2015 Christmas Message from the new Chief Constable Simon Edens
I am very pleased to be given an opportunity to communicate with Northamptonshire’s Neighbourhood Watch members and commend them for the good work they are doing.
The public have always been the eyes and ears of the police and the local Neighbourhood Watch has an important relationship with Northamptonshire Police in promoting good citizenship and encouraging some of the key tools that communities need to protect themselves against crime.
The existence of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, in any community, sends out a clear message to any would-be criminals, that these are areas where residents care; they are vigilant to crime in their area, they look after and look out for each other and they are always prepared to offer and share information where and when it is needed. These attributes can only help to deter offenders from taking that chance on residents not noticing, or not caring about, what is going on in their own street.
I wish all members of Neighbourhood Watch in Northamptonshire a very merry Christmas and a happy new year. I thank you all for your good work and I hope you will long continue to care about the communities in which you live and help to provide that extra layer of security that is so important in supporting the work of the Police and keeping localities safe.
Emergency: 999 Non Emergency: 101
Northamptonshire Police Switchboard: 03000 111 222
Alternatively Call Crime Stoppers Anonymously: 0800 555 111
Subject: SNAST Neighbourhood Watch Update on Police communications
Dear local Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator
RE Police Communications with Neighbourhood Watch
Here is a follow up email to our's of 9th October highlighting the local police changes to the way they communicate with NHW, namely the emphasis on "live time information to communities" via Twitter. And, at the same time, the emailed Ward Updates (written by PCSOs) are replaced with emailed Monthly Updates on a regional level (i.e. Brackley area and Towcester area). We understand that two of these regional Monthly Updates have been issued by email so far. If you have not received one please let us know?
We had a good number of replies to our 9th October email: some in favour of these changes and others against them.
The SNAST team met recently to look at how best we can work with these changes and ensure messages get through to you as it is clear to us that many of you do not use Twitter. One thought we are considering is an online platform that will allow us to capture the information the police distribute (via Twitter or however) and convert into email updates (or even text messages) that NHW Coordinators prefer.
It is certainly a learning curve for us and will have some cost implications. The online platforms we are looking at include www.ifttt.com and another is http://nationbuilder.com If you or any friends have some direct experience of this type of software then do please get back to us as we will need some help.
We also hear that the police hope to make a decision soon regarding an improved version of the Community Connect (Visav) messaging system that at the moment is on hold.
Finally, for those on Twitter, we are advised by PCSO Whitehead:
"Statistics on crimes will not be issued in the Monthly Updates but they are in the public domain on the following website: www.police.uk
Go to ‘find your neighbourhood’ and pop in your postcode this will bring up a map and you can zoom in and out on areas down to the village or street.
You can click on the crimes and it will bring up what’s happened in the area and the amount of crimes for the month.
Setting up an account I would advise you speak to the parish/town clerk about this also as they may have one and can give you some advice. You can have several accounts for an area but when picking your name might be worth using something like @NHW…and then the village, to make it easy for people to try and find you and follow you.
The accounts I think you would find beneficial to follow are:
The above we hope is helpful? Meanwhile, SNAST will keep you updated on developments our end as and when we have some feedback.
Nick King and Linda Hemming
The SNAST AGM was held at Grange Park on the 8th October, as well as NHW co-ordinators the meeting was attended by Inspector Phil Kings and the County chairman, Ian Fearnley.
Much of the meeting was taken up with discussing communications between the police and groups such as NHW and the wider public. Many options are being considered including an upgrade of Community connect, Twitter and Facebook. I am sure that we will be hearing a lot more about communication in the coming months.
A Service of Thanksgiving to commerate the life of Dr.John Gwilt was held at St.Marys', Roade on Tuesday 5th May 2015. John was a member of the SNAST team and well known in Roade for his active role in NHW. The church was full with people paying their respects to John who gave so much to his community.
