e-petition: Cancel Police and Crime Commissioner Elections in 2016

The Police and Crime Commissioner role attracts little public interest. Further no one person, no matter how brilliant, could ever hope to engage effectively with such a large number of constituents. It has done nothing to increase democratic accountability for the Police so the costly experiment must be brought to an end.

Future management could be brought under the National Offender Management Service to bring together the key criminal justice agencies into one system, making the seamless management of offenders an achievable goal.

The Government should immediately announce that the Police and Crime Commissioner elections, scheduled for 2016, will not take place.

Please sign this petition:

https://submissions.epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/68799/signature/new

Agencies in N E Lincs work together over Halloween and Bonfire period

In the build up to Halloween and Bonfire Night, agencies from across North East Lincolnshire are once again joining forces to ensure that the season goes with a bang for all the right reasons.

The Safer and Stronger Communities partnership involving North East Lincolnshire Council, Humberside Police and Humberside Fire and Rescue Services are taking a joint approach to ensure that the public stay safe at this time of the year.

Their work includes offering advice and monitoring activity in relation to the legal use and possession of fireworks. Additionally, engagement opportunities will be offered to young people around the area encouraging them to participate safely in the seasonal festivities, whilst residents will be urged to refrain from gathering refuse to build bonfires locally.

Spencer Hunt, Safer and Stronger Communities manager, is confident that the collective work from all partners will mean that everyone will enjoy their celebrations.

Mr Hunt said: “We’ve put into a place a number of measures in the build up to Halloween and Bonfire Night to ensure that businesses, the community and agencies work together to ensure that young people, families and vulnerable people enjoy the season.

“We don’t want to spoil people’s fun but this is about ensuring that they do this responsibly and not at the cost of other people’s well-being. We will be issuing a host of advice over the following weeks but initially we want people to start planning what firework and bonfire displays they will enjoy. We would like to encourage people to attend organised events rather than putting on their own displays as often this is where problems can occur.”

The following organised events are taking place:

1/11/14 – Pleasure Island Fireworks Display. 1430 – 2000

2/11/14 – Blossom Way Fireworks Display. 1730 – 2000

5/11/14 – Lucarly’s Fireworks Display. 1700 – 2000

7/11/14 – Scartho Rugby Club. 1800 – 2200

8/11/14 – Waltham Windmill Fireworks Display. 1700 -2100

Inspector Andy Parsons said: “Our aim through Operation Kincorth continues to be to make sure the public can enjoy the festivities at this time of year safely and without having to put up with the sort of anti social behaviour that a small minority of people were responsible for carrying out in previous years.

“As ever, Officers in North East Lincolnshire will be working closely with our partners and communities to ensure that those who want to have fun on Halloween and Bonfire night can do so without the small minority of trouble makers causing problems and potential hazards during the run up and on the nights themselves.

“I would also ask the public to think about their homes and valuables when leaving the house, or parking their cars to go and watch a display. Sadly trick or treaters may not be the only potential visitors looking to come away from your house with a prize, or to have a quick look what you might have left in your unattended vehicle.

“Please make sure your doors and other easy access points are securely locked, even if you are in your garden enjoying fireworks or simply in another part of your home and this could greatly reduce the chances of becoming a crime victim.

“Finally we particularly ask that while enjoying the Halloween and Bonfire night period, all members of the public look to do so in a way that will not harm or upset others. Parents and those with caring responsibilities for children have a very important part to play and should know where their children are, what they are doing and ensure that they have an understanding that not everybody will be wishing to take part in the ‘festive spirit’ and to respect their privacy and wishes accordingly.”

If you are a Trick or Treater you are urged to follow the Haunter’s Code. Householders can use our posters to indicate whether Trick or Treaters are welcome.

2568-thumbThe Haunters Code                                      2569-thumbNo Trick or Treaters

N E Lincs Council calls for more adopters in National Adopters Week

Throughout National Adoption Week North East Lincolnshire Council is calling out to anyone considering adoption to come forward to find out about how they can provide a secure, permanent and loving home for two or more children.

Making the decision to adopt is one of the biggest steps anyone can make; it can also be the most rewarding. Adoption is all about making a difference to children’s lives by providing a stable, loving and permanent home.

