Social Media Can Be The Biggest Hostage-Taker In Your Company

With tanks to our guest blogger Ineke Poutney

UnknownIf you think I am going to applaud you for banning your staff from using Social Media for personal reasons during working hours you would be missing the point entirely.

I have been reading an interesting Report about the Police and their use of Social Media which made very interesting points about the use of Social Media as a tool to connect with the public.

However, I couldn’t help thinking there was a gaping hole in the Report.  What happens when the public cannot use Social Media to contact the Police (for instance, because “this account is not monitored 24/7”)?

There is a major problem with “Corporate” Social Media accounts.  They never inspire me with confidence as to the service I am likely to receive from the company behind them.

On the one hand they are never as “human” as people’s personal accounts, on the other hand they always go “off air” when the member of staff in charge of them leaves the office.

And this is where my comment about Social Media being “the biggest Hostage-Taker in your company” stems from.

If your company only operates whilst the person in charge of your Social Media accounts is glued to their desk – and you don’t provide anything which is likely to break down, blow up, or malfunction in any other way, outside your hours of business – you must be one of the lucky ones.

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Parents urged to be vigilant after boys falls victim to online crime

This was discovered but the Surrey Res Net team – and shared here! Thank you too Surrey police

Surrey Police is urging parents to be vigilant and protect their children from falling victim to online crime, as officers investigate a report that a teenage boy was blackmailed by someone he was befriended by on the Internet.

The 15-year-old victim has alleged that he was befriended by a woman he met through an online game. She is alleged to have recorded him performing a sexual act and then threatened to pass the video to his family and friends if he did not pay her 500 euros.

PC Carina Jewell, who is investigating the allegation, said: “We have carried out extensive enquiries since this was reported to us at the end of December 2015 but unfortunately the woman has changed her name and photo so we have no way of tracing her. However, we do have concerns that she may have befriended other young people and threatened them in the same way and we would like to hear from anyone who believes they may have been a victim of a similar offence.

“We would also like to remind young people in particular to be careful online and never add people they don’t know. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have obviously become incredibly popular in recent years and most users are genuine, but because it is so easy to hide your real identity, it is possible to come into contact with people you would normally avoid.

“If you believe you have been a victim of any type of crime, please ensure you report it to us by calling 101 or use our online reporting form.”

Anyone using the Internet is urged to follow the advice below to ensure their online safety:

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Making Meetings Accessible for Folks with Challenged Sight.

A new stream of consciousness by Blogger Ineke Poultney

So you have decided to hold a conference or have a meeting???  Great.  You have decided what topics you are going to cover, as well as making sure everything is Health & Safety compliant???  In that case, you are good to go, aren’t you???

Actually, chances are you have forgotten about people like me – those of us with sight problems which are not immediately obvious.  Don’t worry – we are easily overlooked.

The aim of this guide is to help you help me (and people like me) to get as much out of your conference/meeting as someone with “normal” sight.

Just because I have a pair of glasses on my nose you cannot assume I can see what everybody else can see.

I have a combination of three sight problems which have more of an impact on me than might first appear obvious;

I am seriously shortsighted (as in I am closer to blind than 20/20 vision).  My glasses do help me see, however, not to 20/20 vision standards.

The second problem is Photophobia- my eyes are extremely sensitive to bright lights.

On the flip side of that I cannot see in the dark.

So – how can you help me to get as much out of the meeting as the rest of the people attending???

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Who to follow on Twitter in Surrey

It was great to have folk advise the SMPL team via social media  that our Roger had been recognised for his twitter feed in Surrey – especially as when he started on that journey a poll in the local paper suggested he should give it up! Here is the article:

Reblogged with grateful thanks from the Get Surrey feed.

19 JAN 2016 UPDATED 12:48, 19 JAN 2016 authored BY JAMES CHAPPLE

Unknown-1Twitter broke on Tuesday morning so everyone had to find another way to procrastinate.

Well, that at least was our excuse right here at Get Surrey HQ in Guildford.

The outage started to creep across the network from around 8.30am, with people experiencing difficulties accessing the main Twitter site, Tweetdeck and mobile services.

The Down Detector website saw a spike of more than 2,500 reports of issues with Twitter connectivity at around 8.30am on Tuesday morning. Blimey!

By midday, the social networking site seemed back up and running – albeit with a few glitches – to the relief of millions of tweeters.

