Special Constable recruitment in York: webchat on Wednesday

Anyone interested in becoming a Special Constable is invited to join a webchat hosted by North Yorkshire Police as part of its ongoing recruitment campaign.

The force has assembled a panel of experts including current Special Constables and Human Resource staff who can answer any questions potential recruits may have about joining up.

The webchat will take place on Wednesday 19 July 2017 between 6pm and 7pm. To take part, go to northyorkshire.police.uk/webchat.

Special Constables are volunteer police officers who have the same uniform and powers as regular (paid) police officers. They volunteer a minimum of 16 hours per month to policing York and North Yorkshire and carry out a full range of operational, front-line duties.

“Specials” as they are known, come from all walks of life and backgrounds, which means that they bring with them a whole host of skills and abilities which complement those of their full-time colleagues.

The force is actively encouraging applicants from black and minority ethnic backgrounds, and people who are looking for a new challenge, but want to remain in their current careers.

Special Constables on road safety operation

Special Chief Officer, Sharron Moverely-Holmes, has been a Special Constables for over 30 years. She said: “We realise that many people who are thinking of applying will have lots of questions and we want to make sure they have all the information they need before embarking on what is a big commitment.

“Being a Special Constable is a unique and privileged volunteer role, and while it can be very challenging and demanding, it brings immense rewards –  from helping people in their times of need, to developing new skills for life and taking advantage of new opportunities.”

If you can’t make the webchat, you can submit your questions in advance via Facebook.com/NorthYorkshirePolice

For more information about becoming a special and to apply, visit northyorkshire.police.uk/specials

Computer fraud alert by York Police

North Yorkshire Police have been made aware of members of the public receiving phone calls from a male, speaking in a foreign accent, claiming to be from BT advising them that their computer has alerted them to problems in relation to their Broadband/Router.

He claims that it is being heavily infected with a virus and as such BT need to send an engineer to their property the next day.

But beforehand they require the customer to log onto their computer to facilitate a fault report for the engineer.

If the customer refuses to go along with their scam, the male becomes extremely abusive.

If you have been victim to such a phone call please contact Action Fraud on 0300 1232040

Westfield residents survey results updated to include Cornlands Rd/Gale Lane area

The results, from the Westfield Councillors annual survey of public opinion, have been updated to include the Cornlands Road area.

The summary report can be downloaded by clicking here

Residents said they were satisfied with most public services in the area. The best performing was the bus service, mirroring the similar result obtained in the nearby Chapelfields estate.

Lack of car parking on local roads was the key grievance.

Residents wanted to see the return of a regular skip service.

There were many complaints about overgrown Council owned  trees and bushes which are obstructing paths and gardens.

Several policing issues were highlighted with anti social behaviour apparently on the increase.

The top priority for regeneration of the Front Street area was the provision of level forecourts across the whole shopping area.

The future of the Front Street area is due to be discussed at a public meeting taking place tomorrow (Wednesday) at the Gateway Centre starting at 6:30pm. 

Ransomware – York police advice

Following a global ransomware incident which took place Tuesday 27 June 2017 North Yorkshire Police and Action Fraud is reminding businesses and individuals how they can protect themselves from ransomware and what they should do if they become a victim.

How to protect yourself:
  • •Don’t click on links, or open any attachments, if you receive unsolicited emails or SMS messages. The links may lead to malicious websites and any attachments could be infected with malware.
  • •Always install software updates as soon as they’re available. Whether you’re updating the operating system or an application, the update will often include fixes for critical security vulnerabilities.
  • •Install anti-virus software on your computer and mobile devices, and keep it updated. Bear in mind that ransomware can often be picked up by visiting disreputable sites including illegal movie streaming websites and some adult sites.
  • •Create regular backups of your important files to an external hard drive, memory stick or online storage provider. It’s important that the device you back up to isn’t left connected to your computer as any malware infection could spread to that too.
    If you think you may be a victim:
  • •Report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040
  • •Don’t pay extortion demands as this only feeds into criminals’ hands and there’s no guarantee that access to your files will be restored if you do pay.

Woman arrested following Front Street burglary

A woman has been arrested following a burglary at the Chill Café in Acomb York.

It happened just after midnight in the early hours of Saturday 1 July 2017 when an amount of cash was stolen.

Police officers arrested the woman, who is in her 20s and from York, on Saturday evening. She was arrested on suspicion of burglary, possessing class b drugs and assaulting a police officer after a beer can was thrown in an officer’s face. She remains in police custody.

Anyone who was in the area at the time and has any information is asked to contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 2 and ask for York Investigation Hub.

Please quote reference 12170114900 when passing on information.

York summer safety initiatives unveiled – webchat for residents’ questions

Organisations in York will be working together to ensure that everyone can enjoy all that the city has to offer safely and responsibly.

York summer safety initiatives unveiled – webchat for residents’ questionsRecent initiatives and campaigns have seen North Yorkshire Police work closely with City of York Council, British Transport Police, city licensees and many other partners. These will continue throughout the summer, alongside new developments to make the city even safer.

Sergeant Nick Plumb, of York City Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “We have come a very long way over the last few years, and we’re now working with other agencies and organisations more closely than ever before. Those efforts have ensure that York city centre continues to be a great place to work and visit.

Missing speed camera performance report found

We reported on claims made in April that the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) had claimed that University report had found that 8 accidents had been prevented as a result of the deployment of mobile speed camera vans in the county.

We did wonder at the time how they could possibly know?

