Stadium Security

With big events opening up again with big crowds, it’s important that you stay safe. However, especially in big stadiums, governing bodies also have a duty to keep you safe, not just from Covid. We are going to look through some of the ways you are kept safe at football matches and other large events.

Wembley Stadium

Wembley is one of the biggest stadiums in the UK, it’s used not just for holding football matches but also concerts and other events. So, it has one of the best security processes around, some of which are more obvious than others.

We have the obvious and common place policies;

Bag Checking-

Any bag you take in will be checked. There are no cloakrooms at Wembley Stadium, so you have to keep your bags with you. This means that they don’t allow any bags bigger than a standard rucksack inside.

Screening-

You will also pass through what they call ‘screening arches’. Essentially, it’s like going through the detectors at the airport. This is so they can check nothing dangerous is coming in. There isn’t a risk to anyone going through these, including pregnant women and people with pacemakers.

Drinks-

Wembley stadium have a policy of not letting people in with drinks from home. This is to stop any nasty chemicals potentially being sneaked in this way. If you have a valid medical reason to bring liquids in then this will be allowed.

Then there are those security measures that might not be so obvious;

Counter terrorism-

On any given day at Wembley Stadium there are around 50 on-site security members of staff and a control room that’s monitored 24/7. All staff members are also bag searched on arrival; all vehicle arrivals must be booked in advance. If anyone is to visit Wembley Stadium during non-event days then they are logged in advance and given a temporary ID on arrival that must always be visible. Wembley Stadiums also takes the extra step of having external patrols and liaising with their neighbours to share information on any incidents or potential threats.

Event days-

The security measures ramp up on an event day, meaning there is more on-site staff. Even staff that work at Wembley stadium on non-event days have their ID passes reissued to specific event day passes, meaning no one can sneak in using a stolen ID badge. That’s not the only security measure staff have to go through on an event day. They also need to walk through the screening arches and have their bags checked. Once that has happened their bags are given a unique event day seal. Wembley Stadium works with the Met Police and brings in the K9 unit to sweep the venue and to search any incoming cars. There are also police at the venue to support the existing staff that work at the stadium.

 

Other Stadiums

 

Wembley isn’t the only large stadium in the country; other large venue spaces also need to have safety procedures. No matter the event stadiums must adapt to the needs to any possible threat, large or small. Advancing technology means security firms have more tools at their disposal to protect against threats, but it also means that any perpetrators have more ways to infiltrate. These are some of the techniques stadiums use to protect you.

 

Fully trained security staff

All the technology in the world cannot be equal to well trained staff. Security staff is the first line of defence against threats, they will have many roles in the stadium including; screening the public on entrance and security guards within the stadium. Continuous training off all staff is key to maintaining safety.

 

Modern Security Equipment

It’s not uncommon for large stadiums to use body scanners for all guests on arrival. This is a repercussion of attacks on event spaces over the past few years; they need to stop a person bringing in anything that can cause harm. Social media is a huge player in today’s security field, so some security companies employ a monitor on social media algorithms to keep an eye on any chatter that could be a threat. No stadium has confirmed this, however there has been rumours of facial recognition technology being used. This would scan and detect any known threats and alert security personal to their presence. This would work well especially for a football matches, so that any trouble makers can be stopped before they even get into the venue.

 

Security Zones

When it comes to very large stadiums a good tactic is to zone it off so that dedicated staff and resources can be employed for each zone specifically, this saves things being missed. This also works well if there is an incident during an event, the organisation of the zones can provide safe and effective exit routes as well as strategic entrance points for police and other agencies.

 

Planned evacuation plans

If the worst is to happen and there is an incident, a panicked, stampeding crowd can cause as much damage as the incident itself. After the tragic events of the Hillsborough Disaster, stadiums have strict plans to get spectators out quickly if needed. Each evacuation plan will be unique to the venue, but all staff must be thoroughly briefed and confident on how to follow it through.

 

The Hillsborough Disaster 1989

 

If you are a football fan or not, you will have most likely heard of the Hillsborough Disaster. In 1989, 96 innocent football fans lost their lives after a series of errors led to a surge of fans being sent to overcrowded pens, resulting in a fatal crush.

