Community Safety
Dudley Council
Brierley Hill Police Station
Bank Street
Brierley Hill
(please no personal callers)
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CHRISTMAS SAFETY TIPS

It’s the festive season and a time when people want to enjoy themselves and make the most of the Christmas spirit.

But even at this time of year it’s important to stay safe. As part of our Christmas safety tips campaign, we’re encouraging people to look out for illegal money lenders and online frauds.
 
We’re also highlighting the dangers of not planning a safe journey home from a Christmas night out and the startling fact that children and young people can become the 'forgotten victims' of domestic abuse.
 

Read on to find out more and share the advice with friends and family.

1. Tackling illegal money lenders

As Christmas fast approaches and money is tight, Dudley borough residents are being warned not to be bitten by loan sharks as part of a festive safety tips campaign.
 
At this time of year people can be tempted by loan sharks as they struggle for cash to cover the expense of the season.
 
This makes it easier for lenders to exploit people with a small loan to tide them over Christmas, but it ends up costing borrowers much more financially and having a huge impact on their lives.
 
Loan sharks will act like friends and make the offer seem hard to resist, but very quickly the situation can spiral out of control and borrowers can be subjected to threats, violence and intimidation.

Credit unions are recommended as a safe, alternative lending and saving facility. To find out about Castle & Crystal Credit Union in Dudley call 01384 815771 or visit www.castleandcrystal.co.uk
 
Loan sharks can be reported confidentially by calling Illegal Money Lending England on 0300 555 2222 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, 24 hours a day, seven days a week or by emailing
reportaloanshark@stoploansharks.gov.uk
 
To find out more visit
www.direct.gov.uk/stoploansharks

2. Get home safely

Christmas party-goers are being urged to make sure a good night out ends that way by planning their journey home.
 
The partnership wants people to get home safely after a night out and is warning people not to drink and drive and is encouraging the use public transport.
 
People planning to get home in a taxi should also ensure it is licensed as unlicensed vehicles are not insured to carry passengers and may not be trustworthy.
 
If you’re intending to travel by car, allocate a designated driver.  Don’t drink or take drugs and drive.
 
If you plan to use public transport check your journey times by calling travel line on 0871 200 22 33 (8am to 8pm) or visiting
www.traveline.info before you go out.
 
Private hire vehicles can be booked in advance through licensed operators, when booking in this way always ask for a quote. Hackney carriages can be hailed in the street or hired at a taxi-rank without pre-arrangement.
 
When traveling home, revelers are encouraged to try to travel with a friend, always make sure their mobile is charged and ensure they have enough cash for their journey.

3. Be aware of online frauds

Christmas shoppers are being warned to watch out for fraudsters when shopping online during the festive period.
 
The partnership want people to be aware of scams that target online shoppers.
 
Scams range from bogus websites advertising counterfeit goods, fake e-Christmas cards which contain a virus to collect personal data to selling goods that don’t exist via online auction sites or items that are purchased never being delivered.
 
Many of the scams promise to save time and money but in reality deliver festive heartache and misery.
 
To find out more about online Christmas scams and pick up some top tips to protect yourself, visit our top tips page.
 
If you fall victim to an online fraud, please report to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 or at
www.actionfraud.police.uk. For more online crime prevention advice go to www.getsafeonline.org, www.cyberstreetwise.com or https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/

 
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Find out more about online scams to look out for

4. Children hidden victims of domestic abuse

For most children Christmas means fun, presents and Santa, but for some, the festive period means blazing rows, sleepless nights and worry because of domestic abuse.
 
The partnership is highlighting that children are often the hidden victims of domestic abuse.
 
Children living with domestic abuse can often become invisible and suffer in silence. Described as the ‘forgotten victims’ as in the majority of cases they are involved in some way.

 

People who suspect a child is being harmed or neglected or is living with domestic abuse should call children’s service’s referral and advice service on 0300 555 0050.


If you are experiencing domestic abuse, contact Dudley’s domestic violence and abuse support service on 01384 455411 or in an emergency dial 999.
 
For more guidance and advice visit our
HELB HUB
 

5. Drinking during the festive season

During the festive season there’s always an increase in parties, family gatherings and work outings. Whilst it’s a great time of year, it can also be time of excess, especially when it comes to alcohol.
 
