Youth work and social care news from around the world

Links from around the world of youth work and social care:

Student Safety

West Yorkshire Police have published a helpful post on Student Crime Prevention Tips:

Burglary Tips

  • Be Safe, Be Secure – Burglary
  • Keep your doors and windows locked when you go out
  • Mark your property with your University and Student Number
  • Don’t leave cash and valuables on display in your room
  • Leave a light or radio on when you go out, to give the impression someone is in – maybe use a timer switch.
  • Make sure your mobile is with you all the time, but don’t have it on display

Check our West Yorkshire Police burglary campaign on “It only takes a minute”


Personal Safety

  • Avoid walking alone after dark.
  • Keep to busy, well lit roads and try to look confident even if you don’t feel it.
  • If you think you are being followed, cross the road and keep walking. If it continues head for a busy area or lighted house to ask for help.
  • Get a personal attack alarm and carry it in your hand.
  • Carry your bag close to you with the fastening next to your body, but if someone tries to get it, let it go.
  • Keep your house keys in your pocket for easy access.
  • When you go out, tell people what time you expect to arrive home.
  • When out at night, get a taxi or someone you trust to take you home.
  • Always sit in the back of the taxi.
  • Don’t be tempted to hitch a ride or accept a lift from someone you don’t know.

Mobile Phone Safety

Only make essential calls in the street. Using a mobile phone in a busy area advertises the fact that you have a piece of valuable property and while talking on the phone you are distracted and not aware of who might be watching you or who might be a potential thief. Use them out of public view and somewhere where you can see what it happening around you.
Many mobile phones are stolen in places like pubs and nightclubs when they are left on a bar, table or on a nearby seat. Open handbags also prove tempting for thieves, as do carried rucksacks, coats left hanging on chairs and phones left unattended in vehicles and other places.
Security mark your phone with a postcode and house number using an ultra-violet pen. The best place is underneath the battery near to the SIM card and on the back of the battery.

A mobile phone can be identified through two numbers:

  • The phone number unique to the SIM card.
  • The IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number which is unique to the phone handset.

Currently when police take crime reports the SIM card number is recorded only. The victim then contacts their phone network provider. The policy is then to send a blocking signal out to the SIM card rendering it useless. Criminals have picked up on this and they discard the SIM card straightaway after stealing the phone. They are then left with a handset that can be sold on in a pub or to a local dealer who then only has to buy a legitimate SIM card and the phone is once again operational with no way of detection.

However it is possible for any person to find out the IMEI number of a handset by putting the following code into the phone *#06# (star, hash, zero, six, hash). This means that if Police were to record the IMEI number then we would have a chance of detecting persons using stolen handsets.

Police are now urging mobile phone users to key in the *#06# number and record their IMEI number so in the event of the phone being stolen the police have a chance of arresting a person who may subsequently use the handset. IMEI numbers will now be recorded by the Police and checked against suspected stolen mobile phones. Also see : The Government’s new Mobile Phone Crime website :www.immobilise.com (external link).


Vehicle Safety

  • Always lock your vehicle – never leave a car door unlocked or a window or sunroof open even when just going into a shop for a moment or two.
  • Always try to park in a well-lit, open location.
  • Don’t leave any valuables in your car and never leave items on display – lock them in the boot.
  • Don’t leave credit cards or cheque books in the glove compartment. 1 in 5 stolen cheque and credit cards are taken from cars.
  • Never leave your vehicle documents in the car – they could help a thief to sell it.
  • Security mark your stereo and if it’s removable, always take it with you. Make a note of the serial number and keep it in a safe place.

Taxi

There are different types of taxis and knowing the difference is important. Taxis are black and white and these can be legally hailed at the side of the road. Private hire taxis (such as Premier or Amber Cars) cannot be hailed legally at the side of the road as they are personal vehicles and must be booked in advance.

If you do not book a private hire taxi in advance you are not insured if the driver has an accident. Make sure you only use black and white taxis when hailing them at the side of the road, or pre-book your private hire taxi in advance.

Only use licensed taxis, do not accept lifts of people pretending to be a taxi. Make sure the driver is either wearing or displaying their ID badge. Make sure you tell a friend (if travelling alone) when and where you are going and try keep a record of the taxis company name, number plate and ID badge number if possible if anything does go wrong and you need to make a complaint.


