Christmas is coming and it is time to start thinking about safety during the festive season!
Christmas is a time to celebrate and have fun. But for some it can provide an opportunity to take advantage of those who are vulnerable and susceptible to crime.
Please follow our advice this festive season and together, we can help keep you safe this Christmas.
Night time safety
Eat, drink and be merry, not miserable. Drinking too much can ruin a night out, so know your limits and enjoy the festive season safely and responsibly. Don’t let one night’s actions leave you with a criminal record.
Stay with your friends: don’t allow anyone to leave alone, or with someone they don’t know or trust.
Don’t find yourself stranded once the night is over? Plan your journey home and make sure your friends get home safely too.
Over the festive season, officers will be on regular high-visibility patrols to keep you safe – come and speak to us if you need us.
The darker nights can make many of us feel more concerned for our safety, but there is lots of support available. Street pastors and security guards can help give you support and guidance, and our officers will always do what we can to help you.
Our local policing teams have bespoke plans in place to help make sure your Christmas nights out are safe, and we are here to help whenever you need us.
We've teamed up with over 50 licenced premises across Dorset to offer free soft drinks to those who give free lifts home to friends and family after a night out this Christmas.
The initiative runs from Wednesday 1 December 2021 to Saturday 1 January 2022 and is a modern approach to the annual Christmas campaign.
On the purchase of your first soft drink, drivers will be able to receive a voucher to have your second free of charge at participating venues!
To find out more about the scheme, visit the Lift Legend webpage.
Fraud and cyber crime
With everyone busy preparing for Christmas, it’s important to remain aware and vigilant of fraudsters looking to take advantage of the festive spirit.
Increasingly fraud is becoming more complex and deceptive, much of which is targeted at vulnerable and elderly people. Fraud and scams can take a number of forms such as cyber-crime, telephone scams and doorstep crime such as distraction burglary and rogue traders.
Understandably everyone is busy at this time of year, but it is important to remember that vulnerable members of our communities still need the vigilance and support of those around them to help protect them from being targeted.
One of the most important things you can do is to make yourself aware of common fraud crimes and talk to friends, relatives and neighbours, to make them aware of what sorts of scams could be targeted at them and how to protect themselves from becoming victims.
Preventing fraud and staying safe online:
- Be suspicious of all ‘too good to be true’ offers and deals.
- Do not agree to offers immediately. Take decisions in your own time – don’t feel pressured to make hasty decisions.
- Do not hand over money or sign anything until you have checked the credentials of the company or individual.
- Never let anyone into your property or send or give money to anyone you don't know or trust.
- Check people are who they say they are – always check ID cards.
- Don't share your personal information with anyone.
- Always log on to a website directly rather than clicking on links provided in an email.
- If in doubt phone a relative or a friend.
- Fraud is a crime, please report it! By reporting it to Action Fraud we can work to prevent them deceiving others.
How to report:
Fraud is known to be under-reported as victims describe feeling ashamed and in addition, vulnerable members of our society may be even less likely to speak up if they have been exploited. That is why it is so important that members of the public ensure they support vulnerable members of the community and report any concerns if they believe someone is a victim of fraud or is being exploited.
As the UK’s national fraud reporting centre, Action Fraud should be your first point of contact if you or someone you know has been a victim of fraud: 0300 123 2040 or actionfraud.org.uk
Children and families throughout Devon and Cornwall should be able to enjoy their Christmas free from the fear of domestic abuse.
Over the Christmas period, Devon and Cornwall Police will have additional specially-trained officers dedicated to victims and to deal with those who commit domestic abuse.
As reports of domestic abuse have historically increased during the festive period, officers will be conducting extra reassurance visits to high-risk victims to ensure they continue to be safe.
Serial domestic abuse perpetrators and offenders with special conditions and court orders will also be subject to further scrutiny during this period of time.
Remember, domestic abuse isn’t just physical. Does your partner regularly control who you see, what you wear, how you use your phone? These are just a few behaviours which can amount to serious psychological and emotional abuse. Do not suffer in silence; get help and report this abuse now.
There is no place for domestic abuse at any time of year. For more information and advice about domestic abuse follow this link.
Contacting the police and 101
Christmas is always a busy time for emergency services. Devon and Cornwall Police is asking you to think carefully before you dial.
Please carefully consider whether the reason for your call is something the police can help with, before picking up the phone or if your enquiry could be dealt with online. It is faster and easier to go online and submit your enquiry to an operator.
Unfortunately a large percentage of calls received to 101 are for other agencies or not an appropriate call for the police. For every call we are dealing with that is not a police matter, someone else who needs police assistance has to wait.
Some calls received are concerning issues that are believed to be dealt with by the police, but are actually subjects for your local council to act upon. Matters such as:
Roads and transport
- Report a road issue
- Live travel alerts
- Parking issues
- Driveway obstructions
Recycling and rubbish
- Bin collections
- Dog fouling
Planning and housing
- Street lighting
Leisure and culture
- Noise complaints including parties
- Pest control
- Lost/found animals
- Fly tipping
- Bonfires and fireworks
- Trading standards
The ‘Contact’ section of this site offers various online reporting and enquiry tools that enable a quicker and easier alternative to calling 101.
Please remember to think before you call. If we work together we can offer a better service for you during #Christmas2020 and thereafter.
Theft and burglary
Theft from handbags
Would-be thieves use the goodwill of the Christmas season to target people and their belongings during shopping trips and events.
Gift your family and friends this Christmas, not thieves – be aware of your surroundings, especially when in crowds, and keep your bags and belongings close to you. Keep valuables out of sight and easy access, and consider holding bags with the fastening inwards to deter them.
Theft from motor vehicles
Just going to pay for parking? Just popping into a shop or getting some petrol? Just putting some shopping back in the boot to free your hands? It’s surprising just how quickly thieves target vehicles for the valuables inside. Stay vigilant and keep your vehicle locked when you’re away from it.
A day’s worth of Christmas shopping can be gone in seconds. Keep bags of gifts out of sight and wherever possible, park somewhere secure, well-lit and attended.
Don’t let thieves steal your Christmas – don’t use your vehicle to store gifts, as opportunists will often be watching and waiting for what you’re leaving behind.
REMEMBER: Devon & Cornwall Police will attend a theft from or damage to a vehicle if there is evidence to gather and if officers are not already tasked with a high priority incident. High priority incidents are those where a crime is in progress or there is threat to life.
You can report a theft or damage to a vehicle via the Do It Online section of our website. Make sure you make a note of the crime reference number we give you as you’ll need to provide this to your insurance company.
‘Tis the season, but don’t let the celebrations put safety out of your mind. Take steps to keep your home and family safe this Christmas.
Don’t leave valuable gifts you’ve bought or have been given on display for opportune burglars to see. Keep highly desirable items like games consoles and tablets out of view.
Dispose of boxes for expensive gadgets and gifts at a recycling centre rather than leaving them out for the weekly bin collection – this could give thieves a reason to target you and your home.
If you’re away over the festive season, take some time to make sure doors and windows are locked and consider using timers to switch on lights in the evening. Even the small things can make a big difference and could stop burglars in their tracks.