We’d already prepared seven Surrey Twitter accounts we really think you should follow. Here’s the list:

1. @SurreyRoadCops
Surrey Police’s Roads Policing Unit do a fantastic job making their round-the-clock work policing of the county highways network and motorways accessible.

They share pictures and information from major incidents across the county, from serious accidents likely to cause major delays to animals invading the road.

Their presence on Twitter helps defuse sometimes tense or frustrating situations for motorists by providing honest, up-to-date information – and explaining why the police had to act as they did in certain circumstances.

2. @RGSWeather
This is the Twitter account of Reigate Grammar School’s weather station. It provides a fascinating insight into local weather patterns, and takes a more in-depth look at professional forecasting, all tailored to the east Surrey area.

It also is a good source of information, updates and images during major weather events, such as the flooding we saw last year.

3. @BadSouthernRail
We all get frustrated when our commute doesn’t go to plan. So when you’re stuck on a train somewhere near Redhill, have a butcher’s at Bad Southern Rail and imagine what it would be like if a cat, or a dinosaur, or a hippopotamus was, in fact, running Southern Rail.

It might just make you a tad more sympathetic in the circumstances, although I’m not sure we can hold out for any miracles.

(n.b. you can follow the actual Southern Rail account via @SouthernRailUK, which is pretty helpful and is updated very frequently, as is the amazing @SouthernMalachi account).

4. @SurreyFRS
Like the road cops, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service’s official Twitter account is a vital source of honest, up-to-date information about ongoing incidents involving the county’s firefighters.

It provides images and context during the initial, often uncertain stages of a major fire – and does its bit in the community, as we saw just last week when the team at Woking fire station bought a new toy fire engine for a young boy after they had to cut his old one off his finger!

5. @Firesnapper999
An ex-firefighter who now spends time helping build the profile of particularly Hampshire firefighters on the Surrey-Hants border.

Often working in tandem with the guys at Rushmoor fire station in Farnborough (@Rushmoor02), Firesnapper’s tweets will give you a really helpful insight into the day-to-day (and night-to-night) work of the fire service.

6. @rogernield2703
Mr Nield is a former Runnymede neighbourhood police inspector, who was appointed MBE in the Queen’s New Years’ Honours for his services to raising IMG_4442-1awareness of policing through social media, specifically Twitter.

He said: “It’s about people in the community and people coming together to try and drive crime and antisocial behaviour out.

“Using social media helps reach a group of people you would never normally be able to speak to.

7. @GetSurrey
Sorry, but we’re a shameless bunch here. If you’re not already following us via @GetSurrey, do hit that blue follow button.

We aim to bring you all the latest breaking news, traffic and travel from across Surrey every day through our #SurreyLive blog – and as much more on top of that as we can.

And you’ll find it all on our Twitter feed, which runs from 6.30am to 11.30pm every day.

Stoke-Mill-Christmas-Jumper-Day

We’re not too bad a bunch.

Op Dragonfly: Drug driver jailed for four months after pursuit

Surrey police have shared this YouTube video:

 

Surrey Police’s December campaign to reduce drink and drug driving offences has proved a success with more than 70 people charged so far.
During Operation Dragonfly the Force proactively named people that had been charged in a bid to raise awareness and highlight the dangers associated with getting behind the wheel when under the influence of drink or drugs.

 

You can find out more about Surrey police at: www.surrey.police.uk

Run, Hide, Tell

With thanks to the National Police Chiefs’ Council NPCC for this advice:

In the UK the Police Service and partners work very hard to keep us safe from the threat of guncrime. Firearms and weapons attacks are thankfully extremely rare, but we must always know to do stay safe. What would you do if you came under fire or heard gunshots at work or in public? Should you stay and hide, or run for the nearest exit? Would you know what to do to stay safe?

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Drones, Privacy and Harassment

Recently there was a statistic published and repeated on Twitter stating that complaints about drone use to the police had risen 2000 percent “Calls To Police Over Drone Privacy Up By 2,000%” via Sky News.

UnknownThe article and the statistic authored by Adele Robinson, Sky’s Midlands Correspondent is well researched but the debate moved into whether the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 would be available to reduce the complaints about drones invading your privacy. Well yes, in England and Wales this Act could be considered but it is probably not the first legislation the authorities might look to.

This is because Section One of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 states that a persons actions (with or without a drone) must amount to a course of conduct and that they know or ought to know that [their action] amounts to harassment. Some point out that CPS guidelines “to amount to harassment one must show a ‘course of conduct’ on 2 occasions within a year.” So the Harassment Act is not going to provide a swift solution notwithstanding the police could issue a warning to the offender. This being the case what other common or civil law might apply?

