Cycling Safety 2021

With the pandemic and lock down lasting over a year and all indoor venues being closed, lots of people have taken to cycling to get some exercise and get out of the house. While cycling has many benefits both physically and mentally, it’s important that you stay safe while riding your bike. We will go through what the law says about cycling, how to keep yourself and others safe, while also looking at how to keep your bike secure.

 

Cycling and the Law

 

The government offer the following advice and rules for cyclists:

 

Clothing

  • You are advised to wear a cycle helmet at all times; it must conform to current regulations and must fit properly for it to be effective.
  • Wear clothes that are suitable for cycling- nothing that will get caught in the wheels or chain.
  • Avoid wearing dark clothing; light-coloured or fluorescent clothing is best as it helps other road users spot you.
  • Reflective clothing or accessories will help other road users see you in the dark.

 

Rule 60

The law states that your bike MUST have white front and red rear lights lit, when cycling at night. You also MUST have your bike fitted with a red rear reflector, as well as amber pedal reflectors, if your bike was made after 1985.

It’s not required by law but it is recommended that you install white front reflectors and spoke reflectors, to help you been seen. You are allowed to have flashing lights on your bike, but if you tend to cycle in areas with no streetlights, a light with a steady beam would be better for you.

 

Rule 61

 

You need to use cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings if it is safe to do so. It’s not the law that you must use these facilities, however if you are able, it is safer for everyone for you to use them.

 

Rule 62

 

Rule 62 is to do with cycle tracks. These are normally placed away from the road, but can be found alongside footpaths or pavements. These tracks are often used by pedestrians as well, unless they are specifically separated. If the track you are using is separated from a pedestrian path, then you MUST (by law) keep to the side that has been laid out for cyclists. Whether the track is separated or not, you need to be careful when passing pedestrians, always prepared to slow down or stop suddenly.

 

Rule 63

 

This rule is in regards to cycle lanes, you will know it’s a cycle lane as it will be marked by a white line, which could be broken, along a carriage way. If you are using a cycle lane, they should keep within the lane where possible. It is not compulsory for you to use a cycle lane, but they are designed for your safety and the safety of other road users.

 

Rule 65

One of the most important laws you must follow when cycling is that you MUST NOT cycle on the pavement.

 

To find out more about the specific laws around cycling then go to the Gov Website https://www.gov.uk/guidance/the-highway-code/rules-for-cyclists-59-to-82

 

Best Cycle Helmets

 

A bike helmet is the best thing you can wear to protect yourself when cycling. You are not required by law to wear one, however there are many reasons why you should wear one. They will help protect your head and brain. The risk when cycling is that you may come off your bike, this can happen for a number of reasons and can range in severity. In some cases, a helmet may help to prevent you getting a serious injury.

We are going to go through some helmets you can buy.

 

 Bell Avenue MIPS

 

£65 from Amazon

This helmet is easy to adjust and works very well. The helmet is made of polycarbonate and features 18 vents, which helps to keep your head cool, while cycling. It also features reflective strips on the outside, to help you be visible. It is slightly heavier than most helmets, weighing 310g, but is a good price and works well to protect you.

 

Specialized S-Works Evade with ANGi

 

£250 from Tredz

This helmet is super comfy and well ventilated; it also boasts a sleek, aerodynamic design. The ANGi technology is basically a posh crash sensor. It sits in the helmet and if it detects an impact that is powerful enough to incapacitate you, then it turns your mobile phone into a beacon. A countdown will start on the app and if you do not stop it before it reaches 0 then a designated emergency contact will be sent a message with your last know coordinates. This feature is great for those who cycle off road and in remote locations. It’s not the cheapest on the list, but you get what you pay for.

 

Bontrager Circuit MIPS

£100 from Amazon

This helmet is a good all rounder, suitable for on and off-road cyclists at any level of skill. It’s a neat, compact helmet that stands out from other with its distinctive shape. It’s well ventilated and boasts a Boa dial retention system.

 

 

Bike Locks

 

These days, bikes are not cheap whether you have a road bike, mountain bike or a child’s bike, you want to protect it. You must lock your bike up whenever it is unattended, in public or even in a garage or outbuilding. We will go through what locks are best to keep your bikes secure.