He will be missed not only by his family and friends but by members of the police and the SNAST team.
New chair for South
At the South Northants
Area Support Team (Neighbourhood Watch) annual general meeting in October,
Nick King of Towcester Neighbourhood Watch was elected to fill the vacancy
left by Ian Edwards of Greens Norton who unfortunately had to step down as
chair due to work related issues. Ian has done sterling work on progressing
issues for SNAST as well as raising its profile among members and parish
councils across South Northamptonshire and Nick’s ambition is to continue and
further this work.
Nick is chair of Towcester Neighbourhood Watch and very
recently he, on behalf of the town’s Neighbourhood Watch group, received a
Certificate of Appreciation from the South Northamptonshire Safer Community
Team which was presented to him by Chief Constable Adrian Lee at the annual
meeting of the county Neighbourhood Watch.
“It’s wonderful for Towcester Neighbourhood Watch to receive
recognition from our local Police Community Safety Team in this way”, says
Nick. “It’s important appreciation of the group and all those members who work
hard for its success.”
Nick is looking forward to working with his new colleagues
and officers at SNAST. He sees a growing emphasis from communities and the
police on the work that SNAST does and its network of town and village
Neighbourhood Watch groups across the district.
you do not have a Neighbourhood Watch group in your village or community then
why not? Get in touch with Nick and the SNAST team via the website www.snast.co.uk
Watch Out for our Signs!
Neighbourhood Watch groups across South Northamptonshire are celebrating the arrival of new Neigbourhood Watch signs to be erected in villages and communities from Aston Le Walls to Kings Sutton, Kislingbury to Yardley Gobion.
The Watch groups from 22 villages and hamlets in the south and south west of the county have benefitted from a grant from South Northants Homes as part of the housing association’s 5th birthday anniversary last year. The funding bid was masterminded by the South Northants Area Support Team (SNAST), a voluntary group which gives support, strength and expertise to the region’s Neighbourhood Watch groups.
Ian Edwards, chair of SNAST says “Having clear visible Neighbourhood Watch signs can act as a significant deterrent within a community. We have endeavoured to ensure that those areas in most need of additional or replacement signs had priority when allocating them. We are grateful to South Northants Homes for their generous grant and have worked closely with them and a number of key partners during the process”
The new signs are part of a strategy led by SNAST to build the network and effectiveness of Neighbourhood Watch across the area, and to underline the message to those intent on breaking the law or anti-social behaviour that the community is becoming increasingly vigilant.
The heart of Neighbourhood Watch, in conjunction with the local police teams, is to build more friendly, safer communities: a theme strongly supported by South Northants Homes and its staff. If there is not an active Watch group in your area, or you wish to know more, then please contact SNAST via the website www.snast.co.uk
May 2014 - An invitation from the Police to all parents and concerned residents
Towcester Community Event
We welcome any parents or concerned residents to this event to
talk about drugs and underage drinking within Towcester. We will be
offering you the chance to get some advice around things that effect
young people, including drugs and alcohol.
Members of Sponne school, your local police safer community team
officers and many other agencies will be joined together to talk to
you about the effects and actions that need to be taken to tackle
such a difficult subject.
If you are a parent or have a child at Sponne School, please come along.
Your input is needed
Towcester Town Hall
Wednesday 14th May at 6.30 p.m
Making Towcester a safer place for young people
This is an Open forum for questions such as: What drugs are they using? What agencies are available to help? What is the law around drugs and underage drinking? How do we know the signs?
Please find below a link to a very useful booklet on crime prevention & safety which has been produced by Neighbourhood and Home Watch Network (England and Wales).
South Northants Area Support Team (SNAST)
30th January - Thanksgiving service - message from Joan Wood
There will be a Service of Thanksgiving for Geoff's life on Monday 10th February at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, Gayton at 11.45 and all are welcome to attend.
