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The Short Guide to the City of London

The City of London contains the historic centre and main financial business district of London. Rather confusing for visitors but it is easier to understand the City of London as a city within a city. It was within the boundaries of the City of London that London developed from the Roman settlement in the 1st century AD to the Middle Ages.

Since then London has grown dramatically and now the City forms a small part of the capital. Due to its development the city has a number of unusual rules and regulations and has its own mayor and police force.

The City of London is often referred to as the City or by its nickname the Square Mile, the City is a major business and financial centre which grew dramatically in the 19th century into one of the world’s main business centres. Although the City has a very small resident population of around 10,000, over 300,000 people commute to work here every day. Around three-quarters of the jobs in the City of London are in the financial, professional, and business services sectors. There is a large legal profession presence in the Temple and Chancery Lane areas where the Inns of Court are located.

The City of London is not considered a major tourist destination, many of the bars, restaurants and shops close at the weekend. However there are a large number of free attractions and buildings like The Bank of England, Mansion House, The Royal Exchange and the Guildhall that can make a visit to the City, a worthwhile experience.

The ancient City was defended by a London Wall, parts of which can be seen in various locations and the names of streets and roads offer clues to their previous use. The City suffered a disaster with the Great Fire of London in 1666 which destroyed great parts of the City.

After the fire of 1666, there were a number of plans to modernise the City but generally the medieval street pattern still exists. The original St Paul’s was destroyed in the fire and it was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and is considered to be one of the finest cathedrals in Britain.

From the late 16th century, London became a major centre for banking, international trade and commerce. The Royal Exchange was founded by Sir Thomas Gresham and the Bank of England moved to its present site in 1734.

Like many areas of London, the City suffered considerable damage from bombing raids during World War II and the resulting fires. In the second half of the 20th century, the City changed dramatically with the construction of modern and larger-scale developments.

After the 1970s, saw the construction of tall office buildings including the Natwest Tower, 30 St. Mary Axe (“the Gherkin”‘), Leadenhall Building (“the Cheesegrater”), 20 Fenchurch Street (“the Walkie-Talkie”), the Broadgate Tower and the Heron Tower. Another skyscraper, 22 Bishopsgate the tallest of all has just finished its construction.

These skyscrapers have changed the character of the City but it remains a fascinating mix of old and new.

The City of London is a wonderful place to explore with small green spaces, hidden alleyways, old and modern churches, historic buildings and modern sculptures.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security : Distraction robberies in coffee shops, bars and restaurants

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One of the most common robberies that visitors are likely to come across are distraction ones. In Britain or London in particular , it is very unusual for people to go up to complete strangers and if you are approached be on your guard. It may be innocent but make sure you keep your valuables close by and don’t leave items such as mobile phones on the table. The following report shows some of the latest tactics:

The City of London Police is warning people who visit coffee shops, bars and restaurants to be mindful when leaving their valuables on tables. Thieves are purposely targeting customers by distracting them and stealing their mobile phones and other valuable items.

On 16 March a man entered a fast food chain restaurant on Cannon Street EC4, and stole a mobile phone from a table from where the victim was eating. He placed a prop on top of the mobile and engaged the victim in conversation. The suspect then distracted the victim by making hand gestures towards his mouth whilst at the same time picking up the mobile phone from under his prop. He then walked off with the victim’s mobile phone.

Since January there have been 32 distraction thefts in the City of London with 14 of these in coffee shops. There were eight thefts in bars and another eight in restaurants. There was one distraction theft in the street and another in an office.

The majority of distraction thefts are occurring between 11.30am and 3pm on Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays.

The most common trick used by thieves is to place a prop, such as a map, on top of the item they want to steal on the table where the victim is sat. They then speak to the victim usually asking them for directions. This distracts the victim and the thief picks up the item hidden underneath the prop and walks out of the premises.

Another distraction technique used is when a thief squirts a liquid substance on their victim and pretends to help them clean it off. The thief then pats down the victim giving them access to pockets to steal wallets, phones and other items.

City of London Police Detective Inspector Doug Blackwood said: “Thieves will use all the tricks in the book to get their hands on people’s valuable items. They will visit several coffee shops, bars and restaurants and target people who leave their items, such as mobile phones on tables.

