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Spate of Highland thefts prompts security warning from police

Police have been investigating a spate of thefts across the north

Police have issued a warning to householders to secure their properties after a spate of thefts and break-ins across the north. A number of incidents were reported in the Inverness, Kirkhill and North Kessock areas in the last weekend alone. Officers have also dealt with a growing number of possible crimes of dishonesty in the last few weeks across the Highlands.

Incidents have included break-ins and attempted break-ins to houses as well as thefts of equipment from within vehicles. Senior police figures have now issued a warning and advice to people to make sure they are on the front foot to help prevent them becoming a victim of crime. Chief Inspector Ian Graham, area commander for Inverness, said steps that could be taken are as simple as making sure all windows and doors are securely locked.

He said: Across the Highlands we are fortunate in having a relatively low reported rate of vehicle thefts and associated crimes; however, this does not leave room for complacency for police or drivers.

Unfortunately there s been a number of reports of break-ins to vehicles and homes across the area recently so it is important communities remain vigilant to suspicious activity and take steps to secure their vehicles and belongings.

Often vehicles are left unlocked, handing the ideal opportunity to a would-be thief.

In addition to thoroughly investigating all crimes reported, we are committed to keeping communities safe by advising how best we can all secure our vehicles and property, reducing the risk of becoming a victim of crime.

If you discover that your car has been broken into our advice would be to contact the police to report it straight away before you touch or drive the vehicle.

This will increase the chances of recovering forensic evidence from the vehicle itself. Ch Insp Graham said thefts from houses and vehicles are often linked to serious crimes such as the trade of illegal drugs. He added: Community intelligence is vital to our inquiries so we are thankful for ongoing assistance from the public in reporting potentially suspicious activity.

It s important not to present as an easy target by considering improvements to security around your home and outbuildings and letting police know about any suspicious persons or vehicles, regardless of how insignificant you think it may be .

Any information provided by the public is greatly appreciated and may lead to the final piece of a jigsaw that allows for a successful prosecution.

Five Resolutions for your Home and Personal Security

Every year the New Year arrives brimming with possibilities and Suffolk Police are reminding people to include security resolutions as part of their 2017 goals. The New Year encourages many of us to vow to quit our vices, eat better and improve finances but what about your home ? As the saying goes, home is where your heart is and officers are urging the public to put more efforts into making it safe and secure, with the following five resolutions. Most burglaries are committed by opportunistic criminals who happen to see insecure premises where they can help themselves . Intruders will look for the best opportunity to break into a property, some will scope out an address first, so officers are urging residents to ensure their home looks occupied, that hedges which might conceal a thief are kept trimmed and that there are no tools accessible that might aid an intruder to gain access. Remember to safeguard your keys as part of your home security measures . Every year police are handed thousands of lost keys, which cannot be returned to their rightful owner as there s no way to identify them . Suffolk Constabulary s SAFEKey initiative works to remedy this and, operating across the UK and the EU, provides members with a branded key fob inscribed with a unique reference number to identify them as the key holder at a small cost of just 1 per month . The money generated is driven back into the community to support projects and schemes, as per the Police and Crime Commissioner s objectives .

To find out more, please visit: In the winter months, often coupled with the rise in the cost of fuel, heating oil also becomes an attractive target for thieves . Suffolk Police are reminding homeowners of simple measures to prevent such thefts: positioning lights with a Dusk til Dawn feature close to the tank, ensuring your fence is high and not easy to climb, and investing in good quality locks, such as shackle padlocks. Close shackle padlocks offer better resistance to bolt croppers and other tools that thieves usually come equipped with . Homeowners should check their oil gauges regularly, which will indicate any potential theft, and consider installing a remote electronic oil level gauge, which triggers an alarm if there is a sudden drop.

  • Join in with your community

One way people can help keep their local area safer is by joining or setting up a Neighbourhood Watch group . Neighbourhood Watch schemes can help reduce crime, and opportunities for crime, by encouraging residents to look out for each other and to report anything they feel is suspicious . To find out about local watch schemes in operation, please visit: You can also keep up to date with the very latest in policing in your local area by signing up to Police Connect, a free messaging service provided by the Constabulary; from news and appeals, to local policing events and meetings . To find out more or to register, please visit:

Online fraud is one of the most widespread forms of cybercrime and protecting yourself is key as many more of us using mobile phones, tablets and other devices to shop, bank and share personal details . Suffolk Police are urging people to ensure passwords are regularly changed on all accounts and that these are not duplicated across multiple accounts . Passwords should not be easy to guess, so include a combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers and symbols . Further protect yourself by installing and updating your anti-virus software and shop only from official websites that you know and trust. In the age of social media and emails, many of us post personal information online . Where possible, use secure networks and be careful what information you are sharing, never revealing financial details . Online crime can have a devastating impact to those who fall victim . If you have been scammed, defrauded or experienced cybercrime, report it to the national policing lead, Action Fraud: www.actionfraud.police.uk4.

  • Make your phone work smarter

Mobile phones and tablets are a very tempting target for thieves . Not only are they more valuable in themselves, but many will also contain valuable data, from music downloads and photographs taken, to other personal information saved on social media, emails and banking activity. Having your phone or tablet stolen can have immediate consequences, so ensure you always use a security lock PIN code or biometric authentication and download a tracking app that can locate a lost or stolen device using its GPS signal. Protect your property further by registering them on www.immobolise.com5, a free-to-use national database that police can access and compare against items that have been found or recovered from suspected thieves. Chief Inspector Jo Garrard, Head of Community Safety for Suffolk Police, said: “It s important to remember that burglars don t have an “off-season and we can all take positive steps to make ourselves and communities safer . Security measures are just the start, though; I would urge people to be more vigilant in what s happening around them and in reporting suspicious activity to us .

We rely on information from the public to help us keep our communities save, so if it doesn t feel right, we want to hear from you.


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Stations praised for improved security (From Echo)

ALL train stations along the c2c1 line have been awarded by the Government for being among the safest in the country.

Over the past 18 months the rail operator, part of National Express, has introduced a string of new safety measures – which appear to have paid off.

All 25 stations managed by c2c, which runs the Shoebury2 to Fenchurch Street line, have been handed the Secure Stations accreditation.

Run by the Department for Transport, it sets a national standard for passenger safety and security.

Each station is assessed by the British Transport Police against a list of criteria – including how well it is designed and managed, the approach taken to tackling crime when it does happen, and local passenger perception of security.

Security measures introduced by c2c include a new purpose-built 24/7 CCTV centre, based in Romford, which provides access to over 1,100 cameras – with operators able to view more than 50 at once.

There is also a dedicated British Transport Police team for the c2c route, and every station has staff present from before the first train arrives in the morning until after the last service departs at night to reassure passengers.

Iain Palmer, c2c security manager, said: We take the safety and security of our passengers extremely seriously, and we ve invested in more people and new technology to help keep our customers safe.

We re extremely proud to have been awarded Secure Stations accreditation for every station on the route.

The new accreditation lasts for two years before the stations are re-assessed by the police.

The Secure Stations Scheme provides British rail companies with the chance to improve security at their stations and show customers they are committed to reducing crime.

Peter Slattery, from Southend Rail Travellers Association, said: I whole heartedly agree that it is good they have got the award.

The stations do seem safe up until about 10pm, but after that there are not many staff there and it doesn t feel as safe.

It is better than it used to be many years ago.


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