These days, scammers are finding it easier to masquerade in our lives, using all our personal information that is too often readily available online, as the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne OBE explains:
This is why I launched a scheme today that will see volunteers help to support fraud victims and reduce re-victimisation.
Now some 23 volunteers will officially join Sussex Police and work with officers to contact local individuals and businesses who have recently reported scams to Action Fraud.
They will each be responsible for sending emails or letters, offering tailored prevention advice on areas such as telephone/mobile phone scams, identity theft and online hacking. They will also proactively signpost them to Safe Space Sussex for free access to local support services.
Thursday of this week also marked International Volunteers Day. Volunteers within policing relieve much of the pressure and demand that is placed upon warranted officers and specialist staff, allowing them to focus on the areas where they are most needed.
This new fraud scheme was inundated with applications and this makes me proud to live in a county that has such an amazing appetite to give back.
Since launching the Safer in Sussex fund in 2013, I have allocated nearly £1.5m to support crime reduction and community safety iniatives. On Monday I held a celebration event at my office to meet some of the local projects who have benefitted this year.
From organisations helping those with serious addictions and tackling homelessness to volunteer community wardens and equine rangers, they’re an eclectic mix of people and projects who give up their time to make Sussex safer.
A couple of the projects, which are working to turn around the lives around of troubled young people, also brought along some of their service users for me to meet. Thea (16) had been excluded from two secondary schools and was barely attending classes at her third. She was getting involved in anti-social behaviour and was considered vulnerable.
Her teachers put her in touch with Parkfield Equine Solutions and she was placed on The Horse Course programme. This charity teaches at risk youths a beginners level in horsemanship skills which has proven to help them re-engage.
Thea said: “I was getting involved in anti-social behaviour and hanging around with the wrong people and it had a negative impact. Being calm and learning to focus in this way does help. I’ve been at school every day since.”
Recently I have been reaching out to our small local business owners and their staff to find out how safe they feel working in Sussex.
They really welcome the increase in police visibility but they have also expressed concerns about violence and intimidation as well as the cost and inconvenience of shoplifting.
I want to know more about this type of crime or the fear of it and so I will very shortly be launching a series of surveys in conjunction with small business representatives.
Today I started a small snap shot poll on our website. Have your say here.
Katy Bourne OBE
Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner