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Operation Yuletide- Personal Safety

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Humberside Police is in its first week of ‘Operation Yuletide’ and this week focuses on personal safety; sexual offences, bogus taxis, robbery, drug and alcohol use and domestic violence.

Below is information and statistics linked to each crime along with crime prevention advice in order to assist people in keeping themselves safe.

As part of Operation Yuletide members of the public are being encouraged to check out Humberside Police’s virtual advent calendar (http://www.billysbadventcalendar.co.uk) with useful videos and messages behind each window throughout December which will help keep them safe this Christmas.

The force Facebook page will also be Christmas themed and populated with a variety of facts and statistics which residents should find interesting and useful at this time of year at www.facebook.com/humberbeat.

Sexual Offences

Government statistics released in January 2013 estimated that 85,000 women are raped on average in England and Wales every year. one in five women (aged 16-59) has experienced some form of sexual violence.

Rape and other forms of sexual violence are understandably topics that many people find difficult or uncomfortable to talk about. Because of this reluctance to discuss or acknowledge them, myths and misinformation about sexual violence are common.

9% of rapes are committed by ‘strangers’. Around 90% of rapes are committed by known men.

Women, girls and men of all ages, classes, culture, ability, sexuality, race and faith are raped. Attractiveness has little significance. Reports show that rapists choose their victim based on their vulnerability not their physical appearance.

Rape is an act of power and control - not sex. It is often difficult to explain in a few words what rape is; generally speaking for rapists it’s about power and control, frequently no violence is used or even overtly threatened. Many victims struggle to even rationalise that they are a victim – being confused about what happened, why it happened and why they didn’t do more to prevent it.

The above is all typical of Rape Trauma Syndrome for victims due to the manipulative behaviour of the offenders. If the offenders’ manipulative behaviour ‘works’ on their victim, it improves their chances of the victim not reporting the crime and therefore the offender ‘gets away with it’ at every step of the process.

Bogus Taxi’s

In 2011 there were 155,100 licensed Private Hire Vehicles in England and Wales. Approximately 25,000 Licensed taxis and Licensed Private Hire Vehicles in the Yorkshire and Humber region. With so many licensed vehicles on the roads, you could be easily misled into getting into an unlicensed taxi.

One person who made that mistake, said: “I was raped after being picked up illegally in a city centre. You’re on your own, you’ve probably had a few drinks, so your defences are down. It’s late at night, you’re really vulnerable in a taxi.

“I felt very alone. I was trying to figure out what to do but couldn’t see past the panic. I was just crying and knew that it was going to happen and there wasn’t a lot I could do about it.”

Although this victim escaped with her life, she says the mental scars of such an attack never heal.

“It’s torn my family apart. I don’t work any more. I’m not confident, I’m frightened of a lot of situations. It’s completely changed my life.”

Don’t fall foul of an unlicensed taxi:

Illegal taxis are unlicensed and uninsured. Their drivers are usually not registered or easily traced.

- Check that the taxi has a taxi registration plate on the rear bumper

- Check that the plate matches vehicle registration

- Ask to see the drivers identity badge if it is not displayed

- Ask the taxi company the name of the driver when you book and check this.

- Some taxi firms offer a text-back service, which offers added security knowing exactly what vehicle to expect before it arrives, especially when you are out at night in a busy area, Text Back greatly reduces the risk of you getting into the wrong taxi which improves your safety.

- Share taxis with friends. Don’t ‘share’ a cab with a stranger you meet in the queue.

- Overtly photograph front of cab or driver at start of journey, explain to driver as ‘my dad/boyfriend/partner is worried about me using cabs so I send this picture to re-assure them, not a problem is it?’.

Taxis (or ‘hackney carriages’) are available for immediate hire and can be hailed in the street (known as ‘plying for hire’). Taxis can also accept pre-bookings. For taxis there are two types of licence, a vehicle licence and a driver’s licence. The vehicle licence is issued to the owner of the taxi.

Private Hire Vehicles (PHVs) (sometimes known as ‘minicabs’) must be pre-booked and cannot use taxi ranks. It is illegal for PHVs to ply for hire. For PHVs there are three types of licence: a vehicle licence, a driver’s licence and an operator’s licence. The operator accepts bookings and is the person with whom the customer makes a contract for carriage; services can be provided either by licensed PHV owners who are also licensed drivers or by licensed drivers who rent a licensed vehicle.

Robbery

A robbery is defined as taking or attempt to take anything of value from a person by force or threat of force or violence, and putting the victim in fear.

Nationally most robberies happen directly against a person and use force or fear against the victim to steal their valuable possessions (a car, wallet, handbag, phone etc).

Humberside has a low level of robberies, however at times like Christmas when more people are carrying more money on them than usual or bags full of presents, it is time we all look a few simple steps to safeguard our personal property:

- Don’t leave your phone, tablet or purse on tables in pubs or restaurants and beware of distraction thefts! Some thieves will pose as sales people and place leaflets over your purse/phone whilst they speak. When they take their leaflets back, they’ll take your property too.

- If you need to make a call in public, make it brief and keep an eye out for those around you. Don’t walk while you’re sending text messages.

