Watch out for these fake British Gas refund emails.

We've had an increase in reports about fake British Gas emails claiming to offer refunds. The links provided in the emails lead to genuine-looking British Gas phishing websites that are designed to steal the usernames and passwords for British Gas accounts.

Always question unsolicited requests for your personal or financial information in case it’s a scam. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.

For more information on how to stay secure online, visit www.cyberaware.gov.uk

Wildfire Warning Is Forecast After Heatwave

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is reminding people to take care around heathland and open spaces during this warmer weather

The heatwave the UK is expected to experience this week means a heightened risk of wildfires across Dorset & Wiltshire.

DWFRS Wildfire Tactical Advisor Andy Elliott said: “With a period of hot, dry weather being forecast, we would urge people to take real care when enjoying the sunshine in our beautiful countryside. If you do want a campfire or barbecue, please make sure that you’re in a safe area and that the ashes are fully extinguished and damped down before you leave. Large wildfires are thankfully rare but, when they do occur, they take a great deal of resources to bring under control, which impacts the availability of appliances for property fires and other emergencies. The damage to local wildlife is also significant, often destroying ecosystems that have taken years to build up.

Group Manager Richard Coleman added “Bonfires are also common in the summer months, we have recently dealt with a higher than normal number of fires involving BBQ’s and bonfires as they can get out of control very easily. If you are burning off garden waste in the garden please site any bonfire well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures and have a garden hose to hand in case the fire starts to get out of control. If a fire does get out of control, please call 999.

The Service has the following advice for enjoying the outdoors safely:

  • Avoid open fires in the countryside. If you must have a fire, make sure that you’re in a designated safe area.
  • Put out cigarettes and other smoking materials properly before you leave your vehicle.
  • Do not throw cigarette ends out of your vehicle. They could start a fire and destroy surrounding countryside.
  • Site bonfires well away from buildings, fences, trees and garden structures.
  • Have a garden hose to hand in case the fire starts to get out of control.
  • Never use flammable liquids such as petrol or paraffin to start a bonfire.
  • Don’t leave bottles or glass in woodlands, as sunlight shining through the glass can cause a fire to start. Take the items home, or put them in a waste or recycling bin.
  • If you see a fire in the countryside, report it immediately. Do not try to tackle a fire yourself; usually they can’t be put out with a bucket of water. Please call the fire service and leave the area as soon as possible.
  • If you’re intending to have a large bonfire, please advise Fire Control on 0306 799 0019 or use the form on our website – we often receive emergency calls from people who can see lots of smoke, and it helps us to know where this could be a controlled burn.
  • Ensure that you know your location or a landmark so you can direct the fire service.
  • Make sure you know the Countryside Code - www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-countryside-code

Last Chance To Have Your Say On Rural Crime And Policing In Wiltshire

There are just a few days left for rural communities to have their say on crime and policing where they live.

The National Rural Crime Survey comes to an end on 10 June and is asking key questions to ensure the voice of the countryside is heard.

Do you think rural crime has gone up or down in Wiltshire? Do you feel safer? What’s your view of the police in your community?

We want to know the true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour in rural communities across Wiltshire – and the impact it has where you live or work.

Three years ago, the National Rural Crime Survey revealed the huge cost of crime to rural communities – both financial, at £800 million per year, and fear, with chronic under-reporting, anger and frustration at the police and government.

The National Rural Crime Network produced a series of recommendations and, in many areas, the police took steps to improve matters. So, now, we want to know what’s changed.

Questions cover a range of issues – from whether you report crimes that you or your business suffer, to the impact crime and anti-social behaviour has on you and your area, and whether you believe enough is done to catch those who carry out the offences.

It’s all about making sure the voice of rural communities is heard by those who can make a difference to where we live and work – from the Police to Government.

The survey is available at www.nationalruralcrimenetwork.net and is open for submissions until Sunday, 10 June.

The survey last took place in 2015. Then, 13,000 responded to give their impressions of crime and anti-social behaviour and revealed the financial cost of rural crime was significant – around £800 million every year.

One of this year’s focuses as we rerun the research is whether rural crime continues to be underreported. Three years ago, one in four said they didn’t report the last crime they’d been a victim of because they didn’t see the point.

It’s being carried out by the National Rural Crime Network. The organisation brings together Police and Crime Commissioners, police forces and organisations that play a key role in rural communities – like the Country Land and Business Association, the National Farmers Union, Neighbourhood Watch, Crimestoppers, Historic England and the Countryside Alliance.

The Network’s Chair is Julia Mulligan:

“The aim of the National Rural Crime Network is to see greater recognition and understanding of the problems and impact of crime in rural communities so more can be done to help them be safe – and feel safe. In order to achieve that, we need to know the true picture of crime and anti-social behaviour that residents and businesses face."

