Shoplifting offences have plummeted after the rollout of new crime-fighting initiatives with local businesses in Kirkby-in-Ashfield.
The Business Crime Forum, also known as Shop Watch, links a network of local shopkeepers together with handheld radios and regular face-to-face meetings.
The Safe Space Accreditation scheme, meanwhile, has provided enhanced CCTV systems, street lighting and training to enhance security and safety across the town.
Around 40 local businesses are currently benefiting from these initiatives, which contributed to a 45 per cent fall in shoplifting offences in the first three months of operation.
Positive detection rates also increased by 27 per cent between April and June as more offenders are identified and prosecuted.
Both schemes have been funded from the £750,000 Home Office Safer Streets initiative which the Community Safety Partnership and Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office were successful in securing last year.
Inspector Jon Hewitt, district commander for Ashfield, said: ”
“Shoplifting is a blight on the entire town and can cause considerable damage to local businesses – not only because of the goods and money lost, but also because of the toll such offences can have on staff.
“We are working with Ashfield District Council and the businesses themselves to identify offenders, better understand their behaviour and the reasons for it, and put in place long-term solutions to prevent further offences.
“Along with catching and prosecuting offenders, we are also working to ensure more Criminal Behaviour Orders against repeat offenders. Once approved by a magistrate, these orders can ban individuals from certain areas and forbid them from doing certain things altogether.
“Breaching these orders is an arrestable offence and will often land perpetrators straight back in prison if they are breached.”
Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said:
“These results show that our innovative work across Kirkby-In-Ashfield is paying off and deterring retail crime as well as antisocial behaviour.
“The aim of Shop Watch is to give retailers and their customers an extra level of protection as it creates an improved network of organisations working closely together to root out crime and keep people safe.
“There is a myth that shoplifting is a victimless crime. We know that is not the case and through the Safer Streets scheme we will do everything we can in order to make communities safer, and more importantly feel safer.”
Cllr Helen-Ann Smith, Executive Lead Member for Community Safety and Crime Reduction, said:
“Our Safer Streets funded projects are making a real difference to Kirkby. The Council is committed to improving safety and reducing anti-social behaviour across the District and initiatives like these prove that we are on our way stamping out unwanted behaviour from the minority.”