Well while using a drone could ‘invade your privacy’ there is no specific law to protect your privacy, which point was reaffirmed when the House of Lords ruled in Home Office v Wainwright (a case involving a strip search undertaken on the plaintiff Alan Wainwright while visiting Armley prison).

However there are many pro-social uses for drones including their use by Search and Rescue teams. Such teams are civilian volunteers who work closely with police, fire and rescue, other charities and the Ambulance services of the UK. Their primary role is to find vulnerable missing people. This often requires them to search open areas of rough land. You can see that drone use perhaps using an heat source recognising camera by Search and Rescue teams could reduce the area to be searched. My point here is that there are quasi-official uses for drones that might impinge on someones property or privacy but that most folk would accept this was a lawful or social purpose. The use of a drone in this case would be a mere fraction of the cost of powering up, let alone flying a police helicopter. And of course such use is strictly guided by policy, procedures and insurance.

Fortunately there is legislation and guidance for all drone pilots not just the responsible ones which state you just need to have some common sense and safety rules. “Don’t fly near people, don’t fly over buildings, certainly don’t go near roads. Don’t fly over roads it’s just not sensible. At any moment your drone could drop out the sky, and no matter how much you prepare you need to be ready for that”. You need to fly responsibly.

The CAA provide a “dronecode” telling users not to fly higher than 400ft, or near aircraft or airfields, and always keep eyes on the drone.

The law also stipulates that drones fitted with cameras must not be flown within 50 metres of people, vehicles, buildings or structures, or over large gatherings.

However there is a problem with antisocial drone use – that of the potential remote user. If something goes wrong they may merely walk away. but just how big is the problem Sky New has highlighted? A two thousand percent increase? Well Adele’s Freedom of Information figures show in 2013 officers recorded 19 calls compared to at least 461 in 2015 and in the last year the number rose by over 160%. Just half of police forces in England that Sky News contacted responded to the request. Considering the number of drones in use and the hours flown and number of complaints in the low thousands suggests this remains a generally small problem but one that should be monitored and brought back before the courts as drone use evolves.

The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 is always available but I do not think it will feature often in cases of complaints about drone use.

Mobility Scooters – do you see them? 

UnknownMobility Scooters or Invalid carriages are a common sight on our roads, pavements and in our shopping centres. But are they safe? There are around 400,000 currently on our streets a growth of 33% since the early 2000’s. We have got over the hysteria of 2003 and 2012 where motorised scooters or invalid carriages, as the law knows them, were demonised through a few high profile events. These were generally where older folk made serious errors such as driving them onto a motorway.  But at present the danger to others by invalid carriage users has been assimilated into our daily lives. In fact recent work by the Department for Economy, Science and Transport and the National Assembly for Wales confirms that they of significant benefit to disabled people and goes even further suggesting amendments to the regulations to make them more available to younger folk.

The currently problem of invalid carriages is one of visibility – do you see them? The question is particularly appropriate as we approach the end of British Summer Time on Sunday 25th October 2015. Whether on the pavement, on the road or merely crossing the street at low speed (0-8mph) there are significant dangers to the users because they do not have to show front and rear position indicators (side lights) and there is no MOT required.

From our own recent field study of invalid carriages used in London and the South of England very few users are aware of the dangers and  what simple steps can be taken to make the user safer. However whilst 84% of users complain that motorists and cyclists ignore them, drive too close and “bully” them. (89% complain that pedestrians get in the way and that many shopping isles are too narrow) only some 10% of carriage users wear a high visibility clothing item when they use their vehicles. This one change to wearing a high-vis vest would, we argue, ensure that scooter users feel safer because other road users would see them earlier and be able to react sooner. This would be a useful step forward and we would ask the DoT to consider making this move mandatory following a wider survey.

It is also the case that of the 10% of users who wear high visibility clothing whenimages-1 on their mobility scooter over 70% of these do so because they have been involved in an accident or near miss with a vehicle. It would be an interesting subject for further research to examine the times, dates and weather conditions of such events.

Other useful safety changes would be for current invalid carriages to be fitted, like bicycles with reflectors and with reflected chevrons on the rear surface of the vehicle.

The study of mobility scooter safety will become simpler as from 2015 the police service will record incidents including invalid carriages.

images

Meanwhile if you know a mobility scooter user don’t wait for wider research to prove our study you can buy a high visibility safety vest from around £5 and help them be safer in our community.