This terrible incident changed the way that football is watched in the UK. The Taylor Report that was commissioned after the disaster stated that all of the teams in the top two divisions of the English game had to play in all seated stadiums. Before this up to 30,000 fans were squeezed into single terraces behind the goal at Manchester United’s Stretford End, the Holte End at Aston Villa’s home ground and, of course the famous Kop end at Liverpool’s Anfield stadium. Another contributing factor to the disaster was the use of metal fences, this was to stop pitch invasions however these made it impossible for fans to escape the crush, these have now been removed from all UK stadiums. Stricter rules on capacity have now been enforced and emergency exit strategies are in place.

The police and other security services designed and enforced security rules with the mindset of preventing hooliganism. Hence the huge metal fences and fans were separated from each other to prevent fights, by using cages known as pens. Woman and children were actively discouraged from going to matches because of these measures, which tells you a lot about the conditions of the stands. After Hillsborough the mindset changed, stadiums are now safety led, meaning the number one priority is fan safety.

 

What to take away…

So, if you are someone who visits stadiums regularly, then you can be happy in the knowledge that there are procedures in place to keep you and others safe. Always best to bare this in mind when you are standing in the long security line to enter the event. However, it is up to you to keep yourself safe. Also, it’s important to respect those around you, football matches can be highly emotional environments, but everyone is there with the same goal, to have a good time, so keep yourself in check when around other fans.

 

 

How Hillsborough disaster altered English soccer

5 Important Security Measures Taken By Stadiums

https://essma.eu/news/article/counter-terrorism-measures-at-wembley

Lockdown Restrictions Lifted- How to Stay Safe

Now that the government have lifted some of the stricter lockdown rules, life is closer to returning to normality. As you start to venture out and about again, it’s important that you keep yourself safe, not just from the Coronavirus but from other risks as well.

Going to the pub

What the government says;

Unlike in last years lockdown, you do not need to order a substantial meal to get an alcoholic drink (so no more ordering scotch eggs for you and your friends!). Plus, you don’t have to worry about the 10pm curfew, that’s gone to!

However there are a few things you need to be aware of:

  • You can only order food and drinks at the table you are sat at.
  • You must follow the ‘rule of six’ that has been set out by the government
  • Every person in the group must check in using the NHS test and trace service.
  • When not sat at your table you must wear your facemask, for example when going to the toilet.
  • You must observe social distancing

 

However just protecting yourself from Covid-19 when out drinking is not enough. Drinking out and about comes with its own risks.

 

Make sure you know how you are getting home

 

  • Pre book a taxi, book a taxi for a certain time, so you know how and when you will be getting home. Agree on a price when you book it, so you know you’ll have enough money on you to get home safe. For more info on taxi safety- read our blog.
  • Have someone from your household or bubble pick you up. This is one of the safest options for Covid and for personal safety.
  • If you are walking home then don’t walk home alone, no matter your gender make sure you plan to walk home in a group or at least with one other person. Make sure to stick to pavements and well-lit streets.
  • If you plan on getting public transport then make sure you are confident on what time and where you are getting your bus from. Also make sure that you have enough money for the ticket.
  • It goes without saying DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE!

 

Stay Safe while at the Pub

  • Never leave your drink unattended, it’s too easy for someone to slip something in there if you go to the bathroom. Either leave your drink with a trusted friend, or buy a fresh one if you’ve had no choice but to leave your drink unattended.
  • Don’t drink too much. We don’t want to be negative, but drinking too much alcohol can put you at risk of accidents and illness. Stay within your limits.
  • Try to eat before you drink alcohol, food will help your body absorb the alcohol more slowly.
  • Be aware that if you want to have a drink to ease any anxiety about going out, then drinking too much alcohol can actually make your anxiety worse.

 

Have respect for those around you

It’s important to remember that everyone has been in lockdown for a long time and everyone is excited about going to the pub again. It could be that some people are still a little anxious of being in crowds, so be considerate of social distance and other people’s feelings.

