The safety of everyone in our communities throughout Falkirk is paramount to the CVS Falkirk team and our partners, which is why we have compiled this list of guidance on how to stay safe during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In order to protect yourself and others, Scottish Government has advised people to:
- stay at home
- only go outside for essential food, health and work reasons
- stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from other people
- wash your hands regularly
- wash your hands as soon as you get home
For further information, please visit the Scottish Government’s dedicated COVID-19 page.
Health Protection Scotland and NHS National Services Scotland have released a series of guidance documents, including for use in non-healthcare settings.
The documents are available to view or download on the Health Protection Scotland website, and will be updated as and when required depending on the situation.
Health advice regarding COVID-19 is available on the NHS Inform website.
A free helpline can give advice if you do not have symptoms, but are looking for general advice, by phone: 0800 028 2816.
For further information, please visit the Health Protection Scotland website.
As of Friday 27th March, Police Scotland can issue penalty notices of £30 where they have reason to believe there has been an offence under Scottish Government’s regulations for people to stay at home and only leave for essential reasons (please see above). This means individuals and non-essential businesses are now required by law to follow social distancing measures.
Previously, police offers were only able to enquire why people were out of the home and where they were going, and could only advise against if it was not an essential reason.
They are now able to enforce social distancing with penalty notices, which rise to £60 if not paid within 28 days. These penalties are doubled for each repeat offence up to a £960 cap, with no reduction for early payment.
Due to the exceptional nature of these powers, the regulations will be reviewed at least every 21 days to ensure they are still necessary.
For volunteers: Volunteers with groups providing essential services during this period are classed as Category 3 key workers, and are permitted to travel and be out of the house for their volunteering.
Police Scotland’s Falkirk Area Commander has advised that all volunteers:
- carry ID if they have it (this does not have to be ID issued by your group or organisation, though it would help)
- say who they are volunteering for
- state what they are doing, eg. “I volunteer with Bo’ness Storehouse Foodbank and we are delivering food for vulnerable people who are shielding and self-isolating.”
Even during the current situation, phishing, scams and doorstep crime occur, and it is important to be aware and to keep yourself and your family safe.
Phishing attacks can be delivered over email, text or phone call.
Known scams include individuals masquerading as WHO staff through phishing emails, or pretending to be Red Cross volunteers and falsely offering COVID-19 tests. Both links have information on how to identify scammers and protect yourself.
Last summer, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) launched the “#MulletOver Phishing Campaign“, to raise awareness around phishing scams, and released a series of handy postcard tips.
Police Scotland regularly produce information and tips around how to avoid scams, including:
- their Doorstep Crime postcard
- an Online Scam Safety leaflet
- the recent Banking Protocol Information video
- guidance on doorstep crime (including a British Sign Language (BSL) video)
- guidance on various giftcard scams
- Mandate Fraud Scam guidance
- information leaflet on TV Licensing Refund Scam (which includes instructions on how to identify a scam email)
Police Scotland advise that, during COVID-19 and in all situations, people always question unsolicited requests for personal or financial information, and never automatically click on a link in an unexpected email or text.
Police Scotland has also tweeted about the matter, with a list of scams to be aware of during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Further information and resources can be found on:
- Police Scotland’s Keep Safe and Personal Safety pages
- the Take Five website, part of a national campaign encouraging people to stop and think for 5 minutes, and prevent financial fraud, offering plain and impartial advice to help everyone to protect themselves against preventable financial fraud
- the Action Fraud website
As a result of the significant rise in COVID-19 related scams, over the next few months Scottish Government’s Cyber Resilience Unit will share important information through a weekly e-bulletin, which will also be uploaded and available to view or download below:
- Bulletin 16/4/2020, covering “Zoom Bombing”, Patching and Security Updates, PPE/Procurement Scams and Child Online Sexual Abuse
- Bulletin 23/4/2020, covering how to report phishing emails, the NCSC cross-governmental Cyber Awareness campaign, and the New Scottish Government Guidance For Home Learning
- Bulletin 30/4/2020, covering video conferencing guidance and etiquette considerations, training tips for organisations and individuals, and information on a genuine but failed phishing attack
- Bulletin 7/5/2020, covering the NHS COVID-19 symptom tracker app, the NCSC guidance on video conferencing, and events like World Password Day on Thursday 7th May
- Bulletin 14/7/2020, covering current scams involving the NHS symptom and contact tracker app, buying and selling pets online, and Police Scotland tips on avoiding procurement fraud
- Bulletin 21/5/2020, covering information on EasyJet’s recent cyber attack, COVID-19 phishing attacks spreading info-stealing malware, and the Scottish Businesses Resilience Centre’s training webinars
Recently, Police Scotland has been promoting a series of free videos made by their colleagues in the Cyber Griffin Unit at the City of London Police, specifically looking at some of the cyber security risks associated with working from home.
The videos are 2 – 4 minutes long each and cover the following topics (including definitions, recognition and prevention tips):
- multi-factor authentication
- software updates
- social engineering
- securing your router
The videos have been designed to be user-friendly, clear, concise, and easy to follow.
To watch the full series of videos, please visit the Cyber Griffin Unit guides main page on Youtube.
Many places are currently offering support and resources to help looking after your mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19, including:
- NHS Inform Scotland, with a series of mental wellbeing resources – such as guides on coping with depression, anxiety and financial worries during this time – on their COVID-19 page
- the Metro newspaper and their mental health podcast, Mentally Yours
- the Scottish Association for Mental Health (SAMH)
- See Me Scotland
- St Andrews First Aid, who have released a poster with their 5 tips on improving mental wellbeing and keeping balanced during this time:
- Be Active
- Give to Others
- Keep Learning
- Be Mindful
Falkirk Council is continuing their adult and child protection services, adapted for the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown; they are committed to their legal duty to protect and support adults and children at risk of harm, and will respond to every concern reported to them.
Anyone who is worried about a child’s safety is encouraged to contact social work services by phone:
- Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm: 01324 506070
- Monday – Friday from 5pm, and at weekends: 01786 470500
Those concerned about a vulnerable adult’s safety should contact the adult protection team:
- by phone, Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm: 01324 506070
- by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are concerned that anyone is at immediate risk of harm contact Police Scotland as soon as possible by phone: 999.
If you are volunteering or working with any adults who are vulnerable, or you suspect are dealing with abuse of any kind, the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) has produced a page of useful information, including who is likely to be targeted, the support available, and what to do if you suspect someone is dealing with abuse.
During this time, many people are relying on home deliveries for food and other essentials, including those who are high risk from COVID-19.
Facebook user Gator Bait Gear has created a range of large red posters for doors and windows to help advise delivery personnel of the precautions being taken by those inside the house.