How to stop scam telephone calls!

Do you know someone that has fallen victim of a telephone scam and suffered financial detriment from it?

The effect of scam calls on vulnerable members of the community is a major problem across the UK, but one that is grossly under reported. The impact suffered by the victims is not just financial, but emotional

To help protect vulnerable Suffolk residents from telephone scams in the future, Suffolk County Council is seeking victims to come forward and take part in a national call blocking technology trial.

The new ‘TrueCall’ technology centres around a small device installed on a telephone line that blocks all unwanted calls. TrueCall has the ability to remember who residents like to speak to and who they don’t.

Phone numbers of family and friends are stored separately, whilst the details of nuisance callers are kept on another permanently blocked list. Residents, carers and family members can decide how calls are handled, for example there is an option for callers to be asked to identify themselves before ringing.

If you would like to register for the trial or for further information, please contact Chris Woods at Suffolk County Council’s Community Safety Team on 01473 260 816 or by email at

Whilst this trial is currently only available for previous scam victims that have suffered financial detriment, information about how to protect yourself and your loved ones against scams is available at or by calling
08454 04 05 06.


Driving whilst under the Influence









Drink driving is extremely dangerous and illegal. Any amount of alcohol will affect your ability to drive and this can have disastrous consequences. It’s not worth the risk.

The only safe option is not to drink alcohol if you plan to drive, and NEVER offer an alcoholic drink to someone else who is intending to drive.

Remember also that you could still be over the limit if driving the morning after!!

Driving under the influence of drugs, whether prescribed medication or illegal substances, is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and is also against the law. But are you aware that some prescribed drugs, and those you can buy over the counter such as cold and flu medicine, can also have an affect on people’s ability to drive.

Suffolk Constabulary and The Department of Transport has lots more information and advice on driving under the influence of drink and drugs, and about staying safe on our roads.

Forced Marriage Awareness


Safeguarding Children Board




The UK government previously issued a warning to teachers, doctors and airport staff to be alert to the risk of forced marriages over school summer holidays.  The summer marks a peak in reports of forced marriage cases, when youngsters can be taken on ‘holiday’, unaware of the real purpose of the trip.

You might be surprised by the number of enquiries dealt with by the Government’s Forced Marriage Unit in 2013.  You may be equally surprised that Suffolk have taken out 6 Forced Marriage Protection Orders covering 8 young people to prevent them being married against their will:

  • 2 were

    students with learning disabilities (they did not have capacity to consent)

  • 4 were for a 15, 16, 17 & 18 year old

This isn’t a London, Manchester, Birmingham problem, it is happening right here on our doorstep, in Suffolk.  So with the Easter holidays approaching, a young person could possibly be at risk during this time too.

What is Forced Marriage?

Forced Marriage ImageThis is when a person faces physical pressure to marry (threats, physical violence or sexual violence) or emotional and psychological pressure (made to feel like you’re bringing shame on the family).  Forced marriage also has links to other forms of abuse such as Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Honour Based Violence (HBV).  These are crimes or incidents, which have or might have been committed to protect or defend the honour of the family and/or community.

A person has the right to choose who they marry, when they marry, or if they marry at all. In this video, you can listen to a woman explaining how she was forced to marry a man she barely knew to protect the honour of her family.  She has spoken out about how she came through the experience to help others.

Other victims comments include:

“I didn’t want to get married, but felt pressure from my family”

“My mum said her health wasn’t good and she wanted to see me married – so I did it!”

“Don’t want to get married, but I’ll do it anyway, that is what my family want and its part of my culture & tradition”

“I want to marry my boyfriend/girlfriend, not one of my cousins or a stranger”

Recent TV Coverage about Forced Marriage

Look East Mariam IssimdarBBC Look East reporter, Mariam Issimdar talked to one woman who went into hiding to escape being forced into marriage and who is still in hiding after 7 years. Mariam also interviewed Aneeta Prem from Freedom Charity and Bal Howard who leads on Forced Marriage and Honour Based Violence for Suffolk Police, whilst they were visiting a School in Bury St Edmunds to deliver forced marriage awareness sessions to young people at the school.

The film quoted that number of recorded forced marriage cases in East Anglia appears to be rising according to new government figures. Nationally in 2012 there were 1485 forced marriages cases, of which 29 were investigated in the region.  However in 2013 the national figure decreased to 1302, but the numbers in the East rose to 45.

Bal Howard mentioned in the interview that the increase in the East could possibly be due to the amount of work carried out in the East which may have led to increased reporting. Of the 50 cases Bal investigated last year, 50% were concerning forced marriage and 30% of those cases the victim was under 18.  Several of these cases have shown that it is sometimes a young male adult or brother, rather than the parents, that’s involved in forcing marriages.

Bal also talked about the seriousness of this issue (which in many cases is child abuse), many would have led to rape, and in extreme cases murder.  “This could be the tip of the iceberg and fears that the true numbers are in the thousands.”

What should teachers look out for?

Who hasn’t come back to school after the summer holidays?  The loud lad in the class, what happened to him, why has he gone quiet?  Is a pupil in your school missing from education?  Where are they? What happened to them?

Did they say that grandparents were ill? Or did they say it was a cousins wedding?  Or did they say it was a cultural visit?

Is there is a drop in their performance and motivation or unexplained health problems (could possibly be a sign of child abuse).  Other signs could be that they are not allowed to do after school activities, not allowed westernised clothes/make-up/friends, terminology used by the young person like “I had an arranged marriage, I chose to go through with it”.

The young person may also start to truant from school (their only bit of freedom) and if suspect this could be a result of force marriage, or any other kind of abuse, DO NOT send a letter home to the parents, this might put the person at greater risk.  The young person may stop taking part in physical education,  always being brought and taken from school by a family member, someone may be watching them (like their siblings or cousins) during school time or they could be in a “secret relationship” which they have to hide from family members and they may also own a ‘secret’ mobile phone.

What should I do if I have concerns?

For Teachers:
In Suffolk if teachers and support staff suspect there could be a case of potential Forced Marriage then follow the Suffolk Local Safeguarding Children Board Procedures.


 A child at risk of forced marriage may also be at risk of honour based violence. Extreme caution should be taken in sharing information especially if honour based violence is suspected. If you have concerns that a child is at risk contact a Social Care Manager at Children &Young Peoples Services:

Customer First: 0808 800 4005
Out of Hours Emergency Duty Service
: 0808 800 4005
Or Suffolk Constabulary: Force Operations: 01473 613500
For urgent cases always call: 999

More information available from Suffolk Local Safeguarding Children Board guidance on:

General Advice and Information:
If you, or someone you know, would like to speak to someone about forced marriage or female genital mutilation, then contact Bal Howard, Suffolk Police’s dedicated Honour Based Abuse Projects Officer.  Bal has a wealth of experience and is able to offer advice and expert knowledge to front line practitioners in these sensitive cases. Contact her on Suffolk Police on 101.

In an Emergency always dial 999

There are various organisations providing a network of domestic abuse support and advice in Suffolk.  There are also other organisations around the UK providing information, detailed below:

Details of National Support Groups:

FreedomCharityFreedom Charity
Celebrates the UK‘s cultural diversity and all the traditions that these bring – but it makes a clear distinction between an arranged marriage and a forced marriage.
Call 0845 607 0133 or text “4freedom” 88802

Southall Black SistersSouthall Black Sisters
A not-for-profit organisation set up in 1979 to meet the needs of black (Asian and African-Caribbean) and minority ethnic women.      Helpline 0208 571 0800
General Enquiries  0208 571 9595

Newham Asian Womens ProjectNewham Asian Women’s Project
This project is a woman only organisation and charity working to end violence against women and girls.
Telephone 0208 472 0528

Karma NirvanaKarma Nirvana
They have one clear aim: to stop the scandal of forced marriage and honour-based violence. No apologies. No excuses. No backing down.
Honour Network Helpline 0800 599 9247

The Kiran ProjectThe Kiran Project
A project set up in 1990 to meet the needs of women from the Indian sub-continent experiencing domestic violence.
Telephone  0208 558 1986

Forced Marriage UnitForced Marriage Unit
The Government’s Forced Marriage Unit (FMU), contact them if you’re trying to stop a forced marriage or you need help leaving a marriage you’ve been forced into.
Telephone: 020 7008 0151
From overseas: +44 (0)20 7008 0151
Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm
Out of hours: 020 7008 1500 (ask for the Global Response Centre)

Female Genital Mutilation Awareness

Education Secretary announces guidance for schools on female genital mutilation (FGM)

Following his meeting with FGM campaigner Fahma Mohamed, the Education Secretary Michael Gove has confirmed that all schools will receive guidance on FGM which will be sent before Easter.  Here is a link to Michael Gove’s announcement published by the Guardian.

What is FGM?

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a form of child abuse which has devastating physical and psychological consequences for girls and women. The World Health Organisation describes it as: “procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons” (WHO, 2013).

Since 1985 it has been a serious criminal offence, under the Prohibition of Female Circumcision Act, to perform FGM or to assist a girl to perform FGM on herself. The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 tightened this law to criminalise FGM being carried out on UK citizens overseas.

Anyone found guilty of the offence faces a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

How can I find out more information?

The Government website, has lots more information about FGM including:

Other Free Support and Advice

The NSPCC have recently opened their own Free 24-hour advice and support helpline to protect UK children from FGM.

General Advice and Information:

If you, or someone you know, would like to speak to someone about forced marriage or female genital mutilation, then contact Bal Howard, Suffolk Police’s dedicated Honour Based Abuse Projects Officer.  Bal has a wealth of experience and is able to offer advice and expert knowledge to front line practitioners in these sensitive cases. Contact her on Suffolk Police on 101.

In an Emergency always dial 999




Rural Crime – Tackling so called ‘Legal Highs’ and Illegal Drugs

Legal High rural imageA recent Telegraph article reported that Rural areas and small towns are facing an epidemic of so-called “legal high” drugs which police are struggling to tackle.  An all-party Home Affairs Select Committee said new synthetic drugs are appearing on the market at the rate of more than one a week, making it impossible for current drug laws to keep pace.

Deaths involving legal highs have increased from 29 in 2011 to 52 last year, a rise of 79 per cent.

What is a ‘Legal High’? The correct description is New Psychoactive Substances (NPS). We have put together an explanation of what legal highs contain, what the packaging looks like and the risks of taking them.

Suffolk Trading Standards are also asking for your help to get these products off the shelves by reporting anywhere you see these are being offered for sale.  Please report these to the Trading Standards Helpline on 08454 040506.  If you have any other issues or concerns you can report these by email to Suffolk Police at

MPs have also warned that cannabis farms continue to blight rural villages. Recent reports of finds in Suffolk include a cannabis factory found in a bunker at Rendlesham. Possible signs of a cannabis factory could be:

  • Lighting and ventilation equipment.
  • Covered up or blocked up windows.
  • Comings and goings to a property at all hours.
  • Strong lighting day and night.
  • High levels of heat and condensation i.e windows constantly misted up.
  • The constant buzz of ventilation.
  • The strong sickly smell given off by cannabis plant.
  • Lots of power cables that could possibly link up to lamp posts so that they don’t have to pay for the large amounts of electricity they use.

If you suspect there is one near you please phone us on 101 or alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.

Rural Crime – Secure your Property

Tractor equipment
All property, including tractors/JCBs etc, should be uniquely marked, photographed and recorded somewhere safe. Details should include serial, chassis and model numbers. Suffolk Police have a wide range of useful rural crime information, with topics range from equipment security to hare coursing, available on their website.

Also available to download from the Police website is the ‘Shutting the gate on Rural Crime’ leaflet.  This leaflet contains details of all the Police rural crime initiatives. The information was supplied by local police forces and organisations and companies involved in helping to reduce rural crime.


Rural Crime – Reporting Suspicious Activity

Suffolk Police rely on information from the local community to help solve crime.  There are a number of ways you can do this:

  • All communities should remain vigilant and report suspicious behaviour to the police
  • Report individuals asking specific questions about, or taking pictures of, a facility or a farm’s processes
  • Report any attempts to purchase fertilisers, diesel, herbicides or pesticides by those not authorised or suspicious individuals
  • Take the registration number of any suspicious vehicles

To report any issues you can do this on-line through ‘Tell the Police’, or if you wish to speak to someone at Suffolk Police, then call the 101 non emergency telephone number.

However in an emergency always call 999

PoliceDirect Logo

To keep up-to-date with all the latest information about crime and policing issues in your area of Suffolk, sign up to the Free messaging service, Police Direct.