Author Archives: CambsCops

Bike thefts – reducing your chances of becoming a victim

On average across the UK, a bicycle is stolen every 60 seconds. In the St Ives area, between two and three are stolen on average every week.

We have recently analysed reports of bicycle thefts in the St Ives and Ramsey area over the last three years and come up with some interesting results:

Where are bikes stolen from?Where are bikes stolen from

 

 

 

 

 

On which days are bikes most stolen?Which days

 

count of time

 

 

 

At what times are bikes most stolen?

 

 

 

 

 

Were the bikes locked?Count of locked

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bike theft facts (St Ives and Ramsey data):

  • Roughly 40% of bike thefts are from people’s homes (including gardens and garden sheds)
  • Bike thefts occur most at the beginning of the week
  • Bike thefts occur most at night or in the evening
  • In over a third of cases, bikes were not locked when they were stolen

Protecting your bike

You should always lock your bike whenever you leave it unattended, both at home and at your destination:

  • Lock your bike to a cycle rack, post, or another immovable object. It’s always best to use two different types of lock – this makes it harder to steal as the thief needs different tools for each lock. Police recommend a good quality ‘D’ lock together with a robust chain and padlock
  • Choose a busy, well-lit area, with lots of passers-by, rather than a quiet, dark corner. Ideally, use designated bike parking facilities or choose an area with CCTV coverage
  • Lock your bike tightly so that it cannot easily be moved and make sure the two locks catch the bike frame as well as both wheels and the solid object you are locking it to.
  • Take with you any items that can be removed without tools such as wheels, lights, pump, saddle etc
  • Don’t leave your bike in the same place every day

Are your locks up to the job?

Use the best quality locks that you can afford, taking into account the value of the bike. It really is not sensible to use a cheap £5 lock on a bicycle worth several hundred pounds or more. You should expect to spend at least £30 or £40 on a good quality ‘D’ lock that cannot easily be sawn through or cut off with bolt-croppers. You can also obtain a lock with a built-in audible alarm for about £30.

Register your bike

If you register your bike, you stand a much better chance of getting it back if it is ever lost or stolen. You can register your bike and other property free of charge at Immobilise. It only takes a couple of minutes and all you need is your bicycle model, make and frame number.

You will find the frame number either:

  • On the bottom of the frame, underneath the pedals, or
  • On the frame near the handle-bars, or
  • On the frame where the seat-post fits, or
  • On the frame towards the back wheel

(Other bicycle registration services are also available, such as Bike Register)

Mark your bike

You should mark your postcode onto the frame of your bike in two separate locations, one of which should be hidden. The police occasionally run ‘bike days’ when they will do this for you for free – keep an eye on social media sites for notifications. Alternatively, you can do it for yourself with a stencil kit that can be bought for a few pounds. The kit comes with a warning sticker to fix to the bike frame, which is itself an excellent deterrent to potential thieves.

Ultra-violet (UV) marking kits are also available – these allow you to place marks on the frame which are invisible under normal lighting conditions and only become visible when illuminated with UV light.

There is also a device called a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag available which you attach to your bike by inserting it into the tube of the frame beneath the seat and is virtually impossible to remove. The tag contains a unique electronic identification number which can be ‘read’ by the electronic scanners used by the police. The unique number is logged on your bicycle Registration Account along with the rest of your details.

Perhaps the ultimate anti-theft device for your bike is an invisible GPS Tracker. This can be fitted inside the handle-bars of the bike and you activate it whenever you leave your bike unattended. It interacts with an app on your mobile phone and allows you to pinpoint your bike’s location to within a few metres.

Technology is constantly developing and new security, marking and tracking devices are constantly being developed. Keep an eye on the specialist bicycle magazines and web-sites for the latest innovations!

Buying second hand

Unfortunately, there is a thriving black-market in the sale of stolen bicycles. If you are looking to buy a second-hand bike, don’t be conned – look for the signs that indicate that something may be wrong:

  • Do the seller and the bike go together? You should ideally meet the seller face-to-face, preferably at their house or place of work, and ask yourself whether they seem genuine.
  • Do the parts match? Thieves will often damage a bike to make it easier to steal. Does the front wheel match from the back? Is the frame number missing or are there any signs it has been interfered with? Has the bike been re-sprayed? These are all indicators that something is wrong.
  • Does the seller have proof of purchase? Are there any receipts, manuals, guarantees or insurance documents?
  • Are there any security markings on the frame? In addition to the frame number, there may be a postcode marking or RFID security tag on the bike. If any of these are damaged, or if the information doesn’t match that of the seller, warning bells should ring in your mind.
  • Be very suspicious of an unexpected bargain – it may just be too good to be true.