North East Lincolnshire Council is looking for adoptive families for 18 children. Among these are five sibling groups for whom it is very important to stay together. One group of three and four groups of two are all looking for a caring and loving home. Being placed with a brother or sister can help a child settle into a new family and have a positive sense of who they are. For most people their relationships with their brothers and sisters are the longest lasting relationship they will have.

Adopters, Mark and Sarah said about their adoption experience:

“Since we adopted a sibling group of two under-5’s we haven’t looked back. The bond between the children is great to see and having each other has been the one constant in their lives – which they will continue to have throughout childhood to adulthood. Adopting a sibling group is not easy – it’s life changing – and can be more work than a single child. We definitely didn’t know what being tired was until they came to live with us but for us it was definitely the right decision to do and it has made our family complete.”

Have you been thinking about adoption? Come along to our information events to find out more:

• Tesco’s community room, Cleethorpes, Tuesday 4 November between 1:00pm and 3:00pm
• Kenwick Park Hotel, Tuesday 4 November between 6:00pm and 8:00pm
• Humber Royal Hotel, Thursday 6 November between 6:00pm and 8:00pm

Or contact us in the following ways:

Web: www.nelincs.gov.uk/adoption
Tel: (01472) 326292 option 2
Twitter: @fosteradoptnel

Annette Brooke MP urges ‘Get Ready for Winter’

With winter on the way, Annette Brooke, Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Mid Dorset and North Poole, has called on her constituents to ensure they are taking advantage of free help and support with energy bills. This week, Annette attended an event with British Gas to learn more about what help was available.

Annette said:

“It is really important to be prepared for winter and I want all my constituents to understand what help is available for them, and for their family and friends. Being energy efficient and keeping bills under control is so important and I advise everyone to get in touch with their energy supplier to find out what support is on offer.”

Ian Peters, Managing Director of British Gas Residential Energy said,

“We know that household budgets are tight and many people will be concerned about their winter energy bill. There is help available, and we urge customers to get in touch to find out what advice and support is on offer.”

“In the long term, energy efficiency is still the best way to save money on bills. British Gas is pleased to be working with the Government to roll out help much more widely – 90 per cent of homes that need insulation can now get it for free, and you don’t need to be a British Gas customer to sign up. We’d advise everyone to find out if their home needs help to avoid missing out.”

British Gas has provided the following information in relation to getting ready for winter:

Insulate your home

One of the best ways to be energy efficient and keep your home warm is to insulate it. British Gas is currently offering free loft and cavity wall insulation which is available to 90% of homes that need it. Loft insulation can save up to £145 and cavity wall insulation can save up to £150 per year. To find out more you can call free on 0800 316 4051 or visit britishgas.co.uk/insulation

Get the best deal

Make sure you are on the best gas and electricity tariff for you. There are lots of deals and fixed prices to help you control your costs..

Financial support

Constituents may be entitled to extra support from the Government and their energy supplier if they meet certain criteria. Last year around 550,000 British Gas customers in the UK received the Warm Home Discount – a one off discount of £135 on the electricity bill, rising to £140 this year. British Gas customers should call 0800 072 8625.

British Gas Energy Trust

The British Gas Energy Trust is an independent charitable trust that offers advice and support for people who are struggling with their household bills. The Trust is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. Over the last decade British Gas has provided it with more than £75 million to help 120,000 people with grants and debt advice.

British Gas has teamed up with 18 debt centres across the UK to fund support workers to help people apply for a grant and provide face-to-face advice. You don’t need to be a British Gas customer to apply. For more information on the British Gas Energy Trust, visit: britishgasenergytrust.org.uk

N E Lincs cemetery and crematorium charges set to rise

Fees and charges at North East Lincolnshire’s cemeteries and crematorium were discussed by the council’s cabinet today.

Coincidentally, this took place only days after it was revealed by insurer SunLife that the “cost of dying” is more than 10 per cent higher nationally than it was this time last year.

According to their annual report, the company revealed that in the UK, the average cost of services including probate, headstones, flowers and the burial or cremation fee is now £8,427.

