Community Safety Issues
Scams come in many forms: emails, on social media, by post, by phone, by text or in person at your door. They all make false promises to con you out of your money.
It might be a scam if:
• It seems too good to be true
• You suspect you’re not dealing with a real company, organisation or a genuine person
• You’ve been pressurized to transfer money quickly
• You’ve been asked to pay in an unusual way, for instance by a transfer service or by vouchers
• You’ve been asked to give away personal information such as passwords, PINs or other verification codes.
It’s OK to say no. Speak to a friend of family member for advice before agreeing to anything you’re not sure about. Take a moment to step back and double-check before saying yes. Have a look at our downloadable leaflet for more information on protecting yourself from scams and frauds.
And if you suspect a scam, check out Hertfordshire County Council's website for further advice on signs to look out for and how to report your concerns.
A rogue trader can contact you in many ways. They might cold-call or post a leaflet through the door or respond to a job posted on a trader matching website. They might even reach you through a ‘trusted trader’ website if the full checks haven’t been done properly.
Key warning signs to look out for are:
• A small job turns into a bigger one, for example, a quote for replacing some loose tiles turns into a whole roofing job.
• There is a lack of paperwork before the work starts. You should have full details such as the trader’s name, address and contact details; a full description of works and materials to be used; the cost including whether VAT is included; and cancellation rights.
• An expensive quote is quickly reduced on condition the work is carried out straight away.
• The trader claims that the job is urgent and puts pressure on you to agree.
Protecting yourself against rogue traders
• Never buy goods or services at the door.
• Remember that you can always say no and get another trader to confirm if the work is actually needed and what a reasonable price would be.
• To find a good trader, use personal recommendations but ensure they are from people you know, not just from a neighbourhood group. Alternatively, Hertfordshire Trading Standards have partnered with Which? Trusted Traders. Traders with a 'Hertfordshire Trading Standards approved' logo have been assessed by trading standards professionals and DBS checked.
For more advice about rogue traders, or to ask for help from Trading Standards, call the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133. However, if the trader is aggressive or starts work without your agreement, call the police on 999.
If you have been a victim of a scam
• Talk to your bank or card company immediately if you’ve handed over any financial and sensitive information or made a payment
• You can report a scam and get advice from Citizen’s Advice.
• Report text scams to your mobile phone provider by forwarding it free to 7726.
• Report the scam to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.
• An initiative set up by National Trading Standards, Friends Against Scams aims to protect and prevent people from becoming the victim of a scam. Their website is packed with advice on what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones.
• OWL (Online Watch Link) is used by Hertfordshire Constabulary and local coordinators to help keep communities safe, reduce crime and keep people informed of what’s going on locally. You can sign up for regular emails regarding crime and fraud in your area.
The term 'anti-social behaviour' (ASB) relates to a wide range of behaviour that can blight the quality of life for communities. You can report ASB using a range of online forms.
ASB is a broad ranging issue and covers a variety of behaviours.
The ASB, Crime and Policing Act 2014 defines ASB as:
- Conduct that has caused, or is likely to cause, harassment, alarm or distress to any person
- Conduct capable of causing nuisance or annoyance to a person in relation to that person's occupation of residential premises, or
- Conduct capable of causing (housing-related) nuisance or annoyance to any person
The following are examples of ASB:
- Criminal damage / vandalism
- Threatening behaviour or harassment
- Abandoned and Nuisance Vehicles
- Neighbour Disputes
- Dumped Rubbish (Fly tipping)
- Dog Fouling
ASB can be hard to resolve as what one person considers as reasonable another may view as anti-social. Therefore the solution to the problem will be wide ranging and often involving more than one agency.
The East Herts Community Safety Partnership recognises that ASB can be serious problem that affects the quality of life of individuals, families and communities. We're committed to tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB), and will use the range of powers and resources available, both criminal and civil, to ensure that we take a robust stand against ASB where evidence is available.
How to report ASB
The easiest and quickest way to report ASB is to complete our Anti Social Behaviour reporting form.
Please note that any incident form completed will only be accessed by officers during office hours (Monday - Friday, 9.00am - 5.00pm). Therefore, should you require an immediate or urgent response always contact Herts Police on 999 or 101.