Drink Spiking

Drink spiking occurs when a substance, such as drugs or alcohol, is added to your drink without you knowing about it.This may affect how you act or behave with other people.

If your drink has been spiked, the way you feel will depend on which drug has been used but you may feel drowsy, confused and find it difficult to speak or move. You may also feel more drunk than you should be given the amount of drink you have consumed. When these feelings have passed you may not be able to remember what happened.

Ways to avoid being Spiked:

  • Never accept a drink from someone you don’t know
  • Use a specially adapted cover for your glass or bottle
  • Never leave your drink unattended
  • Plan your night out if you can
  • Appoint a drink watcher if you go to the toilet or off for a dance.
  • Remember alcohol affects your reactions; you’ll be less alert.
  • Don’t feel that soft drinks aren’t spiked…they are!
  • If you think for one moment that your drink has been tampered with, don’t take a chance. Get another one.
  • And remember, males also fall victim to this type of offence.

For more information check out NHS website which has useful information on symptoms, what to do and prevention.


One Punch

As part of West Yorkshire Police’s ongoing work to reduce violent crime the Force is raising awareness of how a night out can lead to a fight and the loss of a life.

The ‘One Punch Can Kill’ campaign reminds people that in a split second a person can become a killer or be killed.

We want everyone to be able to enjoy the pubs and clubs in the towns and cities in West Yorkshire, but would encourage people to consider how much alcohol they consume.  What can start out as a fun night drinking with friends can easily turn into a nightmare.  Just one punch can ruin the lives of both the victim and the person who throws the punch.

West Yorkshire Police are committed to tackling violent crime and will continue our efforts to reduce the numbers of victims, but we need people to play their part by thinking about their actions before they get involved in a fight on a night out.

Watch our One Punch is all it takes Video


Clubbing/Bar Safety

Thefts from clubbers and bar goes rose by nearly a quarter in the last year, and anyone who becomes a victim faces the expense and inconvenience of replacing the stolen items along with the heartache of losing treasured photos, videos and others items.

You can guard against becoming a victim of theft by:

  • Always securing zips and fastenings on bags and pockets.
  • Never leaving bags, mobile phones, coats and other valuables unattended.
  • Avoiding advertising your valuables to would-be thieves.

You can also protect your mobile phone by:

  • Downloading a tracking app.
  • Insuring it, and recording the IMEI number.
  • Saving all your contacts, in and address book or on a computer.

Over the coming months, officers will be handing out crime prevention advice and speaking to people in city centres about ways to avoid becoming a victim.

‘Operation Dancefloor aims to raise awareness of a recent rise in such thefts among shoppers and clubbers, by encouraging people to take simple steps to avoid becoming a victim.


Drugs

Cannabis is still Illegal

Despite what some people say, cannabis is still an illegal drug.

If you are caught in possession of it, or are dealing it to your mates – you could be arrested.
This could lead to you placed in a cell and a possible court appearance, as well as a conviction which could affect your future employment prospects
There are also the well documented health risks, physical and psychological hazards, mental health issues and the long-term risk of lung cancer.
If you need help kicking the habit, see the “getting help” section on Talk To Frank


Did You Know?

You can also check policing and safety information for the area where you live by inserting your postcode into our Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) website. We encourage you to sign up for free regular updates via email from your local policing team – more details on the site. Check out the local policing NPT Website

Assembly: Safety & Danger

safety assembly

This is the assembly I did today in one of our local Infant’s School’s on the theme of safety as part of their OFSTED inspection:

Preparation and materials

  • Draw a comic face with a black marker pen onto a fresh egg. (This is Egg Bert!)
  • You will need a clear bowl or beaker (so as not to waste the egg!). You will need two Egg Berts if you plan to repeat his performance at the end.
  • A Bob the Builder hat borrowed from one of the children, or any hard hat will do.
  • Write the word DANGER onto a large sheet of paper, or project.

Danger-keep-out

Assembly

Draw the children’s attention to the word DANGER. Stress that it is a very important word that they should all be able to read and recognise. Remind them that they should always take care if they come across this word.

Hold up the hard hat. Tap it to show that it is hard and ask the children why it is so important. Choose a younger child to come out and wear it. Stress that this hat protects the brain, the most wonderful ‘computer’ in the world that we all have inside our skull. But sometimes people take risks and decide not to wear their hard hat.