Locally, the fees and charges levied by the cemetery and crematorium service have remained low in comparison to the national picture and, more specifically, to neighbouring authorities.

For example, North East Lincolnshire Council currently charges £579 for an exclusive rights of burial, in comparison to £930 in North Lincolnshire and £1,250 in Hull.

The cost of a cremated remains internment in the borough is also currently the lowest in the region at £88, in comparison to £98 in North Lincolnshire and £220 in Hull.

The cabinet also agreed to align local fees with North Lincolnshire Council, relating to cemetery burials, woodlands burials, non-viable foetus and over-running of cremations charges.

A copy of the full cabinet report can be viewed at http://www.nelincs.gov.uk/committees/committees.aspx?commid=10&meetid=2267

N E Lincs fashion designer exhibits collection

A  fashion afternoon at Grimsby Fishing Heritage Centre on Saturday (November 1) will showcase the work of local designer Paris Hodson

Paris will display work from her fashion label Stella and Alf which offers simple, sustainable and beautiful designs with an ethnic heritage, taking influence from her grandparents, whom the company is named after.

Paris will showcase some printed material, which tells the story of Stella and Alf – Alf was a trawlerman – along with some of her patterns. Items from her collection will also be for sale.

The event takes place from 12 noon to 4pm in the visitor attraction’s Muriel Barker Gallery, which is currently exhibiting ladies’ costumes from the 60s and 70s. The last day to view this exhibition titled Sleigh Belles is on Sunday (November 2).

For further information about Paris Hodson and her fashion label, Stella and Alf, visit www.stellaandalf.com

Farron encourages Cumbrian residents to be ‘Scam Smart’

Liberal Democrat MP for South Lakes Tim Farron has helped launch a new awareness campaign to protect those most at risk of investment fraud. Finance regulator the Financial Conduct Authority has this month launched a new campaign to warn people about investment fraud and how to spot a potential scam.

Investment scams generally involve unexpected phone calls and high-pressured sales tactics for products which often do not exist, including land-banking schemes, carbon credits and rare earth metals.

Those most at risk are often retired people looking to make investments. As well as protecting themselves from investment fraud, the Financial Conduct Authority is calling on people to report suspected scams, either on their website or by calling Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040.

Tim said:

“It’s important to know how to spot the signs of a potential scam, and encourage friendsand family to be alert to a deal that seems too good to be true. The Financial Conduct Authority handy ‘Scamsmart’ website is a useful tool for anyone who is considering an investment – andseek independent financial advice from a regulated professional before making anydecisions.’

Martin Wheatley, Chief Executive of the Financial Conduct Authority says:

“Those operating investment scams use very sophisticated techniques to build trust and can dupe even experienced investors out of their savings.

“We would caution against anyone taking a risk on a firm or individual who isn’t authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority. Our message is simple, don’t accept a cold call.”

The average investor loses around £20,000 in a scam and the Financial Conduct Authority receives around 5,000 calls a year from investors about suspected investment fraud. Investment scams are difficult to spot and are designed to look like genuine investments. The FCA has seen examples of fraudulent websites that mimic those of legitimate firms and investment brochures that would be likely to convince even an experienced investor that the product was genuine.

One consumer told the Financial Conduct Authority that he was called out of the blue by a firm that offered to buy the shares that he held in a company. The deal sounded legitimate and the website looked professional. It wasn’t until he was asked to pay a £5,000 bond to enable the deal to go through that alarm bells rang.

The FCA is encouraging anyone who is considering an investment to check its ‘Scamsmart’ website, www.fca.org.uk/scamsmart, and seek independent financial advice from a regulated professional before going ahead.

Key signs that the investment may be a scam:

  • You are contacted unexpectedly about an investment opportunity through a cold call,
  • email, or follow up call after receiving a promotional brochure out of the blue
  • You are pressured to invest in a time-limited offer, for example, a bonus or discount is promised if you invest before a set date
  • The risks to your money are downplayed, for example you are told that you will own assets you can sell yourself if the investment doesn’t work as expected, or legal jargon is used to suggest the investment is very safe
  • The returns sound too good to be true, for example, better interest rates than those offered elsewhere
  • You are called repeatedly and kept on the phone for a long time
  • You are told the offer is only available for a limited time or to a limited group of people.

