Warning about derelict buildings

Teenagers and youngsters are becoming involved in a new, dangerous craze across the county which involves entering derelict buildings, climbing up and onto roofs and causing damage.

Derelict buildings are those that have been deemed unsafe or blocked off by the council or police. Many houses are derelict because they are too old and unstable to be in.

Although some youngsters may get a buzz and an adrenaline rush from taking part, they are putting lives at risk. There are many dangers involved in this type of activity – the most common is ending up stuck and unable to get down, the most severe can be injury and even death. It is important to know that these buildings are not playgrounds and although they are derelict or abandoned, they will still likely have an owner and entry may be classed as trespassing. Also anyone seen standing on the top of a roof may be mistaken for someone who is threatening to jump off and purposely cause injury or death,  this is likely to be reported to the police.

Abandoned and derelict buildings are dangerous for many reasons, some of the reasons being:

  • the floors may be weak or rotted
  • roofs could collapse at any moment
  • debris will be lying around and are seen as trip hazards

Think – before you consider entering a derelict or abandoned building there are all sorts of things that can go wrong. However much you want to, don’t go in, it’s not safe!

 

CSE – Know the signs

Lancashire Police are raising awareness within Lancashire of child sexual exploitation. Last year almost 650 crimes of CSE were recorded in the county and 1750 young people were highlighted at risk.

We want to keep you safe and arm you with the facts on grooming and exploitation whilst giving you the confidence to report and speak out.

Child sexual exploitation is child abuse. It is complex and can manifest itself in different ways but essentially it involves young people like yourselves being coerced into performing sexual acts often in return for rewards such as drugs or other gifts. Many don’t see themselves as victims and wrongly believe they are in loving  relationships with their abusers.

CSE can also occur without physical contact such as grooming; sexting or online gaming.  These types of crimes are increasing nationally as well as in Lancashire.Dont be exploited

Offenders can be male or female, of any ethnicity, they can operate alone or as part of a group or gang. They are often very manipulative and plausible people and can come from all sections of society. The thing they have in common is that they all prey on the vulnerable.

If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know, call Lancashire Constabulary on 101. In an emergency, always dial 999.

Nest-Logo-TrustEd-HomepageFor confidential advice or if you want to talk to someone contact Nest Lancashire on 0300 111 0323.

 

For more on CSE check out our dedicated page here

 

12 years in prison for sexual predator

A man described as one of America’s ‘most wanted’ has been jailed for 12 years for child sex offences.

Gerard Zalewski 32, groomed his 13 year old victim over the internet, and persuaded her to send him a number of indecent images of herself.

Zalewski, of Dartford in Kent, arranged to meet the teenager in a Bamber Bridge park last June. He than subjected his young victim to sexual abuse over several hours taking pictures of her on his mobile phone.

He was arrested later that month in Kent following a man-hunt and appeared at Preston Crown Court on Tuesday 6th December where he was imprisoned for a total of 12 years.

Gerard Zalewski is wanted by the FBI for various sexual offences against another 13 year old from Pennsylvania.

The officer who led the investigation into the Lancashire offences, Detective Chief Inspector Vicki Evans, of Lancashire Constabulary’s Public Protection Unit, said: “Gerard Zalewski is a dangerous and predatory sexual deviant who posed a significant risk to children across the country.”

“He groomed this vulnerable young teenager before arranging to meet her knowing that she was under 16. He then filmed her for his own gratification.”

“This case highlights the risks and dangers faced by children with on-line grooming, it is important that young people understand the risks involved with meeting people online, who are their friends and how to manage these online relationships.”

If you are worried and want to find out more our online grooming page and our sexual exploitation page

 

Modern slavery: it could be right in front of you

 

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Slavery is not confined to history it is something that is still happening today. It is a global problem and the UK is no exception.

There is no typical victim of slavery – victims can be men, women and children of all ages. It can happen to anyone but is normally more common amongst the most vulnerable, minority or socially excluded groups.

Modern slavery involves the recruitment and movement of individuals using threats, deception and coercion for the purpose of exploitation. Victims are forced to work against their will in many different settings, including brothels, cannabis farms, nail bars, car washes, and agriculture and even within people’s homes.

There are a number of signs that could indicate that someone is a victim of slavery. They may:

  • Show signs of physical or psychological abuse, look malnourished, unkempt, or appear withdrawn.
  • Rarely be allowed to travel on their own, seem under the control and influence of others or appear unfamiliar with their neighbourhood or where they work.
  • Live in dirty, cramped or overcrowded accommodation, and could be living & working at the same address.
  • Have few personal possessions, often wear the same clothes or are poorly equipped for the job they are carrying out.
  • Have little opportunity to move freely and have no identification or travel documents in their possession.
  • Be dropped off and collected for work on a regular basis either early or late at night.
  • Avoid eye contact, appear frightened or hesitant to talk to strangers and fearful of law enforcers and authorities.

If you suspect that someone is being treated in this way you can let Lancashire Police know on 101. You can also share information anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or with us on 101.

Nest-Logo-TrustEd-HomepageNest Lancashire supports young people aged 10 to 18 who have been affected by crime or subjected to bullying, threats or harassment. You can talk to us in confidence and all of our services are free of charge. Call them on  0300 111 0323 Text: NEST and your number to 60777

 

Phone stolen in Blackburn robbery

Detectives from Lancashire Police need your help after a young man was robbed in  Blackburn.

At approx 11.20pm on Saturday, September 10, a 20-year-old man was walking with a friend on St Philip’s Street when they were approached from behind by two other men.

The 20-year-old victim was grabbed, held in a headlock and forced to the ground, by one of the men  whilst the second offender then took his mobile phone.

The attackers then made off towards Spring Lane with the victim’s iPhone 5s.

The first is described as a white, around 20-years-old, 5ft 9in tall, of skinny build, wearing dark clothing. The second offender is believed to be white, around 23-years-old, 5ft 9in tall, of medium build, with short dark hair, olive skin and acne on his face. He was also wearing dark clothing.

Det Sgt Melissa Kelly, of Blackburn CID, said: “The victim was subjected to a violent robbery and he was very fortunate not to suffer more serious injuries.”

If you witnessed the robbery or have any information that could help us catch these men, please get in touch as soon as possible.
Ring the police on 101 quoting ED1613813.
Alternatively ring Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at Crimestoppers-uk.org.

If you have been a victim or have witnessed a crime contact NEST Lancashire on 0300 111 03321 or nestlancashire.org

For more advice on protecting yourself and your property check out our robbery page.

14 year old boy seriously injured

A 14-year-old boy has suffered serious head injuries after a collision in Scarisbrick near Ormskirk.

Police were called at 8:20pm on Saturday 17th September with reports of an accident on Dam Wood Lane.

He was cycling across the road and was hit by a Silver Vauxhall Corsa. He suffered serious head injuries and was taken to Alder Hey Childrens Hospital for treatment.

The road was closed for more than three hours while police accident investigators searched the scene.

If anyone saw either the cyclist or a Silver Corsa in the area prior to the collision please contact the Police –

CADET Fest a massive success

This bank holiday saw Lancashire Police Cadets host the National Cadet Competition at Lancashire Police Headquarters. cadetfest 2016

Over 180 cadets and leaders representing 15 Police forces across the UK attended the event competing to be crowned 2016’s Cadet Competition winners.

Given a festival feel, the event was named ‘CADET fest’ and saw teams camping out at Police Headquarters. A specialist stage was used for entertainment which included, introductions by the Chief Constable and the Police and Crime Commissioner, films, radio, live tribute acts, a DJ and the awards ceremony with Lancashire Police Assistant Chief Constable Jacques.

CADET fest was funded by money raised by the cadets, Lancashire’s Police and Crime Commissioner and money seized from criminals and criminal activity.

To be crowned the winning team, cadets had to compete in eight different challenges; Army Inflatable Assault Course / Egg Transporter / Escape Room / Police Evidence Hunt / Archery / Bungee Run / Public Order Kit Run and Laser Tag.

The winners of this year’s event were British Transport Police.

The feedback from all those who attended was that CADET fest was an enormous success. Cadets, leaders and volunteers all had a fabulous time.

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Derbyshire Police Cadets: “We absolutely loved the experience, it was wonderfully organised and we had no issues. The volunteers were amazing and the events were a cracking mix of physical and cerebral!”

Sutton – Metropolitan Police Cadets: “I just wanted to say to a big thank you to the team for putting Cadet Fest together. We had an absolute ball and I can honestly say that none of us will ever forget the wonderful weekend we spent with you all”

Leicestershire Police Cadets: “If we win there is no way we will top that!’

Police Scotland Cadets: “Thanks for everything over the weekend had an amazing time! Well done everyone, regardless of what the results are we all tried our best. What a weekend!”

Cadet Police Scotland: “That was the best day of my life”

Find out more about Cadets here 

Cadet Mat shortlisted for award

Eighteen year old police cadet, Mateusz Strzeszewski from Blackburn, has been shortlisted in the prestigious national Lord Ferrers Awards 2016.

Mateusz Strzeszewski

The awards, run by the Home Office, recognise the contribution police volunteers make to policing. Mateusz was nominated by his cadet leader for his commitment to the cadets. He joined in 2014 because he had always wanted to be a police officer and to make a difference in his community. He quickly proved himself to be invaluable to the cadet scheme.

At the June 2016 Volunteer Police Cadets National Conference Mat led a young adult leader’s session on the ‘Honest Truth’ a road safety awareness project and he has since developed an training package, which he will deliver to other young people in his area. Mat has also been involved with the local Rotary group, taking the lead on an apprentice style challenge, where cadets made and sold candles for the Rotary. He spoke at their annual conference, at a local meeting about cadets and helped with a senior citizen outing. He recently organised a family fun day for the junior cadets and supported a group on their DofE expedition.

Sgt Helen Nellany, Citizens In Policing Development Officer said: “Mat’s contribution in time to the police cadets and local neighbourhood team has been immense. He is supportive of all the other cadets and can’t do enough to help his peers and the cadet leaders. He has performed more than 200 voluntary hours this year to date, which is double any other police cadet and that does not include the weekly classroom sessions. His commitment and enthusiasm is second to none. Mat is to become a volunteer cadet team leader in September and has also applied to become a Special Constable. He always has a smile on his face and everyone who meets him has only positive things to say.”

The volunteer police cadet scheme is part of the Lancashire Police citizens in policing programme. It now has 650 cadets across 10 units across Lancashire. Police cadets help and assist in the community by getting involved in a number of activities, including stewarding local events such as fairs, town shows and carnivals. They also help the local neighbourhood policing teams carry out leaflet drops, crime prevention initiatives, community safety events and street surveys. Since October 2015 the cadets have provided more than 18,000 hours of volunteering service.

All winners and runners up of the Lord Ferrers Awards will be presented with their awards by a Home Office minister at a ceremony in September.

Concerned about Forced Marriage?

Are you worried about becoming a victim of a forced marriage or concern about one of you friends?

Lancashire Constabulary is urging young people to come forward with any concerns they may have about potential victims of forced marriage, honour based violence or female genital mutilation (FGM).

The message from the police is clear that there is no honour in so-called honour-based abuse and it is a fundamental abuse of human rights.

Whilst social, cultural or religious reasons are often given for performing FGM, there are no medical reasons for carrying out the procedure, which is dangerous and can leave the victim with severe and long-lasting damage to their physical and emotional health.  In short, it is child abuse.

Detective Superintendent Andy Webster, Head of the Public Protection Unit, said: “Women and girls are the most common victims of forced marriage and so called honour-based abuse; however it is important to remind our communities that it can affect anyone from any walk of life, including men and boys.”

If you have any information or concerns about so-called honour-based abuse, forced marriage or FGM should call the police on 101. Alternatively, you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously online or via 0800 555111. In an emergency, always dial 999.

The UK Government Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) runs a helpline providing advice and support to victims of forced marriage as well as professionals dealing with cases. Their number is 0207 008 0151.

The UK Government Forced Marriage Unit has recently released this film to raise public awareness of the impact of forced marriage, and warn of the criminal consequences of involvement. Told from the perspective of a victim’s older brother, who is complicit in arranging her forced marriage but unaware of its true impact until it is too late.