 

Having Guests in your Garden

 

What the lockdown restrictions are;

  • You can meet outdoors in a group of 6 from any number of households, unfortunately children of all ages count towards the limit of 6.
  • However, if only two households are meeting, the group can be any number. This is to allow large households to meet.
  • You can meet in private gardens as well as outdoor public places.
  • You can meet (following the rule of 6) at food and drink establishments that offer outside seating.
  • You are allowed to walk through someone’s home to get to the back garden, but you must wear a face covering while walking indoors.
  • You are allowed to use the bathroom in someone’s home, but again, you must wear a face covering while indoors.
  • You must always maintain a 2-metre distance, even when meeting outside, from those who are not in your household or bubbles.

 

It’s likely that you are going to be spending more time outdoors and in your garden, so you need to remember to keep yourself safe while doing so.

 

Outdoor Safety

  • If you will be sitting in your garden for long periods of time, you need to make sure your front door is locked. This is especially true if you cannot see your front door from the garden. Burglars know that people will be in their gardens more, so may take the opportunity to slip in unnoticed. This can be especially bad if you leave your car keys by the front door, as all a person would have to do is reach in and take them.
  • Make sure you don’t spend too much time in the sun. Stick to the shade and always wear sun cream. Over exposure to the sun can result in sun stroke, which causes headaches, vomiting, dizziness and rapid breathing and pulse. Sun burn can also lead to skin cancer, so it’s important that you don’t let yourself burn.
  • Drink plenty of water- sitting in the sun for a long time can cause dehydration. Make sure you are drinking enough water so you stay hydrated.

 

Stay safe while shopping

Now that non-essential shops have reopened, you may be inclined to indulge in some retail therapy. While going shopping it’s important to protect yourself from covid-19.

  • Always wear your face covering. It’s the rule in all shops that you wear a facemask upon entering the shop. So it’s essential that you do unless you have a medical exemption.
  • Wash or sanitise your hands on entry and exit this keeps you and other shoppers safe. Most shops will have sanitising stations for you to use, but to be safe try and carry your own hand sanitiser around with you.
  • Sanitise your trolley or basket. Shops should be cleaning these after customer use them, but to be safe you should try and wipe down anything you use.
  • This might be hard to do in a clothes shop, but try not to touch anything you aren’t going to buy. This not only stops you from picking up germs, but also stops you spreading any as well.

 

 

So, while its great news that some lockdown restrictions have lifted, this does not mean that the coronavirus has gone away. You still need to be mindful of lockdown guidelines and other safety measures that keep you and others safe.

To find out more details about lockdown guidelines, go to gov.uk 

Amazon Echo vs Google Nest

If you are looking to buy a smart speaker for your home, then the best one for you will depend on your needs. However, there are two huge players in the market that will cover most people’s needs: Amazon Echo range and Google Home. Let’s face it, with Amazon and Google, you know you’re getting a top of the range product, no matter which one you go for. However, picking between the two might be harder than you think. Even within the Amazon and Google ranges, there are different versions and devices you can choose from. With both the voice assistants on these devices becoming more useful and smarter with every update, either device with be able to answer your questions, set timers, set your alarms and much more, with just your voice.

Putting the Amazon Echo and Google Home devices next to each other, they do have similar features and designs; however, there are some differences that you need to consider before choosing which is best for you. Not forgetting that once you have chosen between Amazon and Google, you will then need to choose which device within the ranges will suit your home best.

 

Voice Assistants

Both Echo’s and Google homes have ‘wake’ words to activate the voice control, for Echo’s you simply say ‘Alexa’ and for Google home ‘Hey Google’. Both devices let you control other smart home appliances such as lights or thermostats with voice control.

Alexa seems to be easier to use if you only use the set phrases Alexa likes, but Google assistant is less fussy, you can shout lots of combinations of words at it and its more likely to understand you compared to Alexa. But learning Alex’s set phrases means you can find out more info and uses a wider selection of ‘skills’ with third party apps. Both devices work with big brands such as Phillips and Hive, but you get slightly more integration with the Amazon Alexa.

 

Design  

When it comes to the design of the speakers, we will compare the latest models of each device which are the Google Nest Audio and the 4th generation Amazon Echo.  

The new Echo is spherical in design and comes in a choice of colours; charcoal, twilight blue and glacier white. It also features a LED light ring at the base that adds extra visibility.  