We are just having family flowers, but if you wish, donations to the Multiple Sclerosis Society should be sent to John White Funeral Directors, 188/190 Watling Street East, Towcester, Northants, NN12 6DB
"It is with great sadness that we have to announce that Geoff Wood, the SNAST treasurer, died over the weekend. Geoff was huge supporter of Neighbourhood Watch, not only as the coordinator for Gayton but as treasurer for SNAST. Geoff was a fountain of knowledge and gave a tremendous amount of time and guidance to the organisation. He will be sadly missed by everyone and fondly remembered.
Our deepest sympathy and thoughts go to his wife and family for their loss"
Tip of the Month
Please be vigilant at ATM cash machines due to skimming devices being placed over the front face and used to gain card details, always protect your pin and if you feel the cash ATM has been tampered with in any way contact the ATM provider and the police immediately. Police telephone: 101
Crimestoppers 0800 555 111
I am sure that everyone has heard the term "Distraction Burglary" - These are amongst some of the worst crimes that can happen. Largely the offenders prey upon the elderly or vulnerable members of our communities. They will often call at peoples homes purporting to be from a utility company and whilst the occupant is kept talking by one of the offenders the second one enters the premisses and steals. The impact on the aggrieved is immense can often lead to a lifelong feeling of insecurity and constant anxiety.
Recently our area has suffered a number of distraction burglaries and there is every likelihood that they will continue. Everyone is asked to be extremely vigilant not only for themselves but for those we know within our communities that may be likely targets.
Every reasonable person knows when something is not right. We have an inbuilt trigger that heightens our senses and draws our attention to an incident. The following advice is nor new and you will have heard it many times, but it is still worth reiterating.
* Always check the identity of the person who is at your door - genuine callers will expect this and encourage you to do so.
* On almost all occasions utility companies will arrange visits with you, they are highly unlikely to just call at your door.
* If you have a door chain always use it before opening your door.
* If you have doubt about the validity of your caller always phone the company to check their identity. NEVER rely on the number on an identification card that they produce - it is likely that you could be calling an accomplice who will lie to you.
If you think a distraction burglary is taking place at that time phone 999 - it is an emergency.
If you think you have information about an incident that has taken place phone either 101.
Don`t be scared just be prepared
Chairman South Northants Area Support Team
Recent examples of Distraction burglaries
"Yesterday, an incident at a dwelling in Watling Street, where someone tried to gain entry pretending to be an official of Neighbourhood Watch but this was thwarted. The householder later reported this to the police.
The second, an incident where a person pretending to work for a local Housing Association and purporting to be checking on repairs, gained entry to a dwelling and money was stolen.
30th October 2013
Police and Crime Commissioner survey analysis,
issued to members on 26th March 2013.
The Key Findings from this survey were:
56.4% of respondents voted in the PCC elections. Of those who did not vote, 67.6% of respondents cited that it was due to a lack of knowledge about the candidates.
A quarter of respondents had read their PCC's Manifesto/Crime Plan but only 8.1% of respondents were consulted and 81.3% of respondents didn't know if it contained any reference to Neighbourhood & Home Watch.
43.5% of respondents felt that it was 'very important' for the PCC to work in partnership
with NHW groups, with 77% saying saying that they may be able to work together to support an understanding of local community safety.
The survey concludes that greater engagement and more consultation with Neighbourhood and Home Watch groups and the public in general should be an essential priority for PCC's.
25th October 2013 - AGM report
Brief Overview of SNAST AGM
SNAST held its Annual General Meeting last night (24th October). The meeting was well attended with a good mix of coordinators from across South Northamptonshire. It was particularly good to see a number of new coordinators in attendance.
Inspector Andy Hall, our Sector Commander and Katrina Heath the Sector Coordinator attended and gave us a detailed review of :
The new police sector structure.
The drive to redesign the timeliness and detail of the information that we receive.
A very honest, frank and positive debate was held with the police and a genuine desire demonstrated on both sides to improve our communication links.