Useful links

Here are some links to web-sites that provide advice and guidance on safeguarding your bike:
Cambridgeshire Constabulary
Immobilise

Spot the signs and change the story – Tyrone’s story

Only younger brothers will understand me. We’re following in the footsteps of older brothers. You are looking up to your brother. You want to do the same things. You want to do as good as he and do it even better…

But we have different characters, different way of thinking, even if we are similar. We are not cloned.” – Wladimir Klitschko

Wayne was 18 and the man of the house. His dad was long gone and he needed to provide for and protect his family. But it’s a bit difficult for him to do that now that he’s dead.

Wayne was a drug dealer. But he wasn’t just a dealer, he used drugs too. Which led to him overdosing in 2015, leaving behind his two younger brothers. But that’s not all he left behind. He also left a very large drugs debt to his bosses.

Wayne was a drugs runner for a London organised crime group who were running a county line into Cambridgeshire.

Daryl, Wayne’s younger brother, looked up to Wayne, he wanted to follow in his footsteps and be like him. Not even a year after Wayne’s death Daryl was doing just that when the police found him in a 45-year-old drug user’s house, supplying him with heroin.

Daryl frequently skipped school. He’d been found hanging around shops and streets many times but had never been found with drugs on him. He had started wearing jewellery and seemed to have access to more cash and clothes.

Unfortunately Daryl did not learn from this first experience with the police and was arrested again in similar circumstances in Suffolk and Lincolnshire.

There had been a lot of gang rivalry in Cambridge and Daryl had run over a rival dealer in in a gang feud to protect his drug business. This led to his arrest and his current residency in prison.

Tyrone, the youngest of the brothers, is now 12. He has lost both his brothers, one to an overdose and one to prison, all because of drugs. Tyrone frequently runs away from home and has been displaying the signs of county lines criminality.

But the story can and will be different for Tyrone. The signs have been spotted early and partner agencies, including a local children’s charity, are working with him to make his story end differently. To ensure he has a different way of thinking and that he is not a clone of either of his brothers.

Would you know how to spot the signs of drug dealing in your local community?

Would you know that someone was vulnerable to exploitation by drug dealers?

Here are some questions to consider:

 

  • Have you seen something you think could be drug related but are not sure?
  • Do you know someone who is being forced or asked to deal drugs?
  • Do you know someone who is saying they have a drugs debt?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes you should call police on 101 or report it online at www.contactcambspolice.uk/Report/.You don’t need to give us your name. Just tell us what you know – even the smallest amount of information could be the piece of the puzzle we need. Calls can be dealt with anonymously. Or you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

If somebody is in immediate danger or a crime is taking place you should always call 999.

You can find out more about county lines on our county lines web pages.

While this article is based on real life examples all characters and events in this story are fictional and have been created to deliver information about county lines criminality.

Spot the signs and change the story – Tasha’s story

As part of a weeklong “county lines” awareness campaign, we are educating officers, staff, partners and the public about spotting the signs of this type of crime.

Take Tasha’s story. She was a child who went missing and returned home on many occasions. But what was she up to while missing?

Spot the signs and change the story. #SaferCambs

Here’s Tasha’s story…

I met Jamie about six months ago. He used to hang around the back of the school playing field at lunch and give me cigarettes. He’s generous like that, but then again I guess he can afford to be. I mean, come on, he has his own flat (well one he shares with that man) and have you seen his trainers?

Jamie is so nice, well he was at first. He was always telling me how beautiful I am and saying he wanted to spend more time with me. That’s why we started meeting up after school. It was so much fun but I had a curfew and had to be home at night.

Then one day Jamie suggested I moved in with him. I was so excited, how could I say no? He had his own flat and was earning good money. So I packed my bag and moved in.

That first weekend was great. No adults bossing me around. We had a house-warming party, drank vodka and I even tried a bit of cocaine.  Nobody would miss me from my foster home. Well that’s what I thought. But I was wrong. The foster carers had called the police, who found me after a couple of days and returned me to my home.

But our love was strong and Jamie continued to meet me at lunch times and more often than not I wouldn’t bother going back to school in the afternoons. Nobody was going to stop me seeing him. Then he asked me to move in with him again. He said he needed some help with a big job and I could earn some money while I lived there. All I had to do was deliver a package to a flat, which was a short bus ride away. Well of course I was going to say yes, wasn’t I?

So I packed my bag again and after everybody had gone to bed I sneaked out.

I delivered the package. It wasn’t as simple as I had thought it would be as I had to hide the package, in my body, so nobody would find it, because if I got caught with it I would most definitely get in trouble with the police and it would cost Jamie a lot of money. This was because the package contained drugs. But I didn’t mind. I was being paid and it made Jamie happy.

Anyway, after a few days the police caught up with me again. Luckily I wasn’t carrying a package. But I did have the mobile phone Jamie gave me and £200 cash on me. Thankfully, I explained them away and the police just returned me to my foster home once again.