Can I report driving offences by video?

Posted  by Roger Nield

A question by @dombat via Twittter and the ‘Police App’ ever more appropriate with the growing numbers of GoPro’s and other devices in cars and on bikes these days.

Can I report driving offences by video?

Yes you can. In Runnymede neighbourhood police have had an agreement for years with the Safer Runnymede CCTV control centre

Unknownthat where their staff see anti-social driving the local neighbourhood team will contact the owner of the vehicles and give them a warning. For example ‘boy-racers’ up on the Runnymede Pleasure Grounds. You will also see in other blogs, reports from the public of dangerous parking along the A30 that officers have deployed to in order to protect people lawfully using the highway.

Unknown-1

The nub of the issue is this: If you report a problem at a location police can deploy staff to check it out and tackle any offences they observe there. If however you see an offence you must make a choice; are you prepared to report it to the police and support them in the investigation all the way to a conviction in court – or not?

If you are prepared to support a prosecution then your video of the offences now forms part of the evidence police need to prosecute the driver. Next police need to identify the offender and interview them. If the driver admits the offence then they can decide how to deal with the suspect from giving simply advice all the way through to issuing a summons.

As a key witness you would be asked to provide a witness statement on top of your video and you would need to be prepared to go to court. Note that police have to be able to show that the images were original and that all the evidence could be tested at the trial. (That’s why police officers have such a comUnknown-2prehensive evidence/property collecting/recording/storage system).

If you are not prepared to go to court you should still tell the police as they can then monitor the location and the vehicle you saw.

However there is a third way you can contribute to local road safety by joining or starting a Community Speed Watch [CSW]. This is where the public band together to capture evidence following training on equipment supplied by police. So what is the difference between CSW and your suggestion? Simply the training provided and a prior agreement so that CSW members know that folk they report will initially relieve a warning letter and the offenders will be flagged to local police for their attention.

The best way forward if you are concerned is to speak with your local policing team and work with them to address the problem. But never stop advising the police of dangerous or anti-social driving. It’s the public’s number one priority in Surrey and police officers work alongside partners under Drive SMART are working to tackle it.

 

To Dye or Not to Dye? A question of suspect identification

The question has been posed “Could security staff spray a dye onto people committing offences to enable them and by extension the police, to identify them later?”

identification?

identification?

To answer this one needs to define a number of aspects of the question.

To begin with I will assume that the incident will happen in England and Wales. I define police as someone who holds a warrant as a police constable and security staff as anyone who is employed  and is working on private property, for example as door staff.

So in answer to the question,  anyone could spray a dye onto anyone else if they had the product to hand and yes this would potentially assist in the later identification of offenders or witnesses to the incident where the dye had been deployed.

But would this be lawful? Neither the police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 nor common law have anything to say on the matter.

However for police officers there is a requirement to act proportionately, lawfully, appropriately and their action(s) must be necessary [PLAN]. There is no current legislation that covers spraying dye on offenders nor is it a tactic available to public order commanders.

For security staff again there is no legislation covering the use of dye. I argue though that they should follow the police legal requirement to ‘PLAN’. Under this and considering that the suspect(s) are on private property the following protections may apply.

If the organisers or operators specifically warn attendees that it is part of the terms and conditions of their attendance that a dye could be deployed to identify persons involved in disorder or a criminal offence.

It could be argued that this could tend to mitigate the chance of people offending or observing an offence for fear of being ‘dyed’.

However the actions of the security personnel would need to be recorded by CCTV, body cam or another official to support the PLAN decision making and the dyes use.

This would not however prevent the user of the dye from being considered for causing criminal damage or being sued under civil law for damages.

Furthermore under current Health and Safety legislation an employee and their employer have a safety responsibility towards anyone on their property which is subject to the lesser Civil Law burden of proof. How this sits with a complaint about being dyed would need to be determined.

The point is that there is no legal precedent for the use of dye to help identify suspects in a crowd whereas there is in the protection of cash in transit. The use of dye in the proposed way would have to be tested in the courts. I am certain this would lead to years of litigation and challenge all the way to the supreme court so anyone wishing to try dyeing suspects should expect to be challenged. Moreover they should check with their insurers that they will be supported. Finally they must ensure that the colorant is not deployed in a public place as this may place the user in conflict with the police. I would also be concerned for their SIA license as the authority are quick to suspend members pending the resolution of legal action.

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