Alternatively, you can contact the Anti-social Behaviour & Projects Officer on 01992 531423 (Mon - Fri, 9am - 5pm)
It is useful if you keep a diary of incidents. Any information is treated as confidential and diaries can be completed anonymously if preferred, however by not included your details we would not be able to update you on any action taken. There is advice and guidance at the front of each diary on how to complete them. Diaries can be obtained by contacting the ASB and Projects Officer at East Herts Council (details above) or by visiting your local police station.
East Herts Council endeavours to make contact with you within two working days of you making a complaint. Any information the complainant has provided will be held on a confidential database only for the purpose of reducing ASB and in accordance with the Data Protection Act. It may be shared with partner agencies where necessary to prevent further crime and disorder.
There is also a police non-emergency number that can be used 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 101. The operator who answers will ask you for details about the nature of your call and pass you on to the relevant department and person. It's charged at a local rate from a landline wherever you call from (charges from mobile phones vary according to your service provider).
- to speak to a police officer or member of police staff
- for a general police enquiry, advice and information
- to report an incident or a crime that has happened
It should not be for an incident or crime in progress as this should be a 999 call
You can also call CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111
Please see our Housing Association Contact Numbers page for more information
More information on Anti Social Behaviour can be found on the Gov.uk website
The ASB Case Review gives victims and communities the right to request that agencies deal with persistent anti-social behaviour (ASB) case by reviewing their case and any actions taken. Any resident within East Herts can request a ASB Case Review if they feel they meet the criteria.
What is the ASB Case Review?
Under the Anti-social Behaviour (ASB) Crime & Policing Act 2014 victims of ASB to request a review of their case and bring agencies together to take a joined up, problem solving approach to find a solution. This is called the 'ASB Case Review'.
What is the criteria for the ASB Case Review?
The ASB Case Review can be used if you have complained to East Herts Council, Herts Police and/or your Housing Association / Registered Social Landlord on 3 or more occasions about separate incidents in the past 6 months. Where the same incident has been reported to more than one agency this is classed as one incident. This is called the threshold. If the threshold is not met the case review will not occur.
Who can use the ASB Case Review?
Any resident within East Herts can request a ASB Case Review if they feel they meet the above criteria. In addition, someone can request one on behalf of their relative or friend should they have their consent to do so. Anonymous requests however will not be processed.
How do I access the ASB Case Review?
Please contact us via any of the following:
- Online form
- Telephone: 01279 655261 please ask for the Community Safety Team (Housing &Health
- Email: email@example.com
- Post: FAO Community Safety, East Herts Council, Wallfields, Pegs Lane, Hertford, Herts, SG13 8EQ.
- If you would like a hard copy of the form to be sent to you please contact us on the details above.
If you decide to activate the ASB Case Review, please ensure you give the following details:
- Date of each time you've complained
- Details of where you complained (name, organisation and/or incident reference number)
- Information about the ASB
What is a hate crime?
A hate crime is any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice based on a person's actual or perceived;
- sexual orientation,
- transgender identity, or
Examples of hate crimes can include;
- physical abuse or violence,
- verbal abuse or threats,
- sexual abuse,
- offensive calls or texts,
- written/printed abuse (including offensive mail or email),
- indirect attacks,
- harassment, exclusion or isolation,
- damage to property, and
- online abuse.
What is a hate incident?
A hate incident is recorded when someone is discriminated against because of any of the above listed characteristics, but a criminal offence has not been committed. The police also monitor hate incidents.
Hate incidents could include: Not allowing someone to enter a club because of their ethnicity, laughing at homophobic jokes, or refusing to let someone with a disability sit next to you. Just because a crime has not been committed does not mean the behaviour is acceptable, and the police still record and investigate hate incidents. In many cases hate incidents can turn into hate crime. For example, bullying can become the criminal offence of harassment.
East Herts Council is now registered as a Third-Party Reporting Centre for Hate Crime
Research consistently shows that hate crimes and incidents are more under-reported than other crime. Many people, for a variety of reasons, are reluctant to report crime directly to the police and Third-party reporting is a way to overcome this.
East Herts Council has agreed to make reports to the police on behalf of victims who do not want to go directly to the police. We will provide a supportive, positive and confidential environment for hate crime victims to make a report. You can remain anonymous if you wish, and you don’t need to have contact with the police if you don’t want to.
