Neighbourhood Watch

New support line for victims now live

A new victim service dedicated to supporting those affected by crime throughout their journey has launched in West Mercia.

At 8am this morning, (1st April), the new Victim Advice Line (VAL) went live. Those needing support can now access the free and confidential service and receive a care package that is bespoke to them.

To make it easier for those wanting to access the service, there are a number of ways for people to get in touch:

• The free and confidential phone line (0800 952 3000) is open 8am until 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am until 5pm on Saturdays
• A new website (www.victimadviceline.org.uk) is now live
• An online chat function, available on the website, gives those not wanting to use the phone an opportunity to talk to someone online
• If someone doesn’t have time to chat on the phone or online, there is also an option to email or use the contact form on the website

Recognising the needs of victims are different, the VAL will work with the victim and allow them to have greater ownership of their journey by allowing them to shape it themselves. Those that need someone to talk to also don’t have to have reported the crime to the police.

This new service is part of Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion’s commitment to ensuring victims of crime receive an improved and more consistent service, and is also a model that is being seen as best practice and a flagship across the country in delivering support to victims, having already been adopted by other PCCs and police forces.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I am delighted to be officially launching the Victim Advice Line today. This new service marks the beginning of big changes to the way victims are supported.

“By working with an individual and making sure they’re getting the level of support they need, and deserve, we’re sure to see those affected by crime moving on with their life with greater confidence.

“This new service also allows better multi-agency working, such as with the police and other support services, which will ensure those affected by crime will have someone with them every step of their journey.”

West Mercia Police Assistant Chief Constable, Martin Evans, said: “We are truly committed to providing the best possible service for victims and survivors. We strive to always put victims at the heart of everything we do and the support that the Victim Advice Line will provide alongside us will be invaluable.

“Every member of our force is dedicated to ensuring we are always victim focussed and the VAL is a perfect reflection of our values and commitment.

Did you witness a robbery at around 11.30am on Tuesday (26 March) on Chapel Lane, Bell Heath?

West Mercia Police are appealing for witnesses or information following a robbery near Belbroughton.

The incident happened at around 11.30am on Tuesday, 26 March on Chapel Lane.

The victim, a man in his 30s, pulled up in his van outside an address on Chapel Lane when a white car containing two men pulled up next to him.

One of the men got out of the car and approached the victim, demanding he hand over the keys to his van.

The second man, believed to be carrying a bladed article, also got out of the car and approached the victim before threatening him.

The victim threw the keys to his van on the ground and fled the scene.

The two men then drove off in the van and the white car in the direction of Madeley Road.

The van was discovered abandoned a short time later on Harbours Hill, not far from where the incident happened.

The offenders had taken a large quantity of parcels from inside the van.

The first man is described as black, aged between 25 and 30-years-old, around 6′ tall and of athletic build. He is believed to have been wearing dark clothing and a hood.

The second man is described as in his 20s, with dark skin, around 5’11” tall and of slim build. He is believed to have been wearing dark clothing and a hood.

Detective Constable David Bunce from West Mercia Police said: “Thankfully the victim wasn’t injured as a result of this incident, but this was understandably a frightening ordeal for him that has left him shaken.

“We have launched a thorough investigation to identify those responsible and a number of enquiries are currently ongoing.

“We would urge anyone who may have witnessed the incident, seen anything suspicious or a white car being driven erratically in the area around the time of the incident, or think they may have been offered suspected stolen goods in the Bell End or Bell Heath areas to please get in touch.

“Anyone with any information, no matter how small or insignificant it may seem, is asked to call West Mercia Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 22/27325/19 of 26 March.”

Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via their website www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Van Stolen from Chapel Lane, Bell Heath

On Tuesday 26th March, reported at 11.45am, a delivery van was stolen from outside a house whilst delivery was being made, partial registration of van YJxxWVC.

