Be on your Guard

This was the message from Jeff Pick of Thames Valley Police when he came to talk to the club about a wide range of issues around Fraud but also the work the local police are doing to engage with local groups.  Jeff is certainly not short of words or enthusiasm and overran the usual speaker’s slot of 40 minutes by a considerable margin.  However we all learned a lot:  which numbers to ring in an emergency; what is an emergency; how to avoid being burgled – in particular not leaving the house looking unoccupied; not buying anything at the door EVER and also not chatting to those engaging young men who call who are down on their luck.  The list was fairly long – dubious phone call scams; emails from banks and solicitors; emails from an unidentified source; completing surveys and in particular entering competitions.  Plenty of the advice seems straightforward – always lock your car – don’t hide your handbag under the front seat of the car – leave plenty of lights on when you go out in the evening; but there was also a warning about bogus builders.  These are guys who turn up about six to twelve months after work has been done on a house which they know about from the board that has been outside and claim to be checking on the work in line with the guarantee.  Guess what – lots of problems that need fixing that are outside the guarantee.

The main advice though was to be alert and rely on your instincts – if something feels wrong then it probably is wrong so phone 101 and explain – maybe an unknown car that has been parked for several days.

Jeff also told us about some interesting schemes that TVP are running in particular the Food Academy which is partnered with the Armed Forces Covenant and is aimed at teaching less academic teenagers who might be at risk of becoming ‘troublesome’ some new skills.  In 8 sessions they move from novice to providing a Banquet for 50 – 80 local dignitaries acquiring discipline and teamwork skills along the way.  Jeff certainly gave us plenty of food for thought!