 

Abus Granit X-Plus 540

Tweeks Cycles for £74.99, Sold Secure: Gold

The Abus Granit doesn’t have any frills or fancy features; it purely focuses on being the strongest lock out there. It has a super hard square shackle which reduces the effectiveness of any jaw cutting tool that might be used to break it. An added bonus is that even if a thief does manage to cut it, its square shape prevents it from being twisted and removed. This means a thief would have to cut it twice to remove it, this would take them more time and hopefully someone would notice what they were doing. It’s quite expensive, but not as expensive as buying a new bike if yours is stolen.

Kryptonite Fahgettaboudit Mini

 

This D lock is a great lock for your bike, specifically designed for urban use. Kryptonite is so confident in their locks that if your bike is stolen while secured with their lock then they will give you £2,500 towards a new bike. It’s on the smaller side, but it uses this to its advantage, the narrow width makes the lock even tougher to break. It is also one of the heaviest locks on the market. This 18mm Gold standard U lock specs should reassure you of its durability and effectiveness.

 

Onguard Pitbull DT Shackle Bike Lock & Cable

 

If you are looking for a bike lock that’s not expensive, but still very secure, then look no further than this Onguard Pitbull. It has full Sold Secure rating, but is half the price of its competitors. It’s relatively light at 1.77kg and has a nifty light feature that will help you unlock it in the dark. The U bar is covered in a vinyl that protects your frame and wheels from scratches. Normally a lock with a cable extension would be on the pricey side, so to find this lock at £34.99 (from Tredz) is a great deal.

 

 

To find out more about cycling safety read our other blog https://www.keytek.co.uk/blog/the-guide-to-bike-safety/

 

 

 

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

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

 

 

Staying Safe Whilst Walking Alone

We here at Keytek® are in firm support of ensuring that everyone has the right to walk home safely. We want to express that the below tips and products are not the solution to the difficult situation we find ourselves in now, but rather suggestions on how you can try to keep yourself save in these uncertain times.

 

The realities of walking alone, especially at night, can be daunting. This leaves many feelings unsafe and anxious whilst exercising, commuting, or travelling. In our society, the idea of “text me when you get home” is a constant reminder that we need to be vigilant when travelling alone and need to be cautious to keep safe, no matter our age or gender. We have done a bit of research and have compiled a few things you can do to try and keep yourself safe and the most important apps to have on hand.

 

Tips to Stay Safe When Walking Home Alone

We would never recommend that anyone walks home alone, we would always suggest trying to walk home with a friend or in a group, however if you do end up walking home alone there are a few tips you could consider. These tips not only are suggested to make your journey safer but also help to reduce the anxiety you might be feeling.

 

1.      Think About Your Footwear

The first tip you might hear is that you should always wear appropriate footwear when walking, and unfortunately it is true. Although a nice pair of shoes might match your outfit perfectly, if there is a chance that you might have to walk home, we would always suggest wearing comfortable shoes.

This doesn’t mean that you need to carry around a pair of running trainers, but rather consider a pair of comfortable flat shoes or a pair of worn in comfortable shoes.

2.      Plan Your Way Home

If you find yourself walking home on your own, no matter what time of day it is, make sure you know where you are going and that you stick to as many main roads as possible. Walking through an alley might save you a few minutes but it’s not worth the extra risk that comes with it. Not only will knowing your way home make you feel safer, but it will also help you to feel more confident whilst walking.

3.      Phone a Friend

If you feel nervous or anxious, phone a friend. This can be a partner, friend or relative, but give them a call and stay on the phone with them until you reach your destination. This will allow you to feel more relaxed as you focus on getting to your destination and will help to make you less of a target for crime. Be cautious however to remain aware of your surroundings so that you aren’t distracted from traffic or others.

4.      Keep Your Keys in Your Hands

This might seem overzealous, but it means that when you reach your destination you can enter quickly, without having to fumble around in your bag or become distracted at the door.

5.      Try to Remain Calm and Confident

Easier said than done but being sure of yourself makes you a lesser target for crime. Walk calmly and steady to show that you aren’t panicked and are aware of your surroundings. Don’t be afraid to look people in the eyes or even greet them as you go past.

6.      Carry a Whistle or an Alarm

If you are nervous, or regularly walk home alone, consider carrying an alert whistle that is easily accessible to you when walking. This can help to alert others in the vicinity that you feel unsafe or threatened and need assistance.

7.      Walk in the Direction of Oncoming Traffic

Walking into traffic ensures that you are more aware of the cars passing you by and can prevent a car from coming up behind you.

8.      Avoid Carrying Multiple Bags

Try to carry as little bags as possible as carrying multiple can give the impression that you may have valuables on your person, and it can also restrict your ability to react quickly if need be.

