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Latest News

Elections Act to bring changes to voting

Elections Act to bring changes to voting

Posted: Wed, 05 Oct 2022 11:03 by Dick Stephen

Our Council continues to work towards putting in place voting changes as a result of the Elections Act.
The new Act brings in a number of changes to the way we vote, as well as to campaigning and the rules on campaign spending and funding.
The Government is proposing changes to require voters at polling stations to show photo ID before they receive their ballot paper.
Anyone who does not have one of the required forms of photo ID will be able to get a free voter identification document from their local council.
This new requirement would apply to local elections in England, as well as the general election, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections.
Our elections team is working with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in order to ensure these changes are put in place in West Northamptonshire, and was recently advised of several updates to the implementation plan, which are summarised below: More »

• The introduction of voter identification has been moved from December 2022 to January 2023. This requires voters to present some form of photo ID at polling stations in order to receive their ballot paper. Voter Card application service is expected to go live in January 2023 and will be first used in any elections from May 2023.
• Postal Vote Handling and Secrecy measures will now be put in place after May 2023. These rules, which will place added restrictions on who can hand in completed postal votes, will most likely come into force in Autumn 2023.
• A new Voter Card, or Electoral identification Document, could include added security features. This will be based on market testing and input from government experts, balanced with the need for a secure document that can be quickly produced and dispatched in potentially high volumes. More information will be available in due course.
• The Voter Card application deadline will be six working days ahead of a poll. This will enable central production and delivery management, removing pressure on local authorities in the immediate lead-up to a poll.

More information about the changes being brought in as part of the new Election Act can be found on the Electoral Commission website » Less

ALERT: Energy Bill Scam texts

ALERT: Energy Bill Scam texts

Posted: Wed, 05 Oct 2022 10:25 by Dick Stephen

Action Fraud has received 139 crime reports relating to fake text messages purporting to be from the UK government. The texts state that the recipient is "owed" or "eligible" for an energy bill discount as part of the Energy Bill Support Scheme. The links in the emails lead to genuine-looking websites that are designed to steal your personal and financial information.

You can see screenshots of the text messages on our Twitter post here. More »

How to protect yourself

  • Energy Bill Discount : £400 off energy bills for households in Great Britain from October 2022. You do not need to apply for the scheme and you will not be asked for your bank details.
  • Spotted a suspicious text message? Forward it to 7726 (it's free of charge). If you forward a text to 7726, your provider can investigate the origin of the text and arrange to block or ban the sender, if it's found to be malicious.
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Crime prevention advice for darker nights

Crime prevention advice for darker nights

Posted: Thu, 29 Sep 2022 16:25 by Dick Stephen

Burglars love it when the clocks go back …

As the nights draw in and winter approaches, Police would like to remind the public that burglars love it when the clocks go back and to encourage them to make their homes as hard a target as possible to hit.

With many people looking forward to the extra hour in bed on Sunday 30 October 2022, burglars are looking forward to the cover of darkness winter brings, as this darkness helps them to commit their crimes. More »

We are asking for you to continue to be vigilant and to keep remembering to follow all steps when it comes to Crime Prevention.

Have a look at our crime prevention advice below if you are unsure about any key steps.

At home

• Keep front and back doors locked at all times and keep keys and valuables out of sight and reach from cat flaps, letterboxes and downstairs doors and windows

• Close, and ideally lock, all windows when you're not in the room – approximately one in four burglaries in the county still happen because doors have been left unlocked or windows left open

• If it's dark before you get home, use timer switches to turn on the lights – change the times that the lights come on, to create the illusion that someone is moving around inside the house. Plug-in dusk-to-dawn lights are also popular

• Make sure your door is well lit and fully visible from the street – dusk-to-dawn lamp adaptors are available from DIY stores

• Check existing lighting is in good working order and replace any faulty equipment – remember to check batteries in torches and smoke alarms

• Keep shrubbery and hedges at the front of the house pruned to below one metre – remove any cover for a burglar to work unseen and give your neighbours every chance to spot something suspicious

• Keep curtains closed at night – if you are away, ask a trusted neighbour to close them for you, and open them again in the morning

• On cold mornings, never leave your car unattended with the engine running to defrost the windows

• Assess your property's perimeter and check it is secure. Cut back overgrown hedges and repair broken fences and gates

• Secure sheds and outbuildings with good padlocks and consider fitting alarms. Lock all tools and ladders away securely

When out and about

• When out in your car, look out for Park Mark accredited car parks and remove all items from your vehicle when you leave it

• Don't leave your keys in the ignitions, even when filling up with fuel or popping into the shop

• De-clutter your handbag – take out only what you need and avoid carrying large amounts of cash

• When you're out shopping, keep all bags firmly closed and on your person at all times

• Carry wallets and phones in inside pockets of jackets or coats, not in the back pocket of trousers

• When using your credit or debit card, shield your PIN and take the time to make sure you safely put away your purse or wallet

• Never leave your bag unattended on the back of trolleys or pushchairs

• Don't be tempted to return to your car and drop off your shopping bags – keep them with you or take them home » Less