Keep your vehicles safe

Tips from Met Police via OWL:

Key messages

General advice

  • Fit theft resistant number plate fittings – stolen number plates are commonly used to hide the identity of stolen vehicles. Use one way clutch head screws and adhesive to secure the plate.
  • When out and about – try to park your vehicle in a Park Mark approved car park which has an approved security standard, or if not, park in an area that is overlooked and well lit
  • Thieves are using sophisticated methods to steal vehicles with electronic keys – a scanner is used to locate the signal from the key. To prevent this, always keep the electronic key in a security pouch when not in use.
  • Fitting locking wheel nuts will reduce the likelihood of wheels and tyres being stolen.

Cars and vans

  • Leaving items on show is an invitation – power leads, SatNavs and mounts, stereo front panels, coins, sunglasses, tools, clothing and bags should be removed from the vehicle or placed out of sight.
  • Keys and ignition fobs should kept safe and out of sight and reach – the most common ways to steal a car or van is to take the keys or ignition fob, either when left in the vehicle or from your home through burglary. Try not to keep your keys in an obvious place such as the hallway or kitchen.
  • Always lock and close the windows of your vehicle when unattended – on the drive, the petrol station forecourt or when parking an unlocked vehicle is the easiest to steal or steal from.
  • Fit an alarm or immobiliser if your vehicle does not have one.
  • Set the steering wheel lock if your vehicle is fitted with one. If not, use a bar type steering lock each time you leave your vehicle.
  • Also consider using a gear stick lock.

Motorcycles and mopeds

  • Keep your motorcycle or moped in a garage, shed or designated bike store at home – storing it out of view is one of the best ways to prevent opportunist theft. Consider fitting a garage or shed alarm.
  • Fit an alarm, immobiliser, preferably with tracking capability and property mark any panels – alarms act as a deterrent. Tracking devices and property marking assist in recovery should your motorcycle or moped be stolen.
  • Lock the rear wheel to an immovable object or ground anchor and use a disk lock on the front wheel – making the vehicle less of any easy option will reduce the chances of it being targeted. Combine the use of a disk lock on the front wheel and a chain lock to a ground anchor.
  • Don’t rely on the steering lock – standard steering locks are easily defeated and your bike can always be lifted into a van if not secured.
  • Use a bike cover – covers are another hassle for an opportunist thief, if they cannot see what moped or motorcycle it is they are less likely to target it.

Caravans and trailers

  • Fit physical security and a caravan cover – fit a combination of hitch lock anti-theft device, wheel clamp and ground anchor, a physical barrier to theft is always a clear deterrent. Using a caravan cover and installing an alarm makes any theft more difficult and your caravan less attractive to thieves.
  • Register, record and property mark all parts of the caravan or trailer – register your caravan or trailer with the Central Registration & Identification Scheme (CRIS) and use overt and covert chips to mark it. If stolen, it may have its number plates, chassis, frame or CRIS numbers removed. Take photos, including specific fittings, marks or damage as these can help to identify your caravan or trailer.
  • Install an alarm and tracking system, including roof marking – if stolen, being able to track and identify your caravan or trailer is vital. Add clear roof markings, giving the year of manufacture and CRIS number, to assist police identifying your caravan. (2014 – CRIS SGBS000BYA1234567).

Goods vehicles and lorries

  • Lock it, remove it, alarm it – when leaving your vehicle unattended, first remove valuable items and cash from view, lock it and take the keys with you or leave in a secure drawer or office at work. Overnight, remove tools from vans or if parking up with an empty trailer, leave the doors open. Always set the vehicle alarm and keep fuel tanks locked.
  • Plan journeys, have an itinerary, no hitch hikers – have a route planned, including lay-overs, so someone else knows where you are due to be. Where possible use safe lorry parks or park where visible to passing traffic. Avoid insecure locations like remote laybys and quiet industrial estates. Do not pick up strangers as you have no idea what their intentions are.
  • Lock your vehicle and check it – even when on the move, making deliveries or refuelling, keep you vehicle locked and the keys with you. Before you start off again, visually inspect your vehicle, has anything changed, if so why.

Nick Hurd’s constituency update on crime and policing

Dear constituent,

 

Crime and Policing

I am very aware that the recent sequence of murders in Pinner and South Harrow, and a spike in burglaries “aggravated” by the threat of violence, has deeply unsettled many residents across Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner.  It comes, of course, against a background of increased knife crime across London, which is a source of great worry – not least for parents.

The concern is all the more deeper because this is not normal.  The statistics show these are some of the safest wards in London.  It is part of the reason why people choose to live here.  Yes, we have had spikes in burglaries before, and the police have got on top of them.  Yes, aggravated burglaries represents a relatively small percentage of the total number of burglaries, but the violence and brazen nature of it is scaring people.

Another concern I hear is about the response of the police to burglary.  A number of constituents have been unimpressed by the follow-up, especially when they have been able to present the police with some potential evidence, for example in the form of CCTV.  I know from fellow MPs that this is a concern across London.