"The 2015 findings uncovered some difficult truths for all those involved in protecting rural areas and now is the right time to see whether lessons have been learnt, whether people are more willing to report the crime they are victims of and if they do indeed feel safer."

After the 2015 report, police forces across England and Wales made efforts to improve the way they dealt with crime that took place in rural areas. A mix of measures were adopted, including from 13 forces who now have dedicated rural crime teams, six forces who have a dedicated rural officer and two forces who introduced cross-force collaboration. The 2018 Survey will assess the impact these have had in an attempt to further showcase and roll-out best practice.

The results will also feed into the National Police Chiefs’ Council’s Rural Affairs National Strategy for 2018-2021 which is due to be launched later this year.

Message Sent By Zara Hughes (Police, Commnications Officer, Wiltshire)

Take Five to Stop Fraud Week

Neighbourhood Watch is proud to be supporting Take Five To Stop Fraud Week.

Take Five To Stop Fraud Week is part of the national campaign from Financial Fraud Action UK and the Government, backed by the banking industry coming together to tackle fraud.

The advice being issued this week is really simple but it can stop you becoming a victim of fraud.

  1. A genuine bank or organisation will never contact you out of the blue to ask for your PIN, full password or to move money to another account. Only give out your personal or financial details to use a service that you have given your consent to, that you trust and that you are expecting to be contacted by.
  2. Don’t be tricked into giving a fraudster access to your personal or financial details. Never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
  3. Always question uninvited approaches in case it’s a scam. Instead, contact the company directly using a known email or phone number.

Please share the attached leaflet with friends and family and together we can help stop fraud.

To read more about the campaign and to access all the resources go to https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/

A resolution worth keeping Test your smoke alarms every month

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service is asking local people to make monthly testing of their smoke alarms one of their New Year’s resolutions.

Many of us see January as an opportunity for a fresh start, and safety should be top of the list. As such, the Service is encouraging everyone to make sure they have enough smoke alarms in the home and that they work - it only takes a few seconds and can save lives.

Smoke alarms can give you the few extra seconds you need to escape in a fire. While the majority of homes across the country now have an alarm fitted, most people are not aware that the average alarm has a lifespan of just ten years and then needs replacing.

If you live in a larger property, a single smoke alarm is simply not enough, with the recommendation being at least one at every level. Last year, in nearly half of all fires in the home where the smoke alarm did not give a warning, the reason was that the alarm was not close enough to detect the fire. Missing or flat batteries were another major cause.

To keep your alarms in working order:

  • Make sure there is at least one smoke alarm on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms by pushing the button every month.
  • Check that your smoke alarms are less than 10 years old.
  • Fit smoke alarms on landings and hallways and near bedrooms as a minimum; if you have rooms with a specific fire risk, such as open fires, heaters or lots of electrical chargers, install here as well.
  • Take a moment to check on your loved ones who may need help to ensure they're fully protected.

Safe & Well Manager Vikki Thomas said: "At this time of year, many people will be thinking of what they can do – big or small – to make a fresh start and improve their lives, homes and wellbeing. Smoke alarms can offer vital protection for you and your loved ones, but most people simply fit and forget – they don’t know if the unit might be coming to the end of its lifespan or not working at all."

"For most of us, there is nothing more important than keeping our loved ones safe and secure. So, if your alarm is getting past its best or your top floor is missing an alarm of its own, make your New Year's resolution to fit new ones, test them on the first of every month and protect your loved ones in 2018."

For more information on maintaining fire safety in your home, visit www.dwfire.org.uk/safety-at-home - to see if you are eligible for a FREE Safe and Well visit, please call 0800 038 2323.

Would you pay an extra pound to protect local policing?

The policing precept consultation is looking for the views of Wiltshire residents on the proposed increase of £12 a year.

Currently the average band D household contributes £14.19 per month to local policing, but if residents back the proposal then this would rise to £15.19 per month.

As a Force, Wiltshire Police has seen the second highest increase in demand across the country in the last year yet the funding they receive from central government doesn’t recognise the increasing pressures the service is under.

In fact they receive the fourth lowest funding per head of population in England and Wales. Since 2010, Wiltshire Police has received £19 million less but have been responding to more crimes and supporting more members of the public year on year, according to the police and crime commissionerfor Wiltshire and Swindon, Angus Macpherson.

The consultation which runs from 2nd January 2018 to midday 31st January 2018 wants to hear your views on the proposed increase. For more information on how to share your views please visit the Police and Crime Commissioners for Wiltshire and Swindon's website or you can also email pcc@wiltshire.pcc.pnn.gov.uk


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