9.      Don’t Distract Yourself with Your Phone

It can be easy to resort to looking at your phone for comfort, but we strongly advise against this as it can distract you from your surroundings. Refrain from texting or playing a game as it takes your attention away from your destination and can make you a target for crime. Listening to music through headphones may seem like a good idea but it makes it harder to be aware of your surroundings leaving you vulnerable to people approaching or road traffic.

10.  Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

If you feel unsafe, or are feeling threatened by another person, don’t be afraid to walk into a supermarket or hospitality establishment and ask for help. Surrounding yourself with people if you feel you have become a target will reduce the risk to yourself and help you to find a solution. For example, if you feel unsafe, walking into a supermarket and asking for help will always start to deescalate the situation and someone can hopefully help to find you a way home safely.

 

If you ever feel that you are not safe or are being threatened, don’t just ignore it or carrying on walking home, always look to find help and place yourself into a situation where it is harder to get to you.

 

What Should I Do If I am Being Followed?

The feeling of being followed is unnerving and unsettling and although thankfully is usually just a result of feeling uncomfortable or an overactive imagination, it is important to ensure that you take your instincts seriously and remain calm as you get to a safe location.

 

1.      Stay Calm, Steady and Confident

Controlling the fear is important as it allows you to think rationally. Your gut might tell you to run for it, but in fact this could put you in more danger. The best thing for you to do is to subtlety pick up the pace ever so slightly and see how the person following reacts. Have they sped up? Have they remained at the same pace?

Most of the time, the person we think is following isn’t, so taking the few seconds to calm down and assess the situation can make the world of difference.

2.      Change Direction

If you know the area well, an option to see if you are being followed is to slightly change direction. This could be taking the longer way around or crossing the road when safe. If the individual copies your movements, then you should seek help immediately.

3.      Go Somewhere Public

If there is no-one at home or you feel threatened, we recommend that you go to a crowded public place where you can tell someone about your fear. At night, it can be harder to find a safe place, but places such as bars and supermarkets might be a good option. Express your suspicions to a member of the security team or member of staff who may be able to help or remain at your side until the police arrive.

4.      Don’t make it Obvious

If you feel a serious threat that someone is following you, don’t make them aware of this. Panicking, running or even looking over your shoulder can give the game away which might prompt a confrontation. Whilst they believe you unaware, you have the advantage to get to a safe place without raising suspicion.

5.      Call the Police

If the situation calls for it, discreetly call the police and inform them of the threat. The trained phone operatives will help guide you through the situation whilst they get help on the way.

 

Best Personal Alarm Devices for 2021

 

TooDoo 130db SafeSound

Stylish and practical, this device can attach onto your keys, purse or bag and once activated sets off an alarm. At 1030 dB and with a range of 600 feet, the high-pitched beeping is both an effective alert and deterrent. As an added feature a built in LED is situated on top which boasts a light of 80 lumens.

To activate the alarm, the top strap needs to be pulled from the device, this will then sound the alarm, which will last for 1.5 hours uninterrupted on full batteries. To deactivate the device, the pin at the end of the wrist strap simply needs to be replaced into the slot.

 

Safesound Personal Alarm

Small, compact, and effective, this alarm is connected to a keychain that allows you to attach it easily to your bag, purse, keys or even belt loops for easy access. In an emergency you simply need to pull the pin out of the top of the device or press the SOS button twice, which will activate 130-140dB alarm to alert others around you. As an added feature there is a LED light at the end of the device to illuminate dark surroundings.

As an added benefit, you can get this device in different colours which makes it easier to match with your bag or keys so that it can be more discreet.

 

Heart Shape Personal Security Alarm

A more discreet alarm that looks more like a keychain, this device is a reflective heart shape but is also a deceiving alarm. Simply pull the pin from the top and a 130dB alarm will sound that can be heard from up to 600 feet, alerting others that you feel threatened or are in danger. The battery included has a yearlong 365-day standby time, ensuring that should you need it the alarm will sound.

 

Phone Apps to Keep you Safe

One Scream

This app is the perfect companion for those travelling alone, especially at night, to feel more confident that even if you can’t reach your phone or personal security alarm in an emergency you are still offered some protection.

How does the app work?

When running on the background of your phone, One Scream can detect a panicked scream, identify your location, and send an alert to help to your dedicated emergency contacts even if buried at the bottom of your bag.