Let me summarise what I have done, and then let you know about a public meeting that may be of interest to you:

1.  I have taken local concerns about aggravated burglary and the police response to the top of the Metropolitan Police in conversations with Commissioner Cressida Dick; Assistant Commissioner Stephen House and Deputy Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons, the lead for Local Policing. The issue is very much on their radar screen.
2.  I have met with Commander Amanda Pearson, who reports to DAC Mark Simmons, to discuss the operational response to burglary, including aggravated.  It is clear that the Met are having to rethink their approach in terms of contact with the public and supervising the quality of investigations.
3.  I have been in very regular contact with Chief Superintendent Sara Leach who commands the North West Borough Command Unit (BCU), which covers Pinner.  Together we met a group of Pinner residents that are especially concerned about aggravated burglary.
4.  I have met with Superintendent Duncan Slade, who leads on burglary and aggravated in the West BCU (which covers Ruislip and Northwood), to discuss the operational response.
5.  I have met with Ickenham Neighbourhood Watch, who are generally recognised to be one of the most effective neighbourhood watch groups in London, to discuss their frustrations and learn from their experience, not least in using OWL – the Online watch link which allows police and residents to exchange two way information in a very efficient way – which is not yet available in Harrow.
6.  I have met and will continue to meet local residents who are concerned.

This is apart from the work I do as Policing Minister to support the police and to help them end this terrible cycle of serious violence:

  • Between 2018/20, the Met Police will have received an additional £272 million of public investment, some of which they are using to recruit 300 additional officers.
  • In addition, the Met will receive a share of the additional £100m we have made available to police forces to specifically help their work to counter serious violence.  This will help support the team of 400 extra officers in London on the Serious Violence Task Force.  We are making it easier to authorise stop and search in designated areas, and have taken through Parliament new legislation that will make it even harder to buy and possess the most dangerous weapons.
  • We have made over £200m available for community based prevention work to divert young people away from crime and violence.

More details of our work on serious violence can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/serious-violence-strategy.

From these conversations, I have drawn the following:

1.  Despite being stretched, the police are giving the issue the priority it requires.  The West and North West BCUs have slightly different operating models but both have significant resources dedicated to “high harm” crime, including aggravated burglary, and both are able to bid for more “central assets” to help with work in targeted areas.
2.  North West London represents a significant percentage of total aggravated burglary and appears to be an attractive target – relatively affluent and with relatively easy access to fast road networks.  Given that this criminal activity crosses borders, it is imperative that police forces work well together.  This appears to be happening.
3.  The police and the community need to work together more effectively to make sure that this area becomes a much ‘harder’ target for criminals.  Community safety has always depended on that relationship working well.
4.  Residents are worried and need reassurance.  Police communication and engagement with the community has so far failed to reassure.

With the above in mind, I am convening a public meeting so that residents across the area can engage directly with the senior local police officers in both boroughs who are responsible for the operational response.  It will be an opportunity to ask direct questions; seek reassurance that the police are doing everything they can, and to discuss what more we can do together to help make the area safer.  At the request of residents, it has been structured as a constituency-wide meeting because a number of wards are affected and the criminals do not respect borough boundaries.

The meeting will be 7pm-8:15pm on Wednesday, 15 May, at Fairfield Hall, Windsor Close, Northwood, HA6 1PD.  The police representatives will be led by Superintendent Claire Clark from North West BCU, and by Superintendent Duncan Slade from West BCU.  It is anticipated that officers from the Safer Neighbourhoods Teams will be in attendance.  Additionally, all ward councillors will be invited.

It would be helpful to know if you were intending to attend – and please do feel free to submit any specific questions in advance.  You can contact me at: nick.hurd.mp@parliament.uk.

Best regards

Nick Hurd MP
Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner
Tel: 0207 219 1053
E-mail: nick.hurd.mp@parliament.uk
Website: http://www.nickhurd.com/
Twitter: @nickhurdmp

How to join Online Watch Link (OWL)

OWL logoMany of you receive regular Neighbourhood Watch Newsletters. And about 8,000 Hillingdon Residents have joined the associated Online Watch Link (OWL). This is a community-focused website that keeps its members up to date on local crime and security measures.

To join, simply visit www.owl.co.uk and provide some basic details. It probably goes without saying, that the site is secure.

As a general rule, always report crime in Ickenham to the Police (999 if in progress, 101 otherwise) then email Kevin Mepham, Neighbourhood Watch Coordinator for Ickenham Ward at ickenhamnhw@gmail.com

Microsoft Tech-Support Scammers using WannaCry attack to lure victims

Once again, our friends at Neighbourhood Watch have sent us some information on behalf of Action Fraud (National Fraud Intelligence Bureau):

Action Fraud has received the first reports of Tech-Support scammers claiming to be from Microsoft who are taking advantage of the global WannaCry ransomware attack.

One victim fell for the scam after calling a ‘help’ number advertised on a pop-up window. The window which wouldn’t close said the victim had been affected by WannaCry Ransomware.

The victim granted the fraudsters remote access to their PC after being convinced there wasn’t sufficient anti-virus protection. The fraudsters then installed Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, which is actually free and took £320 as payment.

It is important to remember that Microsoft’s error and warning messages on your PC will never include a phone number.

Additionally Microsoft will never proactively reach out to you to provide unsolicited PC or technical support. Any communication they have with you must be initiated by you.

How to protect yourself:

  • Don’t call numbers from pop-up messages.
  • Never allow remote access to your computer.
  • Always be wary of unsolicited calls. If you’re unsure of a caller’s identity, hang up.
  • Never divulge passwords or pin numbers.
  • Microsoft or someone on their behalf will never call you.

If you believe you have already been a victim:

  • Get your computer checked for any additional programmes or software that may have been installed.
  • Contact your bank to stop any further payments being taken.

Report fraud and cyber crime to Actionfraud.police.uk