Neighbourhood Watch Jan. - March 2005


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0800 032 5202
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Monday 21st March 2005 until Friday 2nd April 2005

Due to the number of you that have asked about the use of force against intruders I have decided to copy the below statement for your information. I hope it is of use.

Householders and the use of force against intruders
Joint Public Statement from the Crown Prosecution Service and the Association of Chief Police Officers

What is the purpose of this statement?
It is a rare and frightening prospect to be confronted by an intruder in your own home. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Chief Constables are responding to public concern over the support offered by the law and confusion about householders defending themselves. We want a criminal justice system that reaches fair decisions, has the confidence of law-abiding citizens and encourages them actively to support the police and prosecutors in the fight against crime. Wherever possible you should call the police.

The following summarises the position when you are faced with an intruder in your home, and provides a brief overview of how the police and CPS will deal with any such events.

Does the law protect me? What is ‘reasonable force’?
Anyone can use reasonable force to protect themselves or others, or to carry out an arrest or to prevent crime. You are not expected to make fine judgements over the level of force you use in the heat of the moment. So long as you only do what you honestly and instinctively believe is necessary in the heat of the moment, that would be the strongest evidence of you acting lawfully and in selfdefence. This is still the case if you use something to hand as a weapon. As a general rule, the more extreme the circumstances and the fear felt, the more force you can lawfully use in self-defence.

Do I have to wait to be attacked?
No, not if you are in your own home and in fear for yourself or others. In those circumstances the law does not require you to wait to be attacked before using defensive force yourself.

What if the intruder dies?
If you have acted in reasonable self-defence, as described above, and the intruder dies you will still have acted lawfully. Indeed, there are several such cases where the householder has not been prosecuted. However, if, for example:

having knocked someone unconscious, you then decided to further hurt or kill them to punish them; or
you knew of an intended intruder and set a trap to hurt or to kill them rather than involve the police,
you would be acting with very excessive and gratuitous force and could be prosecuted.

What if I chase them as they run off?
This situation is different as you are no longer acting in self-defence and so the same degree of force may not be reasonable. However, you are still allowed to use reasonable force to recover your property and make a citizen’s arrest. You should consider your own safety and, for example, whether the police have been called. A rugby tackle or a single blow would probably be reasonable. Acting out of malice and revenge with the intent of inflicting punishment through injury or death would not.

Will you believe the intruder rather than me?
The police weigh all the facts when investigating an incident. This includes the fact that the intruder caused the situation to arise in the first place. We hope that everyone understands that the police have a duty to investigate incidents involving a death or injury. Things are not always as they seem. On occasions people pretend a burglary has taken place to cover up other crimes such as a fight between drug dealers.

How would the police and CPS handle the investigation and treat me?
In considering these cases Chief Constables and the Director of Public Prosecutions (Head of the CPS) are determined that they must be investigated and reviewed as swiftly and as sympathetically as possible. In some cases, for instance where the facts are very clear, or where less serious injuries are involved, the investigation will be concluded very quickly, without any need for arrest. In more complicated cases, such as where a death or serious injury occurs, more detailed enquiries will be necessary. The police may need to conduct a forensic examination and/or obtain your account of events.

To ensure such cases are dealt with as swiftly and sympathetically as possible, the police and CPS will take special measures namely:

An experienced investigator will oversee the case; and
If it goes as far as CPS considering the evidence, the case will be prioritised to ensure a senior lawyer makes a quick decision.
It is a fact that very few householders have ever been prosecuted for actions resulting from the use of force against intruders.

Chris Caten
CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603



(Monday 7th March Friday 19th March 2005 )

You may have read recently that our Crime Reduction Team’s have been out and about in your local supermarkets warning shoppers about distraction thefts. While you scour the supermarket shelves for bargains, pickpockets can be looking into your trolleys for unaccompanied handbags for easy pickings.

The thieves that we are trying to thwart work in teams, one person will distract you whilst the other will simply snatch your bag or remove the purse that is lying on top of your bag in the trolley. Depending on the size of the team, the stolen item could be passed onto another one or two people making it very difficult for us to pinpoint those involved.

The thief will distract you in many ways. It could be a simply request to locate an item in the store or to ask you to reach for a high or low object feigning some sort of illness or injury. It is not unknown for a young child to approach you claiming he/she is lost and who can resist the plea of a young child pretending to be lost? If this approach is used then the team will probably consist of a mother/ daughter team.

How many times have you seen shoppers just walk off in a quest for a forgotten item leaving their trolley and handbag behind.