The Google nest has an oblong design and comes in only two colours; charcoal and chalk white. Its rounded corners and 4 led lights do give a sophisticated feel. 

If being good to the environment is high on your list of priorities then both devices have become greener. The Nest Audio is made from 70% recycled material and the Echo fabric and metal components are made from 100% recycled material.  

 

Sound Quality

Amazon have been on a mission to make the sound quality in the Echo better, and in this latest version they have added a 3.0-inch woofer, duel firing tweeter and Dolby processing, so you are getting some pretty decent sound quality with all that. In the Google Nest Audio, does also have a 3.0 woofer; however it doesn’t feature an audio jack so you can’t connect it to speakers.

You can use both of the devices for hands-free calls and play music through a variety of music apps, such as Spotify on both and Google play music and Amazon Music.

 

Price

There is a variety of devices to choose from in both the Amazon and Google range. The cheapest you can get a Google device is around £29, which is for the Google nest mini. Whereas the cheapest Amazon device you can buy is the Echo Dot for around £49.99. If you are looking at the other end of the price scale, Amazon now offer the Echo Show 10, which features a smart display, and you can find that for around £239.99. The most expensive Google speaker is the Nest Hub Max, which also offers a 10-inch display, for around £189.

The prices of the Amazon Echo and the Google Home Nests, are quite similar, however Google probably comes out as the cheapest overall.

 

The Google Range

Google Nest Audio- £89.99

A speaker that is 175mm tall and 124mm wide, features 3 microphones, comes in two colours. No display or touchscreen.

Google Nest Mini- £49

The smallest Google speaker at 50.8mm tall and 101.6mm wide, voice controlled and features better sound quality with 40% stronger bass. No display or touchscreen and it comes in 4 colours.

Google Nest Hub- £49.99

This is more than a speaker, it features a 7-inch touchscreen display and is 118mm high and 178mm wide. It has 2 microphones and comes in a choice of four colours.

Google Nest Hub Max- £219

Google’s largest home hub, it stands 182.55 mm high and 250.1mm wide, this is good device to make video calls and for leaving video messages. It features a 10-inch touchscreen display, 2 microphones and comes in a choice of 2 colours.

 

The Amazon Echo Range

Amazon Echo Dot- £39.99

Amazons smallest home product at 40.3mm by 90.9mm this is one of the cheapest ways to get Alexa in your home. It uses wi-fi and Bluetooth to connect has a 3.5mm stereo audio output so you can use an external speaker.

All-new Echo- £89.99

The Echo is bigger than the dot, standing at 133 x 144 mm round. It features 76.2 mm neodymium woofer 20 mm tweeters. It also connects using wi-fi and Bluetooth and also features 3.5mm stereo audio output.

Amazon Echo Studio- £189.99

This beast is Amazon’s biggest and most expensive home device being 206 x 175mm. It features three 51 mm midrange speakers, one 25 mm tweeter, one 133 mm woofer with bass aperture to maximise bass output.

Amazon Echo Show- £64.99

Amazon touch screen device has an 8-inch display and 52 mm neodymium speakers with passive bass radiator. Like the other devices, the Show uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect, but also has the 1 MP camera with built-in cover.

 

 

https://www.radiotimes.com/technology/google-home-vs-amazon-alexa/
https://uk.pcmag.com/speakers/85210/amazon-echo-vs-google-home-which-voice-controlled-speaker-is-right-for-you
https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/google-nest-audio

How to take a taxi safely

No matter if you are male or female, young or old, it’s important you keep yourself safe when getting a taxi. Getting a taxi is generally considered safer than walking home alone, or getting public transport, however there are still risks. We will go through how to get a taxi safely and how to make a complaint about a taxi driver if needed.

Where possible…pre book 

 Pre booking a taxi, or using a private hire car is the safest way to use taxi services. This is because there will be an official log of your journey and pre booked taxis are often tracked.  

There are two different types of vehicles, a Private Hire car and a Taxi. 

Private Hire- A car that must be booked through a licensed operator   

Taxi– A car that can be hired immediately from a taxi rank or hailed down on the street 

 

Make sure your taxi, or private hire is legal

Using an illegal taxi is one of the most dangerous things you can do. These cars are unlicensed, which means they have not been subject to the rigours checks that are needed to gain a licence. The drivers also haven’t had any vetting, such as a DBS or medical check. An illegal taxi is classed as a vehicle with no taxi licence that charges over 45p per mile. There is a trend for people to advertise their lift services on Facebook, this is also illegal and unsafe.

