Monday, 21 August 2017

STAYING SECURE ONLINE: Simple Advice From Cyber Aware

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The key behaviours to help you improve your online security are:

Install the latest software and app updates

• They contain vital security updates which help protect your device from viruses and hackers
• Security updates are designed to fix weaknesses in software and apps which could be used by hackers to attack your device. Installing them as soon as possible helps to keep your device secure
• You can choose to install updates at night when you are asleep and your device is plugged in or set your mobile or tablet to automatically update your apps when you are connected to Wi-Fi and an update is available
• You can also set laptops and desktops to automatically install software updates when an update is available

Use a strong, separate password for your email account (you can use three random words or numbers to create a strong password).
• Hackers can use your email to access many of your personal accounts, by asking for you password to be reset, and find out personal information, such as your bank details, address or date of birth, leaving you vulnerable to identity theft or fraud
• Having strong, separate passwords for your most important accounts means that if hackers steal your password for one of your less important accounts, they can't use it to access your most important ones
• Make sure your password is easy for you to remember, but not easy for others to guess e.g. Pa55word may follow the rules of using letters and symbols but is well known amongst hackers as a common password
• Don't use words which would be easy to discover from your social media accounts, such as your child's name or favourite sports team
Other behaviours which can help keep you secure online include:
Secure your tablet or smartphone with a screen lock
• Give your device an extra layer of security by setting it to lock when you aren't using it
• Screen locks provide an extra layer of security to your device, as each time you want to unlock it or turn it on, you will need to enter a PIN, pattern, password or fingerprint
• This means if someone gets hold of your device they can't access the data on your device without entering your password, pattern, PIN or fingerprint

Always back-up your most important data
• Safeguard your most important data such as your photos and key documents by backing them up to an external hard drive or a cloud-based storage system
• If your device is infected by a virus or accessed by a hacker, your data may be damaged or deleted, which means you won't be able to access it. Backing up your data means you have another copy of it, which you can access
Final tips:
• Remember that spammers could also gain access to a friend's account, so if you get an uncharacteristic email containing a link from a friend, do not click on it but find another way of contacting them to check that the message is genuine.
• Leave a website if you feel suspicious – if the site doesn't look or 'feel' right, if there is text that doesn't appear to have any purpose or doesn't tie in with the rest of the site, or if you feel uneasy for any reason.
• Regularly check your social media privacy settings to control exactly what you're sharing with whom.
• If you're going away on holiday, don't advertise it on social media!
• If you use a wireless network at home, password-protect it.

These simple steps can go a long way to helping you to stay secure online. 

For more information visit https://www.cyberaware.gov.uk

PHONE CALLS:
• Unexpected calls where the fraudsters claim to be officials asking for bank details or advance payment OR from a computer company asking for computer access to take
your data
- Genuine staff will never unexpectedly call asking for bank details or advance payment OR to fix your computer
• Fraudsters are rehearsed and seem very genuine

What to do when you receive a call:
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ROMANCE FRAUD:
• When you meet someone online, once they have your trust they may ask you for money
• They may say they need medical help or that they need money to visit

What to do -
- Never send money to someone you don't know
- Only use a reputable online dating service

INVESTMENT FRAUD:
• Forceful calls made unexpectedly offering investment opportunity
• The customer is unlikely to gain financial returns

What to do -
- Be sceptical of unexpected calls offering investments
- Seek independent advice before an investment











Sunday, 20 August 2017

Call to Stay Vigilant as Crime Rises By 10%

Police-recorded crime has risen by 10% across England and Wales – the largest annual rise for ten years - according to the very latest Office for National Statistics figures.

The figures show almost 5 million crimes in England and Wales were recorded by the police for the 12 months to March this year – up 10% on the same period in 2015/16.

Police recorded 458,021 more offences compared with the previous year, which the ONS said was driven by an increase in violence – police recorded an 18% rise in violent crime, including a 20% surge in gun and knife crime.

Jayne Pascoe, Strategic Partnerships Director for Neighbourhood Watch, said: "We have also seen a rise in burglary and robbery but we do need to be mindful that these recent increases should be seen in the context of substantial falls in such crimes over the last 20 years.

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"However it's timely to remind supporters of the importance of staying vigilant and looking out for each other and being aware of what's happening in our neighbourhoods – and shows that Neighbourhood Watch is needed now just as much as ever."

Jayne added that modern menaces are also behind the crime increase.

"What the figures do show is the widespread prevalence of cybercrime. That's why we're working hard on helping our supporter help themselves and their neighbours to protect themselves from cybercrime."

The official figures also show a 26% rise to 723 in the homicide rate, which includes the 96 cases of manslaughter at Hillsborough in 1989.
Interestingly, the statisticians say the rise in crime is accelerating, with a 3% increase recorded in the year to March 2015, followed by an 8% rise in the following year, and now a 10% increase in the 12 months to this March.
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Neighbourhood Watch volunteers still have an "incredibly important" role to play in tackling crime, says Home Office minister Sarah Newton MP. 

The Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism opened our Neighbourhood Watch Connect2Protect conference in London last month. 

She paid tribute to the impressive reach of the Neighbourhood Watch movement and called on supporters to find new ways of reaching out to tackle not only traditional crimes and also new, hidden crimes that cause so much misery and harm in our communities. 

She thanked volunteers for their help in reducing traditional crimes such as burglary and car crime over the last three decades and asked them to now turn their attention to raising awareness of cybercrime, domestic violence, child sexual abuse, human trafficking and extremism.


Last month NHWN hosted our Connect2Protect event attended by members, partners and key stakeholders from across England and Wales. 

The successful event kicked off with an inspirational speech from Sarah Newton MP, Minister for Vulnerability, Safeguarding and Countering Extremism detailing Government priorities contained within the Modern Crime Prevention Strategy and how Neighbourhood Watch can help with those priorities. 

This message was reiterated by NHWN Chair Lynn Farrar, who highlighted the way forward for the movement in light of these new and emerging threats.  Attendees also heard first-hand examples of work undertaken by volunteers from across the movement including support for vulnerable elderly people suffering from dementia in Kingston-upon-Thames, innovative partnership working undertaken in Lancashire and the growing problem of fraud and cybercrime taken on by Sussex Neighbourhood Watch. 

Following a morning of presentations, the event then enabled attendees to network, exchange ideas and best practice, directed by expert partners from various fields, including youth engagement, hate crime and diversity, to name but a few. 

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See the Powerpoint presentation for more slides.





Saturday, 19 August 2017

Fire & Rescue - Positive Action Community Events



Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service is holding two Positive Action community events and four specially targeted “have-a-go” days in the next few weeks.

If you are female, or from a BAME community, and would like to find out more about becoming a Firefighter with Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service can come along to talk to us at an informal session at

Carnival Arts Centre, St Mary’s Rd, Luton
Wednesday 23 August 18:00 – 20:00 hours

The Service are also holding four Positive Action “have-a-go” events specifically aimed at women and those from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities

Wednesday 30 August, 16.00 to 19.00 hours, at Luton Community Fire Station, Studley Road, Luton LU3 1BB

Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic community member “have-a-go” events are on:

Saturday 2 September, 14.00 to 17.00, at Luton Community Fire Station, Studley Road, Luton LU3 1BB

These event will give people from under-represented groups thinking about joining the Fire and Rescue Service the opportunity to try a number of activities which may include:

     1.)    Climbing a 13.5m ladder;
     2.)    Equipment carry and casualty drag including CPR;
     3.)    Manual dexterity, involving assembling and taking apart three items of equipment;
     4.)    Wearing breathing apparatus (BA).

These activities will be conducted in full fire kit and will give everyone an opportunity to experience wearing and working in the full protective equipment to experience what it is like to work as a Firefighter.

The day will include a talk given by existing members outlining the recruitment process for both Wholetime and on-call (RDS) Firefighters.  There will also be lots of opportunities during the day to ask questions with all involved.

Robert Jones, Diversity Advisor, explains: “We believe we have an exciting and rewarding career opportunity for everyone in our community, and especially value interest from female and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities so that we have a truly diverse team of fire and rescue professionals.

“As we work so closely within our communities it is important that we encourage the very best applicants and that they are able to be representative of our county.  Keeping people safe are as much about being able to understand different community needs, activities and cultures as it is about the technical skills of fighting fires.”

Fiona Beck, Assessment and Selection Coordinator says: “We want everyone in our community to feel they can apply to be a Firefighter and we continue to work toward a Service that reflects the full range of different communities we serve.

“Positive Action events such as these are a lawful way for us to reach out to prospective new firefighters from areas where we are currently under represented.  These events offer insight and an opportunity to discuss what we have to offer you and you have to offer us.  Our events do not guarantee employment; we anticipate lots of interest and everyone will still need to complete our online application process.

“To be a full-time firefighter you should live in Bedfordshire or within 10 miles of its border, be fit, over 18, have four GCSEs, be able to swim and have a full driving license (with no pending issues).”

If you are interested in attending any of these events please contact Diversity@bedsfire.com for more information.

For more information on becoming a Firefighter and application details visit www.bedsfire.com/CareersandRecruitment

Working with Dogs Trust To Prevent the Heartbreak of a Stolen Pet



Dog theft is on the rise, and as such, Neighbourhood Watch and Dogs Trust are urging the public to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity. In 2016 alone, nearly 1,800 instances of dog theft were reported to police forces across England and Wales. 

Information obtained by Dogs Trust through a Freedom of Information request also reveals that gardens, closely followed by the home, are the most common areas from which dogs were reported stolen. Lee Paris, Campaigns Officer at Dogs Trust, told Our News : "It is a sad day when we have to issue these types of warnings, but with instances of dog theft becoming more prevalent, we want to ensure that dog owners are aware of the dangers so that they can help keep their beloved pets safe. Theft of any item is distressing, but when a dog is stolen, who many consider a part of the family; the experience can be even more distressing." 