Maybe accident reduction is about keeping drivers alert?

The police have previously admitted that they don’t record the trend in average/mean/top speeds recorded at the sites that they regularly monitor with cameras.

So there is currently no way of knowing whether vehicle speeds are reducing, or increasing, over a period of time.

Nor were the police able to provide accident data for monitored sites, although we still await a response from a fresh Freedom of Information request on this issue.

On 11th May, North Yorkshire Police emailed us to say that they “do not currently hold a copy of the study conducted by Newcastle University

On 5th June, following further pressure,  the PCCs office provided a link to what they claimed was the University study. As we recorded at the time, this study concerned only Northumberland and appeared to have little relevance to the situation in North Yorkshire.

On 30thJune a further message was received from the PCCs office. It appears that they had now found a report (reproduced below).  It transpires that the report was based on a desk top study that had been undertaken in 2015

Unfortunately, the report covered a period between 2011 and 2014 where there had been a general downturn in accident figures across the whole of North Yorkshire.

We conclude that the Police and PCC have been evasive when responding to requests that they justify their expenditure on deploying additional mobile camera vans (There are 12 in the county now).

Too often it seems that the cameras are located at sites where the principal objective is to maximise revenue (the income from “speed awareness” courses is used by the police to offset the costs of the vans).

Recent accidents on the A64 may raise further concerns about the effectiveness of the policy.

The original intention of the speed vans had been to locate them at and near, accident black spots.

They would also spend some of their time in the suburbs, and in villages, as a way of reassuring residents who were concerned about speeding issues.

When we have the final information that we requested on accident levels we will write to the PCC.

If necessary, this will be followed by a formal complaint.

Newcastle University report for North Yorkshire Police and PCC

York Police warning on “Snapchat” danger

Local police have issued the following warning

“Officers from the Neighbourhood Policing Teams within North Yorkshire Police would like to make parents aware of the following update that has released on snapchat.

If your children have the Snapchat app and GPS on their phone please take a look at this.

It seems with the new update there is a new feature on Snapchat. When you open the app place two fingers on the screen and drag them together ‘pinch’ just like when zooming out on an interactive map. This will then open the new feature. It shows your location with near exact accuracy and can be only a couple of meters wrong. This means people can see exactly where you are at any time.

To turn this off there is a settings button in the top right and can turn the feature to ghost mode. This will hide your location from others. Also turn off the phones GPS as an extra level of security.

If you need any help please contact your phone provider or visit an O2 store and speak to one of their gurus. This is a free service and regardless of the network you are on The gurus can help with any technical questions and security advice.

Please remind your children to only have ‘friends’ on these apps who they actually know, this will keep them safer online.

While we have focused this on keeping children safe. Please be mindful features like this could be used by criminals, knowing when you’re out or even where you live. Always be mindful of posting pictures with cycles and such which would show people exactly where you store them. Then show when you are out”.

So do speed cameras reduce accident levels?

In April the North Yorkshire Crime  and Policing Commisioner (PCC), Julia Mulligan, announced that 6 additional mobile speed camera vans were being deployed in the area. This brought the total n number of vans to 12.

In doing so, she cited a University of Newcastle report which she claimed demonstrated that the mobile speed camera vans had reduced the number of “killed or seriously injured” accidents in the county by 8. 

but had they?

On 13th April The Press reported the PCC as saying, “Over the past three years Newcastle University has conducted studies into North Yorkshire’s killed or seriously injured statistics across 22 local sites and evaluated the effect of the mobile speed camera vans on the level of road safety. The study found that due to the deployment of the vans to those sites there has been a reduction of eight casualties”.

The clear implication of the comment was that a study had been carried out in York and North Yorkshire.

Following a Freedom of Information request the North Yorkshire Police said they didn’t have a copy of any such report.

When pressed, the PCC’s office provided a link to a report on accidents in Northumberland  (click)

The Commissioners office has conceded that the study was in fact carried out in Northumberland. It is unclear how the figures have been extrapolated to support additional expense on deploying more cameras in our North Yorkshire.

What is clear is that the Northumberland report covers a reference period of 18 years during most of which time, in North Yorkshire, there had been a reduction in the number of recorded road accidents anyway.

Mobile speed cameras were first deployed in North Yorkshire  – on a very small scale – in 2010.

NY police continue to resist calls for information on how effective the cameras have been.

They say that – for regularly monitored sites – they do not hold records of the mean, 85% percentile and maximum speeds recorded at each camera visit. Therefore no trends have been identified. They say it would be too expensive to trawl their records to gather the information. Nor do they promise to report the information in future…. meaning that we may never know whether the cameras actually influence traffic speeds.

We also currently don’t know whether the vans are achieving their primary purpose of reducing accident levels. Again the police do  not routinely correlate accident levels on those roads which are subject to routine camera surveillance.

We do know that accident levels generally on our roads have shown a small increase over the last couple of years.

We can understand the eagerness of the PCC to provide high profile “reassurance checks” on speeds in sub-urban areas and villages where local residents raise concerns.

However the large scale deployment of vans at sites which either do not have a poor accident record, or where there is no public concern, will prompt criticism that they are just a self sustaining “cash cow”.

Income from” the speed awareness courses” offered to law breakers, is used to fund the running costs of the vans.

In 2015/16, £1.7 million was received by the police from this source

In our view, the both the Police and the PCC need to be more open about the effects that the millions of pounds invested in this project are actually having.

Hopefully their next annual report will be more transparent.