Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Work To Commence Final Section Of Path


Cyclists and pedestrians travelling between Histon and Cottenham will soon find their journeys getting easier as construction starts on the final section of their foot and cycle way.

Work will commence on Monday 9 January 2012 to create a much improved route with an excellent quality surface of two to three metres wide linking the two villages.

Improvement works already undertaken in Histon mean that once the scheme is complete cyclists from Cottenham will be able to enjoy a safer more pleasant commute into Cambridge.

The £450,000 scheme is funded through the Housing Growth Fund administered by Cambridgeshire Horizons.

Works are anticipated to last for 10 weeks with two way traffic signals in operation Monday to Friday between 9.30am to 3.30pm.

Councillor Ian Bates, Cabinet member for Growth and Planning at Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "This new improved route will provide an excellent, high quality cycle link, which will encourage more people to get pedaling. Cycling represents an affordable and enjoyable way to keep active whist contributing to reduced traffic congestion and improved air quality in and around Cambridge."

Councillor Sue Gymer, County Councillor for Cottenham, Histon and Impington said: "Residents have been eagerly awaiting the completion of the improvement works and very much look forward to being able to use the route more safely."

Councillor David Jenkins, Councillor Gymer's local colleague, said: "There is already evidence of increased cycling along this route and this will accelarate the trend."

Tories Reject Move To Let Profit-Making Buses Pay For Rural Ones


A call by Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats to fund better rural transport with commission from profit-making bus services has been rejected by the Tories.

The idea would involve a Quality Bus Contract scheme which would allow Cambridgeshire County Council to introduce cross-company ticketing arrangements, introduce competition into a local monopoly and provide better connections with rail services.

Lib Dem Leader, Kilian Bourke set out the plan in a motion which was voted down by the ruling Conservative group.

Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet member, Steve Criswell, said were already 25 operators competing in Cambridgeshire and this showed there was a lot of competition. But the main bus operator controls 86 per cent of all commercial services, including almost all the most profitable ones.

Councillor Bourke said: "It is very disappointing that the Conservatives voted against even looking into the potential benefits of introducing such a scheme.

"The current plan to cut 100 per cent of bus funding risks leaving rural people in a no-man's land, deprived of public transport. It will reinforce rural isolation and inequality, and limit opportunities for young people outside Cambridge.

"Given that the city's bus operation is basically a monopoly I think there is a lot to be said for taking a commission from the most profit-making buses and using this to provide socially necessary transport around the county.

"A Quality Bus Contract scheme would also allow us to introduce proper cross-company ticketing and to join up the bus and rail networks.  At a time of shrinking public and private sector funding we need to have 'one network' of public transport.

"I am surprised that the Conservatives voted against an idea that would have directly benefitted their constituents.  It is sad when politicians put ideology first, not the people they represent."

Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport, Susan van de Ven said: “Other rural councils have undertaken to find out more about what QBCs can offer.  In some cases this has served as leverage resulting in greatly improved partnerships.  Why not explore the possible benefits?”

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Let There Be Light - Find Out Where And When

Local people can find out when street lights in their community are going to be replaced and are being urged to watch out for letters alerting them to when work will start.

They will also have a chance to comment on the replacements in advance.

The work will also bring environmental improvements to Cambridgeshire by reducing energy use and carbon outputs while at the same time cutting around £350,000 a year from the maintenance and lighting budget.

Contractors working on behalf of Cambridgeshire County Council have started work on the project which will see more than 50,000 street lights replaced and maintained over the next 25 years - but some people have missed alerts telling them when work in their area is planned to take place.

Local communities are consulted in advance of the work and that consultation will continue throughout the replacement program and a rolling schedule of work is now available on line or via a special information 'hotline' set up by the contractor Balfour Beatty.

County Council Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, Councillor Steve Criswell, said: "The development of the PFI street light replacement programme and our partnership with Balfour Beatty gives us an opportunity to make significant improvements to street lighting and community safety in Cambridgeshire.

"Unfortunately some local people have missed the information on when and where the work will take place in their local area and I wanted to remind them that they can keep themselves fully updated either on-line or via the telephone information service.

"We have already been talking to local communities about the replacement work and any areas of concern where they would want to see better lighting to improve safety, while at the same time by using the most modern lamps and control equipment available we will be able to reduce the number of columns needed in some areas, cut replacement costs and make significant saving on electricity bills and carbon output."

For information on current and future replacement work, go to: http://www.lightingcambridgeshire.com/ and click on 'New Lighting'

Alternatively information is available on 0800 7838 247 or via e-mail at enquiries@lightingcambridgeshire.com

Currently the County Council maintains around 56,000 street lights in Cambridgeshire. Under the PFI contract a single lighting standard has been introduced across the whole county using modern energy efficient lights.

The Government awarded Cambridgeshire around £52 million for the project. This allows the County Council  to use a private contractor to do the replacement work over five years but for the Council to pay back over the full 25 years , rather like a mortgage, which has made it possible to tackle the backlog of poor lighting across the county.

Street lights will be replaced over the next five years by Balfour Beatty with the company then maintaining the network for a further 20 years.

Friday, 23 December 2011

E-Cops - Merry Christmas And A Very Happy New Year!


You will pleased to know that there has been no crime in your area for the past week.

I have continued with dedicated hi visibility patrols mainly in Girton, Dry Drayton and Bar Hill.

On Wednesday 21 December 11, I carried out speed checks in Oakington Road, Dry Drayton, as a result two motorist were seen travelling in excess of the speed limit, both motorists have been spoken with.

At the same date as above I carried out speed checks in Saxon Way, Bar Hill, as a result one motorist was seen travelling in excess of the speed limit, this motorist has been spoken with.