 

How to make sure a taxi is licensed  

 

  1. A licensed vehicle will normally display a licence plate on the front or rear of the vehicle. The plate will include the licensing authority, licence number & the vehicle registration number 
  2. A licensed driver will wear or have on display an identity badge. The badge will include the licensing authority and driver licence number. 
  3. If you can’t see either ASK. 

 

Quick safety tips

  • Make sure that you’ve got enough money aside for your journey home.
  • Make sure it’s the taxi you booked – before getting into a car that appears to be yours ask the driver the name and destination he has been given to confirm that he is your driver.
  • If a car stops without you flagging it down and claims to be a taxi – DON’T GET IN– taxi drivers are only supposed to stop when hailed.
  • Always sit in the back, directly behind the driver if possible, don’t sit in the front next to the driver – don’t worry about appearing unfriendly
  • If chatting to the driver, keep to general topics and don’t give them any personal information about yourself.

 

How to make a complaint About a Taxi

You can take all the safety precautions you like, but there can be some things out of your control. If you are a victim of a crime while a passenger of a taxi then you must call the police. However, if you feel that something happened in the taxi that you are unhappy with that might not be a crime; you are still well within your rights to complain.

There are two options for you when it comes to complaining. If you are using a private hire car then most complaints can be taken up with the operator, it’s required that a licensed operator has a complaints policy and this should be followed. Your complaints can be escalated to the council if you are not satisfied with the result. If you are using a taxi that you have flagged down and they don’t have an operator then all complaints will need to be made directly to the council.

We spoke to a licensing officer within a local authority and they gave us the following guidelines;

Things that warrant a complaint to the council:

  • A driving concern – if the driver was acting or driving erratically or in a way that you feel is unsafe, it’s important to raise this with the local authority.
  • Lewd behaviour – if you feel the taxi driver acted in an inappropriate manor, such as talking in a sexual way or making suggestive comments. This would be an urgent incident to bring up with a licensing officer.
  • Mechanical concerns – if you feel the car is in a state of disrepair or has a major fault, then this could pose a danger to other road users and passengers.
  • Overcharged (metered taxi) – if the taxi you take has a meter installed and you were overcharged then you are within your rights to report this.
  • Not satisfied with the response from operator – if you have raised your concern with an operator and you feel it has not been investigated fully or you have not been taken seriously, then you can escalate it to the council.

 

Things that warrant a complaint to the operator;

  • Running late – if the taxi you booked was late, then you can inform the operator. This might be annoying, but doesn’t warrant a call to the council.
  • Not helping with luggage – another issue that doesn’t go against licensing policy and can be taken up with the operator.
  • Untidy taxi- if you feel the car you had was particularly untidy or smelled bad, it’s worth mentioning to the operator.
  • Being over charged (non-metered taxi) – if you have agreed a price in advanced that isn’t stuck to, this needs to be discussed with the operator.

 

While in the taxi if you want to make a complaint then you should; make a note of the drivers badge number, make a note of the vehicle plate number, note the time, date and location. This will help the licensing officer to identify the operator and driver, so they can be investigated.

Duty of Care

It is a taxi drivers right to ask you to leave their vehicle for any reason. However, they do have a duty of care to not leave you unsafe. They are required to direct you to another form of transport or a safe place to shelter. If you feel that you were left in an unsafe situation by a driver then you can complain to the operator or local authority. It’s important to note that a taxi driver cannot refuse your custom on the basis of journey length.

 

Overall, getting a taxi is a safe way to get around. But it’s important to know how to keep yourself safe when using them. For more information on how to keep yourself safe when walking alone then read our blog Staying Safe While Walking Alone.

 

 

Covid-19 Scams

Scams have always been the most common type of crime in the UK and in this time of fear and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus, scams have increased 400% (according to the City of London Police). Action Fraud has reported that there have been 105 reports of covid 19 scams with a total loss of nearly £970,000.