The Elderly are also a target because they may be slightly slower and more vulnerable than a young adult. Younger people have grown up constantly aware of crime but for the older generation, this is a complete shift in attitude.

Just stop and consider the problems it would cause you if you lost your handbag. Your credit cards would need cancelling, your driving licence would need replacing, all that hard earned cash - gone, your house keys and door locks would need replacing, and …. I could go on and on….

I recently asked those of you concerned about your house security to walk up and down your street trying to guess who was at home and who was out. For those of you that tried, ‘It was easy wasn’t it? 100 per cent correct I bet? and you weren’t the burglar!!

So, next time you are in the supermarket, take a few minutes to stand and watch and just look around. See how easy people make it for these opportunist thieves

Chris Caten
CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603



Monday 21st February 2005 until Friday 4th March 2005


'Message in a Bottle' has reached a milestone with the presentation of the 100,000th bottle to a 57 year old man from Good Easter.

You don’t know what this scheme is? OK – Then picture the scene – Locals have not seen Mrs Smith for a couple of days – milk and newspapers can be plainly seen at the front door so Police are called. We break in and find her on the floor, alive but weak. Those first few minutes are important, we could save her life – but we have no way of knowing if she is diabetic, has heart problems etc. We don’t know who her doctor is or her next of kin or what medication she is on.

The ‘Message in the Bottle’ Scheme solves all those problems. It is a small plastic bottle that is kept in the fridge along with all the required information i.e. your details, doctor’s details, medicines that you may be taking, next of Kin or Carer’s Details. The fridge is also marked so that the Emergency Services know that you are in the scheme.

Age is not a restriction in this scheme. You may be in your 20’s and suffering from asthma – the important thing is that help can be given as quickly and as correctly as possible.

I have these Bottles on the Mobile Police Station and they are FREE. I have given away over 3,000 already so if you are not part of this scheme then please call in and collect one, it is worth the effort.


This may sound silly but if you lose your Credit Cards or have them stolen it is important that you report the loss to your Bank or Building Society as quickly as possible. Being away on holiday or business can slow this initial report down. Installing the Lost/Stolen Department’s phone number into your mobile phone is one way of making that early contact.


Under the Private Security Industry Act 2001, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) are in the process of registering doorstaff across the county. Some of these security personnel in Essex were previously registered under varying schemes but everyone across the UK are now being brought under one system. Essex will go live at midnight on February 28th 2005. After this date it will be an offence to work a door without a licence and their badges will be displayed.

Chris Caten
CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603



Monday 7th February 2005 until Friday 18th February 2005

Been on a Day Trip to France recently? What have you done with the left over Euros? What about the Euros from last year’s holiday, where are they? These Euros are only being used a few times a year but for various reasons many of us keep hundreds of pounds worth of them about the house. Consider your security – if you think that the villains don’t know this then think again. Some of you are buying your holiday Euros well in advance of your Summer Holidays – good deal until you have a burglary.

SCAM PROMOTIONS - The Warning Signs
Every day, people throughout the UK are falling victim to a scam of one kind or another.

These scams come in different forms – letters, email, telephone calls and text messages. It could be news of an unexpected prize draw or lottery win, or a chance to invest in an exciting new money making or investment programme. Promotions of this kind however they are distributed, are a dishonest attempt to trap you into parting with your money. If YOU are approached and offered the chance to partake in something that seems too good to be true, before you respond

and ask yourself these questions…

• Was the promotion unsolicited?
• Did it come from overseas?
• Does it look too good to be true?
• Do I have to respond ‘at once’ – what’s the rush?
• Do I have to make a purchase to win a prize?
• Do I have to ring a premium rate (090) telephone number?
• Do I have to give my bank or credit card details?
• Do I have to send the money to a PO Box number?
• Am I asked to keep it confidential?
• Can I afford to lose the money?

Before you part with any money, take legal or professional advice because the chances are, once you have sent it, you will never see it again. If you suspect a scam, contact Consumer Direct on 08454 040506, or if Consumer Direct is not yet available in your area, contact your local Trading Standards Department or Citizens Advice Bureau.

Chris Caten
CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603



Monday 24th January 2005 - Friday 4th February 2005


A new partnership scheme to improve the quality of life and the environment in communities across Essex has been launched. This scheme allows The Chief Constable to accredit staff of other organisations, such as council street wardens, with powers to tackle graffiti, litter, abandoned cars and anti-social behaviour. This helps and supports the councils who have a commitment to crime and disorder reduction by making their accredited staff more effective.