Crime prevention advice:

Home security, thieves will know that houses may contain more goodies this time of year, please be aware of this and make sure your security is up to date to keep these people out. Where ever possible please mark valuable items with a UV pen or visit Immobilise - www.immobilise.com. which is a nationwide secure database system that allows you to protect your property by registering on-line any valuables that have a unique serial number such as mobile phones, laptops, ipods, bicycles, and cameras. Immobilise is searchable by police forces all over the country and will help reduce property crime and reunite owners with their property.

Shopping, how many of you will do a shop, take the stuff back to the car and go off to do a bit more shopping? Thieves are on the look out for these type of shoppers so please think before you leave your shopping unattended in your car.

Shopping trips, if you are off to another town for your shopping and need a sat nav please remove all trace from the window and car. ie the ring left by the holder, the holder and most of all the sat nav itself.

Please be aware when defrosting your vehicle, do not leave your vehicle unattended whilst defrosting it, vehicles have been stolen this way!

If you wish to report any other crime, suspicious behaviour or activity please ring our new non-emergency number 101. If you believe that a crime is in progress please ring 999. I also welcome anyone to contact me on bujar.mani@cambs.pnn.police.uk if you wish to let me know of any issues you may be experiencing.

I will now be on annual leave after today and will return back on 9th January 2012, in my absence Histon Team will be looking after my beat area.

May I take this opportunity to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2012.

Regards

Bujar Mani
Histon NPT

Cambridge MP Julian Huppert Backs Register of Lobbyists

MP for Cambridge, Julian Huppert, has today (Tuesday 6 December) sponsored an attempt to change the law to force commercial lobbyists to make their activities public.

This follows today’s news that professional lobbyists Bell Pottinger were caught boasting about their influence over PM David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague, as well as key advisers to the Prime Minister.

They were caught claiming that they used their access to Downing Street, paid for by companies, to get David Cameron to speak to the Chinese premier on behalf of one of their business clients within 24 hours of asking him to do so.

The ten minute rule Motion in the name of John Cryer MP, and co-sponsored by Julian Huppert, would create a public register of organisations that carry out lobbying of Parliament for commercial gain, and force them to disclose how they spend their money.

A public register for lobbyists was in both the Liberal Democrat manifesto and the Coalition Agreement.

David Cameron said in February 2010, just before the general election, that lobbying in Parliament was the “next big scandal waiting to happen. It’s an issue that exposes the far too cosy relationship between politics, Government, business and money”.

Julian Huppert said “it is completely unfair that in a modern, liberal society big business can still buy access to democratically elected politicians.

Of course, politicians should speak to all interested parties before making decisions - including organisations like charities, unions and businesses, large or small. I believe in evidence based policies.

But it is not acceptable for people to be able to buy their influence, and for that influence to remain a secret.

That is why I am supporting an attempt to change the law to force commercial lobbyists to make their activities public. If they’re using money and influence to change public policy, then the public has a right to know about it, and stop them from doing so if necessary.”

Notes to editors:

Full text of ten minute rule Motion reads:

"REGISTRATION OF COMMERCIAL LOBBYING INTERESTS

That leave be given to bring in a Bill to establish a public register of organisations that carry out lobbying of Parliament for commercial gain; to make provision for disclosure of expenditure by such organisations; and for connected purposes."

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Time Limit Extended For Bids To Make Local Community Improvements


Local people around Cambridgeshire can now bid for County Council cash for highways projects which will improve their community - and the time limit has been extended to give people more time prepare their submissions.

The County Council has adopted a new approach which gives local communities a real influence over minor highway improvements - and details of how to apply for the cash are now available online. The closing date for bids has now been extended until February 1, 2012.

For many years the County Council contributed towards a jointly funded programme with district councils. Typically the authority made around £200,000 available. But the level of interest from the districts has reduced and the county council is now looking at ways to make the cash available directly to communities at a local level.

Successful projects would be those which provide improvements considered to offer benefit to the local community and have the support of local people. Parish councils, community and residents groups and charities are eligible to bid.

Details of how to apply are now available at:

http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/localism/Minor+works+funding+opportunities.htm

Bids up to a maximum of £10,000 each are invited and there will be an expectation that the bidder will provide some level of financial contribution to the overall cost of the project - with a minimum contribution of 10% anticipated.

Successful projects could include better signing and lining, speed reduction measures, dropped crossing points or a new bus shelter.

County Council Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, Councillor Steve Criswell, said: "Local people know best what is needed in their community and this is an excellent opportunity for them to put forward ideas for local priorities and improvements to the highways network which would benefit everyone in their area.

"This is a real opportunity for the local community to have a genuine influence over what goes on in their area and to work in partnership with the county council - localism at its best and we have extended the time limit beyond the festive season to provide more time for local organisations to prepare their bids."

Bids will be assessed by an advisory panel of County Councillors for each district area of Cambridgeshire. The panels will take into account the views of parish councils and district councillors, before making recommendations to the county council for funding.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Tories Block Liberal Democrat Move To Freeze Allowances


Lib Dem attempts to freeze councillors' allowances for the next 18 months have been blocked by Conservative Councillors.

A proposal put to a meeting of Cambridgeshire County Council by Lib Dem Peter Downes called for there to be no rises before April 2013 at the earliest.

But Conservative Councillors, who controversially voted themselves a 25 per cent pay rise last month, voted the Lib Dem proposal down

“We need to reassure the public that councillors won’t vote themselves a pay rise at a time when services are being cut and staff are being made redundant,” said Cllr Downes.

Lib Dem Leader Kilian Bourke said: "The Conservatives made a mistake in voting the increase through and it is a relief that it was scrapped, but another review will have to take place soon.  We wanted to commit in advance to not accepting any increase until 2013 at the earliest.

"Councillors should not be giving themselves pay rises at a time of wage freezes and redundancies."

A report about raising allowances will be coming to a council meeting in early 2012.

Liberal Democrats' Move To Attract New Councillors To Be Discussed Publicly


A move by Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats to attract councillors from a wide range of backgrounds is to be discussed publicly with a view to forming a county council policy.