The most common breed of dog reported as stolen was the Staffordshire Bull-terrier, followed then by the Jack Russell, Chihuahua and the Bulldog. But Dogs Trust warns that any dog, whatever the breed, is at risk of theft if left unsupervised. 

Lee continues: "By making small changes to the garden and the home, and by registering to a local Neighbourhood Watch scheme, we hope we can help reduce the number of dog theft instances. The message we want to get across when it comes to garden security is that we want to keep the dog in, but keep thieves out!" As such, Dogs Trust advises never to leaving your dog unattended, and has put together the following advice on how to help protect your dog from the risk of theft and what to do should the worst happen. 

Whether you own a dog or not, intruders should not be able to access your garden or property.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Opposition To Proposals For Intercity Trains Affecting Luton

 A new public consultation is proposing changes to the railway services that could affect commuters who use local trains.

The East Midlands Rail Franchise Public Consultation is available to download at gov.uk (.pdf file) from a gov.uk website.

The document says that proposals will enable the next franchise to:
• Reduce journey times on the peak-time intercity long distance services by up to 20 minutes.
• Relieve over-crowding on all East Midlands services to and from London.
• Introduce higher capacity trains, up to 12 carriages long, on dedicated commuter services.
• Deliver over 1000 additional seats an hour in the peak into London, an increase of more than 50%.

During the consultation period a series of public events will take place, allowing anyone to come along and ask questions about the proposals for the next East Midlands franchise.

A petition has been started by campaigners who believe this proposal will take away Intercity services, particularly from Luton.

How to respond to the consultation: Go to Consultation Response.

If you have questions about this consultation, please contact: East Midlands Consultation Coordinator Department for Transport 2/21 Great Minster House 33 Horseferry Road London SW1P 4DR 0300 330 3000 (switchboard) EastMidlandsfranchise2017@dft.gsi.gov.uk




Saturday, 29 July 2017

FireFighters Charity - Virtual Run


Lorraine Moore
Fire Safety Officer
​,
 is proud to inform you that her Grandson, Cameron Moore (Age 12) is in his fourth year of raising money for The Firefighters Charity.

This year he has organised a Virtual Run, a Virtual Run is where you pick the distance that you would like to run during the month of August (you can run, jog, walk or use a treadmill).

The distances are 5km, 10km or 20km.  You complete this at your own pace during the month so you can either do it in one hit or you can do lots of short runs over the month.

Once you have achieved the distance you signed up for, you send evidence via email to Cameron.  This can be screenshots of the treadmill, Strava App, Nike running App, fitness watch, map my run or similar to prove that you have completed your target. Once Cameron receives this he will send you out your medal.

The entrance fee is £10 for adults and £8 for children under the age of 14 (as of 31st August) and all profit goes to the Firefighters Charity.

You can scan the QR code on the attached poster which will take you straight to the application form or you can visit Cameron's Facebook page.

Once you have filled the application form in, Cameron will send you a PayPal request within 48 hours.

If you don't have a PayPal account or you would prefer to fill out a paper application form please email either myself or Stacey stacey.moore@bedsfire.com





Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Improvement Plan Lifts Need For Close Scrutinisation of Bedfordshire's NHS

NHS England has removed special measures on Bedfordshire's health body, after it delivered on an improvement plan to stabilise its finances and put the organisation on a firmer footing.

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group was placed under 'legal directions' in 2015 after it delivered a £42m uncontrolled loss over the previous two years.

The 'legal directions' meant that a new Accountable Officer and Executive team was appointed and the organisation was closely scrutinised to ensure better financial management and corporate governance was put in place.

The organisation also increased its clinical leadership, appointing a number of clinicians, including a new chair to the health body, to ensure that all decisions were made with patients in mind.

Dr Alvin Low, Chairman of Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group said, "We are delighted that NHS England has lifted 'legal directions'. It is a resounding endorsement of the hard work and commitment shown by the Executive team and our staff over the last two years.

Much work has been done to steady the ship and strengthen the organisation, while ensuring that we continue to deliver quality health care services to residents in Bedfordshire."

In 2017, Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group delivered a surplus for the first time since it was created in 2013, whilst also paying back some of the deficit it accrued in the previous two years.

Dr Low said, "While this is terrific news, we need to be mindful of challenges ahead, especially in terms of managing our finances when our population is growing in size and need. However, this process has made us a stronger and more resilient organisation than we were before and we will continue to work hard to make a difference to the health of the communities we serve in Bedfordshire."

Bedfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group is responsible for planning, organising and buying NHS-funded healthcare for the 441,000 people who live in Bedfordshire. This includes hospital, community health and mental health services.

·         BCCG is run by GPs, nurses, hospital doctors and other clinicians – the people you see whenever you come into contact with the NHS. All 53 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members of the CCG which is divided into five areas, which we call localities. These are: Bedford, Chiltern Vale, Leighton Buzzard, Ivel Valley and West Mid Bedfordshire and all of the 53 GP practices in Bedfordshire are members.