It was felt that SNAST should offer more support to existing NHW schemes; and in partnership with the Police and Parish Councils be proactive in areas where there is currently no scheme in an effort to find new coordinators.
Full minutes of the meeting will be circulated in due course. The next SNAST meeting is on Thursday the 23rd of January 2014 (details to follow). Every coordinator is personally invited and
encouraged to attend these meetings which will be supported by police attendance.
Chairman - SNAST
15th October 2013
At the Northamptonshire Neighbourhood Watch Association A.G.M. yesterday, an award by the South Northants Police (Brackley Safer Community Team) was presented to Jean Coles for her exemplary contribution to the NHW Scheme in Croughton and in appreciation of her loyal service to the village
3rd October 2013
The venue for the SNAST AGM on the 24th October is the Volunteer centre, Moat Lane, Towcester, NN12 6AD. Inspector Andy Hall will be attending the event to talk about the structure of the police in the South Northants area and communication and informaiton sharing.
30th September 2013 - Grant from South Northants Homes
At a recent charity award ceremony held at South Northants Homes SNAST were awarded a cheque for £1,000 to assist in providing additional and replacement signs across the south of the county. This will greatly enhance the visibility of many Neighbourhood Watch schemes, helping to protect vulnerable areas.
There were over thirty worthy causes that applied for funding and SNAST is very grateful for the generous donation. A big thank you goes to all the individual coordinators who helped with the survey and to everyone that helped in the compilation of the application. We will ensure that the money is allocated fairly and spent wisely.
Acting Chairman SNAST
SNAST AGM - To be held on 24th October, the venue is yet to be agreed. Please put this date in your diary.
County AGM is on 14th October, 7.30 p.m at Wooton Hall, Mereway. There will be three senior police officers speaking at the meeting, an opportunity to ask all those questions you can never get answers to.
Neighbourhood Watch Street Signs
Issued 27 August 2013 - The SNAST team is exploring
the possibility of acquiring some Neighbourhood Watch streets signs and is currently researching to gauge the level of interest.
A short survey has been emailed to coordinators across South Northants to gather feedback and comments. If you are a NW coordinator and have not received a copy please contact us via this website.
Of course, funding the signs will be a key issue. If you know of anyone, or any local business, company or alternative source of funding please contact us via this website. It may be possible for a suitable company to sponsor a number of signs with their logo and/or website appearing on the signs
24th July 2013
Following Geoff's request for information to SNAST co-ordinators, here is an update from Andrew Blakeman on Shutlanger's Neighbourhood Watch activity.
· We’ve established in the past year a village email circulation list. We learned that to get people to sign up, we had to go round the village door to door and ask people face-to-face to give us their email addresses. Most did, and we have 70 households (out of about 110). The primary use of the email is to encourage a sense of community, letting people know what’s going on in the village and how they can be a part of things.
· Working with Northants Police and the Parish Council, we’ve been running Community Speedwatch. That’s not specifically linked to Neighbourhood Watch, but it is part of encouraging a community spirit. It’s been a huge success in one respect – we’ve caught a lot of cars speeding – but of course the depressing side of that is… a lot of cars speeding in our village.
· Crime continues at very low rates, with three crimes so far in 2013, about the same as in previous years. We use the village email to share information about crimes and hopefully that keeps people alert, without creating unnecessary fear of crime.
· We’ve suffered no anti-social behaviour.
· We’ve tried to promote SmartWater, with absolutely no success. We also sounded out people about shed alarms and other forms of security, and most people think it’s a good idea but don’t get round to doing anything (and again I think it would need door-to-door sales to achieve anything).
28th April 2013
Communication from the Department of Business Innovation and Skills
PQ No. 2012/3624 Thursday 25 April 2013
N Andrea Leadson ( South Northamptonshire): To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what guidance his Department issues to companies which use door-to-door selling on protecting elderly and vulnerable people. (153268)
Door to doorselling is regulated by general consumer protection legislation, including the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which outlaw misleading and aggresive commercial practices which affect or are likely to affect consumers' decisions, including vulnerable consumers.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills with the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), has published detailed and summary guidance for business on the Regulations, available from the OFT website.
There are also specific regulations; the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008 (the Doorstep Selling Regulations) providing additional protections in respect of consumer vulnerabilities when agreeing contracts in their home. These require the provision of pre-contractual information and allow a seven day period during which the consumer may cancel agreements made in their home. Written guidance for business is available on the www.gov.uk website, as is a DVD, "The Seven Day Cooling Off Period".
Written Answer - Hansard Ref.
Andrea Leadson MP (Conservative)
Andrea Leadsom(South Northamptonshire): To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office, what guidance his Department issues to charities which use door-to-door selling on protecting elderly and vulnerable people (153269)
The Code of Fundraising Practice for public collections developed by the Institute of Fundraising, states that collectors ought not to approach individuals that may reasonably be considered to be vulnerable adults. Also, it is illegal for a doorstep charity collector to "importune any person to the annoyance of such person", or to remain in, or at the door of, any house if requested to leave.
18th April 2013
Dear Mr Langlois,
Further to Andrea’s advice surgery please see below the questions she
has tabled this week regarding the probation service and door to door salemen.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make it the policy
of the Probation Service not to use door-to-door selling as part of the
rehabilitation of young offenders.
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether there are any
statutory requirements for probation officers to offer training to offenders as door to door salesmen as part of their rehabilitation programme.
I will of course let you know when she receives a response.
With best wishes
Office of Andrea Leadsom
Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire
17th December 2012
Latest correspondence from Andrea Leadsom to Mike Langlois, Chair of SNAST.
The letter is from Jo Swinson MP, dated 20th November 2012.
Thank you for your letter 11 October to Chris Grayling MP, Lord Chancellor at the Ministry of Justice on behalf of your constituent, Mr. Mike Langlois regarding his concerns about the rehabilitation of offenders by supervised training.
Mr Langlois mentions in particular training in door-to-door retailing and the potential threat of criminal activity against vulnerable members of the community. Your letter has been passed to this Department and I am responding as the legislation governing the regulation of pedlary and consumer protection falls within my portfolio. I apologise for the delay in responding to you.
I appreciate the concerns expressed by Mr Langlois and the South Northants Area Support Team and I am sure that he is aware that where there is evidence of criminal activity by pedlars, certified or not, the matter should be brought to the attention of the police.
I should reiterate the Government's view that pedlary is a legitimate business activity and people of all backgrounds should be able to engage in pedlary irrespective of their past circumstances. Our main concern is that those that choose to engage in the trade do so in compliance with the law.
As mentioned by my predecessor Norman Lamb MP in his letter of 20 July 2012 our intention is to repeal the Pedlars Acts 1871 and 1881 in order to ensure compliance with the requirements of the European Services Directive and my Department will be consulting on these proposals very shortly.
I note that Mr Langlois and his colleagues have expressed particular concern regarding the repeal of the Pedlars Act and have suggested that once repealed there will be no direct identifiable link ot trace those that engage in door-to-door peddling.
However, notwithstanding the additional protections in the Cancellation of Contracts Made in a Consumer Home or Place of Work Regulations etc. 2008 provided in respect of doorstep sales worth £35 or more, mentioned in my predecessor's letter, the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, which implement the Services Directive, place obligations on all service providers to provide a range of information, including contact details. This information must be provided in good time before a contract is concluded and must be clear and unambiguous. Retailing is deemed to be a service within the meaning of the regime.
Of course, as previously mentioned pedlars like all traders are subject to the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 which provide for criminal penalties in respect of commercial practices which are misleading, including by omission, or which are aggresive.
