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Monthly update from Warwickshire's Police and Crime Commissioner
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The latest news from the Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
March 2020

Stay at home, protect the NHS, save livesThis month's newsletter arrives at a time where the whole country - and indeed the whole world - is gripped by a national public health emergency, which is having a major effect on how we all go about our normal lives.

The coronavirus pandemic is surely the widest scale emergency this country has faced in peacetime and that's why absolutely everyone has their part of play in helping to combat it and ensure that our vital services can cope at a time of unprecedented demand.

This week the Government has introduced new guidance urging people to stay home in order to help protect the NHS and save lives. When we reduce our day-to-day contact with other people, we will reduce the spread of the infection. That is why the Government has introduced three new measures:

  1. Requiring people to stay at home, except for very limited purposes.
  2. Closing non-essential shops and community spaces.
  3. Stopping all gatherings of more than two people in public.
Full guidance on the new measures - which came into force on Monday 23 March and will be in place for at least three weeks - can be found here.
 

PCC elections postponed
 

One of the consequences of the current crisis has been the postponement of the Police and Crime Commissioner Elections, which were due to take place in May.  Clearly, it would not have been possible or fair to the democratic process to conduct the elections during the current crisis, so I fully support this decision.

Police and Crime Commissioner elections will now take place a year later in May 2021, meaning that my current term of office has been extended by 12 months.  While unexpected, the Warwickshire Police and Crime Plan which sets out the priorities for policing locally is already is scheduled to run until 2021, so this delay will have no effect on the delivery of policing locally.

Over the next 12 months I will continue to work hard to represent all communities across Warwickshire to ensure that your voice is heard on matters of policing and criminal justice.  I will continue to hold the force to account, while also providing strong support to the Chief Constable and partners as we continue to work through the current crisis.
 

Responding to the coronavirus crisis
 

Warwickshire has always proved itself to be resilient and I am convinced that while there are undoubtedly further difficult times ahead, we will continue to see the strong partnership working that the county is famed for, bringing communities together to help each other throughout these challenging circumstances.

I have been keeping in regular touch with the Chief Constable and senior officers at Warwickshire Police and I can reassure the public that the force are working well with all of the other agencies to co-ordinate their response to the coronavirus pandemic, again with that core focus on keeping all parts of the community safe, especially those who are most vulnerable.

I have every confidence that, if everyone plays their part and follows the Government advice, Warwickshire can rise to the challenges that lie ahead, whatever they ultimately may be.

While my offices at Northgate Street are currently closed, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner continues to work on your behalf, with contingency plans in place to ensure we can continue to function effectively while working remotely, to ensure we can maintain appropriate social distancing.  My office is also continuing to keep in close contact with the many organisations we fund through grants and our commissioned services for victims, who have all adapted well to the current restrictions, with staff in many cases working from home to continue to offer vital support online and over the telephone to those who need it.

Now, more than ever, their work is vital to helping ensure we support the vulnerable and maintain a safe and secure place for all.  You can find links to some of these key services below.

I know this will be a very worrying time for everyone, so I hope the information in the newsletter will help you and your families get the best advice and support.  Ultimately, we all have a responsibility to come together to fight this terrible virus and by following the Government's guidance in full, we can save many thousands of lives and ensure that we can get back to normality much sooner.
Philip Seccombe TD
Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Coronavirus banner
For the latest coronavirus information and guidance from the Government and the NHS, please visit:
NHS Coronavirus Information Site
Government Coronovirus Information Site
Further information and support
An update from Warwickshire Police's Chief Constable, Martin Jelley QPM
All of the local authorities across Warwickshire have information and advice available about their services and how to contact them during the crisis:

Crime Prevention Advice


You can find a range of crime prevention advice online as normal at https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/cp/crime-prevention/

Additionally, you can find specialist information advice on the following sites:

Look out for Fraudsters

Recently the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau (NFIB) reported a new trend in fraud related to Coronavirus, or COVID-19. The majority of reports are related to online shopping scams where people have ordered protective face masks, hand sanitiser, and other products, which have never arrived. Other frauds being reported include ticket fraudromance fraudcharity fraud and lender loan fraud.