In the last year, the FCA processed 6,593 reports of suspected unauthorised activity, issued 295 consumer warnings and secured the removal of 61 websites promoting suspected boiler rooms. The FCA has also secured criminal convictions against 4 individuals who were involved in unauthorised activity, including running fraudulent investment schemes. It has also taken 8 civil injunctions this year.

Last orders called on alcohol related anti-social behaviour in parts of N E Lincs

Seven of North East Lincolnshire Council’s wards are to become controlled drinking zones.

Members of the authority’s cabinet have today (Wednesday, October 29) approved recommendations that West Marsh, East Marsh, Park, Heneage, Sidney Sussex, Croft Baker and South are made these zones to reduce the potential harm caused by alcohol and alcohol-related antisocial behaviour in public places.

Over a twelve week period earlier this year, residents, licensees, business and community representatives were asked for their views on giving the police and nominated council officers the power to control the consumption of alcohol across North East Lincolnshire.

The survey enabled respondents to tell the council their concerns, the places where alcohol related anti-social behaviour is an issue and how often the problem occurs. The decision to launch the consultation followed concerns expressed by elected members around the prevalence and visibility of people drinking alcohol in public places in the borough.

  • New legislation introduced in October 2014 by virtue of the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime & Policing Act 2014, replaces DPPO legislation contained within the Criminal Justice & Police Act 2001 with the PSPO.

A copy of the full cabinet report containing the consultation results can be viewed here.

Garden waste collection suspended over winter months in N E Lincs

The collection of garden waste bins across North East Lincolnshire will stop after November 28, as winter sets in.

The amount of garden waste generated by residents falls considerably over the winter months, so as in previous years, the collections will be suspended until week beginning Monday, March 2, 2015.

While the service is suspended, garden waste can be taken to the Community Recycling Centres at Queens Road Immingham and Estuary Way in Grimsby.

Both sites are open every day from 8am to 6pm, except Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve when they close early at 4pm and Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day when they are closed all day.

For dates of when your garden waste collections will finish and resume visit the online collection calendar at www.nelincs.gov.uk/resident/recycling-rubbish-waste/next-collection.

Detection dogs help sniff out £16,500 of illicit tobacco in N E Lincs

North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team confiscated about £16,500 worth of illicit tobacco in an operation in the borough on Tuesday, 28 October.

As the result of a partnership between North East Lincolnshire Council, North East Lincolnshire Health and Well Being Board, and the North East Lincolnshire Tobacco Alliance, tobacco detection dogs have discovered 21,071 cigarettes and 17kg of tobacco that would cost £16,500 to buy legitimately.

The illicit products have a street value of about £6,000 and were seized during inspection visits in the borough, conducted by North East Lincolnshire Council’s Trading Standards team with support from Humberside Police, during Operation Nightshade.

Operation Nightshade is an on-going initiative in North East Lincolnshire that aims to crack down on the supply of illicit tobacco.

Tobacco detection dogs Phoebe and Scamp, two enthusiastic Springer Spaniels, provided by BWY Canine, helped detect the concealed stashes of tobacco at the premises that were visited.

The premises included three shops and a private house.

The seizure included some products which are suspected of being counterfeit, and other non-duty paid products which cannot be legally sold in the UK.

These raids are the latest in a number of high profile seizures of illicit tobacco products in the borough.

A similar Trading Standards-led operation last month saw the confiscation of 5,500 illicit cigarettes and 3.5kg of illicit tobacco, with a street value of £3,700. A further 7,500 illicit cigarettes and 21.05 kg of hand rolling tobacco were confiscated by Trading Standards during a police operation in Freeman Street on 26 September. The approximate street value is £4,300, but to purchase it legitimately would cost at least £10,600.

Neil Clark, community protection manager responsible for Trading Standards at NELC, said: “We appeal to anyone to get in touch if you have information about any people or businesses selling counterfeit or illicit tobacco products in your community.”

Report it to North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards on 01472 326299 (option 3).

Alternatively, ring Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or complete the online form at www.crimestoppers-uk.org.