Police and Trading Standards join forces
to help flood victims prevent crime
More than 2,000 leaflets and property marking kits will be distributed to residents in flood affected areas of West Cumbria this week as Police and Trading Standards take to the streets once again to continue their efforts to prevent crime in the area.
Over the last few weeks extra police patrols have been helping to keep the area safe and new information leaflets have now been designed so that all residents know what they can do to prevent themselves from becoming victims of crime. They offer advice on home and vehicle security and, in particular, highlight what people can do to avoid being cheated by rogue traders. From later this week police will be joined by Trading Standards Officers to distribute the leaflets to flood affected residents. They will also be giving out free DNA property marking kits partly funded by the Cumbria Community Foundation Flood Recovery Fund.
Inspector Joe Murray, of West Cumbria Community Safety Team, said: “Our Neighbourhood Policing Teams have been working hard conducting extra high visibility patrols to ensure the area is safe and secure despite the devastating impact the recent floods have had on many homes and businesses across the area. Thanks to this hard work I am proud to say we have seen very few reports of crisis-related crime such as looting or fraudulent traders and we want to keep it that way.
“So as an extension of this work, over the next week we will be conducting joint patrols with Trading Standards Officers giving crime prevention advice to residents and handing out information leaflets. Community Safety Officers will also be providing free DNA property marking kits for householders to mark valuables including tools and other equipment, to deter criminals and ensure items can be traced back to the rightful owner if they are taken. We will also be speaking to traders who are in the area to check identity and authenticity to help stop flood affected residents becoming victims.”
The extra joint patrols will help Police and Trading Standards to identify and disrupt rogue traders and bogus callers who may be working in the area. It will also give them an opportunity to engage with genuine traders, raise awareness of the problems caused by fraudsters, and to increase trust and confidence amongst them.
Inspector Murray added: “We will be arming people with the information they need to confidently hire workmen by knowing their rights and exactly how to check if a trader is genuine. It is important that they know what to do if things go wrong – such as calling the Action Fraud Reporting Line or Consumer Direct if they are approached by bogus or suspicious tradesmen.
“We are asking people to secure their homes and vehicles, report any suspicious activity and be aware of doorstep callers who may try to trick their way into property. Always check identification of unexpected doorstep callers and if you are at all unsure – do not let them into your home – if they are genuine they will not mind you calling the company to check.
"We are committed, through the Policing Pledge, to keeping our neighourhoods safe, and people can be confident that we will continue to work together to rebuild our homes and communities to ensure West Cumbria remains one of the safest places in the country.”
John Greenbank, Principle Trading Standards Officer, said: “We will continue to work with the Police to ensure that those affected by the floods are not targeted by bogus tradesmen. We hope that by carrying out these joint patrols it will deter those traders from coming to this area. Should anyone have any issue regarding work being carried out on their property I would advise them to contact Trading Standards via Consumer Direct 08454 04 05 06.This work is designed to reassure communities and at the same time send a clear message to criminals that we will take whatever steps available to us to deter and reduce crime”
Deb Muscat, Acting Director of Cumbria Community Foundation, said: “The Community Foundation learned from the Carlisle floods that home security is a big worry for people who have been flooded. Some people continue to stay in cold, damp homes just to keep the remains of their belongings safe. The DNA kits will give people the peace of mind they need. We are really pleased that a grant from the Flood Recovery Fund can be used to help in this way.”
For further advice contact your local Neighbourhood Policing Team or Crime Prevention Officer on 0845 33 00 247.
If you have been approached by a bogus or suspicious trader contact Consumer Direct on 08454 04 05 06.
If you think you have been a victim of a fraud contact Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or Textphone 0300 123 2050.
Press Release Ends
Note to Press: If you would like an interview, or to arrange a photo opportunity/crime prevention demonstration, please contact Police Press Office on 01768 217009.