I hope the above information is helpful
Signed Jo Swinson MP. Minister for Employment Relations and Consumer Affairs
31st October 2012
Latest correspondence from Andrea Leadson MP to Mike Langlois, chair of South Northants Area Support team dated 11th October 2012
Thank you for taking the trouble to contact me again regarding your concerns relating to the rehabilitation of offenders by supervised training in door-to-door retailing and the potential subsequent threat of criminal activity against vulnerable residents.
I entirely appreciate the important issues you raise and accordingly enclose a copy of my letter to the Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling MP, Lord Chancellor, Secretary of State for Justice, calling for his comments. I hope that we obtain a positive and helpful response and shall, of course, let you know as soon as it is received.
Andrea Leadson MP, Member of Parliament for South Northamptonshire
29th October 2012
Lead theft from Churches
A large quantity of lead was stolen from the roof of the Holy Cross at Milton Malsor in the last few days. Please advise your local churchwardens and communities to keep vigilant and report any unusual activities quickly.
31st July 2012
At the last quarterly SNAST meeting on October 24th Isabel Lefever announced her retirement as Chairman of the Committee. She has come to this decision as she is expecting to move to Hertfordshire in the near future.
On behalf of the County Association, the County Executive and SNAST, Mike Langlois, our Vice Chairman, presented Isabel with a Royal Scot crystal salad bowl as a 'thank you' gift in recognition of 19 dedicated years of service to Northamptonshire Neighbourhood Watch, and more recently as Chairman of WAST and SNAST. A Certificate of Appreciation was also presented to her to mark this achievement.
Our Secretary then presented Isabel with a bouquet of flowers as a token of our affection, and sincere thanks for all her hard work in bringing SNAST to the forefront of Support Teams in Northamptonshire.
She will be greatly missed by us all and we wish her every happiness in her future home.
Isabel Lefever receives a retirement gift from Mike Langlois
Linda Hemming presents a bouquet to Isabel Lefever
Retiring Chairman Isabel Lefever with PCSO Jen Harrison
30th July 2012
Doorstep selling campaign
The 2012-13 campaign launches on 19 July 2012 and aims to empower elderly or vulnerable consumers to make effective purchasing decisions when buying on their doorstep and reduce their vulnerability to rogue traders. The OFT is working with local authority Trading Standards Services, the Citizens Advice Bureau, the Direct Selling Association and other key players to increase awareness of the issue of rogue doorstep trading amongst the campaigns primary target audience - UK residents over 70 years and their families, friends and carers.
Building on this there will be a broader campaign in the Autumn of 2012 focusing on Doorstep selling and Scams.
The July campaign provides consumers with practical tips and informs them of their rights including the following:
1.Think twice before you buy and if you are made to feel under pressure to make a purchase, have the confidence to say no.
2. Be wary of time-limited or exclusive offers that need to be signed on the spot - this can be a high pressure sales tactic.
3. Double check the facts. Do you fully understand the costs and know whether it includes extras like installation, on-going serving charges or warranties?
4. Always shop around to compare products and prices.
5. Talk to someone you trust for a second opinion.
6.If you spend more than £35 with a trader on the doorstep, you usually have seven days in which to cancel (subject to certain conditions).
7. If in doubt, call the Citizens Advice consumer service on 08454 040506 or visit www.adviceguide.org.uk.
8. Read the full campaign strategy (pdf 87kb)
Find out more about the doorstep selling campaign and download useful materials on the OFT website
8th June 2012 - Trading Standards information
TRADING STANDARDS – BUY WITH CONFIDENCE SCHEME/ FREE DOORSTEP CRIME DOOR STICKERS, POSTERS & PROMOTIONAL ITEMS
The Buy With Confidence scheme brings together a list of many types of reliable trades people from across the County who have been stringently checked for trustworthiness and legal compliance by Trading Standards. We currently have 110 approved traders with many more in the pipeline.
Check out the Trading standards website for the latest newsletter and lots of useful information.