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Thefts from shops in Chester city centre now have a 73 per cent detection rate – thanks to a partnership which includes Chester Against Business Crime and Police.
Lord Henley, the Minister for Crime Prevention and Anti-Social Behaviour Reduction, has been finding out about the scheme during a visit to the city.
He walked around the city centre on January 20 with the Council’s Business Crime Manager Bob Lelliot, speaking to city businesses, toured the CCTV control room and took part in a discussion involving Cheshire West and Chester councillors, police and partners.
Business Crime Manager, Bob Lelliott, said: “This is the first time any business crime reduction partnership in the UK has been visited by a Home Office Minister and we are very proud he selected Chester. This was a fantastic opportunity to showcase how we all work together in Chester to achieve the fantastic results that we do – Chester has seen a reduction of crime year on year, and during 2011 acquisitive crime was reduced by 28.9 percent, testament to all the hard work by all the agencies in Chester.”
Added Rita Waters, Chief Executive of Chester Renaissance: “After rigorous assessment by the Association of Business Crime Partnerships, the Chester scheme was awarded a nationally recognised benchmark – the first in the North West to do so. Chester Against Business Crime was subsequently awarded a distinction, one of only a few in the UK.”
Council Leader, Mike Jones, said: “I am very proud to support Chester Against Business Crime and of what they have achieved – it has become a beacon of best practice which has been recognised nationally.
“There is no doubt its activities have helped make Chester a safer city for residents, workers, visitors and businesses. I am sure that Lord Henley will have been impressed by what he saw.”
Chester Against Business Crime holds weekly meetings with the retail sector and agencies involved with crime reduction in the city to share information on criminal activity.
There are 270 radios under its control, titled the Co-Sign radio link, which are used by businesses and partners in emergencies including theft and disorder. Weekly publications provide information on a range of topics.
Lord Henley, Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention and Antisocial Behaviour Reduction, said: “Shops are the lifeblood of our communities. We recognise the cost and disruption retail crime causes to business as well as the damaging effects for communities and consumers. That is why we are working with business and trade associations to improve understanding of crimes against business, and to find effective solutions.
“In addition, from November 2012, directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners will make forces truly accountable to their communities, retailers and businesses, to ensure they appropriately address local policing concerns. Chester Against Business Crime is a great example of how partnership working is getting real results. I welcome its work and encourage more local areas to take their lead.”
Councillor Lynn Riley, Executive Member for Community and Environment, said: “The work of Chester Against Business Crime adds to the strong focus of the Community Safety Partnership, and we have seen significant reductions in crime levels in and around Chester, with Cheshire Police reporting positive outcomes of 35.7 percent against a national average of 26 percent.
“These initiatives add a valuable dimension to the work of the Council and its partners and sends a clear message about the City and its commitment to public safety.”
Bi-monthly meetings are held for independent and small traders which cover issues wider than crime for example parking enforcement and waste policy. There is also a city-based secure intranet for members and partners within the Chester Against Business Crime partnership.
Inspector Ian Thorp, Cheshire Police, said: “The proactive approach of Chester Against Business Crime displayed in support of local business has had a significant effect on criminality in the area, by working together with local officers to challenge the behaviour of offenders.”
Local councillor Samantha Dixon said: “Chester Against Business Crime enjoys success because it works so closely with our local businesses.
“The organisation pays really detailed attention to making sure Chester city centre is welcoming for businesses as well as thousands of shoppers and visitors.”