The group has been invited by the Tory-led administration to produce a report increasing the diversity of elected members by holding a quarter of council meetings out of office hours and organising training in the evenings.

Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Resources and Performance, Steve Count agreed the idea was a positive one and promised that the report and its recommendations would be presented to a public forum.

Cllr Ian Manning, who proposed a motion setting out the idea, said “I'm pleased that the Conservatives have agreed our idea is a positive one and have invited us to form the policy.

“It is particularly important that the report and recommendations are presented to a public forum – meaning it will be transparent and open.”

Cllr Sue Gymer seconded the motion explaining her reasons for wanting training out of hours.

"After the allowances debate, I thought long and hard about what would make it easier to get working mums like myself to become councillors. I voted against because it was the wrong amount at the wrong time. In addition a small pay rise would make no difference to me personally but being able to get training outside of working hours would make it a lot easier to mix my council duties with my employment.

“I am pleased to see that a report would be coming back to a public meeting like Cabinet or council.

Liberal Democrats Call For Profitable Bus Routes To Contribute To Cost Of Rural Ones


Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrats are calling for the County Council to look at introducing a new bus contracting system that use some of the profits from the most successful bus services to contribute to the cost of less viable, predominantly rural bus services.

In a motion to full council on December 7 (see below) they call for the Conservatives to investigate "Quality Bus Contract schemes", which would replace the current setup with a franchising arrangement under which the council would draw up contracts for bus services and then invite operators to bid for them.

This would give the council greater democratic influence over local buses, allow social imperatives to be balanced with commercial ones, and enable the council to introduce real competition to the marketplace for the first time.

The council would be able to specify bus routes, stops and frequencies, and could also insist on cross-company ticketing and better connections with rail services.

Lib Dem group leader, Kilian Bourke said: "Introducing a Quality Bus Contract scheme would help restore rural bus services to villages that need them."

"Switching to a franchising model would allow the council to determine when the buses run."

"This would mean taking some of the profits companies make from passengers on some routes and using them to fund buses that are close to breaking even or other forms of rural transport."

"The Lib Dems would use Quality Contracts to insist that bus services joined up properly with railway stations. We could introduce proper cross-company ticketing so that passengers would be able to use any companies' buses on the same ticket at a reasonable price. And we would make sure that more villages got a decent public transport service."

"The Conservatives acted on our proposal to introduce competition for the Park and Ride service; now we want them to investigate using a similar approach more widely."

TEXT OF MOTION:

"This Council notes: 


The recent Conservative decision, currently under review, to cut 100% of funding for subsidised bus services; 


The local bus operator's subsequent decision to make reductions to commercial services and not to renew the Quality Bus Partnership; 


The negative impact these cuts have already had on the quality of bus transport available to local people, and concern about the implications of further cuts; 


The lack of significant competition in the bus industry in Cambridgeshire; 


The frequent lack of connections between bus and rail services. 


This Council also notes that "Quality Bus Contract schemes" (Local Transport Act 2000, 2008) would allow the Council to: 


Draw up contracts for the provision of bus services and then invite commercial operators to bid to provide that service, using a franchising arrangement to introduce competition for the marketplace; 


Specify the terms of bus services, including routes, stops, frequency and ticket prices, increasing democratic influence and allowing social as well as commercial imperatives to be taken into account; 


Ensure better connections between bus and rail; 


Take commission on ticket sales from the profitable services, generating revenue that could be reinvested to improve public transport for those people who have poor services through (e.g.) community transport, bus priority measures and rural buses. 


This Council calls on Cabinet to investigate ways to use Quality Bus Contract Schemes as a means to provide improved public transport for Cambridgeshire people. "

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

E-Cops - Your Weekly News 20-DEC-2011

I have spent a considerable amount of time on visibility patrol mainly on foot in Girton and Bar Hill. During my patrols, I have stopped and visited the local schools and businesses to give them crime prevention advice and also allow them the opportunity to raise any issues/concerns they may have.

I have been busier than ever and crime is still being committed in various ways. I have been visiting victims of burglary mainly in Girton and Bar Hill, and I have been offering security and crime prevention advice to local Post Offices and those that have been victim's of crime. 

On Friday 16th December whilst I was out and about on patrols at approximately 23:00 hours travelling from Swavesey to Longstanton, I came across a vehicle in the ditch with interior lights on. The vehicle was registered in Bedfordshire and no person(s) were with the vehicle. A thorough area search was conducted for anybody involved in this accident, however no person(s) were located. Due to adverse weather conditions and the vehicle causing a slight distraction to other road users, it was removed from the location under police powers.

PCSO Baugh and I also recently took part on helping officers from the Rural Community Action Team (RCAT), supporting officers from HM Revenue and Customs visiting four locations in the village of Willingham. Officers were acting on intelligence regarding illegal road fuel being used and stored at the locations. Although no illegal fuel was found on this occasion, four small scale, homemade cannabis farms were discovered at three separate locations, containing in excess of 100 plants. All of the cultivation set ups had been constructed in sheds and containers, which had in turn been rigged with lighting and ventilation equipment. Enquiries led to the arrest at the scene of six persons, who were arrested for cultivation of cannabis and one further person was reported for summons for suspected drugs offences. All of the cannabis and the equipment was seized by police and the investigation is ongoing.

Crimes:

I have been investigating a high number of crimes at Bar Hill Tesco, mainly motorists driving off without paying for their fuel. 

On Friday 09/12/11 between 11:00 and 14:45, there has been a report of a dwelling burglary in Foxhollw, Bar Hill. Unknown offender(s) have gained entry into the property by forcing the kitchen door open. Offender(s) have carried out a search of the property but nothing was stolen. 

On Wednesday 14/12/11 between 10:45 and 20:20 there was a report of theft from a motor vehicle. Whilst the vehicle has been parked at Tesco car park in Bar Hill, unknown offender(s) have stolen the front number plate from the vehicle.