Modern slavery is a growing problem globally and can take many forms, including the coercion, exploitation, deception and/or trafficking of people for labour, sex, criminality, organ removal, marriage and servitude.
Although slavery is illegal in every country, it still happens all over the world, including in Hertfordshire. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender and ethnicity.
Spotting the Signs
The signs of modern slavery and exploitation are often hidden, making it difficult to recognise potential victims.
However, the most common signs are:
- Restricted freedom of movement and/or isolation.
- No identification documents and/or these documents being held by someone else.
- Poor working and/or living conditions.
- Unusual travel times to and from work and/or unidentified locations.
- Fear and/or reluctance to seek help.
- Lack of knowledge and/or dependency on others.
- Poor physical appearance (signs of abuse, unexplained injuries and/or malnourishment).
- Few personal possessions and/or clothes.
Signs specific to children could also include:
- An unknown adult caring for a child i.e. an absent parent or legal guardian.
- Several unrelated children found at a single address.
- Frequently moving or travelling to/from different locations.
- Poor school attendance and withdrawal from activities, family, friends etc.
- Tiredness and/or aggression.
- Travelling unaccompanied by an adult and/or in groups with persons who are not relatives.
- Use of inappropriate and/or over-sexualised language.
- Association with known or suspected gang members.
Reporting Modern Slavery or Exploitation
- In an emergency, call 999.
- In a non-emergency, call 101 (request for the modern slavery unit).
- If you have a suspicion or concern, but are unsure whether to act on it, call the 24/7 charity-run Modern Slavery Helpline anonymously on 08000 121 700 or report online. With access to interpreters in 200 languages, expert advisers can provide free and confidential advice and support.
Exploiters and traffickers are dangerous criminals, therefore it is vital that members of the public do not attempt to act on suspicions themselves, as they may put themselves or the victims at risk.
The Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership brings together more than sixty agencies and charities from across the county to tackle modern slavery and human trafficking in all its forms. It is made up of representatives from Hertfordshire County Council, the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office for Hertfordshire, Shiva Foundation, Hertfordshire Constabulary, district and borough councils, clinical commissioning groups and NHS Trusts, charities, government agencies and more. In December 2018, the Partnership was scrutinised by Hertfordshire County Council as part of a Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking Topic Group. The full report can be found here. The following resources have been developed by the Partnership for public use:
- A5 (2-sided) Information Leaflet to educate the general public on spotting the signs of exploitation/modern slavery and reporting concerns.
- A5 (2-sided) Information Leaflet to educate taxi drivers on spotting the signs of exploitation/modern slavery and reporting concerns.
- A4 (2-sided) Information Flyer for potential and identified victims to support identification of exploitation by professionals, charities, businesses and victims.
Additional Partnership resources and training materials can also be found on the Hertfordshire Modern Slavery Partnership website
Acts of terrorism and radicalisation destroy communities and lives, causing deaths and injuries to many and leaving communities living in fear and sometimes divided by hatred and confusion.
Radicalisation is the process by which a person comes to support terrorism and extremist ideologies.
This powerful video (Prevent: An Introduction) illustrates the impact radicalisation can have on families when someone they love is radicalised.
Prevent is about keeping people and communities safe from the threat of terrorism.
Prevent is one of the four elements of Counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST) 2018, the Government’s counter-terrorism strategy. It aims to reduce the risk from terrorism, to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism, so that people can go about their lives freely and with confidence.
The three other elements of CONTEST are:
- Pursue (to stop terrorists attacks),
- Protect (to strengthen our protection against terrorists attacks) and
- Prepare (when an attack occurs to mitigate its impact).
Prevent objectives are to:
- Tackle the causes of radicalisation and respond to the ideological challenges of terrorism
- Safeguard and support those most at risk of radicalisation through early intervention, identifying them and offering support
- Enable those who have already engaged in terrorism to disengage and rehabilitate
The Prevent strategy challenges extremism by:
- Supporting people who are at risk of being drawn into terrorist or extremist activity.
- Working with and supporting community groups and social enterprise projects that provide support to vulnerable people.
