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Police and Lewisham Council are working to extend a scheme that helps small businesses support each other when they feel vulnerable or at risk.
Sixty Alertboxes have been distributed to retailers on Deptford High Street. The boxes contain an electronic device which, when activated, sends a soundless alarm to all local businesses that are taking part in the scheme. It can be used when the retailer is feeling vulnerable or threatened by a customer or intruder.
The scheme has been running around the north of the borough for over a year, notably in New Cross Road and the Evelyn Triangle. Initial funding was provided by the New Cross Gate New Deal for Communities (NDC). This latest development in Deptford has been funded by South London Business in conjunction with the LDA.
Councillor Crada Onuegbu, Cabinet Champion for Community Safety, said: “This is a great initiative which I fully support. It’s not only helping businesses feel more secure, it’s helping bring them together. Businesses now cooperate and support each other in ways they hadn’t before.”
Officers from the New Cross Safer Neighbourhoods Team, trained in the installation of Alertboxes, have visited all of the businesses signed up to the scheme to set up the equipment and explain how the system works.
Sergeant Helen Corris of the New Cross Safer Neighbourhoods Team said: “The scheme is particularly useful for the small retailer who runs his or her business single-handed. If they feel unsure about a customer or there is a minor incident occurring in the shop, they are able to summon help or reassurance by pressing the button on their Alertbox which is then picked up by those neighbouring businesses who’re part of the scheme.
"Our officers will be able to monitor these kinds of incidents so that we can use our resources more effectively to tackle identified problems.”
David Boyer of South London Business said: “The Alert boxes are an excellent example of the practical support we can offer to local businesses using the London Development Agency’s funds and in partnership with Lewisham Council’s local Town Centre Manager.
"Although this scheme accounts for a fraction of the £1.3 million South London Business has invested in the regeneration of the area we know that even quite modest contributions to their security make a real difference to businesses in Deptford and that’s why South London Business is delighted to be supporting this scheme.”