Before being awarded any powers the people concerned will be vetted and receive training. Initially the scheme will be for local authority partners but can be extended to other organisations – such as universities and housing associations – as well as the private sector. People will only be awarded powers that are appropriate to the roles they carry out and they will be properly badged and uniformed along with I D cards that identify them. Please note – Employed and wearing a uniform. That point has to be emphasised. If you require further information then please contact me.


Crime affects everyone at some point in their lives in one way or another. It’s easy to feel that there’s nothing you can do or to worry about the consequences if you do pass on information. Crimestoppers is an Independent UK-wide charity working to stop crime and on a monthly average they receive 6,000 anonymous calls which lead to over 500 arrests. With this system you have the power to tackle crime without leaving yourself open. It’s easy, it’s anonymous and it’s up to you. Every call is valuable to this system and often your information will help solve not only known crime but also crimes that we are unaware of. They can be contacted on 0800 555 111.


Please don’t forget to report all untaxed motor vehicles direct to DVLA on their Helpline. You will require location, make, colour and index number plus any information you may have on the owner.


It does appear, judging by the number of complaints I have received, that parents have ignored the advice and have purchased Gopeds for their youngsters this Christmas. These complaints are made by both pedestrians and motorists. The pedestrians are concerned that they, or their young children, are going to be hurt by these machines, and the motorists are concerned that they may have to live with knowing they killed one of these riders. Parents please, these machines are not for use on the footpaths or roads. They are classed as Motor Cycles and require Insurance, Lights, Crash Helmets etc as well as a Driving Licence. The penalties, if caught, are high for both rider and parent.

Chris Caten
CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603



Monday 11th January 2005 - Friday 21st January 2005


Right, that’s Christmas over and done with for another year – time to think about the garden. So why not consider using plants to protect your home and garden? Many plants have a natural defence with spiked leaves and stems which can be used to protect your property.

Plant them underneath and to the side of windows, drainpipes and don’t forget areas near single story extensions. Plant them in angles and corners that are hidden from view and to the sides of gates. Encourage the plants to grow over side entrances etc. So many of you still ask for the list of plants I supplied when I toured the garden centres a few years back – so, by popular demand, here they are.

Berberis Stenophylla :- Spiny arching branches with yellow/orange flowers - 9 feet.

Berberis Verruculosa :- Evergreen glossy leaves, yellow flows followed by black berries. 3 feet.

Berberis Candidula:- Good for ground cover, spiny dense mounds bearing yellow flowers. 2 feet.

Berberis Ottawensis Superba:- Rich purple leaves – 6 feet.

Genista Hispanica:- Excellent ground cover, spiny branches with yellow flowers – 2 feet.

Hippophae Rhamnoides:- A strong growing shrub with silver leaves and sharp thorns – 16 feet.

Ilex Aquiflium:- Spiny deep green leaves with red berries in autumn – 15 to 20 feet.

Mahonia Japonica:- Evergreen shrub, spiny holly, yellow highly scented flowers. 6 feet.

Prunus Spinosa:- Large shrub with spiny branches, Damson like fruit in autumn.

Pyacantha Mohave:- Large evergreen shrub with spiny stems and red berries – 12 feet.

Rosa:- There is a bewildering array of roses which are suitable for planting to defend your home and garden ranging from miniature to shrub rose

Rubus Cockburnianus:- White thorny branches, interesting display in winter – 8 feet.

Ulex Europaeus:- Very spiny shrub – 6 feet.

Crataegus Monogyna :- Native hawthorn has spiny branches covered in scented white flowers – 15 feet.

The Garden Fights Back – Let Nature Help Protect Your Home - but please remember that these plants will cause injury to both friend and foe. Garden centres and retail nurseries should be willing to help you select the most suitable plant and don’t forget to care for the plant. Some areas, i.e. under overhanging roofs etc, will need extra watering and care. These plants are varied and will bring added colour and life to your garden whilst fighting crime.


Many of you have double glazed front doors with letter box and inside lockable door handle. When you shut these doors from inside many of you see no reason to lock them; the main reason for this is because there is no handle on the outside. A team of rather clever villains have found a way round this, which means they can get into your home in a matter of seconds.

Don’t make it easy for them –LOCK THE DOOR AND REMOVE THE KEY.


Please don’t forget to report all untaxed motor vehicles direct to DVLA on their Helpline. Tel: 0800-032-5202

2005 Happy New Year. Does anyone know what happened to the last one? It only seemed to last a few months!!

Chris Caten
CRIMESTOPPERS 0800 555 111
E-mail: - Chris Caten
Mobile - 07715771603



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Last Up Dated: 21st April 2005