- Working with faith groups and institutions to assist them in providing support and guidance to people who may be vulnerable.
- Supporting local schools, local industry and partner agencies through engagement, advice and training.
Report your concerns
If you are concerned about someone’s activities or behaviour, you can call the Anti-Terrorism Hotline on 0800 789 321 (it is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week). If you have seen a person acting suspiciously, or if you see a vehicle, unattended package or bag which might be a threat, immediately move away and call 999.
You can report illegal or harmful information, pictures or videos you’ve found on the internet anonymously on the Report online material promoting terrorism or extremism page on the GOV.UK website. If you are concerned about someone becoming radicalised in your community please contact the local police by dialling 101 and ask for the PREVENT team.
Friends and family are often best placed to spot the signs of radicalisation.
ACT Early is an initiative designed to provide practical help and information about preventing terrorism. The website encourages families and friends to report concerns that a loved one may be vulnerable to radicalisation and provides information on spotting the signs of potential radicalisation.
If you are worried that someone you know is being radicalised, please call the national police Prevent advice line on 0800 011 3764.
ACT early and share your concerns confidentially. You won’t be wasting time and you won’t ruin lives, but you might save them.
Free ACT Awareness E-Learning
An award-winning counter terrorism (CT) online training course is now available to the public. Please consider signing up to become a 'CT Citizen' to help protect the UK. The ACT Awareness E-Learning has been devised by counter terrorism officers and security experts to enable you to learn how to spot the signs of suspicious behaviour and understand what to do in the event of a major incident.
As the pandemic restrictions ease and more people returning to towns and cities, it is even more vital to return to being vigilant when you are out and about. The course consists of seven interactive modules that each take a few minutes to complete. You can pause and re-join at any time. In total, it takes just 45 minutes to complete.
The following websites also provide further information and advice about counter terrorism and radicalisation.
- Let's Talk About It provides practical help and guidance to stop people becoming terrorists or supporting terrorism.
- (Action Counters Terrorism) ACT is the Counter Terrorism Policing website where you can report suspicious activity.
- Educate Against Hate includes material for primary and secondary aged children.
Safeguarding is everybody's business we all have a part to play in preventing, identifying and reporting neglect and abuse of children and vulnerable adults.
We have put measures in place and work with other agencies/organisations to protect those that cannot protect themselves.
If a child or young person is in immediate danger, left alone or missing and/or a vulnerable adult is at immediate risk, you should contact the emergency services immediately on 999.
Members of the public can raise their concerns with their point of contact at East Herts District Council on 01279 655261 and ask for Jonathan Geall or directly with Hertfordshire County Council.
You can also make a report online:
- Report concerns about a child on the Hertfordshire County Council website
- Report concerns about an adult on the Hertfordshire County Council website
Child Sexual Exploitation
If you feel a child is being abused
- Call the Police: 101 (non emergency) or 999 (for emergency use only)
- Children's Services (including out of hours): 0300 123 4043
- Family Lives offer a 24/7 free phone number: 0808 800 2222. Gingerbread can offer advice to lone parents on free phone 0800 802 0925 between 10am to 4pm Monday to Friday.
If you think you've been sexually exploited
- Call the Police: 101 (non emergency) or 999 (for emergency use only), or Children's Services: 0300 123 4043
- Call Crimestoppers anonymously 24/7 on: 0800 555 11.
- ChildLine is a free, confidential helpline for all young people: 0800 1111. You can ring the NSPCC helpline on: 0808 800 5000.
The council recognises that the Mental Capacity Act 2005 provides a framework to empower and protect people who may lack capacity to make some decisions for themselves, or who have capacity and want to make preparations for a time when they may lack capacity in the future.
Someone who lacks capacity due to an illness or disability (such as a mental health problem, dementia or a learning disability) may have one or more of the following issues:
- cannot understand information given to them to make a particular decision
- cannot retain that information long enough to be able to make the decision
- cannot use or weigh up the information to make the decision
- have difficulty in communicating their decision.
East Herts safeguarding leads will work with the appropriate partners to take the mental capacity act provisions into account when responding to reported abuse in their district. Any concerns regarding mental capacity are raised with either the Head of Housing and Health or the Service Manager – Community Wellbeing and Partnerships as safeguarding leads.