Commissioner Henry alongside Cllr Rob Inglis and Co-Op manager Peter Jones
The Shop Watch radio scheme – funded through the Safer Streets initiative - allows over 30 businesses in and around Central Avenue and Bridgford Road, in the Trent Bridge ward, to communicate with each other and warn other businesses of any incidents, such as shoplifting, verbal or physical abuse, or antisocial behaviour.
One such business, Oliver Bonas, in Central Avenue, spoke to Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry on a recent visit about a recent issue with a group of youths using the rear stairs to access the roof and cause damage to the building.
The business was able to utilise its Shop Watch radio to notify nearby businesses, as well as the police of this antisocial behaviour and work with them to use other businesses CCTV systems to provide further evidence to the police.
The scheme has been made possible after the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Nottinghamshire secured £3 million of Home Office funding for Safer Streets projects across Nottinghamshire that help reduce neighbourhood crime and antisocial behaviour, as well as violence against women and girls.
It is being delivered in partnership with Nottinghamshire Police and local authorities, including Rushcliffe Borough Council.
Commissioner Henry said: “I am really pleased to see the hugely positive effect our Shop Watch radio scheme is having on businesses in the Trent Bridge ward.
“Hearing directly from business owners on how having these radios to hand is helping them to report antisocial behaviour and prolific shoplifters to other businesses as well as the police is fantastic.
“Alongside the Shop Watch Radio scheme we have also been able to invest in laptops for PCSOs to keep them out on the streets for longer, which is now being rolled out to all PCSOs at Nottinghamshire Police, among other things.”
Rushcliffe Borough Council’s Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment and Safety Cllr Rob Inglis said: “The Safer Streets funding has made vital projects such as this possible, tackling crime and giving business owners more protection.
“Supporting local businesses is key to allowing them to thrive and providing them with additional tools such as the radios gives them peace of mind there is help at hand should they need it.
“They feel more secure and connected which can only breed further confidence West Bridgford is a safer place to shop and spend time as a result of this investment.”
Inspector Tim Cuthbert, neighbourhood policing inspector for Rushcliffe, said: “In order to stay one step ahead of shoplifters we use all the tools and technology at our disposal.
“Early communication via the Shop Watch radio scheme has been important in allowing us to arrest and charge several persistent offenders.
“As a policing team we also developed a new patrol plan to target resources at the problem in West Bridgford this summer, which saw shoplifting offences fall by almost half.
“The initiative ensures officers are patrolling key locations in the town at the right times to provide a visible presence and react quickly to offences taking place.
“However, it is not just about catching offenders and arresting them. The changes we have implemented are also allowing us to prevent offending in the first place.
“We are using both our time and resources smartly to engage with shop staff and provide them with the reassurance, advice, and skills they need to assist us in reducing shoplifting.”
Posted on Wednesday 6th December 2023