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BEWARE of fake NHS looking text which tells people to apply for COVID-19 vaccine

A dangerous fake NHS-looking text has been circulating, telling people they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine. It’s very authentic looking and convincing, using NHS lettering, colours and logo. As with all scams, it intends to trick people into disclosing personal information such as bank or credit card details, address and ID. Do not press any buttons on the text or click any links.

Cold calls regarding the vaccine are also beginning to take place – there’s already reports of scammers asking people to pay for it over the phone. If you receive one of these calls, hang up immediately.

You do not need to ‘apply’ to get the vaccine. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn to receive it, usually via your GP. Wait for your appointment communication.

Click here to read more in order to protect yourself from fraudsters using the pandemic to steal information. You can (and, really should) report scams to the Police here
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Met announces stricter Covid enforcement approach

Londoners breaching Covid legislation are increasingly likely to face fines as the new national lockdown comes into force today.

Although officers will still apply the 4 E’s approach of engaging, explaining, and encouraging – only then enforcing, the Met has issued refreshed instructions to officers to issue fines more quickly to anyone committing obvious, wilful and serious breaches.

In practice this will mean that all those attending parties, unlicensed music events or large illegal gatherings, can expect to be fined – not just the organisers of such events. Similarly, those not wearing masks where they should be and without good reason can expect to be fined – not reasoned with.

Additionally, with fewer “reasonable excuses” for people to be away from their home in the regulations, Londoners can expect officers to be more inquisitive as to why they see them out and about. Where officers identify people without a lawful reason to be away from home they can expect officers to move more quickly to enforcement.

Local officers will also be working with Council colleagues across the Capital in a partnership approach to help ensure businesses and people using public spaces such as parks or the retail spaces still open are following the rules.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Matt Twist, who leads the Met’s response to the Covid pandemic, said: “After ten months of this pandemic the number of people who are genuinely not aware of the restrictions and the reasons they are in place is vanishingly small.


“We know the overwhelming majority of Londoners will do the right thing by staying at home, wearing masks and not gathering, but a small minority continue to ignore rules put in place to protect the NHS and save lives.


“Our first duty as police officers is to preserve life. The critical situation our NHS colleagues are facing and the way the new virus variant moves through communities, means we can no longer spend our time explaining or encouraging people to follow rules where they are wilfully and dangerously breaching.


“Less than a month ago we launched a new digital fines system which makes it quicker and easier for officers to issue fines on the spot. Since its launch more people have been reported for fines than in the rest of the year combined; this is also an indicator of a worsening position in the epidemic, and officers stepping in more quickly to try to keep communities safe.


“I hope it is not necessary for this particular trend to carry on but if people continue to break the rules, putting themselves, their families and their communities at greater risk, our officers are ready to act robustly.


“This is why Londoners must take action now to stop this virus spreading further across our city. Action now by everyone will help reduce the time our Capital must live with these restrictions and crucially, will prevent more people from dying needlessly because of this virus. It’s up to us all to do the right thing.”

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Sutton Council tenants to get water charges refund

Following a recent Court of Appeal judgement, some Sutton Council tenants will get a refund of the commission paid by water companies to the Council for collecting water and sewage charges.

“Following a recent Court of Appeal judgement, some Sutton Council tenants will get a refund of the commission paid by water companies to the Council for collecting water and sewage charges prior to 2018,” said a spokesperson

“The Court of Appeal case didn’t relate to Sutton, but the Council along with many others across the country, has decided to pay the refund in light of this decision. 

“The amount refunded will depend on how long someone has been a Council tenant. It will only apply to people who were tenants before April 2018 and the refund will be based on the amount the Council was paid by the water companies for collecting the charges on their behalf. 

  • I am a Sutton Council tenant – what does this mean for me?

You don’t need to do anything. If you are entitled to a refund, Sutton Housing Partnership (SHP) will write to you by the end of January 2021. We will also credit your rent account with the amount you are being refunded. 

“We are currently unable to tell you the amount of the refund you will receive. We are calculating these figures and will let you have the amount of refund due to you when we write to you again in January. 

  • I used to be a Sutton Council tenant – can I get a refund?

“If you were a Council tenant before 2018, but are not a council tenant any more, you may still be entitled to a refund. SHP will publish details in January for how you can make a claim for a refund.”

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Community testing now available in Sutton – even if you don’t have symptoms

Members of the public who want a test but don’t have any coronavirus symptoms can now book a rapid test at Hill House (Bishopsford Road, St.Helier).

The tests give a result within 30 minutes and are designed to identify people who are asymptomatic (not showing any symptoms), who might unknowingly be carrying and spreading coronavirus. 

You can book an appointment here. You should not book more than two tests a week.

These rapid tests are specifically for Sutton residents who do not have any symptoms. If you have symptoms you should book a test by visiting nhs.uk/coronavirus or calling 119. 

The new rapid testing centre at Hill House will help to reduce the spread of the virus in Sutton. With the phased rollout of the coronavirus vaccine and the public health measures we must all follow, it will help us find a route out of this challenging period. 

In the meantime, it is vital that we all continue to: wash our hands more often and for longer; maintain a safe distance from others; and use face coverings when in indoor public spaces or when unable to maintain a safe distance from other people you do not live with. 

It is important to note that if:

  • as a result of the rapid test you test positive, you must self-isolate and arrange a second test by calling 119 or via nhs.uk/coronavirus. This test will confirm conclusively that you have the virus.
  • this result is also confirmed as positive, you will then be asked to provide details of those you have been in close contact with. 
  • If you test negative, you can continue as before by following all national and regional guidance. 

The tests can only look for the virus at the time you have your test. It is therefore essential that even if you test negative, you continue to observe the national COVID-19 restrictions. 

More information can be found on the government website.