Young People’s Summit a success

Along with the Police and Crime Commissioner, we have hosted our first Young People’s Summit across a three-day event at police headquarters in Hutton.Tough Love playOver the three days, more than 180 Year 9 and 10 students from high schools across the county were given the unique opportunity to attend the summit, arranged as part of our mission to keep young people safe from harm and help them feel safe.In the first event of its kind we used drama, interactive presentations, workshops and team building games, run by our volunteer cadets, to explore issues of concern to young people such as sexual vulnerability, personal safety and where to go for help and advice.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates said: “Part of our responsibility as police officers is to keep young people safe from harm and to equip them with the confidence to be able to make the right decisions when faced with adversity.

“Young people, just by virtue of their age, can often be vulnerable and we know that whilst they may be aware of some of the risks of becoming a victim or the perpetrator of a crime, the events have enabled us to have open discussions about specific signs to look out for, to have a more considered approach when it comes to choices and where they can seek trusted support when they need it.”Clive Grunshaw, Lancashire Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “These events were an excellent way to reach out to a diverse range of young people living across Lancashire and I was delighted with the feedback from those who attended.

“It is vital we break down barriers between young people and police so they feel confident to talk about the issues that matter to them. It is my job to be the voice of Lancashire residents of all ages and I am committed to reaching out to as many people as possible to hear their views.

“Lancashire Police is also an excellent place to work and volunteer so this was a great opportunity to engage with pupils as they prepare to make decisions about their future. I hope some of them will have been inspired by the sessions to get involved with the force.”

Following on from our successful constabulary open weekends in 2014 and 2015, we identified that only a small number of teenagers came along and this year we looked to address this gap by hosting an event aimed at them.YP Summit The event agenda and the activities were influenced by a survey we conducted around Safer Internet Day in February. We got more than 5,000 responses from young people aged 11-14, and we found that online they were most concerned about security and their images being shared, whilst the crimes they were most worried about were sexual assaults and being mugged or being attacked.

Similarly crime statistics shaped the event, with figures from 2015 showing that 3,604 teenagers aged 13-16 were the victims of a crime with assault, sexual activity and theft being some of the most prevalent issues. During the same time period 2,386 teenagers in the same age group were arrested with assault, criminal damage, shoplifting and causing fear of harm or distress, as some of the most common crimes they become involved in.

During each morning session the students watched a play called ‘Tough Love’ by Alter Ego Creative Solutions. The play looked at a real life story that explored coercive control, domestic abuse, consent, peer pressure and sexting. Officers from the Public Protect Unit then led a discussion around the signs of unhealthy relationships, legislation around sharing indecent images and about the support that is in place for victims.Team building 2 This was followed by a film that was funded by the Police and Crime Commissioner and produced by the Artz Centre in Skelmersdale. The film was shown for the first time at the event and highlighted issues around gangs, knife crime and drugs. The film’s creator, Mark Ashton, who came up with the concept based on true events that happened to his friend, led an interactive workshop that got the students to think about actions and consequences.

The afternoon session saw presentations about opportunities with the cadets, how to get help and advice from Nest, a service run by Lancashire Victims Services to help young people who have been affected by crime, and some fun team building activities that challenged decision making and working together.

Some of the students who attended the event remarked that ‘it was more interactive’ than they thought it would be, it had been ‘useful and interesting’ and when asked more than 82% over the three days said that they enjoyed the event and nearly 90% now felt more able to make the right choices to keep themselves and their friends safe.Teachers and support staff from the schools commented that it had been a really worthwhile exercise and would like to be involved in a similar event again. Some schools were keen to have further involvement with officers and more direct input in schools.

Assistant Chief Constable Mark Bates added: “Earlier this year the force was rated outstanding by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) in how it understands and engages with the communities that we serve, and from the positive feedback we’ve received from both the young people, teachers and school staff I can certainly see that we are building on this and bridging the gap within this age group.”

All of the feedback from the events will now be collated and we will continue to develop our approach to communicating with young people.

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