If you have any information that will assist us with any of the above crime, please contact us on 101 or call Crime Stoppers, an independent charity, anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

Kind Regards

PCSO Bujar MANI
Histon Neighbourhood Policing Team

Monday, 19 December 2011

New Lighting Scheme Could Leave Residents In The Dark - Heathcock


A leading Cambridgeshire County Councillor fears that residents could be left in the dark by a new lighting scheme in his ward.

Cllr Geoff Heathcock, who represents Queen Ediths, has welcomed a five year plan to improve lighting across the area; but he is worried that several old lighting columns in Spalding Way are being removed and not replaced.

And he says the problem is compounded by a county council decision last year to save 10 per cent from the street lighting budget.

“Residents have told me they are worried about how some stretches of the road are very dark and they don’t feel safe,” he said. “There are also a large number of elderly people living in the area.”

Cllr Heathcock has requested a site meeting with contractor, Balfour Beatty and a county council representative.

He added: “The new lights are much better overall and they are very welcome; but I am anxious because residents are worried that they may have less lights overall and this could put safety at risk.”

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Shop Safe To Ensure Yule Not Be Disappointed With What Santa Brings


Cambridgeshire Trading Standards are offering festive shoppers help and advice to avoid disappointment on Christmas morning.

Many people turn to on-line shopping to take the stress out of present buying, but all too often customers are not sure exactly who they are dealing with or that what they are buying is a genuine item or in fact exists at all.

So far this year, the Police E-Crime Unit has shut down 2,000 websites for selling fake or non-existent goods. This follows the 1,800 similar sites closed down last year.

County Council Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Councillor Mathew Shuter, said: "There are a lot of fraudsters out there who are looking to have a good Christmas by ruining the festive season for others. This really is a case of 'buyer beware', but our highly skilled Trading Standards Team and Consumer Direct are there to offer help and advice to ensure that people have a very merry Chistmas and a Happy New Year enjoying their presents."

People looking to buy 'branded goods' should visit the Brand-i website (www.brand-i.org.uk) first to find genuine online retailers, approved by the brands themselves.

People should also check that the website provides a UK postal address in case of problems and to check that the business is genuinely based in the UK by looking on www.nominet.co.uk for websites that end in '.co.uk' or www.allwhois.com for sites which end in '.com'.

Fraudulent companies often use 'co.uk' addresses or UK postal addresses to mislead people and buyers should always ensure the website has a padlock symbol on the browser which indicates it has a secure payment system.

Trading Standards advice partner, Consumer Direct, is able to provide advice on issues with online or offline companies, on cancelling an online order or returning the goods, on how to claim a refund from a card provider for faulty or misdescribed goods or any other consumer issue. Consumer Direct can be contacted on 08454 040506.

Beware Of Emergency Drainage Scam


Cambridgeshire County Council's Trading Standards Service is warning of an emerging drainage scam in the county.

The service has had reports that residents, specifically the elderly, have been called on by drainage contractors claiming to be working at a nearby property or business with blocked drains and claiming that the problems are coming from blockages in the resident's drains. The residents are then charged up to £7000 for the repair. It is believed this is the work of rogue traders.

The approach is similar to a drainage scam that has emerged this week in London where people call on householders claiming to be neighbours and asking the householder to contribute to the cost of repairing a damaged drain.

In London the fraudsters are using A1 Drainage Solution to carry out the work, although now this has been publicised, they may use a contractor with a different name.

Trading Standards' advice is that if you are approached by an individual claiming emergency drainage work needs to be done and asking for immediate payment, do not to hand over any money. Send them away and contact the police on 999.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

It's Your Call - Drivers Urged To Take The Taxi


Road safety officers at Cambridgeshire County Council are urging motorists to avoid drinking and driving over the Christmas period by taking the taxi instead.

Around 3 per cent of all injury accidents in Cambridgeshire involve drink drivers.  In 2010, 1100 people failed breath tests - 121 of these over the Christmas period.

Previous Christmas campaigns have asked drivers to consider how many people's Christmasses could be ruined if they kill or injure anyone as a result of their drinking and driving.  However, research suggests that it is the personal consequences of drivers' actions that have the greatest impact on their behaviour.

A new campaign - It's Your Call - sponsored by A1 Cabco and Fencabs and supported by Star Radio and Cambridgeshire County Council, highlights that drivers will lose their licence, and therefore possibly their job, as a result of being convicted of drinking and driving.  The campaign makes it clear that drinking and driving is a personal choice and stresses that drivers can still make the call to use a taxi instead right up to the moment they drive off in their car after drinking.

Matt Staton, Road Safety Officer for Cambridgeshire County Council, said: "Any amount of alcohol can have an effect on your driving - it is almost impossible to calculate whether you are over the limit or not. During the Christmas party season we would urge people to leave their cars at home if they intend to drink and make alternative arrangements by booking a taxi, taking the bus or getting a lift from someone not drinking.  It is also important to consider travel arrangements the morning after drinking heavily as you could be over the limit, even if you feel fine.

"We would like to thank A1 Cabco, Fencabs and Star Radio for their support in delivering this campaign."

Cllr Steve Criswell, the County Council's Cabinet Member for Community Infrastructure, added: "This campaign makes it clear that drivers have the choice not to drink and drive, and outlines the personal consequences they could face should they make the wrong choice.  In the current climate, losing your driving licence and potentially your job is likely to have a devastating effect. Therefore we would urge everyone to consider how they travel this Christmas party season.

"This ties in closely with the work done by our partners in the Police, who are conducting stop-checks across the county during December and will be clamping down on drivers found to be under the influence of drink or drugs."

More information on the campaign including downloadable posters can be found on Cambridgeshire County Council's Road Safety pages <http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/transport/safety/safetycampaigns/> .