When you are in danger and cannot reach your phone

  1. Your panicked scream triggers the app.
  2. A loud siren is activated, the phone starts vibrating, and a notification pops up.
  3. There is a 20 second period to allow you to cancel the alarm.
  4. If not aborted, an automated message is sent to your emergency contacts alongside your location.
  5. If you and your emergency contact have an android phone, a phone line is opened so that they can hear the real events.

How to set up the app

To set up the app, simply add up to 3 different contacts to be notified when you need help and activate the app to run in the background of your phone whist you are on the move. Your emergency contacts will also need to download the app from the app store to get the notifications should there be an emergency.

 

One Scream FAQs

What if I don’t have signal or a connection?

If you don’t have signal, the app will still work in terms of creating a loud siren but will not be able to notify your contacts. Not to worry however as this is still a very effective alert system for people in the surrounding area and acts as a deterrent.

Is my location monitored?

Your location is only detected when the app has activated due to detecting a scream, otherwise your location is not shared.

 

Parachute

When an emergency occurs, the Parachute app starts a visual and audio live recording whilst also sending a live location to your designated emergency contacts. Your emergency contacts can then access the live recording to understand the situation and see in real time what is going on, whilst also allowing you to see the status of the alerts and whether the alerts have been successfully received.

How to set up the app

Once downloaded from the app store, the app requires a monthly subscription, however with the vast amount of features the cost is high value for money. You then need to allocate emergency contacts with information for how to contact them.

 

Emergency SOS (ISO, Apple)

A built-in feature for Apple phones, this allows for an emergency SOS to be sent out to both your emergency contacts and the local authorities to alert that you are in need for help.

How does it work?

Once set up in the phone’s settings, you simply press the lock button on the phone 5 times to activate the emergency SOS, from there a loud siren activates from the phone and you have 5 seconds to deactivate the distress call before your emergency contacts are notified of your situation and your location and a call to emergency services are connected.

How do I set up the Emergency SOS?

The emergency SOS is already active on all iPhones but should you wish to add emergency contacts, you need to go into the settings searching for ‘emergency SOS’.

How to add emergency contacts

  1. Open the Health App and tap your profile picture.
  2. Open the Medical ID.
  3. Select Edit in the upper right-hand corner.
  4. Scroll to the emergency contact section and tap the green plus button.
  5. Create a new contact with their details and their relationship to you.
  6. Tap done to complete.

 

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

Hive Sensors: A Review

At the start of the century everyone had dreams of the ultimate smart home, that made life easy and left you feeling secured. Now no longer a dream we introduce the Hive Home Ecosystem!

A specially cultivated range of products designed to not only bring security and ease but style and streamline everyday life. Within their ecosystem you can find smart home solutions ranging from thermostats to lightbulbs to security cameras, and today we are reviewing one of their most interconnected products: The Hive Motion Sensor!

 

Hive Smart Sensors

There are currently two different sensor ranges within the Hive Home ranges, Hive window and door sensors and the Hive motion sensor.

The Hive window and door sensors are installed on windows and doors and will indicate whether it is opened or closed. The Hive motion sensor however detects surrounding motions.

What do the Hive sensors do?

Just like it says on the tin these Hive motion sensors detect motion, however it doesn’t stop there. The Hive ecosystem is the pinnacles of smart sophistication as all their products interconnect, meaning that one well-placed sensor could open a variety of smart home solutions your heart can only dream of.

 

What can you do with the Hive Motion Sensor?

Using the Hive app, you can seamlessly integrate any motion sensors into your smart environment and connect them to any Hive devices to create ‘actions’. Actions work based on “if this, then that” to create a simplicity to smart living. Through the app, simply program one of these actions to include your new motion sensor and your away!

 

Security

Using the connectivity of the Hive app, once motion is detected in your home a smart notification will pop up on the connected smart devices to let you know of any suspicious behaviour and you can even take it one step further by connecting the motion sensor to other devices. Should you have a Hive View security camera, simply connect the two together so that if motion is detected near the front door, the camera turns on to give you a live view of what is happening.

 

Streamlined and Efficient

Struggling to find the light when you come home from work? Simply place a motion sensor close to your front door and set up an action where when motion is detected it will activate the hive smart plug that is connected to your hallway lamp, illuminating your house for you without even touching the switch.

The Hive motion sensors offer ways to create personalised smart home experiences that is tailored to the patterns of your life and which are going to best suit you.

 

What can you do with the Hive Door and Window Sensors?