Although we all want to have a good time, we should still be looking after ourselves, friends and family. Below are some tips to help you to stay safe and protect yourself whilst having fun.
 

The recommendations for alcohol limits
 
You are safest not to drink regularly more than 14 units per week, to keep health risks from drinking alcohol to a low level
If you do drink as much as 14 units per week, it is best to spread this evenly over three days or more. If you have one or two heavy drinking sessions, you increase your risks of death from long term illnesses and from accidents and injuries
The risk of developing a range of illnesses (including, for example, cancers of the mouth, throat and breast) increases with any amount you drink on a regular basis.


If you wish to cut down the amount you’re drinking, a good way to help achieve this is to have several drink-free days each week


Single episode of drinking
 
On single drinking episodes it’s advised that men and women who wish to keep their short term health risks from a single drinking occasion to a low level that they can reduce these risks by:
 

  • limiting the total amount of alcohol you drink on any occasion

  • drinking more slowly, drinking with food, and alternating with water 

  • avoiding risky places and activities, making sure you have people you know around and ensuring you can get home safely

 

Tip for staying safe:

  • Over the festive season plan some alcohol-free days – grab a juice, mineral water or iced tea instead

  • When drinking at friends houses or with family keep count of your standard drinks by pouring your own

  • Eat before, and while, you are drinking

  • Alternate you alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks or try a mocktail

  • Plan activities for your family that don't involve alcohol. Send a positive message to your children showing them that alcohol doesn't have to be part of every social situation to have a good time

  • Set yourself some goals. New Year's is a great time to think about cutting down the amount of alcohol that you consume.

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated

  • Look out for your family and friends

  • Avoid combining alcohol with energy drinks

  • Drink slowly and try drinks with lower alcohol content

  • If you are driving to the party, car share with a few friends and decide who will be the designated driver at the start of the night

  • Think about how much money you're prepared to spend and stick to a budget

6. Protect yourself from bogus callers and burglaries this Christmas

Residents across Dudley Borough are being urged to follow some simple steps to ensure they keep safe from bogus callers and burglars over the festive season.
 
Partnership service Living well, feeling safe, which consists of Dudley Council, West Midlands Police. West Midlands Fire Service and others, is highlighting the risks of unpredicted visitors.
 
The dark winter nights encourage bogus callers to target older and more vulnerable residents and distraction burglaries often increase at the height of the winter and particularly around Christmas.
 
Police are encouraging residents to lock both front and back doors, even when at home. People should also use a door chain and ask all unknown callers for identification - if in any doubt callers should not be allowed into homes.
 
Burglaries are also on the increase over the festive period and people are encouraged to leave a light on when they leave the house for the evening, to use timer switches if they are away for some time and to close curtains after dark so valuables can’t be seen from the outside. People should also avoid piling Christmas gifts under Christmas trees – which can be seen from the window, and to always lock all doors and windows.
 

The living well, feeling safe service provides practical safety, security and wellbeing advice for older and vulnerable people, aiming to make sure they keep safe, secure and happy at home. They can be contacted on 01384 817743.

7. Keep fire safe this Christmas

Residents across Dudley borough are being urged to follow some simple steps to ensure they stay safe in their home and protect themselves from fire risks during this year’s festive season.
 
Partnership service Living well, feeling safe, which consists of Dudley Council, West Midlands Police. West Midlands Fire Service and others, is urging people to be aware of fire dangers which can present themselves at this time of year.
 
Fire risks increase significantly during December as Christmas decorations, trees, candles and cards are all highly flammable and add to the risk of fire.
 
West Midlands Fire Service is encouraging people to follow some simple tips – position candles well away from anything flammable and never leave them unattended, don’t overload electrical sockets, only use Christmas lights with a BS sign and always unplug when you leave the house or when not in use.
 
Residents are also reminded to regularly test their smoke alarms and never to remove batteries to use in other appliances.


The living well, feeling safe service provides practical safety, security and wellbeing advice for older and vulnerable people, aiming to make sure they keep safe, secure and happy at home. They can be contacted on 01384 817743.