Vertical Markets

Crime reporting trial hailed

by Mark Rowe

A ‘One Touch Reporting’ trial scheme sees an initial 22 Co-op stores trying new, simpler ways to report crime. Sussex Police are seeing a threefold increase in reports, with the extra intelligence gathered resulting in the arrest of five prolific offenders. The scheme began in November, after Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner (PCC) Katy Bourne found from a survey of 100 local businesses that as few as eight per cent of offences are reported to the police.

Katy Bourne chairs the Sussex Safer Business Partnership (SSBP). It brings together retailers, newsagents, pharmacists and business groups with the police. The hope is that this approach would be shared with all local businesses and, ultimately, adopted nationally.

Phase two, due to start next month, will enable police to reduce the time spent on the reporting process for an incident from 20 to 30 minutes to just a few minutes to record each crime and identify those requiring further work.

Katy Bourne says: “This new reporting system is a welcome and bold move by Sussex Police. It is also an example of how effective partnership working can lead to proactive solutions for businesses with robust action taken against offenders. It will no doubt result in an increase in crime reports locally and I do not shy away from this. We need to paint a clearer picture of business crime and, once we have the evidence, it then cannot be ignored. It’s never the value of the goods being stolen that should be the only reason to respond. The impact upon our business community and our frontline shopworkers must be understood and acted on more effectively, especially as offenders are almost certainly committing offences elsewhere. In Sussex we are determined to show offenders that they will be held to account for their actions and to demonstrate to the public that we take these crimes seriously.”

Peter Batt, Divisional Managing Director for Co-op, says: “There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our colleagues – no one should have to face violence and abuse just for doing their job. It has a lasting impact not only physically, but also on their mental well-being. By working together, we are all seeing better outcomes. Police have now attributed the arrest of five prolific local offenders to the success of this scheme so far, reducing the impact that repeat offenders have in our communities. Alongside this, we continue to call for Government to show that it is listening and to introduce greater protection for shop workers with stiffer sentencing sending out a clear message that violence, abuse and anti-social behaviour is just not acceptable.”

And Peter Fisher, General Manager of the National Business Crime Solution (NBCS) says: “This trial proves that accurate volume crime reporting can be achieved for the benefit of both business and the Police without complex structural changes and unnecessary costs. It also demonstrates the strength of collaboration in terms of data sharing. We are determined to work in partnership to reduce the productivity costs of reporting crime while increasing the quality of the data reported to enhance the opportunity for better outcomes. Our vision is to be able to facilitate one touch reporting for all businesses nationally. If successful, we believe this will be one of the most transformational changes our sector has ever seen.”

Police have hailed the arrest of five prolific local offenders; such as a Worthing man on March 15 sent to prison for 36 weeks for persistent shoplifting locally and for a breach of a community order and electronically monitored curfew.

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