Friday, 16 December 2011

Computer Virus Warning After Scam Catches People In Cambs


Cambridgeshire Trading Standards are warning people to beware after local people caught a cold by falling for a computer virus scam.

Officers re-issued the warning because of continuing complaints about the scammers who contact people offering telephone support to deal with viruses on home computers.

Last year the Police shut down 19 companies for scamming customers in this way, but Trading Standards Officers believe that copycat scams are still operating and the complaints received may be just the tip of the iceberg. Tracing those responsible for the con is difficult as many of the companies operate from call centres abroad.

County Council Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Councillor Mathew Shuter, said: "The police have had considerable success in shutting down this type of scam, but clearly the problem has not gone away and Trading Standards in Cambridgeshire are still receiving a considerable number of complaints about this con and we believe because the scam is so sophisticated there are many more people who have fallen victim - they just aren't aware of it!"

The scammers telephone people out of the blue. In some cases they already know the person's name and address, and falsely claim they are calling from 'Microsoft,' 'Windows' or one of the other major software companies.

The caller claims the person's computer has been infected by a harmful virus or is running slowly. They then persuade them to view some information online which they claim indicates a problem with the machine and request remote access to the machine so that they can get rid of the virus.

After claiming to have cured the problem, they then offer the user a 'Microsoft preventative service contract' or similar which they claim will allow them to monitor viruses on the computer on an ongoing basis at a cost of around £185 - those who sign up for the scam are asked to provide their details over the telephone.

Cllr Shuter, said: "These people are not connected with Microsoft or any other software provider and they have no way of knowing if a computer has been infected by a virus or is running slowly. They only want to trick people into allowing access to their computer whenever they like and into giving up their confidential bank details."

Trading Standards advice is for people to use appropriate anti-virus and defence software packages, and if they aren't sure, contact an expert for advice. Furthermore, if they believe there is a problem with their computer, again, they should get in touch with an expert, where possible seeking recommendations on experts from friends or relatives.

Anyone who feels they may have fallen victim to the computer scammers or has been contacted by such a company can report it or seek advice from Consumer Direct on 0845 4040506.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

E-Cops - Burglary Patrols

I am sure you are aware by now from your regular ecops messages that South Cambs villages have suffered a number of recent dwelling burglaries.

Your neighbourhood policing team have been busy conducting daily patrols in response to these burglaries. The patrols have been carried out in vehicles, on foot and also in plain clothes. Officers have been patrolling during the times and locations that have been most affected to reassure and prevent any further incidents.

If you do see anything suspicious or if you can assist with any information relating to these recent burglaries, please call us on our non emergency number 101, or if a crime is in progress or you believe it is about to be, please call 999.

Kind regards
Histon Neighbourhood Policing Team

Cambridgeshire Joins Fair Fares Campaign


Cambridgeshire transport chiefs have joined a national campaign to secure fair funding from the Government for its concessionary bus scheme.

Cambridgeshire County Council has signed up to the Fair Fares campaign which was launched by neighbouring Norfolk County Council.

The national scheme and the way it is funded has left Cambridgeshire County Council with a short fall of £900,000 to pick up.

The Government gives the council a lump sum of £4 million to cover the scheme which does not reflect the actual number of journeys made. It costs the authority £4.9 million to run the scheme which provides free travel for 119,000 Cambridgeshire pass holders who undertake approximately 4.8 million journeys.

Councils across the country have backed the campaign asking for the Government to make sure the scheme is funded properly.

Norfolk County Council has set up petitions including an online one at www.norfolk.gov.uk - already thousands of people have pledged their support. Alternatively sign the Fair Fares petition at www.gopetition.co.uk

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Steve Criswell, Cabinet Member for Highways and Access, said: "Cambridgeshire has been at the forefront of backing the concessionary fare initiative and providing a comprehensive scheme for bus pass users. However, when the national scheme was changed sufficient funding was not made available to cover the actual number of journeys made. In Cambridgeshire we have to find an extra £900,000 to cover the costs of the scheme. We fully support the scheme and all we are asking Government to do is to relook at the way it funds it and make sure councils are given enough money to cover this vital initiative which provides much needed independence for many people, especially in rural areas."

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Tell Us Once Comes To Cambridgeshire


A new service designed to take away some of the stress of notifying Government departments and local councils of a birth or death will be launched in Cambridgeshire tomorrow, December 1.

The national Tell Us Once scheme will be rolled out in Cambridgeshire as part of local public services commitment to work together and cut through red tape.

The scheme has been launched by Cambridgeshire County Council as well as district and city councils across the county, and is backed by the Government.

Our video shows the benefits of Tell Us Once and what can be expected when you come to register a birth or death.

http://tiny.cc/q35zl

Immediately after registering a birth at any of the County Council's 6 registration offices parents will now be able to use the Tell Us Once service. All they will need to do is bring along some standard documents to their birth appointment, answer some simple questions and provide some basic information and the registrar will do the 'paperwork' online giving necessary information directly to government departments and local authorities.

The registrar can also verify and send a completed Child Benefit form which eliminates the need for parents to send a birth certificate with their application.

When registering a death the family will now be invited to use the Tell us once bereavement service to inform a large number of local and national government departments dealing with taxes, benefits, pensions, social services, DVLA, housing and passports with just one single contact.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Tony Orgee, Cabinet Member for Health and Well Being, said: "Cambridgeshire is at the forefront of designing services around the needs of residents we serve, rather than the needs of our public services. This national Tell Us Once scheme builds on the good joint working in Cambridgeshire where public bodies are looking at ways of cutting red tape and making it easier to access our services.

"Once we are notified of a death or birth we can alert other relevant council or Government services for you so that you don't have to do it. We want to reassure residents that details will only be passed on if they want to and staff will be more than happy to help talk them through the process.

"These are highly emotional and vulnerable times and this new scheme is about reducing the worry and stress in these situations. We will help at every step of the way so they only have to tell us once."

