News Archive

Accolade For Burton

by msecadm4921

Police and businesses have to come on board if a business crime partnership is to work, according to a partnership that has gained a national award. From the August print magazine.

Glyn Thomas, Burton upon Trent partnership’s crime reduction co-ordinator, told Professional Security that one aim had been to make the partnership self-sufficient; raising membership, and rather than members purchasing radios, radios were rented by the month. A typical business attitude, Glyn reported, is ‘what’s in it for me?’ Some of the larger businesses in the town centre pulled out of the scheme, claiming grounds of cost; but then there were also cases of such chains cutting security staff. For such retail chains, a view was that stores had CCTV installed and that dealt with security; also, an individual store manager might not have a budget for joining a partnership. But, where a retailer’s loss prevention person was aware of other partnerships, Burton could put the case for their scheme; and there have been cases of chains re-joining the scheme, finding the budget somehow. There are two sides to the partnership: the retail (Storewatch) and evening economy (Pubwatch). Cost of Pubwatch membership is £150 a year, while Storewatch membership depends on floor-space, ranging from £100 to £400. Radio rental is £300 a year besides.

Town centre bobby

Another task, Glyn went on, was trying to get police on board, to accept the partnership. A year ago, Burton did not have a dedicated town centre police officer, the bobby responsible for the town centre having another ward to cover. Now, the town centre has two officers. Given that a lot of town centre businesses merely ask to see the proverbial ‘bobby on the beat’, high-profile policing has satisfied those calls. The town centre’s dedicated police officer is the one to make the case to his local command why there should be a particular special operation, and especially for funding.

Not complacent

For Glyn, a former Birmingham-based British Transport Police inspector who retired two years ago, the Action Against Business Crime award ceremony at Coors Visitor Centre in Burton in June was the ‘icing on the cake’. He added: “The main thing to do now is not be complacent; and to do other things.” The partnership is looking to work with the local Drugs Action Team, acknowledging the common link between shop thieves and drug addiction. The Burton partnership was finding offenders were coming from nearby Tamworth and other places. Why? One reason was thought to be that offenders were coming to Burton for assessment for a drugs rehabilitation place; and doing shop crime while in the town, even when attending the town to do with a court order. Glyn Thomas has started negotiation with the local primary care trust about exchange of information.

Exclusion orders

One improvement has been with exclusion orders. Previously, they would take months, the partnership having to wait until an offender had been convicted. Retailers were regarding exclusion orders as a waste of time. From talking with the town police station, the partnership was able to have exclusion order notices served on people arrested and charged, at the station. The paperwork then went to Glyn Thomas, who requested a suspect’s photo, provided by the police, and then circulated at regular partnership meetings, where security and other staff who have signed data protection agreements view the ‘mug-shots’ of offenders.

Regional meetings

On a regional level, Glyn attends meetings of the Midland Retail Crime Initiative (MRCI). Glyn reported one case of a London individual, trying to get refunds from retailers. Thanks to a Birmingham photograph of the suspect, via the MRCI a Burton retailer recognised the woman and called her by her first name; she left the scene.

Transport police

Among those attending was British Transport Police DC Tony Bennett, Nottingham-based field intelligence officer. He explained to Professional Security his interest in such partnerships: “for me, I can gather quite a lot of intelligence from these organisations; and I can get information and feed it to them.” He gave a typical example of eastern European groups who may ‘blitz’ a town or city for a weekend, then move on. By covering Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, Tony Bennett may be able to warn other towns of such professional shop thieves.

Earlier, an invited audience heard how partnerships are today’s crime prevention buzzword.

Handing over the AABC award, Richard Barron spoke of how business crime, if not managed well, can lead to loss of customers (by night and day), leading to empty shops, less employment opportunities, a less attractive town centre; and more crime. He said: “The word partnership is banded around as the answer to crime problems everywhere. But what do we expect from it? The word sparks off all kinds of associations. Partnerships range from talking shops to those that do deliver.” And paying tribute to partnership work, Dave Suszek, business crime leader for the Government Office for the West Midlands, pointed out how such partnership work and awards send a firm message to those carrying out anti-social behaviour and crime. There is work still to be done, spreading the partnership message among the public sector, however. Dave Suszek spoke of having visited the region’s 34 crime and disorder partnerships; half have not been able to influence their local authorities’ community safety strategies. Moira Bertoni, Burton town centre manager, told the audience that the Burton partnership had got business crime written in as part of the local authority’s community safety strategy. She added that the partnership has just gained funding for a read-only ACIS in the council CCTV control room, again for better use of info about business criminals.

Related News

  • News Archive

    Midlands Expo

    by msecadm4921

    The fifth crime prevention exhibition for Midlands businesses is again to be held in Leicester. Crimex 07 Expo, sponsored this year by…

  • News Archive

    School Searches

    by msecadm4921

    The Government has accepted recommendations to extend the search powers of schools to include drugs, alcohol and other items and will consult…

  • News Archive

    Technology Misuse

    by msecadm4921

    Concerns about criminal misuse of technologies are raised in an Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) report. Dr Toni Makkai, Director of the…


Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to stay on top of security news and events.

© 2024 Professional Security Magazine. All rights reserved.

Website by MSEC Marketing