It’s so annoying when the police pick me up and return me home. Luckily, everybody is just so happy that I am ‘safe and well’ that they don’t really ask what I’ve been up to while I’ve been away.

I’ve run away loads of times now. Jamie’s got used to me being taken away from him. But it’s only ever for a few days and then we get to see each other again. We’re used to spending time apart because when I do deliveries for him I can be gone for a few days at a time, so it’s no different.

This time I may be away for a little longer than a few days and I don’t like my chances of running away much either as I don’t think the police will be returning me to my foster parents anytime soon.

That’s because this time they found me in a hotel room with £10,000 worth of heroin. I think I might be going to prison. I’m hoping Jamie will be able to sort it out. The police haven’t been able to get hold of him on the number I have for him yet. They say it’s been disconnected. But that can’t be right.

It’s been a few days now but I’m sure he will be in touch, won’t he?

 

Would you know how to spot the signs of drug dealing in your local community?

Would you know that someone was vulnerable to exploitation by drug dealers?

Here are some questions to consider:

  • Have you seen something you think could be drug related but are not sure?
  • Do you know someone who is being forced or asked to deal drugs?
  • Do you know someone who is saying they have a drugs debt?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes you should call police on 101 or report it online at www.contactcambspolice.uk/Report/.You don’t need to give us your name. Just tell us what you know – even the smallest amount of information could be the piece of the puzzle we need. Calls can be dealt with anonymously. Or you can contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 or via www.crimestoppers-uk.org.

If somebody is in immediate danger or a crime is taking place you should always call 999.

You can find out more about county lines on our county lines web pages.

While this article is based on real life examples all characters and events in this story are fictional and have been created to deliver information about county lines criminality.

Snapchat’s Snap Maps – Are you at risk?

Snapchat is one of the most popular social media channels for 13 to 17-year-olds*. For those who don’t know, it’s an app that’s downloaded to a smartphone and is primarily used for sending photos or videos which automatically delete after up to 10 seconds.

More often than not users add their friends from their contact list or use the ‘nearby’ function to search for friends.

adding friends

Following a recent update to the app, users are now able to opt into a feature called ‘Snap Map’. This is a live map which shows the location of you, your friends and events in the area. It is designed to allow more engagement between friends. You can also see local events though a heat map collating ‘our story’ snaps. The app works in conjunction with BitMoji and you can design what your character will look like on the live map.

It’s an extremely accurate map, showing your location within 10 meters, providing the opportunity for anybody who is on your friend’s list to see almost exactly where you are.

snap map

The good news is that you can choose exactly who you want to share your location with and it’s not possible to share your location with someone who isn’t already your friend. When you first use the map function you’ll see that you are automatically set to Ghost Mode which means you can’t be seen.  There are two other options allowing you to show all friends your location or you can select specific friends.

Sharing any personal information online, including your location, should be treated with caution on any application.

We would advise parents and carers to discuss social media use with their children, monitor their use and keep up to date with new developments and applications.

While there are concerns that the type of information being shared could potentially be open to abuse, the risks can be significantly reduced by users adopting a responsible approach by assessing who they share their information with and activating the facility’s privacy settings and ‘Ghost Mode’ function in their accounts.

Ghost mode

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) has lots of information about the many different social media applications including Snapchat.

If you have concerns about something that has happened online, you can make a report to one of CEOP’s Child Protection Advisors, alternatively call police on 101 or get in touch with Childline.

*Statistics from 2016 show that 23% of their users were aged 13-17, 37% were 18-24 and 26% 25-34.

Results of the Ramsey policing survey

A few weeks ago, the St Ives policing team drew up and distributed an online survey designed to give residents of Ramsey and the surrounding villages the opportunity to let police know their views and opinions on crime and anti-social behaviour in their communities and how they feel policing is carried out locally.

The survey gave people the opportunity to say what they felt local policing priorities should be, within the framework of Cambridgeshire Constabulary’s overall objectives, and also what other concerns and worries about crime and policing they may have.

In the two-week period that the survey was open, 283 questionnaires were completed and sent in – a really excellent response! Thank you to everyone who took the time to do the survey and let us know your views and opinions.

The survey is part of the Constabulary’s Community Engagement Programme and will be followed up by a Police/Community Forum Meeting at Ramsey Methodist Church on June 21 from 7.30pm.

The meeting will be chaired by Sgt Andy Street, who will give a presentation on the findings of the survey and answer questions from the audience.