As these are placed on doors and windows, these sensors offer great environmental and security controls that help to not only ensure that the security of your home is intact but to also help you cut down on your energy bills as well!

 

Security Notifications and Connections

As they detect when a window or door has been opened, you can keep track of who is coming in and out of your home effortlessly. Whilst at work your side door is opened, but not to worry a push notification is sent straight to your smart device and when connected to a Hive View camera placed in your hallway it automatically starts recording. This means that you can view the camera remotely from your smart device and see what activity has set off the motion alarm. Should the situation then call for it, using HomeShield you can call the local police, all from the app!

 

Energy Efficient and Money Saving

The Hive system is not the cheapest on the market, and for good reason too. These high-quality products can be a little bit of an investment to begin with, however the practicality, functionality and quality see you get a return on your investment. Save on energy bills when you create an action connecting your Hive thermostat with your new window sensor, so that when the window is opened your heating automatically decreases to not only save you money on your energy bills but also reducing your carbon footprint.

 

Placing a Hive Sensor in your Home

The Hive motion sensor is designed to be easily applied to any wall, corner or any other flat surface using the adhesive tabs which is going to provide a unique experience that fits to your lifestyle. Not only does Hive have amazing connectivity with the products in the Hive ecosystem but also to a select few other smart home brands such as the Phillips Hue Bulb.

 

Hallways

Placing a sensor in your hallway or entryway means that you can create a unique entrance into your home. Simply connect your sensor to a Hive smart plug or lamp with a Phillips Hue Bulb and when the sensor senses motion it will automatically turn on without even touching the switch.

 

Windows and Doors

Leaving the house in a hurry? You can double check all the doors and windows are closed from your phone for ultimate ease.

 

Landing

In a family home, you might have little children getting up in the middle of the night and wandering into the hallway. Simply placing a sensor just outside their door and linking it to a smart bulb or plug to turn on the landing lamp enables them to find their way without any bumps or tumbles. Within the app, you can even program the smart plug or bulb to turn off after a few minutes to ensure that energy isn’t wasted.

 

The Hive App

The control centre for smart home system is the Hive app. This app contains three different tabs that offer control, scheduling and monitoring of all the products within your home ecosystem and allows you to create ‘actions’ which tailor your smart home experience to your lifestyle and needs.

 

The Control Tab

This tab allows you to control all your smart products from one place. Should you want to turn the heating up or should you want to view your Hive View camera using live view, simply open the app and it will all be under this tab. Likewise, should you receive a sensor alert to your phone or smart device, it will be this tab that allows you to see which sensor has pinged and the situation.

 

The Schedule Tab

This tab allows for up to 6 pre-set time blocks to be set for optimising your smart products. In this tab you can create a system that is tailored to your lifestyle and not only is going to create ease in your day-to-day life but also help to save money on energy bills.

 

The Actions Tab

This is where you create those ‘if this, then that’ actions, where you can program certain actions to happen when a sensor picks up motion or a door/window opens. This tab gives you complete control to created personalised automations that will make things just that little easier.

 

Home Shield

Home Shield is the optional Hive security system that unlocks a handful of great security features within your ecosystem, all for a small monthly subscription of £9.99. Unlock features such as remote alarm access, friends and family access, intelligent alerts, live timeline, and voice control, just to name a few.

Homeshield is an optional service however we do think that for the small subscription price and all the benefits that come with it, we feel like it is the perfect system for those looking to fully realise the potential of a smart home and are looking to integrate a security system as well.

Find out more about the Hive Home Shield here.

 

Hive Home FAQs

Do I need a Hive Hub?

To allow for the connectivity of the Hive ecosystem, you must have both a Hive Hub and the Hive App. These two products allow you to pair Hive products together and with the other select smart home solutions. Unfortunately, without the Hive Hub the connectivity of the system is lost, and the potential of these products cannot be realised.

However, when you consider the potential of these products as not only a security system but also as a smart home that you can adapt to your lifestyle and needs, the cost of the right products for you is far outweighed by the value of the product.

 

What are the requirements for the Hive app?

If you are an Apple fan you will need ISO 9 or higher to operate the Hive app and a minimum of 4.4 should you be an Android user.

 

Do Hive sensors make a noise?

Hive sensors currently do not make a noise, however when paired with the Hive siren you can set up your smart security system so that when motion is detected when it should be the alarm will activate.

 

Can Hive control Phillips Hue?

Yes! Phillips Hue is one of the select brands that Hive is compatible with and can get integrated into the Hive ecosystem.