Shortlands Residents Association
Note from DWO PCSO Adam Lighterness of Hayes and Coney Hall Ward
I have been receiving a lot of calls and emails regarding scam callers to local residents. The most common one is the HMRC scheme.
For those of you not familiar with this scheme - someone calls you up claiming to be from revenue and customs and that they are filing a law suit against you unless you pay what you owe them. They then claim to be putting you through to their claims department where they will quite happily relieve you of any money that you have!
In some cases this first starts with a recorded voice with an English accent asking you to press one to be connected to an operator. If you do press one it takes you through to a real person who then tries to take your payment details whilst also threatening that if you do not pay the police will come and arrest you. The speaker usually has a strong accent.
Please be aware - THIS IS A SCAM!
The HMRC will never contact you by ‘phone to pay them any money. If someone calls you claiming to be them please put the ‘phone down and ignore. If you remember, dial 1471 afterwards and make a note of their number (if they have left one) and call your local Police Team who will pass it onto our financial investigations unit.
If there are any monies owed HMRC will first send to you a letter. These scammers have been trying to convince people that they have sent a letter but it has been returned to them or lost in the post.
HMRC or any other government organisation will NOT ask you to provide any form of payment to them in the guise of any type of vouchers. In the past we have had people convinced that they could pay off these people by purchasing “I Phone” vouchers from the local Tesco. Presumably the intention was to collect the vouchers from the victim and sell on for a profit.
We have also had some people getting calls from others who already know the residents name and address. Their intention appears to be to book an appointment for whatever the company they are pretending to be is. The most common is for a green efficiency services company. Again, please do not give any financial details over the ‘phone.
Unfortunately, names and addresses are very easy to come by and can be found online for just a small fee which is why they may have your basic details. It is also possible that these may have been purchased from marketing companies. However, your financial details should never be disclosed to anybody so please do not fall into that trap.
SHORTLANDS SAFER NEIGHBOURHOOD WARD
Minutes of the meeting
Held on Thursday 15 February 2018 at 8pm in
The Friends Room, St. Mary’s Church, Shortlands
Present:- Graham Pyefinch (GP) Chairman; Mike Ricketts (MR) Vice Chairman;
Roger Parry (RP) Secretary; Gloria Pickering (GP1); Jenny King (JK); David Amos (DA); Margaret Shaw (MS); Adolph Williams (AW); Cllr. Mary Cooke (MC); Patricia Braithwaite (PB); Kathy French (KF); Francis Murray (FM); Susanna Shelton (SS); Elizabeth Barnes (EB); Act. Inspector Paul Thomas (PT); DWO PC Russell Edwards (RE); DWO PCSO Adam Charles (AC); Dave Foreman (DF); Frances Foreman (FF); David Hall (DH); Graham Harper (GH); Peggy Duffin (PD)
Apologies for Absence had been received from Pat Chase, Kira Gabbert, Sam Nevin, Peter White, Robert Barnes, Werner Schluep, Cllr. David Jefferies, DWO PC Harry Mudge.
1 Chairman’s Introductions. GP welcomed everybody to the meeting. He introduced DWO PC Russell Edwards and DWO PCSO Adam Charles, and also welcomed Acting Inspector Paul Thomas who will speak to the meeting about the recently announced Basic Command Units (BCU) structure. The previously arranged speaker Saira Addison of Mindcare Dementia Support was unable to attend due to a badly strained ankle. The Meeting wished her a speedy recovery and GP will re-arrange date.
1 Talk/Discussion by Act. Inspector Paul Thomas on the new Borough Command Unit structure.
GP introduced Acting Inspector Paul Thomas and briefly ran through salient points. This included the reduction in the Met numbers to 30,000 by end of 2018 and further unknown cuts in numbers by 2021.
Insp Paul Thomas outlined the structure of the new Basic Command Units (BCUs) where the Met’s current 32 borough administration model will be adjusted and merge to form 12 BCUs. Bromley Borough will be merged with Croydon and Sutton Boroughs to become the Southern Area BCU. This will be led by the BCU Commander Chief Superintendent Jeff Boothe. Bromley’s current commander – Chief Superintendent Chris Hafford will move to other duties. The BCU will deliver neighbourhood policing, emergency response, CID and Safeguarding. The go-live date will probably be in November 2018.
GP added that Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons who has been leading the BCU design work confirmed that local policing is at the heart of what the Met does. The Met wishes to improve local policing by offering a service which is more personal and responsive. Under the new BCU structure, DWO PCs and PCSOs will continue to work with local people on local priorities without being abstracted. There will be increased emphasis on working with young people, educational establishments and care homes. Larger response teams were planned. A new work practice will see officers “owning” and investigating crimes end to end so that victims of crime will see a smaller number of officers than at present. GP said that Commander Chris Hafford thanked us all for the support we had given whilst he was Borough Commander. In turn, GP, on behalf of the Ward thanked the Commander for his valuable and successful work for Bromley.
