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Police week of cyber crime action

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DYFED POWYS POLICE helped people and businesses stay safe online as part of a Cyber Crime Week of Action.

The campaign was launched on Monday (Mar 2) by the National Crime Agency, who is working with a range of partners, including national and international law enforcement and the tech sector, to respond on a major scale to the most significant cyber-crime threats.

In recent years, a growing number of criminals have turned to using the internet and computers to disrupt IT infrastructure, steal or compromise the integrity of private data, commit fraud, steal people’s identities or to abuse vulnerable people.

Dyfed Powys Police’s specialist Digital and Cyber Crime Unit (DCCU) and key partner Get Safe Online are focussing on the cyber-crime threats affecting people and businesses within Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Powys.

This week, the specialist detectives, high tech forensic investigators, analysts and researchers that form the DCCU raised awareness of cyber-crime and worked to ensure people have the knowledge and confidence to protect themselves from cyber-crime within the force area.

Detective Sergeant Rob Gravelle, of the DCCU, said: “Cyber-crime is not something that only happens in big cities. It is happening in Dyfed Powys right now and is an increasing problem. The DCCU is a specialist team at Dyfed Powys Police brought together to reduce cyber and cyber-enabled crime. We are a busy unit investigating all manner of digital or cyber-crime ranging from online fraud to child sexual exploitation. We are taking part in this Cyber Crime Week of Action to reduce the risk of people becoming victims of cyber-crime by offering them guidance on how to stay safe online and how to report an incident if someone is a victim of cyber-crime.”

To launch the week of action, a series of special assemblies took place at comprehensive schools throughout the force area to highlight to teenagers the dangers of ‘sexting’.

There was a focus on key cyber-crime issues including online child sexual exploitation, cyber bullying, revenge porn and online fraud through social media, training for police officers on investigating cyber-crime as well as a Get Safe Online Live event in Aberystwyth Town Centre which took place on Thursday (Mar 5).

A pop-up shop will be open in the town centre for shoppers, workers, businesses and visitors to call in and get expert advice from DCCU officers, Get Safe Online staff and Aberystwyth Neighbourhood Policing team.

Tony Neate, CEO of Get Safe Online, said: “Get Safe Online is delighted to be working in partnership with Dyfed Powys Police in educating people and businesses on how to avoid becoming a victim of cyber-crime. A significant amount of cyber-crime is preventable. We are actively encouraging consumers and businesses to ensure they have the latest security software installed on their computer to browse safely online. By taking basic crime prevention steps people can significantly reduce their chances of becoming a victim of crime online.”

Top tips for online safety:

  • Delete suspicious emails and social media messages without clicking on links
  • Install up-to-date antivirus security software
  • Keep your computer up-to-date with the latest software patches and updates
  • Be security-conscious on social media sites: log out when you’re done and don’t connect to people you don’t know
  • Regularly change and use strong passwords and don’t share them with anyone

Be careful about what you share online, don’t give away more personal information than you need to on social media sites and back up important files and media content to safe and secure storage solutions i.e. external hard drive/ trusted cloud storage.

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RNLI in Wales urges people to stay safe as Storm Brendan hits

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The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is urging people to stay safe near the Welsh coast as severe weather could make our seas and coastlines particularly dangerous.

Lifesaving charity, the RNLI, is encouraging people to exercise extreme caution if visiting the shoreline, especially along exposed cliffs, seafronts and piers.

The expected strong winds and severe gales pose a severe safety risk to those visiting the coast.

Named Storm Brendan by Met Eireann, it swept eastwards across Ireland before making its way through the rest of the UK this morning with yellow wind warning in place for most of the Welsh coast.

Chris Cousens, RNLI Regional Water Safety Lead for Wales said:

‘This rough weather could make visiting parts of the Welsh coastline treacherous and bring very dangerous sea conditions.

‘Sadly, around 150 people lose their lives on British and Irish coasts each year and over half of these people didn’t plan on ever entering the water. Slips, trips and falls can be a major factor in these kinds of incidents.’

If you see someone else in danger in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. If you have something that floats that they can hold on to, throw it to them. Don’t go in the water yourself – too many people drown trying to save others.

The charity, which provides a search and rescue service around the UK and Ireland, is facing its own Perfect Storm as demand for its services has increased but it is facing a shortfall in funds. This past year, the RNLI has been busier than ever, and stormy conditions can mean additional call outs for the already extremely busy volunteer crews. Whatever the weather, RNLI volunteers will still be on call to rescue those at difficulty at sea.

The RNLI’s major new fundraising appeal, The Perfect Storm, which aims to help the charity get back to living within its means, is running throughout November and December. To find out more or to donate visit RNLI.org/ThePerfect Storm.

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Community

Are you missing out on a Council Tax reduction?

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IF YOU’RE struggling to pay your Council Tax bill, then help could be available for you through the Welsh Government’s flagship Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS).

The scheme, which will continue to support vulnerable households in 2020-21, currently benefits one in five of all households in Wales. In the last year almost 280,000 low-income households have received help from the scheme, with 220,000 paying no council tax at all. Many more receive other discounts or exemptions.

You may be entitled to pay less council tax if:

• you believe you live on a low income
• you live alone, or with people/children who do not pay council tax
• you are a student
• you are disabled
• you are severely mentally impaired

Understanding why there are still vulnerable households not benefitting from the help they are entitled to is a priority for the Welsh Government. Last year we commissioned research to understand the circumstances of households in Wales and the effects of the UK Government’s Universal Credit on the CTRS.

The interim report out today shows that for many households, the move to Universal Credit can have a significant impact on council tax reduction awards. Whilst many households currently receiving a 100% reduction will continue to do so, for others, the move to Universal Credit is shown to have an adverse impact, particularly for employed households, self-employed households, and working households in receipt of a Disability Living Allowance or Personal Independence Payment.

Full findings of the interim report are available on the Welsh Government website. These findings will now be considered in more detail to inform the next stages of the research and policy development in this area.

Encouraging people to make sure they are not missing out on help they could be entitled to, Finance Minister Rebecca Evans said:

“Ensuring every household in Wales receives the council tax support they are entitled to is an important part of our commitment to making council tax fairer.

“Our scheme is already helping hundreds of thousands of households across Wales, but we know that there are still many missing out on the discounts, reductions and exemptions they are entitled to. I encourage everyone to check the Welsh Government website to find out if they could be paying less.”

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Success for Dyfed-Powys Police in targeting drugs suppliers in Ceredigion

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A drugs supplier in the Ceredigion area has been sentenced to 2 years and 2 months in prison.

Kylie Mason, 34, from Aberaeron, was arrested on the 28th October 2019, and later charged with 2 offences of possession with intent to supply a controlled drug and two offences of supply a controlled drug of Class A. She pleaded guilty at court and received a total sentence of two years and two months in prison on the 8th January.

Detective Sergeant Steven Jones said: “This is an excellent result for the Aberaeron community, who had raised concerns about this individual supplying drugs in the area. I hope this will serve as a warning to others who wish to bring drugs into the Ceredigion area that it will not be tolerated. This result will go a long way towards keeping our communities safe. If anyone is worried about drugs in their community I would urge them to contact police as we will take the appropriate action.”

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