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Liberal Democrat MP Acts To Drive Down Cost Of Motorway Fuel


Cambridge MP Julian Huppert is calling on the government to act to protect drivers from being held to ransom by petrol stations on motorways.
 
He believes Britain should adopt the French system where fuel prices at filling stations are flagged up to motorway drivers in advance to increase competition.
 
Julian is calling on MPs to sign an Early Day Motion acknowledging that fuel prices on motorways are up to 7.4 per cent higher than the national average caused, in part by the lack of competition.
 
And he has tabled a Parliamentary Question asking what assessment the government has made of the price of fuel on motorways and whether there are any plans to give drivers price comparisons.
 
“We need an end to this captive market,” he said. “Drivers, who need petrol or diesel, are being held to ransom on the motorways because they are forced to use the service stations. If they knew the price of fuel at the next few services in advance it would give them a choice and it would force service stations to stay competitive, driving prices down.”
 
The issue was raised in the House of Lords recently by Liberal Democrat Peer. Lord Steele and it was suggested that the Office of Fair Trading should investigate the issue.
 
Note:
 
Full text of the EDM reads: That this House believes that fuel prices on motorways are too high; notes that a recent survey by WhatCar? found that fuel prices on motorways are up to 7.4 per cent. higher than the national average; further believes that the disproportionate cost of fuel on motorways is in part a result of the lack of competition between filling stations and a lack of information for drivers about the cost of fuel; further believes that the Government should take action to prevent the continuation of this captive market; and calls on the Government to make information on petrol prices at nearby filling stations available to drivers while they are on the motorway.
 
Full text of the Parliamentary Question reads: To ask the secretary of state for transport what assessment she has made of the cost of fuel on motorways; and whether she has any plans to ensure that drivers on motorways are made aware of the comparative cost of fuel at motorway filling stations.”

Monday, 12 December 2011

Nick Clegg: Europe: Britain is Stronger, Better, Greater When We Lead


Support for Europe has always been a cornerstone of what our party stands for. Recent days have been tough for pro-Europeans in our country, but I am clear that it is in Britain’s national interest to remain at the heart of Europe.

As I have made clear since Friday, I am bitterly disappointed by the outcome of last weeks summit, which ended with the UK in a minority of one. There is now a real danger that over time the UK will be isolated and marginalised within the EU and as a consequence, our influence in the world will shrink. That is not good for jobs and growth; and will do nothing for struggling families across the country.

There is no doubt that we were in a difficult position because of the refusal to compromise from some member states and the eurosceptics in the Conservative Party. It was clear that some combination of guarantees on the operation of the single market, including in financial services, was necessary if we were going to ensure the safe passage of the package through Parliament. I regret the negotiations failed to arrive at a compromise, as I had hoped.

It is important that we now look to the future. That's why I, as a Liberal Democrat in this Coalition Government will do everything I can to make sure that this setback does not become a permanent divide. I am determined that we redouble our leadership on things like the single market, the environment, foreign policy, and defence - all the things that we need to do at a European level.

All my political life I have believed that Britain is stronger, better, greater when we lead and when we stand tall in Europe. Now, more than ever, we need a strong Liberal Democrat voice inside government making this case.

Best wishes,








Nick Clegg
Leader of the Liberal Democrats and Deputy Prime Minister

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Communities Champion New Vision For Libraries


Library bosses have been touring the county talking to Friends groups, Parish Councils and campaigners who helped shaped the new vision for the service.

The views and ideas put forward from 13 communities whose libraries were previously 'under review' are now helping to take forward the new vision for 21st century library services, and will be used in discussions with other communities across the County.

Cambridgeshire County Council received an overwhelming response from communities to the previous consultation into libraries in support of their library services.  In response the County Council launched its new vision for 21st Century Library Services that will keep and improve the service everywhere.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning and Christine May, Head of Libraries, Archives & Information, as well as other County Council Officers are meeting with communities to respond to their feedback from the consultation and provide an overview of the new vision for 21st Century Library Services.

Groups have been reassured no community will lose access to their existing library services. Libraries could be co-located with other public services in community hubs and opportunities for increased income from commercialisation in libraries will be explored which could include coffee shops, banking facilities and other services.

The County Council will be engaging with the wider community about these options in early 2012.

Library services will also be modernised, with increased use of new technology to deliver services and enable more self service use, online and mobile.

In response to what communities said, the County Council will continue to take responsibility for the full running of the core library service offer and will meet the basic costs for running the service.  The Library Service will recruit, train and manage volunteers and will continue to fund at least one paid member of staff in each library. Library Friends Groups will be encouraged and supported to continue their vital work in helping shape and maintain their local library service.

Cambridgeshire County Councillor David Harty, Cabinet Member for Learning, said: "We have been meeting with communities to thank them for their hard work and reassure them that no service will be lost in their area. We will also be taking the great ideas and enthusiasm they have shown for their libraries and using it when we talk to the communities around the county at our other libraries.  What is very clear is that all of us feel libraries are vitally important and have a large role to play at the heart of local communities."

Saturday, 10 December 2011

E-Cops - Weekly Update 10-DEC-2011

Since our last weekly update, there have been two reported crimes within the Bar Hill / Dry Drayton / Boxworth & Lolworth areas. I'm sorry to say that one of those was the robbery at Bar Hill Post Office on Monday 5th December. I am aware that an ecops message has already been sent out regarding the robbery, but I would like to remind you to call in on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111 if you can provide any information that may assist us in bringing the offenders to justice. The Neighbourhood Policing Team has been tasked to carry out patrols outside our Post Offices to reassure and to deter any criminal activity. These patrols are likely to continue over the festive period.

Today, there has been a report of a dwelling burglary in Foxhollow, Bar Hill. It appears that the rear doors of the property have been forced open for the offender(s) to gain entry. Although there are signs that the property has been searched through, it is not yet known what, if anything has been taken.