PT then answered and replied to a myriad of queries and comments from attendees at the meeting. Main points were:-
PT said that the BCU structure had already been trialled in parts of London - one trial was a failure and lessons had been learned and revised measures adopted for the current structure to be more effective. There had been no overall increase in crime under the trial. A major aim of the BCUs was to ensure that 90% of high grade calls are answered by operations within 10 minutes. Sapphire Units (investigating sex crimes) would be based as part of the Safeguarding arm of the BCU.
Referring specifically to Local Policing, PT said that each BCU would have a Superintendent for Neighbourhood Policing, and probably an Inspector for this in each of the Boroughs. Safeguarding will be taken extremely seriously and initiatives will probably be delegated to DWOs to implement at Ward level. PT said that visibility of the local police and ease of contacting them was paramount. In future “The Newshopper” and other local publications will probably be used to let the public know where to contact officers on a day to day basis. All the officers at the meeting said that the use of Twitter was growing fast. Comment was made The Newshopper was not received in some areas of the Ward.
MC and others expressed concerns regarding the reduction of police officers and staff as part of the BCU organisation. She hoped that any subsequent comparison of crime rates before and after the reorganisation would not be fudged. GP mentioned that Cllr. Kate Lymer, Executive Bromley Councillor for Public Protection and Safety, had grave misgivings about the effectiveness of policing in Bromley under the BCU structure and had been in touch with the London Deputy Mayor about this. Any outcome as yet is unknown.
PT said that the current base for local policing at Albermarle Road will close and activities transferred to a hub at Beckenham Fire Station which was much cheaper to run. The West Wickham Police public station had already closed and, as a hub, had relocated to The Warren. GH raised the point that the police could easily become less visible with these office moves: but cost savings have to be met! The new hubs are for the local police to keep their uniforms and gear and to be within 20 minutes walking distance of their Ward. All policing activity will be done whilst out on patrol using their new mobile equipment.
1 Shortlands Ward police report on local crime and results and
2 Police Initiatives and results. AC delivered his report saying that overall, local crime remained at a low level. He was pleased report a drop in burglary in the last 2 months compared to the same time the previous year. He reminded house holders to continue to take sensible precautions to avoid crime: his guidance on this is regularly circulated to residents on the Shortlands Safer Neighbourhood Email listing. As most burglaries take place during the day and are usually opportunistic, simple preventative measures to deter property crime should always be implemented.
All the officers stressed the need for the public to be vigilant and to report anything thought to be unusual or out of the ordinary.
AC said that banking scams were becoming more common: PT mentioned that the police had been working with the Banks to be aware of people withdrawing large amounts of cash in strange circumstances, and also with taxi firms if they suspect that a passenger (particularly if considered vulnerable) is being taken to a cash point to obtain cash.
GP said that car Keyless Fobs, unless suitably protected were still being scanned by criminals to obtain entry to cars. He mentioned storing the Fob in a “Faraday Case”. PT mentioned that he thought it was possible to get a Faraday Bag quite cheaply via Amazon. An alternative safety measure is to store your Fob in the fridge.
RE reported that a speed check had been carried out in Wickham Way on 11 February. Several warnings had been issued to speeding motorists and 2 drivers stopped were being “processed” (ie possible further action by the police still being considered). He said that the Speedwatch initiative is to be reintroduced in the Borough. AC asked for volunteers to help in operating speed-guns as part of a police team. Such volunteers would not operate in their own Ward. Anybody interested to contact him.
1 Local Crime Concerns and
2 Ward Promises and Priorities.
A comment from the floor raised the potential problem of speeding buses in the area. RE replied saying that buses were fitted with speed monitors; if any resident had concerns about a particular speeding bus they should contact TfL with details (time, place bus number). TfL would then check for the driver etc.
Cold callers at the door were a problem in some parts of the ward – particularly people selling cleaning products. RE’s advice was to politely refuse to buy and to report the occurrence via 101. If the caller was aggressive then dial 999. RE said that if most people refused to buy at the door, the callers would probably not return to the area.
Replying to GP’s question, PT said that 3 Special Police Officers are scheduled for the 3 local wards (Kelsey & Eden Park; Copers Cope; Shortlands) but no firm operational or deployment details had been decided as yet. GP said that the Ward/Group Specials would always be welcome at our meetings.
GP queried whether the weekly “drop-in” Police Surgeries were the most effective use of Police time in our Ward. His views were supported by many attendees at the meeting. GP suggested that maybe an effective alternative to the “drop ins” could be leaflet distribution regarding ways of protecting property, recognising and avoiding scams etc. Perhaps the Specials and/or Police Cadets could be utilised to help out. PT said that the effectiveness of the drop-ins was currently being monitored over a 6 month period. Currently drop-ins in the Ward operated at Costa Coffee at Westmoreland Road, and Shortlands Library. Other venues are being considered. PT considered that a police presence of being around and visible within the area was important; he would report back on the findings of the 6 month monitoring.
MR asked what progress had been made by the police regarding the 3 shop robberies in Westmoreland Road area end of December 2017 around the Tesco/Esso garage. RE said that although enquiries were underway, he could not give any details to the Panel at the present time as they were awaiting forensic results.