Introduce Egg Bert. Tell them that he is one of those characters who thinks he knows best and that rules don’t apply to him. Let the child helping drop the egg into the bowl/beaker. Oh dear! Poor Egg Bert! His head is smashed and like Humpty Dumpty we cannot put him together again! Ask your helper to sit down.

Explain that keeping safe is very important. Many people have dangerous jobs and need to wear protective clothing, and even sports men and women have protective clothing for when they play their favourite games (mention hard hats, shin pads, body protectors, fire-proof suits, etc.). Further discussion could be developed here if time allows.

Many nasty accidents can occur if we do not think before we act: a stone that is thrown in anger or a stick brandished without thought can do a lot of damage and result in someone getting hurt. Remember this when you are playing in the playground.

Remind the children that when they were very small their parents would tell them off if they went to touch a hot pan, radiator or fire. This was because the grown-ups did not want to see them get hurt.

All toddlers and small children are inquisitive. They need to explore the world around them but they do not see the dangers. If, for example, they try to reach something like the overhanging handle of a pan of boiling water they could be badly scalded or burnt.  Talk about how when Daniel was young he touched one of the coals in our hot fire and still has the burn mark to show it – not good!

Knives and scissors can cause damage and should be used sensibly.

Plants and berries in the garden can be poisonous.  Remember: never eat or drink anything if you do not know what it is.

As we grow older we learn to recognise danger. We know that we should not play near busy roads, that we should always tell our parents where we are going.

Move the discussion on to other ways in which the children can stay safe during the holidays. You might mention the following: don’t talk to strangers; make sure someone knows where you are if you go out; don’t swim in rivers or lakes; don’t play on building sites, and in other dangerous places; don’t wander off; don’t use computer chat-rooms; and so on.

Go on to suggest that the children should ask an adult they know and trust if they are worried or uncertain about anything.

But there is no need to be afraid. Just be sensible and realise that these dangers do exist. When a responsible and trusted grown-up like a parent or teacher tells you not to do something, it is not because they want to spoil your fun, it is because they can see the dangers that exist. Rules are made to keep us safe.

There are times when we all worry about our safety. If time allows, you could use the story of Jesus stilling the storm (I used Bob Hartman’s version from The Lion Storyteller Bible), when the disciples were afraid they were going to drown (Matthew 8.23-27).

If appropriate, say that in the Bible God has promised to keep all his people safe in his hands for ever (John 10.27-30). Of course, we still need to take great care when we’re out and about, and to use all those things we have that keep us safe. But however bad a situation gets, Christians believe that God will be with us and won’t let us go (Romans 8.38-39). If we find ourselves in a dangerous or frightening situation we should call for help, and we can pray too that God will be there for us.

You could end with a repeat of the Egg Bert performance to really make the point – and because it’s fun!

Time for reflection

The world can seem a scary place,
so much to think about if I want to stay safe.
But it’s not really scary when you know
when to stop and when to go,
when to move and when to stay still,
what’s good to eat and what will make you ill.

We learn to be safe as we grow,
and the longer we live the more we know.
So the world isn’t such a scary place.
Just stop and think – make sure you’re safe.

Want to stay safe on the road?

Coldplay - Safer Driving

If you want to stay safe whilst driving there are some big obvious points – wear a seat belt, look in your mirrors, check your blind spot, don’t use your mobile unless you’re hands free … and now listen to Coldplay.

Strange as it may sound, the band’s tunes could help you avoid accidents while driving. Coldplay’s “The Scientist” landed on a list of “ultimate safe driving songs” compiled by Confused.com, the creator of driving app MotorMate.

From the data, London Metropolitan University professor Simon Moore concluded that the optimum music volume for driving is 55 to 65 decibels, while the ideal tempo should mimic the human heartbeat at around 60 to 80 beats per minute.

Based on Moore’s findings, Confused.com created a safe-driving playlist that includes: Norah Jones’ “Come Away With Me,” Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” Radiohead’s “Karma Police” and Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.” For more, check out the video above.

On the other side of the spectrum, Moore cautioned against listening to music that is noisy, upbeat and increases your heart rate. For example, drivers should avoid the Black Eyed Peas’ “Hey Mama,” which topped Confused.com’s list of top 10 dangerous driving songs.

What do you listen to while driving?  Do you think music can make you safer or more dangerous?