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Scams and cybercrime

These reports routinely begin with ‘scams and cybercrimes’ because they are probably the crime issues of greatest direct relevance to people in Harpenden. There has been much reiteration of previous warnings in the last couple of months, but little that is new; hence few  issues are reported here.

McQueen Targets

McQueen Targets have been making and supplying targets for the civilian and defence markets for over 120 years. They are a perfectly legitimate company, but in recent weeks scammers have been using their name to demand money. Victims receive an email addressed to them personally: it claims they have an overdue debt due to the company. They ask for the victim’s full address and postcode (hopefully the victim’s suspicions will now be aroused). They are then asked to make a payment to avoid further costs. If you get such an email, don’t click on any part of it: report it to the Police on 101.

Burglaries and break-ins

Police warning: if you don’t lock up your possessions they may be stolen. It may seem incomprehensible that resources need to be spent on stating the blindingly obvious: but apparently there are those of us who still imagine that their unguarded possessions won’t get stolen.

Items such as small electrical equipment, loose change and sweets are being stolen from unlocked vehicles, particularly in north and east Harpenden. According to the Police ‘Unlocked vehicles are an open invitation to thieves, who for these types of crimes are opportunistic’. Only in a couple of incidents (in the Park Rise area) were locked vehicles broken into. The message is: leave nothing of value on display inside your car whenever or wherever it is parked.

On separate occasions in April, two men were arrested in Harpenden on suspicion of stealing from motor vehicles in the St Albans area.

Finally, a mountain bike was recently stolen from a garden shed in the Roundwood area. Every spring the police remind people of the need to lock garden sheds securely, so don’t get caught out. health. Training courses are provided.

Police and NHW news

There are a number of new police initiatives to report: and in early May an election will be held to determine who will hold the office of Police and Crime Commissioner for the next few years. Some have suggested that there may be a link between these two developments...

The Citizens’ Academy

It seems the academy concept (methinks the word is becoming devalued by the day) has been extended from schools to policing. In March, following pilot schemes in Broxbourne, Dacorum and Welwyn Hatfield, our PCC  launched a new website: www.hertscitizensacademy.org. The aim of the site is ‘to help people keep themselves and their property safe in a bid to fight crime’. On the site you will find:

It’s easy to be cynical (tell me about it): but actually this is a worthy and well-executed initiative. Do visit the site!


Contacting Herts Police: an alternative to 101

The police are asking us to test a new initiative (to be launched next year) whereby non-urgent matters can be reported via the Hertfordshire Constabulary website rather than verbally via a phone line. You can access the ‘Contact Us’ link in two ways:

101 is not for street problems

This may be an appropriate time to remind people that the phone number 101 is not for reporting street problems and the like: so don’t use it for car parking, fly posting, fly tipping, dog fouling, graffiti, potholes, pavement and footpath faults, public toilets, roads and highways, traffic signs, litter and rubbish, street cleaning, street name plates, traffic lights or tree issues. Instead, try:

Hertfordshire Legal Highs Survey

This county survey concerns individuals’ use of, and views on, new psychoactive substances: which ones are being used, where people are getting them from, where they’re using them, what psychological and physiological effects people experience on using them, their understanding of the legal situation and their knowledge of where they can get support.

The following link will take you to the survey:


At present, good, accurate information is lacking and is much needed by health and education services, community safety partnerships and drug policymakers.

Remembering the old adage that if you can remember what happened in the sixties  you probably weren’t there, your coordinator has not completed the survey on behalf of our Members.

Want to be a Special Constable?

A recruitment evening was held at the Police Headquarters at Welwyn Garden City (26 April) for those interested in becoming Special Constables. Since Special Constables are currently being recruited, this is a good time to be reminded that even if you’re in employment, so long as you can volunteer to give at least 16 hours a month you can apply. For more information go to www.hertspolicecareers.co.uk . You can be from 18 years of age to beyond retirement age but you must be in good health. Training courses are provided.

Volunteer Police Cadets

The St Albans and Harpenden Volunteer Police Cadets are also currently recruiting: you need to be between the ages of 14 and 18. Cadets meet every other Tuesday during term time: and there are additional exciting outdoor events at other times. The aims of the cadets are:

There is a £50 annual subscription. For more information go to: www.herts.police.uk/cadets