West Berkshire Council

Safer West Berkshire Blog

The Safer Communities Team aim to strengthen the community and create a safe and healthy environment, by working with other partner agencies to protect the community and ensure that those who live and work in West Berkshire feel safe.

Our partnership agencies include:

  • Thames Valley Police
  • Thames Valley Probation Service
  • Community Rehabilitation Company
  • Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service
  • Housing Associations 

If you have any questions about the work we do, or would like more information, please get in touch with us. You can also follow us on Twitter for more updates.

See more information about anti-socal behaviour.

See more information about domestic abuse.

In an emergency, if a crime is happening or you are in danger, you should call Thames Valley Police on 999. For all other reports, call 101. 

To report crime or information about a crime, confidentially, you can contact Crimestoppers.

Safer Communities Blog Image

Recognise - Prevent and Safeguarding

Written on: 22-11-2016

 Prevent is a part of the government's Counter Terrorism Strategy CONTEST of which there are four areas of work:

  1. Prevent - Work to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism

  2. Pursue - Work to stop terrorist attacks

  3. Protect - Work to strengthen our protection against a terrorist attack

  4. Prepare - Work to mitigate the impact of a terrorist attack

    Prevent refers to the work being completed to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism. Raising awareness of the Prevent agenda is hoped to lead to an increased identification of people at risk and consequentially, the opportunity to help and stop more people becoming involved.

    Locally, Prevent is part of the wider conversation around vulnerabilities. In the same way that criminals exploit the vulnerability of individuals for Child Sexual Exploitation, Human Trafficking or for the purpose of selling drugs; Terrorists exploit those same vulnerabilities in the process of radicalisation.    

    Vulnerabilities might include but are not limited to:

  • Peer Pressure
  • Influence from other people
  • The internet
  • Bullying
  • Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour
  • Family tensions
  • Race or Hate Crime
  • Lack of Self-Esteem
  • Identity and Personal or Political Grievances
  • Poverty
  • Mental Health
     

How does this relate to Safeguarding?

Put simply, preventing someone from being radicalised is no different from preventing someone from becoming a victim of crime due to their vulnerability. They are both about keeping people safe and having mechanisms to support people once they are identified.   

By having an understanding around Prevent and the wider issue of vulnerability we are already taking steps to challenge those who wish to exploit.

In reality, this doesn't mean that you do anything differently to how you would usually do it. What it does mean, however, is that you accept a degree of responsibility for ensuring you remain aware to the threat of exploitative behaviour in your everyday lives. In addition to this, if you do come across anything you find concerning, you have a duty as a member of your community, whether that is your home or professional community, to do something about it.

This year our annual School's Drama Competition focused their story lines on Prevent Counter Terrorism. The Willink School won first prize with a story of Radicalisation interlinked with the Tale of Robin Hood.

Picture of Winners of Prevent Radicalisation School Drama Competition
Picture of Winners of Prevent Radicalisation School Drama Competition

Further resources and information:

Let's Talk About It - Prevent

Information on the duty:

Original Prevent Duty - Home Office Guidance

Revised Prevent Duty - Home Office Guidance

 

We are due to release a learning resource (DVD and information booklet) around the topic of Prevent and Recognising signs of Vulnerability which could lead to Radicalisation and many other hidden crimes.

If you are interested in receiving a copy of this please contact Safer@westberks.gov.uk


Burglary... Don't make it easy for them!

Written on: 27-9-2016

STOCK IMAGE - Burglar at the window
STOCK IMAGE - Burglar at the window
Don't give burglars the opportunity to steal from you!

Here are a few simple tips which can make all the difference in keeping your home safe:

  • Make sure you lock all of your windows and doors
  • Keep all of your valuables out of sight and away from any windows/letterbox (car keys!)
  • Leave a light on when you go out
  • If you have an alarm, set it!
  • Keep your bins away from your house so burglars cannot climb on them to gain access to your windows
  • Think about investing in extra security measures for example, outdoor lighting
  • If you're going away on holiday, have a neighbour keep an eye on your house

The clocks go back at 2am on Sunday 30 October 2016. With the nights beginning to draw in, be sure to make your home safe this winter.


#ProtectYourWorld

Thames Valley Police are running a month of action this September around E-Safety with the #ProtectYourWorld Campaign. To kick it off, PC Tim Emery, the Safer Schools Partnership Officer has a message for you!