GP asked about the latest 101 and 999 call data figures; RE gave them as
December 2016 121 Calls December 2017 77 Calls
January 2017 140 Calls January 2018 113 Calls
February 2017 Until the 15th, 89 Calls February 2018 Until the 15th, 36 Calls
FM said that she was impressed when making a recent call to 101 which
was answered and dealt with promptly.
PB asked whether Bromley Police used mobile fingerprint devices. PT said that there were called “Lanterns” and were carried by the mobile units. DWOs could request use of them if necessary, but it was not considered to be a priority issue for the local Teams.
GP raised the point that the Ward meeting should probably review its priorities to reflect specific local issues instead of general crime which are already priorities for the Borough BCU (eg. Tackling Serious Crime). GP outlined the 7 serious crime types which MOPAC have identified as impacting on victims – Burglary, Criminal Damage, Robbery, Theft from a Motor Vehicle, Theft of a Motor Vehicle, Theft from a person, Violence with injury. After discussion the meeting agreed to adopt the following 3 Priorities for the Ward:-
• Tackling ASB and speeding (promise made to arrange speed check in Queen Anne Avenue)
• Tackling theft of and from motor vehicles
• Tackling the safeguarding of vulnerable people in the Ward (this follows the Herbert Protocol initiative).
1 Any Other Business. Concern from the floor was expressed about games aimed at children which could be downloaded from the Internet and which featured pornographic content. (the “Roblocks” game was mentioned). PT said that an officer in the Mottingham Ward had been trained to make adults aware of this and was going to schools to give awareness preventative training. If any adults are worried about specific incidents, please contact one of the DWOs or any Bromley Police Officer.
GP advised that the Speaker at our next meeting on 19th April will be Peter Sibley from the Council who is doing very valuable work with Bromley Agencies in pulling together all the intelligence gleaned from within the Borough. This now includes all the CCTV cameras (all now properly working), 101 calls, emails to Councillors, etc.
With the ever growing Shortlands Email listing for local Police reports and advice, GP thanked existing residents for their support and to encourage other residents to join up. Details in confidence to GP.
There being no other business, the meeting closed at 9.00pm followed by
drinks and nibbles.
1 Dates of next meetings. These are:-
• 19 April 2018
• 14 June 2018 (AGM)
• 23 August 2018
• 18 October 2018
• 6 December 2018
Secretary, Shortlands SNWP
Watch out for strangers
Firstly, we have received a few calls regarding suspicious males knocking at doors. Earlier in the week there was a male making his way along Bourne Way into Hawes Lane looking into people’s windows before knocking at the door and claiming to be selling items from his rucksack.
We also had another male in Pickhurst Lane again paying attention to people’s properties and looking in through windows rather than knocking on the door. When he was disturbed by the resident he made a vague attempt to talk to them before leaving the property.
Please be alert to who is hanging around your area and give your local Team call or call on 101 if you are suspicious of someone’s actions and would like us to speak to them. We are more than happy to do this.
If your property is empty all day please remember to secure it and set alarms if you have them. On Tuesday there was an attempted burglary in Bourne Way at half past nine in the morning. The burglar was put off after they broke a window and an alarm sounded. He ran off in the direction of Holland Way and was seen by a local dog walker. The investigation continues on that one.
Secondly, I have had a request from our Roadwatch team for more volunteers. You may remember that I put out a request last year which was very well received and I had a number of people put themselves forward. Roadwatch is a scheme in which you can help our Safer Transport Team in traffic operations and are trained to use a speed gun.
The only stipulation is that you are not allowed to help on an operation in the area where you live. I know that we get a lot of enquiries about traffic and speeding on our ward and it is a particular bugbear for a lot of people; especially those living near schools. This is a simple and easy way to help police and get the message across that dangerous drivers are not welcome on our borough.
If you are interested please get in contact with your local DWO Team with your details and they will be forwarded on to the Roadwatch team.
PCSO 7123 Adam Lighterness
Hayes and Coney Hall
Report suspicious mopeds
To all Shortlands Residents,
Sadly on Friday the 10th November at around 0950hrs a Shortlands resident was the victim of a moped enabled robbery near to the junction of Kingswood Road and Den Road the victim received injury's consisting of a broken arm where she fell to the ground after her bag was snatched by a moped travelling along the pavement.
The Shortlands team were first on scene and provided the initial investigation and first aid.
The Shortlands team are continuing to assist in the investigation to hopefully catch the offenders Bromley CID are now investigating this incident.
Following this incident can I please ask that all Shortlands residents are aware of this incident and please report any suspicious Mopeds in and around Shortlands Ward; this is especially important if the moped appears to have more than one rider.
Could I also ask that if residents notice mopeds parked where they feel is suspicious such as alleyways or quiet roads or even suspicious activity around garage block areas could they report all suspicious activity to 101 or the Shortlands Team. They park these vehicles somewhere, re-fuel them too so please keep an eye open and call 101 if you think you notice something unusual.
By providing the above information the shortlands team can be more proactive and intelligence led to try and stop further incidents happening within the ward and further afield.
Shortlands Ward DWO, PC Russell Edwards