You need to stay alert and aware that scammers are using the covid-19 pandemic to their advantage. They will use fraudulent emails, phone calls, text messages, whatsapp messages and social media to try and scam you. Things to keep an eye out for are any of these that contain information on;

  1. Vaccines or cures
  2. Testing kits
  3. Overpriced goods
  4. People asking for charity donations
  5. Bogus emails claiming to be from the government

 

Coronavirus email and text phishing scams

Phishing emails and smishing text messages are used to con someone into giving out login details. One scam involves criminals claiming to be from the World Health Organisation, they encourage you to click the link, promising information on how to stay safe. It will then encourage you to enter your email and password and boom, they’ve got your details. The fake website might look legitimate, but you should NEVER enter your email and password to a link that has been sent to you out of the blue. There are a few similar scams floating around that claim to be from different health organisations that want to trick you into giving out confidential information.

You also need to look out for the following covid-19 related scams;

Fake lockdown fines– the rules of lockdown may not be clear to everyone, so you might be at risk for falling for this one. The scam involves you receiving a text message from the ‘government’ saying your movements have been tracked via your phone and you have now received a fine. The message will include a threat of more severe penalties if you don’t pay.

 

HMRC Goodwill Payment– the MET police has put a warning out about this particular scam. This scam is trying to steal your bank details; you will receive a message that says something along the lines of ‘As part of the NHS promise to battle the COV-19 virus, HMRC has issued a payment of £258 as a goodwill payment’. This is fake.

 

Fake council tax reductions- this one is clever because it uses government branding to try to convince you it’s legit. The email will offer you a coronavirus related council tax rebate, for which you will have to submit your banking details. Again, never give out your bank details to an untrusted source.

 

Free School Meals– there has been a lot in the press about free school meals when the schools were closed. This scam is, again, trying to steal your bank details. You will receive an email telling you that you are entailed to free school meals and they will encourage you to hand over your details so they can ‘support you’.

 

The Vaccine Scam- the email will try and convince you to give up your bank details by using NHS colours and signage. The email will ask you to click on a link to accept or decline your invitation for you covid 19 vaccine. If you click to accept, then it will then ask for your personal details and bank information.

 

A quote from the Action Fraud website;

“You will never get an email, text message or phone call from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which:

– tells you about a tax rebate or penalty

– asks for your personal or payment information

You can report suspicious HMRC emails by forwarding them to phishing@hmrc.gov.uk. You can report suspicious HMRC text messages by forwarding the message to 60599 – you’ll be charged at your standard network rate.”

 

 

Coronavirus scams – how to spot them and stop them

https://www.actionfraud.police.uk/alert/warning-criminals-continue-to-take-advantage-of-coronavirus-vaccine-roll-out-as-phishing-email-reports-soar

 

 

Royal Protection

Its well known that most of the major members of the royal family have some sort of protection 24/7. But with some controversy in the newspapers about Prince Harry’s son, Archie, not getting royal protection. We will go through who gets royal protection and what it involves.  

 

Who protects the royal family? 

 The group that protects the royal family are a component of the Metropolitan Police Service called SO14 Royal Protection Group. S014 is in charge of guarding the Royal family, they are made up of numbers of sections, including; Personal and Close Protection, residential protection and the Special Escort Group.  

 

Personal and Close Protection-  

 Armed Personal Protection Officers (PPO) protects certain members of the royal family, at home and abroad. PPOs are mostly no-uniformed, in order to blend in, however they are often armed with 9mm Glock 17 pistols. They are also equipped with a radio and a first aid kit. They are trained in emergency first aid, advanced driving and unarmed combat.    

 

Special Escort Group (SEG)- 

The SEG provide additional security for when the royals are out and about. This involves armed motorcyclists who drive alongside the motorcades. Motorcades are also protected by marked and unmarked vehicles that carry armed police officers.  

 

Residential Protection- 

 There are also plain clothed S014 officers guarding the royal residencies in London, Windsor and Scotland, they also protect any members of the public that visit these places.  

 

 

 Who gets royal protection? 