Local villages are still being targeted for dwelling burglaries, and in the main, jewellery and cash is what the offenders are looking for. Instruments found in rear gardens are being used to jemmy doors and windows open for entry to be gained. Please remember to lock away any items that offenders could potentially use to assist them in gaining entry to your property. If you would like any further crime prevention advice on home / garden security, please contact us by calling 101 or by replying to this email and we will be happy to assist. Our dedicated patrols are continuing as per one of our current panel priorities.

Finally, on Wednesday 7th December, we conducted some speed checks along Scotland Road, Dry Drayton. The checks were conducted within the 40mph speed limit area. I am pleased to say that during our checks, no vehicles were found to be travelling in excess of the speed limit.

Kind regards
PC Claire Reeves and PCSO Bujar Mani

Pupil Premium in South Cambridgeshire

Liberal Democrats have always believed that education is the engine of social mobility, now we are making it happen.

Today the Government released the final Pupil Premium figures for every English local authority, constituency and school. I am delighted to announce that every school this year will receive an extra £488 for each child on free school meals they have on their roll.

Schools in your constituency of South Cambridgeshire are getting an extra £543000 from the Pupil Premium to improve the education of the most disadvantaged children. You can find out what each school in your council area is getting by clicking here.

This is a real milestone for our party. The Pupil Premium is a policy we devised and campaigned for, and put at the heart of our Coalition negotiations. Now it is more than good policy, it is a reality making a difference to the school down your road. It goes directly into classrooms and will benefit all pupils.

It is also a milestone in breaking the link between poverty and achievement, tackling Labour’s shocking legacy where the richest 16-year olds are three times as likely to get five good GCSEs as the poorest.

This is just the start. We know that some families eligible for free school meals don’t claim them, for example, because some don’t know they can, and so their schools are missing out on funding. We also need to find out what schools are doing that’s really making a difference.

If you’d like to help, you could contact your local school to find out how they are using their Pupil Premium funding, and how they are making sure they are reaching every child.

Together, we can ensure every child is able to fulfil their potential.

Thank you



Sarah Teather MP
Minister of State, Department for Education

'Good Neighbour' Call From County Council Care Chief


Cambridgeshire County Council's Cabinet Member responsible for Adult Social Care, Councillor Martin Curtis, is calling on people to help public agencies care for the vulnerable in the community by becoming good neighbours.

His call is in support of a new countywide Help at Home service, provided by the Cambridgeshire Care Network Charity and funded by the County Council and NHS Cambridgeshire.

The service can be used by GPs, community and hospital support teams and directly by the public. It offers help with tasks like shopping, calling in to check if someone is warm and well, collecting prescriptions and linking people with other community and voluntary services that they may benefit from.

Councillor Curtis, who is Cabinet Member for Adult Social Services, said: "The new Help at Home scheme is an excellent way to ensure that those vulnerable people in our community get the help they often need, but are reluctant or unable to ask for.

"What I am asking people to do is not to become nosy neighours, but concerned neighbours who gently keep an eye on people living nearby who may benefit from the new service and the other advice and support provided by agencies across Cambridgeshire including health and social care services."

Agencies across Cambridgeshire are working together to help people in the county stay safe, warm and well when the winter weather hits.

Under the guidance of the new Health and Wellbeing Board, health services, road safety experts and care support services are sharing information, expertise and support to ensure that a comprehensive range of services is available to vulnerable residents, when they need it most.

The local NHS will be working with District Councils and voluntary sector agencies such as Age UK to provide advice on how to keep warm and well over winter, as well as encouraging vulnerable people to take up flu vaccinations, and avoid slips and trips.

Cllr Curtis, said: "By working even more closely together, health, welfare and safety agencies across Cambridgeshire, can do even more than in previous years to support our communities and I am asking local people to help us to help those who need us by becoming a 'good neighbour.'

For more information on the Help at Home service, contact (01223) 714433 or visit www.care-network.org.uk - for health and social care services go to http://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/social/

Friday, 9 December 2011

Speak Up To Save Your Bus Services Residents Told


Residents across Cambridgeshire are being urged to have their say on the future of the county’s bus services under threat from potential cuts in county council subsidy.
 
The consultation, launched by Cambridgeshire County Council, ends on Friday, December 9 and cuts will resume from April.
 
“Given the scale of cuts planned in this area, it is imperative that residents use this opportunity to highlight the transport needs of their communities,” said Liberal Democrat Shadow Cabinet Member for Transport, Susan van de Ven. “Once they have lost their services it is highly unlikely that they will ever be reinstated.
 
“This consultation should have taken place before the county council’s Conservative administration decided last April to cut 100 per cent of the money paid to support services. But fortunately the public outcry to the cuts forced this delay in implementing them and it has given residents the chance to make their views known. Everyone should take this opportunity.” 
 
Liberal Democrat Leader, Kilian Bourke said: "The Lib Dems opposed the 100% cut from the very beginning and so welcome this consultation.  You cannot provide rural transport for nothing and the Tories need to accept this.”
 
"There is still a real risk though that the Conservatives will scrap these socially necessary services without providing an adequate replacement. If people want to protect their local buses they should take part in the consultation, otherwise they may lose out.”
 
Residents can take part in the consultation online at http://bit.ly/qWXRwE
 
If you do not wish to complete this questionnaire online, paper copies are available by contacting the council using one of the following means.
By telephone: 0345 045 0675
By post: Cambridgeshire County Council, CC1301, Castle Court, Shire Hall, Cambridge, CB3 0AP
The closing date for responses to the questionnaire is 4.00pm on Friday 9 December 2011.

Tell Us Once Comes To Cambridgeshire


A new service designed to take away some of the stress of notifying Government departments and local councils of a birth or death will be launched in Cambridgeshire next month. 

The national Tell Us Once scheme will be rolled out in Cambridgeshire from December 1 and is part of local public services commitment to work together and cut through red tape. 

