© 2017 The Harpenden Society

...with the help of our eagle-eyed friends of the Community Safety Working Group

Courier fraud

This type of crime involves fraudsters calling on people and tricking them into handing over their cards and PIN numbers to a courier on their doorsteps.

Typically, fraudsters cold call you on a landline, claiming to be from your bank or the police. They say their systems have spotted a fraudulent payment on your card (or say it’s due to expire and needs to be replaced). So that you can check that they’re genuine (which they’re not, obviously) they suggest you hang up and ring the bank or police immediately. But they don’t disconnect your phone from the line that they’re using so that when you dial the authentic  number you are, in fact, still speaking to the fraudster (or their assistant). They then ask you to read out your PIN or type it out on your phone keypad. They may ask for details of other accounts you hold with the bank or with another financial service provider. They then send a courier to your house to collect your bank card. By then the fraudster will be in possession of your name, address, full bank details, card and PIN! To protect yourself there are certain things you need to know:

No bank will ever send a courier to your home

Neither your bank nor the police would ever collect your bank card, nor would they ever ask for your PIN or phone to ask you to withdraw money or move money to another account for ‘safe keeping’ or any other reason.

If you receive a call that you think may be of this type put the phone down as soon as your suspicions arise. Then report the incident to the police on 101.

Keeping Watch

Protecting mobile devices

A substantial number of us live our lives through our mobile devices: if we are suddenly deprived of them through theft we feel devastated. Most people who use these devices to this extent will be fully able to access information about keeping these devices safe; the essentials are as follows:

Install a tracker/security app (helps trace your device, allows you to wipe personal data in the event of theft); seek advice from your device’s manufacturer

Report thefts of mobile devices to your network and the police (who don’t seem to realise that this isn’t easy if the device has been stolen!); they will ask you for the device’s International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI) number (the IMEI can usually be found printed inside the phone’s battery compartment – or smartphone users can key in *#06# to see the number displayed on-screen). Smartphone users need to keep a record of this number!

Register your mobile device for free at www.imobilise.com (records your IMEI number and allows the police to trace the owner)

Ensure your device is password protected

Never leave your device on view – and beware of pickpockets!

Yuletide  Yearnings

Alan Bunting writes

Car parking nightmares

Not surprisingly, today’s nightmare car parking problems became a priority topic among the 50 members present. Commuter 'street' parking was highlighted but, even more critically the station car parks were often full to capacity.  

County Councillor David Williams, who bravely fielded many of the questions raised, said that Network Rail had earmarked £2 million in 2013 for the erection of a major ‘Meccano like’ double-deck structure on the  east station car park.  Planning permission had been refused because of objections from residents in nearby Milton Road. Also mentioned was the congestion of rush hour traffic and pedestrians at the east side's only (Station Road) entrance. This was said to be under active consideration by both rail and local authorities. Councillor Williams recommended members of the Harpenden Society and others to keep lobbying SADC on all the planning-related station car park issues.

Other car-related issues included the ‘School run’ congestion ('let them all walk or use the school bus' was the cry – but what about parents on their way to work?) pedestrian/traffic ‘shared space’ conflict (chiefly in the Lower High Street area) and Pavement cyclists (not a loved practice but a pity there is no room for Dutch-style cycleways).

New secondary school

When the informal debate switched to Harpenden's need for more secondary school places, it was confirmed that the new school would be built on the corner of Lower Luton Road and Common Lane, an important factor being other landowners hanging on for a higher price for house building. Due to open in 2017, possibly in temporary buildings, the new secondary school would cater for children from the Harpenden and the 'villages'.

James Marshall redevelopment

What was happening with the proposed redevelopment of the James Marshall home site behind the town hall? That was another question raised at the December meeting.  Though the initial plans for an apartment complex submitted by the developer,  were turned down, participating architect (and Harpenden Society member) Tim Riley said they had now gone to appeal. On Jan 19 the Planning Inspectorate overruled SADC’s  Planning department’s decision and granted full approval to proceed, subject to certain conditions

Arts ‘hub’ proposal

Expenditure by SADC on the recently-opened St Albans City Museum had largely drained the culture-related public coffers but Hilary Taylor, a leading light in the recent  'We are Harpenden' arts 'hub' campaign, said the need was less for premises and more for a network of facilities. Councillor Williams argued that the chances of obtaining worthwhile public funding, though slim, would be enhanced by the active involvement of organisations in the surrounding area.

Calling all Volunteers

Alan Bunting, soon to be Editor of the newsletter reports on another of The Society's public gatherings.

 At a meeting convened by the Harpenden Society at the end of January, under the banner of Volunteer for Harpenden (V4H), representatives from numerous local organisations, reliant for their continuing activity on volunteer helpers, came together with existing and potentially new volunteers.   

As Society chairman Chris Marsden explained, a key aim of the meeting was to bring to the notice of a wider cross-section of Harpenden residents the enormous amount of volunteer work already undertaken in the town and the correspondingly wide range of volunteering opportunities for those with some time to spare.

Among the people attending the V4H meeting were representatives from Harpenden Parents Group, the Local History Society, the Samaritans, Harrpenden Helping Hand, the Harpenden Trust and several charities.

During a fruitful inter-active discussion, there was a chance for organisations represented to spell out the kind of needs that could be met by new volunteers, even for a few hours a week.

Above The V4H committee & funding partner Cllr Teresa Heritage. From L to R: Ron Taylor, Teresa Heritage, Bob Fletcher, Mary Maynard, Chris Marsden, David Abernethy

Writes Shirley Thomas

Dear Everyone

I just wanted officially to thank The Harpenden Society for the wonderful tribute to Richard. The collection for the bench erected in his memory far exceeded the cost and the surplus has gone to the Prison Fellowship to help fund a course in his name. This is a 'restorative justice' course at the Mount Prison Bovingdon. I am sure many of you heard him speak about this work that he was involved in.

I do hope some of you will be able to go to the 'little woods' at the top of our road (Bloomfield Road) – they are actually called Ambrose Woods – where you will see his bench. He always wanted a bench visible from the drive to the hospital, in case anyone going to or from the hospital might want to 'rest awhile'.

‘Thank you all so very much for your generosity – we shall continue to love and care for our town as he always did’.

Best wishes - Shirley Thomas

Editor adds; ' do go and see the bench; as I have found, 'sitting's believing' – and Shirley also thanked The Society very sincerely for Richard's posthumous 'Without Whom' award of a ‘beautiful silver picture frame'.

Spring 2016 Newsletter