Last Update: 23/11/14

Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association

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 Case Studies in Community Engagement

An Appropriate Response To A New Computer Virus Support Scam

    “I received a telephone call on Friday from a man with a heavy, possibly Indian, accent who said his name was Charles. He announced that my computer was causing a virus and was giving errors but not to worry because he would provide the technical support to help me cure it.

    He asked me to switch on my computer and type into Internet Explorer.

    Deeply suspicious, I did as he asked but rather than type it in the address line, I entered it into Google. He asked me to read what I could see. Actually, I could read that there were several reports of this being a scam but I played dumb and started asking him more about who his firm was and how they had found me. He said was in London but was otherwise evasive and when I asked what telephone number he was calling from he rang off. This I expected as we are registered with the Telephone Preference Service and his unsolicited call was illegal.

    I checked the ownership of the website mentioned. It is apparently registered to a James Boyd of 23 Morris Avenue, Manor Park, London E12 6ER and was set up on 9th January 2010.

    I then visited the website. It is a professional looking site, seemingly American, offering, in a rather simplistic way, computer technical support at the not insignificant sum of $300 or £185 per year.

    My conclusion is that this is a scam to try and con the unsuspecting into buying a service contract they don’t need and which might or might not provide any real value.

    Some Google reports talk about the caller asking people to click on a Remote Assistance icon and then run a file called TeamViewer_Setup.exe. One of my friends told me she had a similar call in which she was asked to do the same sort of thing. Wisely, she put the phone down. You should never allow remote assistance to anyone whom you don’t know and trust.

    The call has been reported to Telephone Preference Service, Trading Standards and Neighbourhood Watch.

    Don Shore, 12th February 2010″

What is the CDRP…?   Phil Harkness

What is the CDRP…?

Barrow Borough Council (as do all local authorities) has a responsibility to ensure that their Borough is a safe place to live. In order to do this, we work closely with a host of local organisations including members of community groups, a neighbourhood watch co-ordinator, the police, Cumbria police authority, the local fire and rescue service, the Neighbourhood Management Team, the probation service, local health service representatives and the county council. There are currently around 45 people on the partnership.

This local group of people come together regularly to look at local issues and to plan what we can do to tackle them. The group is known as Barrow Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership.

The Partnership has a number of responsibilities, including, producing an assessment of local crime and disorder issues; deciding on a list of priorities for our communities; and producing a plan to outline how we intend to address our primary concerns. Throughout the year we monitor the progress of the projects in which we are involved. We have a number of task groups based around our priorities which work towards having an impact on particular areas of concern.

Our meetings are public meetings and co-ordinators and members of neighbourhood watch are welcome to attend and observe at any time. There is an opportunity to raise questions at the end, however, agencies in Barrow are keen to support neighbourhood watch and regularly attend all types of community meetings around the borough.

In Barrow, local neighbourhood watch co-ordinators meet every three months or so for an informal chat and a cup of tea. Agencies are invited along to these meetings to offer services and chat with local residents. It is an opportunity for groups to share best practice, tips and ideas. They can also put a name and a face to local agencies and service providers and then know who to ring when they want help or advice. From our point of view it is an excellent forum to meet real people from real neighbourhoods and talk about real concerns and issues in our communities.

For more information please log on to visit or follow us on twitter at More conventional methods are also available….phone Rebecca on 01229 876475, e-mail or pop in to the Central and Hindpool Neighbourhood Management Office on Dalton Road in Barrow.

Here is a little on how Barrow CDRP and one particular neighbourhood watch, Fife Street Neighbourhood Watch – whose co-ordinator is Pete Thomas – work together….

Pete Thomas, a local neighbourhood watch co-ordinator has been involved with Barrow CDRP for some time. Since December last year he has become more involved with the CDRP at all levels. He attends all full Partnership meetings, co-chairs the Burglary and Acquisitive Crime Task Group alongside a local Detective Inspector (this is a developing co-chairship) and also attends those smaller decision making meetings regarding funding, and priority setting that include the statutory partners.

Pete is a valued member of the Partnership and his community knowledge and ability to ’round up the troops’ as it were, are assets that the public agencies benefit from greatly. He can remind us of the ‘people aspect’ of our work and offer an alternative viewpoint. Pete is a true active citizen and has now started up a local ‘NWatch Co-ordinators group’ to which he invites various agency representatives so that we can access a number of community groups at once and they then invite those agencies they want to their individual groups (agencies ‘on tap’ not agencies ‘on top’). The agencies in Barrow are keen supporters of Pete’s groups and relationships are flourishing. We believe that John McKnight’s idea of ‘Asset-Based Community Development’ is starting to be cultivated amongst groups like those Pete hosts and through the channels with which we engage with Neighbourhood Watch in Barrow.

Phil Harkness

Phil Harkness lives on the outskirts of a South Lakeland Market Town. Because of the nature of the businesses in that area he sees a great deal of our favourite white transit vans. Through his job he travels extensively around Cumbria as well as into Lancashire and North Yorkshire.

Phil HarknessPhil’s story starts 38 years ago when he befriended a young police officer whilst playing rugby. In those days information being passed to the Police was by the use of the red telephone box at the end of the street or to a policeman on the beat. One could be forgiven for saying that both of these are today seen as a rare commodity!

All this was way before the Cumbria Neighbourhood Watch Association was born.

Funny and unusual comings and goings were duly reported to his friend and to other local police officer for the next 24years, resulting in some arrests and convictions.

In 1995 the industrial units around Phil’s home, along with other areas of South Lakeland became the target of early morning crimes, which coincided with the availability of the newly available mobile phone. Funding was secured to purchase 10 ‘phones at a cost of £200 each and the idea of setting up a Dawn Patrol (now known as Dawn Watch) to run alongside his local Neighbourhood Watch was born. These ten mobile phones were given to Milkman and other people who were out and about in the early hours of the morning. Phil admits that he was one of the sad people who wakes early and wanders the streets at 4.30am in the morning with his dog.

Once again Phil took on his role in Dawn patrol with the same amount of enthusiasm as before and information continued to be passed and on occasions arrests made. He has over the years received letters from the many Chief Constables, Divisional Commanders and local businesses thanking him for his vigilance.

Phil remembers two incidents particularly.

Firstly the sighting of a white van with two occupants seen parked near his home. He took the registration number and admits he did not at this time inform anyone. Later as a result of information given to him from his local Neighbourhood Watch Scheme regarding metal thefts he informed the police of this vehicle. A few nights later he saw the same vehicle again and rang the police immediately. The men were arrested, later charged with offences and are currently residing at her majesties pleasure.

Secondly he recalls following a vehicle from Keswick towards Grasmere, which was all over the road. The occupants started to throw items from the vehicle windows onto the grass verge. Unfortunately the mobile phone network was not available so he followed the vehicle and saw it stop at St. John in The Vale. He continued until he got a signal on his phone at Dunmail Raise and called the Police. It later emerged that an armed robbery had taken place in Keswick and later that day the men were arrested. Fingerprint and other evidence from the goods at the side of the road were instrumental in securing a conviction and once again criminals are behind bars.

Phil Harkness is a true member of Dawn Watch and Neighbourhood Watch covering all its values and spirit. He is a fine example of what more could be achieved if every one of our members rang in with information no matter how small.