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security : Cash Machine Scams

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Unfortunately one of the more common crimes in London are related to cash machines. The following case follows the usual scenario of the criminal putting something in the cash machine to make it seem that it is stuck.  However  it does highlight that even if the criminal gets your card, it is far easier for them if they get your pin. People usually stand back from the person at the cash machine, if you have someone close to you and looking over your shoulder, cover the keyboard with your hand to prevent them seeing your pin.

Cash machine fraudster jailed for 12 months

A 41-year-old man has received a 12 month prison sentence after pleading guilty at the City of London Magistrates court (20 February) to a series of cash machine frauds in the City of London.

A man was arrested on 30 October 2014, by City of London Police officers after he was seen removing a card trap device also known as a Lebanese loop from a cash machine using a pair of tweezers at St Paul’s Churchyard. He was also found with seven more card traps on him.

Following his arrest, CCTV enquiries helped City of London Police officers identify the man committing several other thefts of bank cards from cash machines between 30 September 2014 and 31 October 2014.

The man worked with others, placing card trap devices onto cash machines. He would watch his victims as they attempted to withdraw cash and then discover that their cards were trapped in the machine. Following their departure from the machine he would retrieve the card from the machine and use their PIN number which he had seen them enter.

On six occasions the man used several stolen bank cards to withdraw £4373.84 in cash from the victim’s bank accounts.

City of London Police officer, Dominic Shaw said “ The man was very sophisticated in placing card trap devices on cash machines and shoulder surfing.

“Over a month’s period, he worked with others to fraudulently obtain thousands of pounds leaving the banks with a bill to pay to those who had their money stolen from their bank accounts.

“It would not have been possible to identify the man without the co-operation of all the banks involved. I would like to thank them for their assistance in helping us with our investigation.

“I would also like to remind people to always cover their PIN number when using a cash machine and to look over their shoulder to see if anyone is acting suspicious.

“If you see anything suspicious or believe a cash machine is being tampered with, please report to the police.” ​​​​​

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Security : Police Impersonators

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One of the more unusual scams is criminals impersonating a police officer,  this report by the City of London police involves a case where the supposed police officer checks for counterfeit money.  This would never happen with real police officers who would be very careful in dealing with a visitors personal items especially cash and credit cards. If you were suspected of a crime, the usual routine would be you would be taken to the local police station. Plain clothes policeman should have identification and must show it if they want to carry out a search. If you are approached by a policeman in this type of case and are suspicious, demand to be taken to the local station or find a uniformed officer before you give any items over to the person.

Police impersonator who stole from London’s tourists sentenced to ten months in jail

The man was part of an organised crime group who targeted victims by posing as tourists and police officers.One of the gang would pose as a fake tourist and then approach a genuine tourist asking for directions using a map. This encounter gave an opportunity for a fake police officer to intervene so that he can then search the genuine tourist for counterfeit money.

The police impersonator uses a UV torch to scan over cash and will use an official identity card as a fake warrant card. During the search, the fake officer will take items such as cash, identity cards, bank cards, personal items and sometimes demand the victims pin for their bank cards.

On 28 January 2014 City of London Police officers arrested the man on suspicion of going equipped to steal. He was dressed in smart clothes and was accompanied by another man impersonating a tourist, with a camera around his neck. Following a search by City of London Police officers the man was found in possession with an identity card in a black wallet alongside a photo card that flipped out of the main wallet giving the appearance of some type of official document.

He also had a small key ring style torch, a pair of Nokia mobile phone earphones that had one of the earphones removed which was dangling from an inside jacket pocket.

The camera was non functional and was believed to be a prop.

City of London Police Inspector Doug Blackwood Said, “These men deliberately preyed on innocent tourists who were not familiar with police procedures in the UK. This made them easy targets to this type of scam.

“What was meant to be an enjoyable and unforgettable visit to London had instead turned out to be a nightmare for many of the victims. They left London with the memory of the man stealing their money and personal belongings.

“I hope today’s sentencing acts as a warning to those predators who wish to come into the City and prey on innocent victims. ​​​​​​

If you come across suspicious activity, report it to a uniformed officer in the street or in a police station.

101 is the Non emergency  number to call when you want to contact your local police in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland – when it’s less urgent than a 999 call.

Non emergency usually include: Stolen car, Laptop, Smartphones and mobile phone, Minor traffic collision , Property damage, Drug dealing.

You should always call 999 when it is an emergency, such as when a crime is in progress, someone suspected of a crime is nearby, when there is danger to life or when violence is being used or threatened.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here