Did you see the incident or have you seen any suspicious activity?  Phone the police 101, Incident number 0283s 260319

Fake Tv Licensing Emails

Action Fraud has received more than 5,000 reports about fake emails and texts purporting to be from TV Licensing. The messages contain links to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information. 

Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

For more information about how to stay safe online, visit cyberaware.gov.uk

Action Fraud has received more than 5,000 reports about fake emails and texts purporting to be from TV Licensing. The messages contain links to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal personal and financial information. 

Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

For more information about how to stay safe online, visit cyberaware.gov.uk

What did you get for Christmas?

A new bike? Tools? Something a thief would like to acquire?

Have you thought about the security of your garden shed?

Consider marking your property and secure the shed with a sturdy lock 🔐

SmartWater property marking kits can be obtained from FVCA – for residents of Fairfield, Wildmoor & Stoneybridge FREE OF CHARGE admin@fvca.org

ACTION FRAUD WARNING: HMRC SCAMS

Action Fraud has experienced an increase in the reporting of malicious calls, voicemails, text messages or emails to members of the public purporting to be from HMRC.

The fraudsters state that as a result of their non-payment of tax or other duty, the victim is liable to prosecution or other legal proceedings such as repossession of belongings to settle the balance but can avoid this by arranging for payment to be made immediately by method such as bank transfer or by iTunes gift cards.

If the victim is hesitant or refuses to comply, the suspect makes a threat such as immediate arrest, bailiffs or in cases where the victim appears to be of overseas origin; deportation.

Often, the period for which the tax is allegedly due is distant enough to guarantee the victim will have little, if any, paperwork or ability to verify the claims. Once the money is paid the suspects sever all contact.

It is vital that the public exercise caution when receiving messages or telephone calls of this nature.

What you need to do

Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information. Just because someone knows your basic details (such as your name and contact details), it doesn’t mean they are genuine. Instead, contact the company directly using trusted methods such as a known email address or phone number.

Listen to your instincts. If something feels wrong then it is usually right to question it. No genuine organisation will ask you to pay taxes, bills or fees using iTunes Gift Cards, or any other type of voucher.

Don’t be rushed or pressured into making a decision. Under no circumstances would a genuine bank or some other trusted organisation force you to make a financial transaction on the spot.

Report Phishing attempts. If you receive a call, text or email of this nature and have not lost money, report this as a phishing attempt to Action Fraud.

Bromsgrove District Council SCAM Alert

Bromsgrove District Council have been made aware of a SCAM email being sent to some of their residents which appears to be from their Council Tax department regarding over payments.
 

The link in the email takes you to a very good copy of the gov.uk website or the Council’s website and asks for lots of details – including mother’s maiden name etc.
 

Please be aware that this is a SCAM and the Council does not operate in this way. The Council will NEVER ask you for details like this. If you have any concerns or suspicions about correspondence ‘from us’ then please get in touch with the District Council to query it.
 

Please make family, friends and neighbours aware of this SCAM.

Operation Lollipop

Members of the public in Bromsgrove, Rubery, Alvechurch, Wythall and Hagley are now able to send digital photographs of dangerous or inconsiderate parking outside schools directly to their Safer Neighbourhood Teams via a dedicated email address – OperationLollipop@westmercia.pnn.police.uk 

Officers will then investigate and make contact with the registered keeper to take appropriate action where possible.

Operation Snap

Members of the public can submit (via a secure online form – https://www.nextbase.com/en-gb/national-dash-cam-safety-portal/) digital footage showing potential traffic offences.

This can range from driving dangerously or carelessly to overtaking on solid white lines, using a mobile phone while driving, ignoring traffic lights or dangerous driving around other road users, such as horse riders and cyclists.

Your submission will be sent to West Mercia Police where the evidence will be reviewed by one of their road traffic officers, who will enforce against any offences committed.

Any footage submitted through the portal can also be used by the Police to help educate other road users and to advise on case results.