 The palace doesn’t release specific security details for safety reasons; we do however have a rough idea on who has what protection. It goes without saying the Her Majesty the Queen gets full protection from the royal protection squad, as do the immediate heirs to the throne and some other minor royals  

Major royals that have 24/7 protection; 

  1. The Queen and Prince Phillip 
  1. Prince William and Kate Middleton and children  
  1. The Queens Children- Prince Andrew, Prince Edward and Princess Anne  

Those who do not have 24/7 protection are the Queens other Grandchildren; Beatrice and Eugenie, Zara Phillips and her brother Peter. This is because they are considered ‘minor’ royals and are not exposed to the same threat level as ‘major’ royals. 

There has been some scandal in the press in regards to the money being spent on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s protection. While they were active members of the royal family, they received a high level of security. However, since stepping back from a major role in the royal family, they have been stripped of these privileges and now pay for their own protection officers.  

 

How do the Royals stay safe? 

 

SAS Style Training 

 It may be a surprise for some that the royals themselves are given training on how to protect themselves. This training is given to equip the royals with the skills to look after themselves in the rare occurrence they end up alone in a dangerous situation. This SAS training would allow the royals to talk their way out of a dangerous situation as well as defend themselves physically. They are given regular refresher courses and the younger royals, such as Prince George will be given this training when they are old enough to understand it.  

 

They take different routes 

 Any place that the royals visit regularly, Prince George going to school for example, the royal protection officers will have a number of different routes to get there. This means, no one knows on any given day, which route the young royal will be taking, slashing the chance of a planned attack happening on the drive. 

 

They can’t close car doors 

 This might sound very random, but members of the royal family are not allowed to close their own car doors. However, there is good reasoning behind it. All cars that the royals travel in automatically lock when the door is closedThis is great when they are inside, but if they arrive at an event, close the door and an incident occurs they will be unable to get back in the car. This would pose a security risk, therefore the security officer will decide when is appropriate to close the car door, once the royal has exited the vehicle. 

 

 

 https://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/245325/Princess-Anne-s-fury-overplans-to-cut-Royal-protection-police 
https://rocketgeeks.com/stories/little-known-rules-about-the-royal-familys-security-and-bodyguards/ 
https://www.eliteukforces.info/police/SO14-royalty-protection/ 
https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2021/03/prince-harry-meghan-markle-security 
https://www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/royal-family-security-rules.html/ 
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2000/jun/16/qanda.monarchy 

 

 

Dog Theft in the UK

In the UK, on average roughly 2000 dogs are stolen each year and sadly only 1 in 5 stolen dogs are ever reunited with their owners and even worse only 5% of reported dog thieves that are caught are actually convicted. In 2020, mostly due to the UK lockdown, more and more people have been buying dogs and this in turn has led to more dog theft. Incredibly, dog theft went up 250% in the UK last year, so it’s important you know how to keep your dog safe. We will go through all the facts concerning dog theft and all the ways you can keep your dog safe.

 

Why is dog theft happening?

The demand for puppies has gone up exponentially over lockdown, breeders cannot keep up with this demand (not ethically anyway). This then leads to gangs taking advantage of the gap in the markets and stealing dogs to order. Distressingly, lots of pedigree dogs are stolen from family homes and sold to intensive breeding farms; it seems criminals can make as much money stealing puppies as they can from stealing cars. The cost of puppies is also on the rise, with puppies costing anywhere from £2000 upwards.

Another reason for dog theft, which has been in the press recently, is ransom money. In February 2021 Lady Gaga’s French bulldogs were stolen while out for exercise with her dog walker. A ransom was not demanded from the singer, but she did offer a $500,000 reward for their safe return. This may have caused potential dog thieves to see this as a new opportunity. If they suspect the owner is wealthy, then they could target them in hopes of a large ransom pay out.

 

Most Stolen dog breeds

While it’s true that any dog breed can be a target for dog theft from an opportunistic dog thief. More organised gangs will be targeting dogs that they can get the most money for. It’s an undeniable fact that different dog breeds become more popular and ‘fashionable’ at any given time, and if there is a high demand for a certain breed, thieves are more likely to be looking for them.

It can change year on year depending on which dogs are most popular at the time, but you often see the same sort of dogs being stolen year on year.

 

French Bulldog

This breed is currently one of the most popular in the UK, so much so breeders cannot keep up with the surge in demand. They often sell for £2000 or more, so these make them one of the most at-risk breeds for stealing.