The scheme has been launched by Cambridgeshire County Council as well as district and city councils across the county, and is backed by the Government. 

Immediately after registering a birth at any of the County Council's six registration offices parents will now be able to use the Tell Us Once service. All they will need to do is bring along some standard documents to their birth appointment, answer some simple questions and provide some basic information and the registrar will do the 'paperwork' online giving necessary information directly to government departments and local authorities. 

The registrar can also verify and send a completed Child Benefit form which eliminates the need for parents to send a birth certificate with their application. 

When registering a death the family will now be invited to use the Tell us once bereavement service to inform a large number of local and national government departments dealing with taxes, benefits, pensions, social services, DVLA, housing and passports with just one single contact. 

Cambridgeshire County Councillor Tony Orgee, Cabinet Member for Health and Well Being, said: "Cambridgeshire is at the forefront of designing services around the needs of residents we serve, rather than the needs of our public services. This national Tell Us Once scheme builds on the good joint working in Cambridgeshire where public bodies are looking at ways of cutting red tape and making it easier to access our services. 

"Once we are notified of a death or birth we can alert other relevant council or Government services for you so that you don't have to do it. We want to reassure residents that details will only be passed on if they want to and staff will be more than happy to help talk them through the process. 

"These are highly emotional and vulnerable times and this new scheme is about reducing the worry and stress in these situations. We will help at every step of the way so they only have to tell us once." 

Thursday, 8 December 2011

E-Cops - Post Office Robbery

As you are probably aware, the Bar Hill Post Office was the target of criminals on Monday 5th December. Whilst our enquiries are progressing into this incident, the purpose of this message is to increase your awareness of this type of offence. Our experience of such robberies shows that criminals plan their attacks with some care and you all can assist in preventing them at this point by becoming our eyes and ears in the vicinity of your local post office. 

You are well placed to spot an unusual vehicle, particularly when it contains multiple occupants, within your community or people paying particular attention to your post office. This might occur at any time during the day or as dusk falls. 

We would ask you not to approach anyone in these circumstances but to call us immediately on either 101 or, if you feel there is a crime in action, 999. By assisting us in this way, you can greatly frustrate the opportunity for a similar offence to take place.

Your neighbourhood officers will be increasing their patrol activity around your post offices in support of this activity so please stop and speak to them if you require advice or help. 

South Cambs Neighbourhood Policing Team

It's Official: the Daylight Saving Bill is on the move!


Late in the night on the 22nd November, parliament approved the ‘money resolution’, passing the bill to a committee of MPs to thrash out the fine details over the next few weeks.

That means the next big vote is just around the corner, and we need to ramp things up in a big way to make sure MPs show up on the day and vote for lighter evenings.

We've done this before and we can do it again, but we need to raise £5,000 to make it happen. Can you help by making a donation?

http://www.lighterlater.org/donate.html

Your contribution to the £5,000 target will help us:
  • Win the argument right across the UK by funding coalition meetings in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Feed and water volunteers that'll be glued to the phones in the run-up to the big vote, making sure MPs know the arguments and show up to vote.
  • Power up our online lobbying tools, allowing supporters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to get in touch with their representatives in the devolved parliaments.
Lighter Later makes a big difference on a tiny budget, much of which has come from the generosity of supporters like you. This time last year, your donations helped us build what one political insider called "the best private member's bill campaign I've ever seen", and the second reading went our way against all the odds.

Now it's time to take the campaign to the next level, and anything you can give will go a long way.

Click here to help us raise £5,000 for the next big push

Thanks for all your amazing work so far. Here's to our next victory!

Daniel Vockins
Campaign manager

P.S. The debate on this issue is further forward than it's been for years, and last night in parliament, Rebecca Harris MP credited this progress to: "the excellent support of the growing Lighter Later campaign" – that's you! Visit http://www.lighterlater.org/donate.html to help keep things moving forward.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Lib Dems Call For Evening Meetings To Attract New Councillors


In a bid to attract a diverse range of people to stand for election to Cambridgeshire County Council, the Liberal Democrats are calling for some meetings to be held in the evenings.

They want to see a shift away from meetings being held exclusively in the daytime which are often difficult to attend for those in full-time work. And they believe holding some in the early evening would give more people the chance to stand for election as councillors.

A motion calling for support for the idea will be proposed to Cambridgeshire County Council members on December 7 by Councillor Ian Manning, who represents East Chesterton in Cambridge.

It calls for two of the full council meetings and 25 per cent of each of the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee meetings to be held outside standard working hours which are defined as 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday.

And it says councillors should be given the opportunity to take part in training outside standard working hours.

Cllr Manning said: “At the moment, it can be extremely difficult for anyone with a full-time job or other daytime responsibilities to commit to attending meetings during the day. I have to take unpaid leave on occasion from my job to do so.

“This means that we can only attract those people who don’t have to work full-time or have commitments that are extremely flexible. By switching some meetings to the evening I think we will be able to attract a wider range of people and our councillors will be a better reflection of society generally.”

Cllr Sue Gymer, who represents Cottenham, Histon and Impington said: “Many of our present councillors run their own businesses or have part-time jobs or flexible commitments allowing them to work round council business. But this is not the norm for the majority of working people. How can working people be expected to participate if the first step is to take the day off work?

 “We want to encourage people from all ages and all backgrounds who have an interest in representing their communities to stand for election and that is not going to happen unless we hold our meetings at a time when they are able to attend.”

Cambridgeshire Liberal Democrat Leader, Kilian Bourke said: "We fully accept the importance of attracting a wider range of people to stand to be councillors, but felt that the Conservative proposal to give councillors a 25 per cent pay rise was totally inappropriate at this time.

“We feel that the same could be achieved by shifting some of our daytime meetings to the evenings.  That is why we are putting forward this proposal and I hope the Conservatives will support it."