Written on: 12-9-2016

Image of globe with http://www. wrapped around it Displays a larger version of this image in a new browser window
Image of globe with http://www. wrapped around it
I have worked in partnership with the Community Safety Team as the Safer Schools Officer for the last 6 years. I enjoy an excellent working relationship with West Berkshire's 10 mainstream secondary schools, the 2 SEND schools, the 6 PRUs and some of the public schools.

The single biggest change to crime, during my time as a Police Officer, is undoubtedly the Internet. Young people often appear so much more computer savvy than us adults and yet we are the ones entrusted to safeguard them.

Amongst many inputs, I've always delivered E-Safety inputs to students and tried to keep them up to date with trends and concerns. Many take on board the advice, although sadly across West Berkshire a few find themselves as either victims or offenders.

One gap though can often be parental knowledge around this area. There are some excellent websites out there these days. It's never too late to start but the sooner the better really.

Below is a short guide that I hope some of you find useful. Remember the internet is designed to be both educational and fun but it isn't without risk, so it is important that boundaries are always in place, much like they would be for any other aspect of your child's life. 

The E Safety 5Ps for Parents

Keep in the know about e-safety and follow the 5Ps for parents.

Positive - Stay positive about social networking sites. Strike a balance between educating children to behave safely and trusting them to get on with it.

Privacy - Make sure children know how to use privacy settings. Explain the importance of keeping information private and not sharing everything with everyone. Check they know all their online friends. If they don't, delete them.

Photos - Check that any photos posted are suitable. Photos can easily be copied, changed or circulated. They can potentially stay online forever.

Postings - Establish ground rules about what is and isn't acceptable to say - about themselves and others.

Parents - Encourage children to tell you about inappropriate contact that makes them feel uncomfortable. Offensive images or messages can be reported to the police via the Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre.

 

You can find more information about #ProtectYourWorld from Thames Valley Police.

 


Domestic Abuse: a numbers game

Written on: 31-8-2016

I am Jim Boden the Domestic Abuse Reduction Coordinator. This is my first blog on the new SCP site and I thought I would try and write a bit about statistics and domestic abuse.

I don't have a great deal of knowledge around maths and statistics, in fact I have kept away from anything related to mathematics since my GCSE days. That said I have always been interested in statistics, mostly around football scores.

Stats around domestic abuse are easily available and unlike a GCSE maths paper are very easy to understand. Here is a selection of some the most notable ones.

  • Each year around 2.1m people suffer some form of domestic abuse
  • 1 in 4 women experience domestic abuse in their lifetime
  • In a survey 43% of young girls thought it was acceptable for a boys to get aggressive with them
  • In 2013/14, the police recorded 887,253 domestic abuse incidents in the UK, every 9 seconds Police respond to a call about domestic abuse
  • 75% of child on Child Protection plans are placed there as a result of domestic abuse in the household

So what does this tell us, simply put domestic abuse is occurring on a daily basis and the chances are that you or someone you know has experienced it directly.

That said it remains a topic we still don't talk about. Many people choose to turn a 'blind eye' or disbelieve its actually occurring (especially where the family is affluent). There are no simple solutions or answers however more talk, more awareness may mean that this most hidden of crimes can come out of the shadows.

The last statistic I will leave you with is the most concerning and the reason why things need to change.

On average 2 women a week are killed by their partner or former partner.

Going forward I intend to use this blog to give a voice to victims whose stories are not often heard. You can expect to hear directly from them along with more information about events and developments occurring in West Berkshire.

If you need help and support call 0800 731 0055.

For information about training or if you are interested in learning more contact Jim.Boden@westberks.gov.uk


Protection From Harm

Written on: 18-8-2016

Protecting Vulnerable People House

What is happening in this house?
Do you know any of these people?
Do you have any concerns for them?

Crime has seen a massive change in recent years; it has become more sophisticated and is utilising new technologies to exploit people in whole new ways.

It is more important than ever before to be vigilant in your community as new and emerging crimes are hidden and under reported, ultimately making them hard to tackle.

Hidden Crimes may include but are not limited to:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Child sexual exploitation (CSE)
  • Sexual assault
  • Hate crime
  • Cyber crime and fraud
  • Drugs lines
  • Modern day slavery
  • Human trafficking
  • Forced marriage
  • Female genital mutilation (FGM)

If you are concerned about someone, any piece of information no matter how insignificant you think it is, could be the key that unlocks the door and reveals the crimes, exploitation or abuse that stands behind it.

In an emergency, call the Police on 999, at any other time call the non-emergency number, 101.