 

Chihuahua

Ever since Paris Hilton started carrying one in her purse, the Chihuahuas have been an extremely popular dog in the UK. This means they are always high on the list to be stolen, their small size makes them easier to steal than say, a Golden Retriever. Even though they are very feisty, they need to be kept safe from thieves.

 

Labradoodle

Everyone knows someone that’s got a Labradoodle, they’re one of the most popular dogs in the UK and the only non-pedigree dog to be on the most stolen list. They are incredible friendly by nature, so they are easy targets for thieves, as they are likely to be happy to walk off with anyone, especially if they have treats.

 

Staffordshire bull terrier

It might be a surprise that this dog is on the list and even more of a surprise that the staffy is often top of the list to be stolen. They are still one of the most popular dogs in the UK so are always in high demand, plus criminals can sell them to dog fighting rings.

 

For more information on the most commonly stolen dogs, click here.

 

How are dogs being stolen?

From your garden-

a census revealed that 52% of dogs are stolen from their owners back garden. Low fences make your dog an easy target, as well as if your garden is near a main road and if you leave your dog unattended in there.

 

From your car-

you should never leave your dog alone in your car. Dogs dying of heat stroke get a lot of press; however an unattended dog in a car is the perfect find for an opportunistic thief.

 

Tying your dog outside a shop-

this is the same principle as leaving your dog in the car. If someone takes a shine to your dog and sees they’ve been left unattended, then it’s a prime opportunity to swipe them.

 

In the park-

if your dog likes to run free off their lead, then this could be a risk. If your dog runs out of site, it gives someone the opportunity to take them while you can’t see.

 

Chalk marks-

it seems there is a new trend of dog thieves marking your home with chalk to let other gang members know to target your house. The thought seems to be, that they knock on your door when you are out and if they hear a dog barking, then they mark your house with chalk.

Read our blog on House Robbery Markings.

Fake RSPCA vans-

there have been recent reports of thieves driving around in a plain white van with an RSPCA sticker on the side, trying to seize dogs from people’s homes.

 

How do I stop my dog from being stolen?

 

Be wary of strangers-

having a dog and walking them is a great way to meet people and get out of the house. It’s more than likely that you will get talking to other dog owners and get complements on your dog. However, don’t give out too much personal information, if someone is asking too many questions then remove yourself from the situation. They could be trying to find out if your dog is a good option to steal. This is especially true if the person who approached you doesn’t have a dog.

 

Change up your walking route-

we are all creatures of habit and once you find a lovely route to walk your dog, it’s easy to go the same way every day. However, potential dog thieves may notice this and use it to their advantage to plan a potential theft.

 

Get your dog microchipped-

as of 2016 it’s the law that every dog over 8 weeks needs to be microchipped. This won’t prevent your dog being stolen, but will help your dog be identified if stolen and then recovered.

 

Consider getting a GPS tracker-

these wearable devices mean you can see where your dog is in real time. They are removable, so they could be removed by the thief. If your dog has been stolen and you can see their location, we do not recommend confronting the thief. It’s a criminal matter, so you will need to phone the police.

Be careful on social media-

yes, everyone wants to show off their new cute puppy to their friends on Facebook. But if you have an open account then, anyone can see that you’ve recently got a puppy, this could make you a target for theft, especially if your new puppy was expensive or is a desirable breed.

 

What to do if I your dog has been stolen

  1. If you believe your dog has been stolen, report it to the police and ask for a crime number.
  2. Post on social media to raise awareness of your missing dog, if someone in the local area has spotted your dog then they can let you know.
  3. Do not confront anyone online or in person that you suspect of stealing your dog.

 

 

https://www.countryliving.com/uk/wildlife/pets/a35079962/uk-dog-theft-lockdown/
https://www.bluecross.org.uk/pet-advice/protect-your-dog-against-theft
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2021/feb/26/beware-social-media-warning-uk-dog-owners-thefts-rise
https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/news-events/news/dog%20theft%20briefing%20june%202018.pdf
https://www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/the-ten-most-commonly-stolen-dog-breeds.html#
https://www.directline.com/pet-cover/magazine/dog-theft