UNFORTUNATELY there has been a slight increase in burglaries across Wyre Forest in the last few weeks but by taking a few simple measures you can avoid becoming a victim.

A force-wide initiative called Citadel has been launched recently by West Mercia Police which is aimed at driving down the number of burglaries. It involves the deployment of a range of operational tactics to catch burglars and a targeted crime prevention advice campaign. Keep doors locked even if you are in the house. While you are out make sure windows are locked and use timer switches for lights, as a well-lit home gives the impression that someone is in and is a good way of deterring would-be burglars.

If you see anything suspicious please call the police straight away.

There are three numbers you can use to contact West Mercia. Everyone knows the emergency 999 number. Perhaps fewer are aware that for non-emergencies you should ring 101. This goes to the communications centre where the call is assessed and given a priority grading.

The third number is 0300 333 3000 which should be used if you wish to speak to a particular officer or department.

It is important to report all crimes. However, I am sure you can understand that calls are given a priority rating to ensure that the most urgent calls are responded to first. This means that there may be a delay in an officer attending or even that the matter may just be dealt with over the telephone.

It should also be recognised that some calls made to the police are not matters that we are empowered to deal with.

Neighbour disputes often fall in to this category. They can take many guises but are often complaints about noise, boundary disputes or shared access issues. While officers will often be sent to this type of call, they have no legislative power to act. Often the best course of action is to discuss the problem with your neighbour or seek advice from the citizen’s advice bureau or a solicitor.