Saturday, 30 July 2011


This is from Epping Forest District:

Although we get our fair share of bogus officials targeting mainly the elderly and vulnerable residents in the District, the following incident is a somewhat unusual ploy which may fool even the most alert if unaware of it.

Last Sunday evening a man called at a ground floor flat in the Loughton area which was occupied by an elderly couple. Although disabled, the man of the house is extremely alert and unlikely to have been tricked too easily.

Prior to knocking on the door it transpires that caller had cut the victim’s telephone line outside the house. When the victim answered the door, the caller explained that he was a BT engineer and was calling to repair the line which was faulty. The caller produced some ID which, of course, was fake.

The victim would not have allowed the bogus engineer in at this point but the engineer pointed out to him that he could check he was genuine by checking his phone. When the victim checked his phone of course, he found the line was dead. This made him believe the caller was genuine and he allowed him in. Even if the victim had thought to check the caller out with BT at this point he couldn’t because the line had been cut.

Having got into the house the caller resorted to the usual modus operandi. Before moving away from the front door to check the phones in the company of the victim, he pretended to close the front door but actually left it ajar for his accomplice to come in and search the house whilst the victim was kept busy by the caller.

On this occasion, the fact that the telephone line was dead was enough additional circumstance to convince the householder that the caller was genuine.

If you are faced with a similar situation regarding a telephone fault that you were unaware of, don’t let the caller in! Use your mobile phone or a neighbours phone to contact your service provider and make an appointment for one of their engineers to call

Crime Reduction Officer
Epping Forest Police District
0300 3334444 ext 319383

Also, an alert from the Office of Fair Trading:

A Company trading as "SAS Fire & Security Systems Limited" has had its operating licence revoked due to dubious sales methods.

Do not allow anyone claiming to work for this Company access to your premises.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Hold very tight, please ...

Last Thursday, Transport for All organised a meeting with TfL and local bus operators at the Central Library to discuss bus accessibility, to which I was invited.

In fact, I was invited three times - twice by letter and once by e-mail! It appears I was not alone in the multi-invite stakes, as others I spoke to had similar experiences - Weggis even trumped mine with a total of four!

Unfortunately, it clashed with Barkingside 21's Coffee Morning but I finally decided to swap Fairtrade coffee at Fulwell Cross Library for unspecified 'Refreshments will be provided' at the Central Library ...

There was a reasonable crowd but the top table wasn't so well supported. Empty seats marked the places reserved for the representatives of Stagecoach and the Go-Ahead Group (Blue triangle and Docklands) - presumably their buses were cancelled ...!

There was no sign that First had been invited but they were probably too busy getting their newly acquired 25 route working smoothly and, apart from that, they only have one other route (179) in Ilford anyway. However, Arriva turned up mob handed - three of them - and Ilford South MP Mike Gapes, who'd only turned up as a spectator before heading off to another meeting, found himself temporarily promoted to the panel.

The meeting itself was a bit shambolic with most people (me included!) having their own personal agenda and I couldn't help feeling that a pre-submitted list of topics/questions might have encouraged more productive responses from the panel on a wider range of subjects, particularly considering the limited time (90 minutes). Only having one bus company represented was a problem as they could only respond on the basis of how they did (or would) handle a particular problem. Their difficulty was beautifully explained as being like expecting Tesco to handle complaints about Sainsbury's ...

Much discussion inevitably centred around wheelchairs and ramps and so-called baby buggies which, so often these days, are really heavy duty goods wagons with a baby perched on the top ...

Both King George and Queens hospitals featured in the discussions - for similar reasons. In the case of King George it is because passengers on the 362 have to walk ¼ mile to the hospital and, at Queens, from the only direct route from Redbridge, the 128, the walk is probably even further.

These are both good examples of the reason that accessibility is important to everyone as the reason that many otherwise able bodied people visit a hospital is because of a loss of mobility! It is a pity that this wasn't mentioned at the meeting.

What came out of this is that the NHS don't consult TfL when designing and building these hospitals. This is obvious from the 362 problem - to which I was able to provide the answer - quite simply, the NHS didn't allow enough stand space for the routes terminating there and the parked buses were obstructing the access of emergency ambulances to the hospital, so one of the buses had to go ...

As for the 128, Arriva were able to field comments on one of their own routes for a change! When the route was last tendered by TfL, Oldchurch Hospital was still open and the route was designed to serve it by stopping virtually outside the main entrance. TfL might address the problem when the route comes up for tender again. Obviously, Arriva can only run the route as TfL tells them to and, if there was any reason why TfL couldn't modify the route mid-contract, the TfL guy wasn't saying - one way or the other. Unfortunately, he wasn't asked ...