Protect yourself
  1. Watch out for scam messages - don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
  2. Shopping online - if you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases. For more information on how to shop online safely, please visit: https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/shoponlinesafely
  3. Protect your devices from the latest threats - Always install the latest software and app updates to protect your devices from the latest threats. For information on how to update your devices, please visit: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/guidance/securing-your-devices

Support for those experiencing domestic abuse


The orders to stay at home and isolate from family and friends are going to prove challenging for everyone. However, it may prove additionally challenging for people in violent and abusive relationships. People who have not previously been victims may also find themselves subject to domestic abuse. There is no excuse for domestic abuse and one incident is one too many.

What is domestic abuse?
Domestic abuse is categorised by any incident or patterns of incidents of controlling, coercive or threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are or have been intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. This can encompass but is not limited to the following types of abuse:
  • Physical
  • Emotional
  • Psychological
  • Sexual
  • Financial
Reporting domestic abuse:
If you have been a victim of domestic abuse you can call police on 101 or make a report via the Warwickshire Police website https://www.warwickshire.police.uk/ro/report/ocr/af/how-to-report-a-crime/

If you feel threatened or a crime is in progress call 999.

Refuge
Refuge logoIf you are experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire, Refuge’s Domestic Violence Service Warwickshire can support you and your children to keep safe. Refuge Domestic Violence Service Warwickshire is a county-wide service  which I co-commission to provide support to women, men and children experiencing domestic violence in Warwickshire.

If you don’t want to contact police, you can also get support and information from the  Refuge-run Warwickshire Domestic Violence Centre which continues to operate by phone on 0800 408 1552 (8.30am – 8.30pm Monday to Friday; 10am-4pm on Saturday). 

Further advice:

Support for all victims of crime


Another service I commission is independent charity Victim Support ,  which delivers local support services to victims of crime across Warwickshire, encompassing emotional and practical support for victims to help them cope and recover.

We know there will be concern from victims of crime at this current time, but the message from Victim Support is that they are still operating and ready to help with phone support and resources to support you.  Their staff have moved to full remote working but you can get in touch with Victim Support by phone - so while it's different locations, it's the same people, with the same commitment to helping you cope and recover after crime.
 

Contact Victim Support


Victim Support logoTelephone the local victim care team: 02476 351003. Lines are open 9am-5pm Monday to Friday. 

Alternatively, you can use the live chat  service any time (available 24/7). 

If you need support outside of local open hours, call the Supportline for free on 08 08 16 89 111 or request support via the website.

Other help and advice


The Ministry of Justice Victims’ Information Service website also provides details of local support and where to go for help if you need specialist support e.g. victim of harassment, relative of a victim, living with domestic abuse.
Getting in contact during the crisis

To contact the OPCC:

You can continue to contact us as normal by email at opcc@warwickshire.pnn.police.uk or by phone at 01926 412322.  Wherever possible, please try to contact us by email in the first instance, but please note that due to our revised working arrangements, it may take us longer than usual to provide you with a reply.

To contact Warwickshire Police:

Officers are working 24/7 to help keep everyone safe. If your call is not urgent, please use an alternative way to contact the emergency services. Non-urgent incidents and crimes can be reported on the force website: www.warwickshirepolice.uk.

The website also contains lots of advice and guidance which may relate to your issue, so please check there first. If you do need to speak to someone on the phone (but it is not an emergency), please call 101 or contact your local Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT).

Only dial 999 in an emergency.

Public Priorities Survey continues to gather feedback


The deadline for completing a survey on the future direction of policing and criminal justice in Warwickshire has been extended indefinitely in light of the coronavirus outbreak.  Due originally to finish on 20 March, the Public Priorities Survey –  which is being organised jointly by my office and Warwickshire Police – will now remain open for the foreseeable future, with a final deadline to be determined later in the year.

The survey seeks to understand public opinion on policing and criminal justice matters, which will provide even more valuable feedback once the current crisis has abated and as future planning takes place to shape Warwickshire Police and community safety over the years to come.

We understand that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone and filling in such a survey will quite rightly not be people’s priority right now. However, it still remains important that in time we hear from as many Warwickshire residents as possible to get their feedback on priorities around crime and policing. This will help us to plan for the future and shape services in line with public expectations, so we want to leave the survey open for those that do wish to complete it.

We will look at our options to further publicise the survey later in the year once the situation in the community has returned to normal.

The survey will remain online in the interim at the OPCC website - click here to take it.
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