agreement from the home owner to do it. When refused payment for the work they started to rummage around in a workshop, attempting to take tools and other items as payment.

In another case, cold callers have undertaken work to replace support jacks underneath park home properties, preying on resident’s fears about the condition of supports underneath their homes. Although some work was carried out, it appears to have been massively over-priced and unnecessary.

In the past couple of weeks there have been nine separate reported complaints from residents in Redruth, Bodmin, Helston, St Austell, and St Columb.

Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards team works in partnership with Devon & Cornwall Police to investigate these issues, and where possible, bring offenders before the courts.

In order to help communities avoid the rogues, the team operates the ‘Trading Standards approved’ Buy With Confidence Scheme; offering a directory of tradespeople who have been vetted by our Service to ensure that they are reputable and trustworthy businesses

Sue James, Cabinet Portfolio holder for public protection said: “Doorstep scams take place when someone comes to your door with the aim of scamming you out of your money or trying to gain access to your property.

“Scams can happen at any time of the year, but we have noticed an increase in scams relating to home and garden maintenance, possibly linked to the beautiful weather we are experiencing and people wanting to spend time outdoors.

“While the majority of tradespeople and officials are legitimate it’s wise to be on your guard when you answer your door. Doorstep scammers can be persuasive or pushy but also polite or friendly, and it can be easy to fall victim. It’s especially important to be vigilant and aware if you live on your own.

“Many of the recent reports we’ve received have been opportunistic – they’ve seen someone out working in the garden and have been pushy in getting them agree to pay for services.

“The criminals generally focus on the elderly and vulnerable, and are very good at spotting their targets. We all need to be vigilant, and look out for our friends and neighbours. Just because someone presents a business card with some local telephone numbers on it, does not mean it’s a genuine business.”

Residents are asked to report concerns to Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06; alternatively, If you see a suspected rogue trader actively working on a property in your area, please report to the police on 101.

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Campaign to raise awareness of County Lines

July 4th, 2018 by

County Lines

Know the signs

Police have today, Tuesday 3 July, launched a campaign to raise awareness of County Lines and how the public can help spot the signs of such criminal activity ongoing in their community.

County Lines is a term used to describe urban gangs supplying drugs to other parts of the UK using dedicated mobile phone lines. The gangs are likely to exploit children or vulnerable adults to move and store drugs and they will often use coercion.

This is a national trend and there are criminal gangs using the County Lines operating model across Devon and Cornwall.

The Force’s County Lines lead, Detective Superintendent Antony Hart, said: “This week we are launching our County Lines campaign and as part of our ongoing commitment in tackling this nationwide phenomenon, we are now appealing to the public to spot the signs within their communities.

“Our recent policing activity over the last year shows that our counties are not a safe haven for drugs supply chains and anyone coming to the area intending to be involved in drugs will face prosecution.

“We have teams across the force area who focus on disrupting these drugs supply lines and on protecting the vulnerable people who become victims of crime. We also work closely with other forces, regionally and nationally, as well as the Regional Organised Crime Unit, to share intelligence and best practice to target drug suppliers.

“Neighbourhood teams and response officers are regularly patrolling areas that are used for ‘street dealing’ creating an environment where there is no safe place left to hide.

“County Lines gangs will often target children and young people, women and vulnerable adults to deliver drugs and money between locations.

“An operating base is also an essential feature of the County Lines criminal model. Gangs will regularly exploit vulnerable people, forcing them to build up a debt or using threats of violence in order to take over a person’s home, a practice known as ‘cuckooing’.

“Police have worked to identify people who may be either susceptible to, or victims of, drugs networks who use their homes to ‘set-up shop’. Once into the address drug dealers use this as a base to run their activity for short periods of time before moving on.

“Any address that has previously been used is entered onto a database and then visited by Neighbourhood teams. This relies on good working relationships between local partners, housing providers and tenants. This process also provides opportunities for rehabilitation and rehousing to break the cycle of vulnerability and offending where relevant.

“By consistently visiting people in our community we aim to reduce the risk of people becoming repeat victims of cuckooing and to continue to build the intelligence picture to ensure that other people are not put at risk of harm from Organised Crime Groups.

“We have continued to keep up this level of activity and in 2018 have continued to visit addresses where ‘live’ cuckooing is suspected to be taking place.

“We recognise that County Lines drug supply is a problem that cannot be solved by the police alone. We will continue to work with our partner agencies and our communities to tackle the issue, sending a clear message to drug suppliers that they are not welcome in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.”

