Friday 1st December 2017
News and appeals
Police to increase patrols as part of Christmas crackdown on drink and drug-drivers
A quick drive under the influence of drink or drugs could lead to a life behind bars.
This is the message being issued by Surrey Police and Sussex Police as they prepare to launch their Christmas crackdown on drink and drug-drivers.
Under new Government proposals, motorists who cause death by careless driving while under the influence of intoxicating substances face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. The current maximum term is 14 years.
The plans have been put forward following significant support from people including bereaved families of victims and road safety experts.
But while the penalty for the offence looks set to increase, the advice from police remains the same – if you’re prepared to drive with drink or drugs in your system, prepare to face the consequences.
Chief Inspector Warren Franklin, of the Surrey and Sussex Roads Policing Unit, said: “Each and every year, people’s lives are destroyed through drink and drug-driving, and it won’t be tolerated on our roads in Surrey and Sussex.
“Our officers will be carrying out dedicated patrols to target offenders across the two counties between 1 December 2017 and 1 January 2018, and will deal robustly with anyone caught driving under the influence.
“Patrols will include static stop checks at various locations, which will be in addition to responding to reports of drink and drug-drivers all year round. Our priority is to educate people of the clear risks associated with drink and drug-driving, and to keep road users safe.”
During the same campaign last year (1 December 2016 to 1 January 2017), a total of 187 arrests were made in Sussex, of which 143 have since led to convictions.
Driving under the influence of drink or drugs is among the four major causes of serious injury and fatal collisions, along with speeding, not wearing a seatbelt and using a mobile device while driving.
Chief Insp Franklin added: “Christmas is a time for friends and family, but it’s also a time when a stupid decision could lead to the loss of someone’s life.
“For those caught and convicted, it will have dire consequences – offenders face a minimum 12-month disqualification, fines up to £5,000 and up to six months’ imprisonment. If you kill someone, you could face life behind bars.
“This could happen to anyone. You may think it’s only a short drive home or you’ve not been caught before, but you might not be so lucky next time.
“We always encourage motorists to plan ahead. If you’re going for a night out or you’re likely to be hungover in the morning, for example, arrange a taxi or a lift with someone sober. Don’t chance driving yourself. It’s really not worth the risk.
“Please ensure you make the right decision this festive season, and don’t ruin Christmas.”
The month-long initiative is supported by the Sussex Safer Roads Partnership, Drive Smart in Surrey and the independent charity Crimestoppers.
People in Sussex can text officers on 65999 with the details of people they suspect of drink or drug-driving, or visit the Operation Crackdown website.
Alternatively, you can visit the Crimestoppers website or contact the independent charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you know someone is driving while over the limit or after taking drugs, call 999.
National warning about phone calls from bogus police officers and bank staff
Sussex Police are supporting a national warning about the need for residents to be alert to a growing fraud in which criminals pose as police officers or bank staff and ask their victims to take part in a fake undercover operation or some other ruse.
There were 114 cases in Sussex in the year to the end of September. 47 succeeded in defrauding local people of a total of £419,414.96% of victims are over 60, and over half live alone.
UK Finance, a new trade association representing the finance and banking industry, issued the renewed warning on Wednesday 29 November.
Fraudsters are contacting members of the public, usually by phone, purporting to be from the police, or in some cases the fraud team within their bank. The criminal claims they are investigating a fraud at a local bank branch where staff are suspected of being complicit, including issuing fake bank notes, and asks their target to help in the operation.
Individuals are requested to visit the branch and withdraw a substantial sum, often thousands of pounds, of the supposedly counterfeit cash to hand over to the ‘police’ for ‘analysis’. The victim is assured that the money will be deposited back into their account after the operation is complete. However, once the money is passed over the fraudster disappears with the cash.
The criminal instructs their victim not to discuss the case with anyone in the branch, giving them plausible explanations as to why they are withdrawing the money. As a result, despite being questioned by the bank staff, the victim takes out the cash, convinced that the staff are part of a fraud.
In another version of the scam, the criminal convinces the victim to transfer money to a so-called ‘safe account’ to protect their funds from the ‘corrupt’ bank staff. However, the account is in fact controlled by the criminal.
All customers are reminded that the police and banks will never ask members of the public to become part of an anti-fraud operation or to transfer money to a ‘safe account’ for fraud reasons.
PC Bernadette Lawrie, Financial Abuse Safeguarding Officer for Sussex Police said: “This is a particularly nasty scam as it plays on people’s public-spirited nature to assist the police. We are receiving a growing number of reports of it occurring, with people often losing large amounts of money, so it’s vital that everyone is aware. Remember, the police will never ask you to withdraw money and hand it over to them for safe-keeping.”
"The good news is that of 114 attempts in Sussex more than half failed, thanks to the increasing awareness of local residents, and to shop and bank staff who recognise the tell-tale signs of this type of fraudulent activity and are blocking purchases and contacting the police.
"But everyone, especially the elderly and those who live alone, must remain on the alert for approaches like this".
Advice to consumers on how to avoid this fraud includes;
• The police will never ask you to become part of an undercover investigation or for you to withdraw cash and hand it to them for safe-keeping.
• Be wary of any calls, texts or emails purporting to be from the police asking for your personal or financial details, or for you to transfer money.
• If you are approached, or feel something is suspicious, hang up the phone and don’t reply. Then report it to Action Fraud and your bank on their advertised number.
Never send or give money to anyone you don't know or trust; check people are who they say they are; don't share your personal information; make decisions in your own time; and if in doubt phone a relative or a friend.
Operation Signature is the Sussex Police campaign to identify and support vulnerable victims of fraud across the county. Fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, and much of it is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people.
The force has a process for recognising victims of all fraud as victims of crime and providing preventative measures to support and protect them from further targeting. This can include helping them to change their phone number to an ex-directory number, contacting family to suggest Power of Attorney, mail re-direction, offering them advice on call blocking devices and referring them to other support services.
See here for further information about Operation Signature.
Also visit the Take Five to Stop Fraud website for more advice on how to stay safe from scams.
News desk Guidance; for further information about UK Finance please contact their press office on 020 7416 6750 or at https://www.ukfinance.org.uk/news/
Reference: 0896 24th November
Location: Alexander Terrace, Worthing
Date and time: Over period of time
Details: Unknown how entry was gained, cash stolen.
Reference: 0835 25th November
Location: Farncombe Road, Worthing
Date and time: Between 0700hrs & 1800hrs 23rd November
Details: Unknown how entry was gained, jewellery was stolen.
Reference: 1308 25th November
Location: Boundary Road, Worthing
Date and time: Between 23rd & 25th November
Details: Front door was forced and entry gained to flat, games console stolen.
Other than dwelling
Reference: 0157 1st December
Location: Eastern Avenue, Shoreham
Date and time: Between 2200hrs 30th November & 0630hrs 1st December
Details: Garage door was forced and some items stolen.
Help us keep Sussex safe
If you saw or heard anything, or have any information about any incident in this message please contact us online, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 101, quoting the reference number provided.
Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org
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