Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Whittlesey and District Neighbourhood Watch

Creating safer, stronger and active communities

Burglars Target Car Keys

There have been a number of burglaries across the force targeting vehicle keys.

Please be alert to suspicious activity at homes or addresses with high powered vehicles for example BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, and Mercedes.

Burglaries are being committed to obtain vehicle keys as improved security means vehicles are more difficult to steal without a key.

The police are encouraging residents to remain vigilant during the day, lookout for any unusual people or vehicles paying attention to the driveway of a house where a desirable car is parked, even if it is not there at the time, similarly late at night, if you are coming or going be on the lookout for unusual activity.


Owners of high value, desirable cars have been asked to take extra precautions:-

  •  Never leave vehicle or other keys in open view of your letterbox or  ground floor window where a potential offender could easily access them by fishing them out with a device, consider installing a cage or security device to keep the letterbox secure.
  • Always lock windows and doors.
  • Fit a steering wheel lock / or aftermarket security device
  • It is rare that burglars attack householders in Cambridgeshire, but if the thief is persistent enough to break in, it’s best they take the keys and leave. The safety and protection of people should always come first.
  • If you have a secure garage you can park your car in overnight, do use it..
  • Set burglar alarms and any other security devices you have installed, consider a driveway alarm to give you early warning of someone approaching on your drive.
  • Consider fitting a tracking device, if your car is stolen there is a greater chance of it being traced.
  • Be alert to who is around and where your keys are.
  • Report suspicious activity or interest in these types of vehicles to police on 101, or 999 in an emergency.
  • Without putting yourself at risk, try to obtain a description of anyone you saw, and registration numbers of vehicles this can be passed on to police to aid investigation.
  • Criminal activity can also be reported to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Preparing for Winter Driving

Although the sun is still shining, the chilly mornings are starting to creep in. Richard Gladman, IAM RoadSmart’s head of driving and riding standards, has put together some tips to prepare you for the colder weather that’s nearing us.

  • It’s important to keep the windscreen clean. Try to get scratches, abrasions and chips fixed as colder temperatures can make the damage worse. Keep the windscreen washer topped up with a more concentrated screen wash mix to ensure it doesn’t freeze in action. And don’t forget your de-icer
  • Check your tyres. The legal limit of a tread depth may be 1.6mm but anything under 3mm will see a potential fall off in grip and braking performance. If long-term cold weather is forecast, and you can afford it, invest in a set of winter tyres approved by your car manufacturer. Don’t follow urban driver myths of reducing the tyre pressure to get more grip –  it simply doesn’t work
  • Set up a pre-winter check list. List things that need to be checked such as the car battery, bulbs, wiper blades and electrics. You don’t want to be stranded in a cold car in the middle of night waiting for the recovery team to get you up and running again. Take a look at our set of tips of the eight essentials to carry in your vehicle
  • Dress appropriately for the weather. It may be surprising but too many drivers dress based on a working car heater. If it breaks or you are stranded you can easily be caught cold
  • Start to plan for the really bad weather with a survival kit in the boot. Spare clothes, a torch, mobile phone charger, some emergency rations such as water, chocolate and a tow rope and shovel to help yourself and others.

Richard said: “Winter is unpredictable but Highways England and your local authority are already planning for it by building up their salt stocks and getting the snow clearing equipment out of storage. If they are getting ready then why shouldn’t you? With a little bit of preparation you can avoid getting stuck and adding to the problems that bad weather can bring.”

 

IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

To find out more about IAM RoadSmart products and services visit the new website www.iamroadsmart.com

Are Smart Motorways Fit for Purpose?

Smart Motorways were introduced nationwide after a successful pilot ended on the M42 near Birmingham in 2010. They were designed without a hard shoulder to separate drivers who break down from the normal flow of speeding traffic. In the pilot,there were safe stopping points for motorists, called emergency safety refuges, on average every 600 metres. 
 The three different types of smart motorway currently include controlled motorways, dynamic hard shoulder running schemes and all lane running schemes. 

 

Read more: Are Smart Motorways Fit for Purpose?

Clean Your Windscreen!

A traffic officer has warned of the dangers of driving unroadworthy vehicles after a woman was convicted of killing her disabled cousin.

Hayley Sterna, 51, was driving a Peugeot van south along the B1052, Brinkley Road, at Westley Waterlees, on 4 January when she hit Chris Clements who was riding in a wheelchair close to the road.

Mr Clements, 40, of Beech Croft, Brinkley, was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge but died the following morning.

Following a police investigation, Sterna, of Braefield, Somersham, admitted causing death by careless driving because she had driven with a dirty windscreen, causing her to be dazzled by sunlight.

However, she was yesterday (29 August) found not guilty of the more serious charge of causing death by dangerous driving after a jury at Cambridge Crown Court concluded her driving had not fallen “far below” the standard expected.

Today, she was sentenced at the same court to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, disqualification from driving for two years with an extended retest and 200 hours' community service.

Sergeant Simon Goldsmith, who investigated, said: “This case shows the potentially devastating consequences of driving a vehicle that is not fit for the road.

“It would not have taken long to clean the windscreen and replenish her washer fluid but Sterna made the tragic decision not to.

“Driving is something many of us do every day and it can be easy to forget we are in charge of a potentially lethal weapon. It’s crucial everyone regularly checks their vehicle is roadworthy, particularly during autumn and winter months when road conditions are likely to be worse.”

During the trial, the court heard Mr Clements was walking his dog when the collision took place at about 2.25pm.

Forensic collision investigations showed Sterna had not cleared her windscreen during her journey, having run out of screen wash.

She also failed to clean the screen or add screen wash despite having a two-and-a-half hour break and after the collision she said she had been dazzled by sunlight through the windscreen.

Speeding Fines

Speeding seems to be on the increase lately, perhaps because roads are quieter. Bear in mind that fines for drivers caught doing 51mph in a 30mph zone or 101mph on a motorway will start from 150% of weekly income, rather than the previous level of 100%. Police and Crime Commissioner Jason Ablewhite said: “Every death or life changing injury which happens as a result of speeding is one too many. These incidents have devastating consequences for the victims and their friends and families, and the community. I am fully supportive of the new fines.”