We learned a lot about driver training, how driving quality is monitored and problems handled but, of course, only from the Arriva point of view. Mention was made of Arriva's 'spy in the cab' (actually a device to encourage driving economically) which monitors acceleration/braking/cornering and displays the reult to the driver by means of a 'traffic light' display on the dash. Although the device also records the data it produces, the agreement reached with the union prevents it being used for disciplinary purposes ...

One of my pet moans is about the drivers who seem to have been trained to drive a new breed of 3 metre wide buses from the way they insist on stopping two feet out from the kerb, so it was interesting to hear this phenomenon mentioned three times by various people - I didn't get my chance to make it four!

One very conspicuous object on the top table was the Big Red Book - it's not that big, actually - which is the driver's 'bible', issued by TfL to every bus driver in London - TfL have even won an award for it! It was used a lot to clarify exactly what drivers are supposed to do - or not do - in particular circumstances. It's a great pity that it isn't more widely available. As it is, the passenger has no idea if the driver's behaviour is right or wrong ...

After the meeting, there was a short time to question individual panellists. I posed a couple to the TfL man with surprising results! Why, I asked, do TfL refuse to allow reversed-out blind panels for 'Not in Service', to make it clearly visible from a distance? Mr TfL was obviously flummoxed by this ... Black text on yellow, I explained, rather than the normal yellow on black ... But Mr TfL still didn't understand what I was talking about - 'blind' (technical term) was obviously the stumbling block, so I pointed out that it was the large thing on the front of the bus that told passengers where it was going ...

To my complete astonishment, Mr TfL declared that all London buses are now fitted with electronic indicators! No, I said, TfL refuse to entertain electronic indicators! I also pointed out that the 'Spirit of London', the bus built to replace the one destroyed in the 2005 bombings, had been delivered with electronic indicators but had been retro-fitted with conventional roller blinds.

Still the man wouldn't budge but I noticed that the Operating Manager from Edmonton Garage was between questions and asked him to clarify. When he basically re-iterated all that I'd said - including a reference to 'Spirit of London' - he didn't have much choice! Needless to say, the question (which he still didn't seem to understand, anyway!) remained unanswered! If anybody else is still confused, look at this, which demonstrates my point:

You did notice that there are two 'Not in Service' panels on that blind, didn't you?

I then asked about what I call the suicidal straight staircases demanded by TfL. His face lit up at this as he pointed out that the 'New Bus for London' has two staircases and they're both bent! I did point out that we haven't got any of those yet but there are already 8,500 buses in the London fleet! He did accept that (TfL) might have got it wrong ...

A quick check at random check shows that no fewer than 169 new double deckers (some for 169 route, as it happens) - with straight staircases - went into service in one week at the end of June ...

ITV London were in attendance, shooting lots of material both during and after the meeting - including 'borrowing' Arriva's Assistant Training Manager from me for an interview.

I overheard him later saying that he'd been asked to do one bit again but including the word 'disabled' in it - obviously ITV London have a problem with the concept of Transport for All ...

He declined, which is probably why the interview - for London Tonight - didn't appear! In fact, none of the material they shot was used. Instead, they took their wheelchair bound reporter outside and shot a different story - which didn't mention the meeting or Transport for All - of her travelling by bus - Arriva, of course! - to Walthamstow ...

Finally, the refreshments. Cups, saucers, biscuits, stirring sticks, a jar of instant coffee and two large teapots. On inspection, one contained hot water for the coffee and the other seemed to have had a whole packet of tea bags tipped into it, which was reflected in the colour and taste of the liquid it now contained. Oh yes! No spoon to measure out the instant coffee!

Perhaps I should have gone to Barkingside after all ...

Sunday, 17 July 2011

MET FORWARD - Safer Neighbourhood Teams

The Metropolitan Police Authority (MPA) has for some time been working on the future of Safer Neighbourhood Teams (SNTs):

The purpose of this report is to provide a snap shot of the progress being made to deliver Met Forward Two. Met Forward is the Metropolitan Police Authority’s (MPAs) three year strategic mission outlining the priorities it wants the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) to focus on and key areas of development for the Authority to improve policing in London.

A key commitment in Met Forward was to undertake a Safer Neighbourhoods scrutiny. In Met Forward it was outlined that the MPA would consider whether Safer Neighbourhoods resources are being deployed effectively and ensure maximum impact is being achieved from the investment made. It is possible to condense the MPA scrutiny findings into two key points:

1. Safer Neighbourhoods policing has been a huge success for the MPS. Safer Neighbourhoods teams have brought a change to how Londoners relate to and perceive their local police.

2. A wholesale revision to how Safer Neighbourhoods policing is delivered in wards is not required. Rather a majority of the participants requested the flexibility for borough commanders alongside local authority partners and residents to devise a Safer Neighbourhoods response that best met the needs of their boroughs.