For the benefit of everyone who completed the survey, and anyone else who is interested, here are graphs showing the responses to the various questions that were asked:

q1q2q3q4q5q6

 

 

“It is more than just a way to spend your spare time; it’s another career and can be a completely different way of life to what you’re used to”

IMG_6254

Chemist Louisa Bellis explains what it’s like being a Special

Being a Special Constable is like nothing I could have ever imagined or predicted. When I started the application process in 2010, I knew that I was interested in being a police officer, but I didn’t know if I would be a ‘good fit’ for the Force, or even if it would be something that I would ultimately enjoy or be good at. However, literally an hour into my first shift in January 2012 I knew it was for me and haven’t looked back since. 2,400+ operational hours later and I am still hooked and full of enthusiasm, wanting to do more.

I had always been interested in policing and law & order, and in my younger days had briefly thought about being an officer, but science won out and I headed off to university to study chemistry. After finishing my PhD, I was employed at a company where I had to travel frequently and never had much spare time. When I moved to Cambridgeshire from Yorkshire in 2009 for a new job, I suddenly found that I had a lot more free time and I started to consider constructive and rewarding ways that I could fill it. Whilst I was looking at volunteering positions, I remembered seeing an advertisement for being a Special Constable on television with the tagline of ‘Could You?’, which sparked my long-forgotten memories of wanting to be a police officer. Once I had investigated what being a Special Constable would entail, I knew instantly that was the direction I wanted to go in. The application and interview process was the most intensive that I have experienced (yes, even more so than applying for a PhD in chemistry!) and after being a police officer for the past three years, I can see why this is necessary. The process may be long and in-depth, but it is definitely worthwhile.

After attestation, I spent just under a year working with a shift in Cambridge City on the Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT). This was an incredible eye-opener as to what goes on in the world that, generally, you are not exposed to except through the media, and even then it’s in a diluted format. In this team, you deal with anything from a simple Saturday shoplifting job to a vicious, drunken assault outside a nightclub. I loved my time in SNT, but I was always pulled towards the two and four-wheeled side of policing, also known as the Road Policing Unit (RPU). After applying and sitting the qualifying boards, I was accepted into RPU and this is where I have been for just over 2 years. My shifts with RPU are mostly made up of road traffic collisions (RTCs), speed enforcement and general patrols on the main arterial routes around Cambridgeshire. I have dealt with many broken down cars, which can involve literally pushing a car around a roundabout into a petrol station, or pushing them off the main road onto the grass verge (and slipping into the mud for my troubles) or protecting colleagues on the main roads by directing traffic around them whilst they help members of the public. I have attended more collisions than I can count, all of differing severity. I have no shame in telling people that some of these collisions have affected me emotionally afterwards, but the support that you are given by your regular colleagues is amazing and you never feel like you have to deal with things alone. On the flip side, I’ve been to more jobs that have been uplifting where I’ve walked away believing that I have helped or a made a difference in some small way.

It is more than just a way to spend your spare time; it’s another career and can be a completely different way of life to what you’re used to. It infiltrates everything you do; from the way you interact with people, to the experiences it gives you that no other job can. My day-to-day life as a scientist has given me the skills to be analytical and gather information before making decisions. This has come in handy when I have had to investigate crimes and offences. Another skill that I brought from my day job to the police was the ability to sit back and listen to people, which is very important when you are faced with members of the public who are distressed or angry.

However, it’s not all about what you can bring to the job, it’s also about what you can get out of it. In fact, my overall confidence has been increased, due to having to deal with such a variation of jobs and people and having to react immediately to whatever is thrown at you. It’s also made me more relaxed about situations and stopped me taking insults and criticisms personally. When you are a Special, you work alongside other Specials, either on shift or at various operations. For me, this has led to meeting some great people, some of whom I now consider to be my best friends. You are able to bond over shared experiences, such as juggling a full time job with carrying out hours as an officer. This can be tiring and mean that you miss out on a social life, but having a support network of people in a similar situation makes it a lot easier.

Specials are often used to train the new regular officers, new PCSOs, new Specials and even the Police Support Unit. This can involve you helping with role-plays or even pretending to be part of a violent disorder group. Days like these can be a lot of fun and you get to meet a lot of people. You also have the freedom to take part in interesting operations, such as traffic enforcement alongside VOSA and HM Customs, plain-clothes burglary patrols and drugs warrants. If football is your thing, Specials are frequently asked to help out at local football matches. A couple of operations that will stay with me are marshalling the Olympic Flame tour back in 2012 and the Tour De France in 2014, both of which were fabulous experiences that I couldn’t have got from anywhere else and the memories will last a lifetime.

Ultimately, being a Special Constable has changed me as a person, for the better. It’s not a ‘one size fits all’ role and it isn’t for everyone, but I would urge people to try it out. I wouldn’t change any of the experiences that I have had for anything, as it’s the most rewarding thing I have ever done and I expect to continue for many years yet. For me, it gives me the best of both worlds. I get to be a scientist by day, which I love, and I get to be a police officer in the evenings and weekends, which I also love. I don’t have to choose between them and I get to enjoy having two careers at the same time. How many people can say that?

For more on becoming a Special visit here HERE