Signs to look out for:

A young person’s involvement in county lines often leaves signs, below are some of the indicators of county lines involvement and exploitation:

  • A child or young person going missing from school or home or significant changes in emotional well-being
  • A person meeting unfamiliar adults or a change to their behaviour
  • The use of drugs and alcohol
  • Acquiring money or expensive gifts they can’t account for
  • Lone children from outside of the area
  • Individuals with multiple mobile phones or tablets or ‘SIM cards’
  • Young people with more money, expensive clothing, or accessories than they can account for
  • Unknown or suspicious looking characters coming and going from a neighbour’s house
  • Relationships with controlling or older individuals or associated with gangs
  • Suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries

Gangs may also target women who tend to be drug users or have engaged in a relationship with a gang member. They can become victims of sexual and domestic violence and can also be coerced into delivery drugs or money for the gang.

Vulnerable adults who are in financial difficulties or who have mental health problems are usually the most likely victim of cuckooing.

What can you do?

If you have concerns surrounding children, follow safeguarding procedures and share your concerns with local authority social care services.

If you are being affected by any of the above or know someone who is then contact police via 101@dc.police.uk or by calling 101.

Alternatively you can call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Further information on County Lines can be found on our website: www.dc.police.uk/countylines

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INTEGRATED DOMESTIC ABUSE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE SERVICE

July 1st, 2018 by

INTEGRATED DOMESTIC ABUSE AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE SERVICE: CORNWALL AND THE ISLES OF SCILLY

Service details and referral guidelines

  

The new, comprehensive, county-wide, Adult, Children and Young People’s Integrated Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence community service, delivered jointly by First Light and Barnardo’s , commences  1st July 2018.

All services are free of charge.

The Sexual Assault Referral Centre and Independent Sexual Violence Advisory services remain the same.

The new Service provides a wide range of education, early intervention and prevention services and expert support for victims of domestic abuse and sexual violence and their families.  The service includes:

Crisis response

The service offers a single point of contact for domestic abuse in the county and an Independent Domestic Violence Advisory provision.  This includes risk assessment, safety planning, individual advocacy, advice and guidance.

Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Recovery Toolkits for Adults, Children and Young People

The Recovery Toolkits provide a specialist recovery-oriented and programmatic intervention for adult and child survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence.  This includes community support groups.

Domestic Abuse Prevention Programme

Domestic abuse prevention programmes will be offered for men and women who display abusive behaviour in their relationships, to increase safety to their non-abusive partners and children.

Therapeutic Services

Therapeutic support is available for adults, children and young people who have either recently experience Domestic Abuse or Sexual Violence, or recently concluded their engagement with an Independent Sexual Violence Advisor.  Group-based therapy and Pre-trial counselling will also be available.

How to refer

Telephone: 0300 777 4 777

For professional requiring advice and information prior to making a referral using the online referral form: 01872 241 711

Online referral via the First Light website https://www.firstlight.org.uk/make-a-referral/

Healthy Relationships Schools Programme

Healthy Relationships training is delivered to primary and secondary schools in partnership with Brook supporting education leaders to create whole school approaches and to champion Healthy Relationships as core to their PHSE curriculum.

The programmes are tailored to be age appropriate and aim to equip students with the skills to develop healthy and respectful relationships. Critically, the programme seeks to develop young people as ambassadors for promoting healthy relationships in their school environments as they are best placed to influence long term change.  This service will commence in October 2018.

Enquiries and bookings for Healthy Relationships:

 Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence Workforce Development Training

Domestic abuse and sexual violence training packages to suit a wide range of professional needs.  Further information and bookings can be accessed via the following links: 

 A new link to Eventbrite and a full refreshed programme of domestic abuse and sexual violence training will be distributed in the Autumn.

 

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It’s International Restorative Justice Week (19-26 November)

October 31st, 2017 by

Restorative justice is all about bringing together the victims of crime with those responsible to find a way forward.

Restorative justice offers the victim the chance to have their views heard and a say in the way to repair the harm done. This can include agreeing activities for the culprit to do as part of taking responsibility for their actions and repairing the damage they have caused.

Devon and Cornwall Police consult with the Youth Offending Service every time a young person has been involved in an incident/crime. The restorative justice worker contacts the victims of crime to ensure their views are represented in the decision making process.

If you are looking for further help and support as a victim of crime please contact 101 and ask for the Victim Care Unit or by visiting http://www.victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk/

They will identify the most appropriate organisation to help you cope and recover from the effects of crime.

If you have been the victim of a crime that could have been dealt with restoratively, you can get more information about the RJ team at YOS please contact us on 01872 326782 or email: yos@cornwall.gov.uk

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