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PCC alert 7 May
Alert message sent 07/05/2020 17:50:00
Information sent on behalf of Devon & Cornwall Police & Crime Commissioner
PCC alert: update (7 May)
Virtual courts open in Devon and Cornwall
Any crime which requires the defendant to be remanded into custody for the next available court will qualify for a virtual hearing. Defendants will remain in custody, supervised by police until the outcome of the case is determined. Court staff and the judiciary will remain at the court, staying a safe distance from each other, to co-ordinate the hearing.
Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland QC, leant his support to the launch. He said: “Technology has already made a real difference to the justice system and developments such as virtual courts are vital in ensuring that victims still get justice during the pandemic. It is testament to the hard work of all involved that Devon and Cornwall have managed to introduce virtual courts so quickly across the region.”
Cloud-based technology will enable all other court users to join proceedings from a remote location with defence lawyers, probation officers, Crown Prosecution Service lawyers and, where appropriate, youth offending team staff, using video conferencing facilities to participate.
To help sustain the justice system throughout this challenging period, all regions in England and Wales are being asked to stand up their virtual court provision.
Building on its experience of running the virtual court pilot in 2016/17 under the leadership of Chief Constable Shaun Sawyer, Devon and Cornwall is in the first tranche of forces to go live.
Each police custody centre - including the country’s newest virtual court at Exeter’s Police Station - will link into the reduced number of courts running across Devon and Cornwall. Cases from the custody units in Cornwall (Newquay and Camborne) are now remotely linking into Bodmin Magistrates Court. While Exeter Combined Court can hear cases from the custody units across Devon (Barnstaple, Exeter, Torquay and Plymouth).
A change in law was required to permit video and audio use and in preparation, emergency measures were drafted as part of the new Coronavirus Bill.
Police commissioner warns businesses of increased cyber threat during Covid-19 pandemic
Businesses are being urged to take extra care because of an increased threat of fraud and cybercrime during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There have been more than 500 coronavirus scams and over 2,000 phishing attempts reported to UK investigators, according to latest figures from Action Fraud, the UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime.
Figures that will undoubtedly continue to grow due to the impact of the pandemic on the economy.
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, Alison Hernandez, has offered support to businesses during the pandemic, as many have adapted their working practices and the swift adoption of new technologies has increased risk.
In support of the South West Business Council’s Covid-19 Taskforce her office has set up a dedicated email address for them to message with any business security questions that police, partner agencies or her office can help with: OPCCbusinesssupport@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk
Many businesses will be needing access to information and extra support at this time, as a result, the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner has published a list of support services that can offer help to businesses including financial support. You can find this guidance on the website.
Hocking House Podcast
The Commissioner is now updating residents of Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly on police, crime and commissioning via a weekly podcast which is available via iTunes and online at Audioboom.
This week, we chat to the Victim Care manager about how they are supporting victims of crime during Covid-19, catch up with the Commissioner about her role in scrutinising Devon & Cornwall Police, hear from Operation Encompass about their new service and answer questions from members of the public.
Victim Support provide free and confidential support. Victim Support is a charity and is not part of the police. If you live in Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly you can contact Victim Support for information and advice, using a live web chat 24 hours a day 7 days a week: victimsupport.org.uk
You can also contact Victim Support on Freephone 0808 1689 111. Find out about other ways to contact Victim Support, including if you are deaf or hard of hearing: victimsupport.org.uk
In addition, the Victim Care Unit can be contacted on 01392 475900 from 8am to 8pm on Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm at the weekend. Information on the practical and emotional support on offer is available at victimcaredevonandcornwall.org.uk
Frequently Asked Questions – Devon and Cornwall Police
Devon and Cornwall Police have published a list of frequently asked questions around Coronavirus on their website. They cover a range of topics including daily life, crime, police response to Covid-19, day to day police work and new emergency legislation. These FAQs are updated frequently and so we recommend you check them regularly: devon-cornwall.police.uk
Reporting crime to Devon and Cornwall Police
In a non-emergency, you can also report a crime 24 hours a day, seven days a week on 101 webchat or on the online crime reporting form - both on the force website devon-cornwall.police.uk. There’s also a useful AskNed system that provides online advice on a range of issues and by signing up to Neighbourhood Alert regular updates and information.
At this difficult time please remain vigilant and report anything you think might be suspicious.
In an emergency situation, always dial 999. Crime can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or via its website – crimestoppers-uk.org
The situation continues to change rapidly so for up to date advice on the Covid-19 virus please visit gov.uk
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OPCC Devon and Cornwall (OPCC, Community and engagement, Devon and Cornwall)