To view the findings in full please visit:
this is pdf for which you will need Acrobat Reader

The MPS also carried out a review of Safer Neighbourhoods teams which focused on what Safer Neighbourhoods teams deliver, the location and structure of the teams and their demand. The findings correspond closely with those of the MPA scrutiny with both highlighting:

 Strong support for the concept of Safer Neighbourhoods;
 A desire for even closer partnership working with local authorities and other strategic partners with improved sharing of intelligence, tasking, service provision, accommodation and procurement; and
 A high demand by boroughs for flexibility within central parameters to deliver ‘Safer’ services (whatever that means).

To read the proposals in full please visit:

Thursday, 14 July 2011


The following is a delivery scam whereby the a householder ends up footing the bill. Please forward to other interested parties.

1) A delivery company drops an expensive item (TV in one of the incidents), to the victim's house.

2) The Victim here is a little surprised that she/he received something they didn't order but takes it in.

3) After a while, another knock on the victim's door by a person saying "Sorry, we dropped an item to your house by accident, we apologise for this mistake, if you don't mind, we'd like to collect the item back",

4) The victim then allows the person to collect the item which seems logical at the time.

5) A large bill/Invoice comes in from whichever company the item was ordered from into the Victim's house asking to pay the amount of the ordered item.

6) The item apparently was ordered by a fraudulent person into the Victim's house (at random), who then collects the item leaving the Victim to pay the bill.

The advice the police give to any person that receives an unordered ("unsolicited") item is to contact the company it came from and ask them to collect it. If however you have taken delivery of an item which you have "given back" and you receive a bill/invoice, please report this to the police using the 101 number. This is a crime know as false representation.

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

BT SCAM - looking for your Credit Card info -

This is from SUSSEX POLICE

I received a call from a 'representative' of BT, informing me that he was disconnecting me because of an unpaid bill.
He demanded payment immediately of £31.00 or it would be £ 118.00 to re-connect at a later date.

The guy wasn't even fazed when I told him I was with Virgin Media, allegedly VM have to pay BT a percentage for line rental!

I asked the guy's name - he gave me the very 'English' John Peacock with a very 'African' accent - & phone number - 0800 0800 152.

Obviously the fellow realized I didn't believe his story, so offered to demonstrate that he was from BT. I asked how & he told me to hang up & try phoning someone - he would dis-connect my phone to prevent this. AND HE DID !!
My phone was dead - no engaged tone, nothing - until he phoned me again.

Very pleased with himself, he asked if that was enough proof that he was with BT. I asked how the payment was to be made & he said credit card, there & then.

I said that I didn't know how he'd done it, but I had absolutely no intention of paying him, I didn't believe his name or that he worked for BT.

He hung up.

I dialed 1471 - number withheld
I phoned his fictitious 0800 number - not recognized.
So I phoned the police to let them know. I wasn't the first! It's only just started apparently, but it is escalating.

Their advice was to let as many people as possible know of this scam. The fact that the phone does go off would probably convince some people it's real, so please make as many friends & family aware of this.

How is it done?

This is good but not that clever. He gave the wrong number - it should have been 0800 800 152 which takes you through to BT Business. The cutting off of the line is very simple, he stays on the line with the mute button on and you can't dial out - but he can hear you trying.(This is because the person who initiates a call is the one to terminate it). When you stop trying he cuts off and immediately calls back.

You could almost be convinced! The sad thing is that it is so simple that it will certainly fool many.

By the way this is not about getting the cash as this would not get past merchant services - it is all about getting the credit card details which include the security number, so that it can be used for far larger purchases.

Police Community Support Officer

Monday, 4 July 2011


Back in March 2011, Local Police received a number of reports from elderly victims where they had received phone calls from people claiming to be police officers. Two new offences occurred on 23/06/11.

These 'police officers' generally inform the elderly victim that they are investigating a fraud and need the victims help as their money is not safe. They ask them to withdraw a large sum of money from their account, which will then be "marked" by police and returned to the victim. Needless to say the money is not returned.

The suspects are very convincing, they provide phone numbers for the victims to verify the suspects are 'police officers'. They will even provide cabs for victims with mobility problems.

Please can you warn friends & neighbours especially those that are elderly and/or vulnerable

More Local information here

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Crime & Safety Roadshow Coming To Redbridge

Kit Malthouse

Residents will have the chance to discuss the changes to London’s police service as Deputy Mayor Kit Malthouse hosts a special Crime and Safety Roadshow at Ilford Town Hall on Monday 11 July 2011.

The event, which will take place between 7pm and 9pm, is part of a series of events being held around the capital giving residents the chance to discuss the future and get an update on the Mayor’s key strategies. Mr Malthouse will be joined at the events by either Assistant Commissioner for Territorial Policing Ian McPherson or Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh.

To find out more and book your place visit: website here