- Record your registration number (also known as the IMEI or International Mobile Equipment Identity number) and phone number. Keep these numbers separate and safe. You can find your IMEI number (a 15-digit serial number) by keying *#06# into most phones or by looking underneath the phone battery.

- If your phone is stolen, report it to your network operator (or call 08701 123 123) and to the police.

- Your phone can be blocked, just like a stolen credit card. Once blocked, it cannot be used again.

- If you place your jacket over the back of your chair in a pub or restaurant, don’t leave your phone in the pocket.

- When using your bank cards in a shop, bar, garage or restaurant, be aware of anyone looking over your shoulder when inputting your pin number.

- If your credit cards are stolen, call your bank or credit card company to cancel them immediately. Don’t wait until you get home. You should find a 24-hour emergency number on your statement and on some cash machines.

- Carry your bag close to you with the clasp facing inwards. Keep it zipped up, and make sure your wallet or purse can’t be seen

- Don’t carry large amounts of cash

- Spread your possessions about. Keep your mobile phone separate from your purse, and your keys separate from your credit card

- Cover up any expensive jewellery and if you must carry valuables, be discreet. Talking on your mobile, wearing headphones or carrying a laptop all show thieves you have things worth taking

- If someone starts distracting you or stands close by when using an ATM, cancel the transaction and walk away. If you have withdrawn any cash, put it away immediately and be aware of anyone looking over your shoulder or standing too close to you.

Drugs and alcohol – cost to society?

Alcohol has a detrimental financial implication on society with tax payers’ hard earned money paying for the impacts of irresponsible drinking.

Did you know:

- Alcohol-related problems cost the UK economy around £48,000 EVERY MINUTE.

- Alcohol related crime costs the nation £8bn-£13bn PER YEAR.

- There are 18,843high risk drinkers in the East Riding.

- 20% of all violent incidents in the UK take place in or around a pub or club.

- Each Year, around 1.2 million violent incidents are linked to alcohol misuse.

- 108 people were arrested in Humberside last December for being drunk and disorderly.

Don’t make yourself one of these statistics. Drink responsibly!

Christmas in particular is a time we spend with close family and friends.

Everyone is in good spirits and having a good time. But it only takes one person to have one too many to bring a swift halt to any festive fun.

Humberside Police acknowledge that many people enjoy an alcoholic drink to celebrate Christmas and New Year but urge you to remember your limits.

When at home with the family, enjoy a drink, but bear in mind that alcohol affects the parts of your brain that control judgment, concentration, coordination, behaviour and emotions. Don’t find yourself in trouble with the police because you lashed out in one momentary lapse of concentration or tolerance.

Go out and have a safe and enjoyable evening. For your information Anti-social behaviour, particularly related to alcohol is one of the police’s top priorities and measures are in place to clamp down on it. Know your limits.

14% drink more than they intend to over Christmas

People in this country consume more than 600 million units of alcohol during December

Alcohol consumption in Britain increases by 40% in December

Binge drinking, which experts consider as consuming eight or more units in a single session for men and six or more for women, can cause dehydration which is the main cause of a hangover as well as more serious effects such as increasing the risk of an accident and serious injury, being sick and choking.

Top tips to reduce the amount you drink:

- Before you start drinking, set yourself a limit on how much you are going to drink and stick to it

- Only take a set amount of money to spend on alcohol

- Don’t drink in a round, that way you can set your own pace of drinking and budget

- Alternate between drinking an alcoholic drink, then a soft drink

- Keep to small measures or lower strength drinks, don’t be tempted to get the larger glass or double up on offers

- Your can always tell your friends you are cutting back on drinking to watch your weight

- Don’t give in to peer pressure. Stick to what you know you can handle

One of the biggest issues Humberside Police face regarding alcohol and Christmas is looking after those who are not used to going out or drinking to excess and ‘go for it’ at Christmas parties and nights out. Sadly some of these people will inadvertently put themselves in incredibly vulnerable situations.

Legal Highs

Just the fact that a substance is sold as a ‘legal high’ does not mean that it is safe or legal. The actual ingredients and strength used to make the substance can vary greatly each and every time. You can never be sure what is in the ‘legal high’ you have got and what effects it will have on you or your friends.

As it is impossible to determine if these drugs are ‘legal highs’ or illegal drugs the police will confiscate anything they find and could arrest and hold you until tests are undertaken.

For further information and advice please visit www.thinkb4udrink.org

Domestic Violence

The pressure of dealing with Christmas could often trigger arguments within families.

People are at home. The stress and anxiety of Christmas is often raised, for many, many families. Where domestic violence is evident prior to Christmas, it is known these relationships become even more dangerous.

For most of us, the children have broken up from schools. The increasing pressure of having to buy presents and food for the Christmas period can raise anxiety and stress within families. This is known to increase domestic abuse. It is for that reason that Humberside Police raises the profile now.

There is nothing more heart-breaking for police officers than attending homes at this time of year and finding children in tears after one adult has subjected another to abuse.

Communities can assist police in helping to reduce these incidents. If you suspect domestic violence is taking place please call us.

 

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