Northamptonshire says no to business crime as national action week begins
Main article content
As part of its continued focus on tackling retail crime, Northamptonshire Police is taking part in the second national Safer Business Action Week (October 16-22).
Coordinated by the National Business Crime Centre, the week will see police forces carry out proactive work tackling offending, work with business groups and retailers to better understand local challenges and offer advice and support, and raise awareness of the issue with the public.
In Northamptonshire, the Force will be working with the Northamptonshire Business Crime Partnership (NBCP), and individual businesses and retailers, as well as conducting proactive work, running advice events and carrying out public engagement in key retail locations.
Northamptonshire Police retail crime lead Chief Inspector Carl Wilson, of the Crime Management and Investigation Unit, said: “Retail crime isn’t victimless, nor is it just about the affected business itself. It’s about the people working there and the effect it can have on them, and also on the customers who may have to witness offences taking place.
“We recognise that retail crime not only increases the cost of goods at a time when every penny counts, it can also really erode trust and confidence in a community, and we’re committed to making people safer when they go to work or go to their local shops.
“Shoplifting in particular cuts across several of our Force priorities, including drug harm and serious violence. Many prolific retail offenders are also involved in or affected by illegal drugs and may also have a prior history of violent offences, so by bringing them to justice we also help to improve community safety and reduce and prevent offending across other crime types too.”
During the week of action, officers will be carrying out proactive intelligence-led patrols and supporting an increased police presence in key business crime locations, with a focus on shoplifting and lorry load theft offences.
The arrest of retail crime suspects will also be an area of focus for officers, and those brought into custody on suspicion of retail crimes will be able to take up the Force’s existing offer of intervention work with partners, to help address issues which can drive offending including alcohol or substance misuse.
The Force will also be holding events across the county, including cyber security and retail fraud awareness sessions for businesses, and neighbourhood policing Beat Bus meet and greets at key retail locations.
Neil Cowley, from the NBCP, said: “We are all victims of retail crime with increased prices but the impact of this criminality on retail staff can be devastating. We recognise that the most effective way to tackle this issue is by working together and the Safer Business Action Week will further cement the relationships we have with retailers and the police.
“The NBCP will be active across the county during the week holding security briefings in several towns but we are already working hard with the police to identify prolific and priority offenders.”
Detection rates for retail crimes in Northamptonshire have already received a boost thanks to Operation Elegance, which was officially rolled out earlier this year following a successful pilot.
Run in partnership with the NBCP and made possible by funding received from the Office of the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner (OPFCC), Operation Elegance sees the NBCP employ two retail crime evidence gatherers, who work alongside three police officers and a sergeant, all dedicated to resolving retail crime reports.
Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold said: “The impact that retail crime has is felt across the whole community, on people who use, or live near a store, not just the store itself. I want businesses to have the confidence to report crimes to the police and to trust that if they report something, their local police will respond.
“That’s why I was keen to work with the Northamptonshire Business Crime Partnership and fund these two posts, so that a strong relationship could be build up between businesses and their local police officers, who could provide support and target the offenders. Stores are the lifeblood of a local community, providing jobs and acting as hubs in a neighbourhood. I want us to do all we can to tackle retail crime and the impact it has in Northamptonshire.”
Mr Cowley, of the NBCP, added: “The week of action will build on the ongoing success of Operation Elegance.”
Safer Business Action Week events in Northamptonshire
Tuesday, October 17
Beat Bus visit to B&Q/Aldi car park in the Nene Valley retail park, Towcester Road, Northampton – PCSOs will be on site from 10.30am to 3.30pm to share advice and help you with any concerns you may have about where you live, work or shop. Also joining them will be members of the Force’s cybercrime and fraud teams to share free advice, guidance and resources on staying safe from scams, online fraud and cybercrime.
Wednesday, October 18
Beat Bus visit to Carina Road retail park in Kettering – parked up between Costa and B&M, PCSOs will be on site from 11am to 3pm to share advice and help you with any concerns you may have about where you live, work or shop.
Thursday, October 19
Beat Bus visit outside Smyth’s Toy Store in the Nene Valley retail park, Northampton – PCSOs will be on site from 10.30am to 3.30pm to share advice and help you with any concerns you may have about where you live, work or shop.
Beat Bus visit to Phoenix Parkway, Corby – PCSOs will be on site from 11am to 3pm to share advice and help you with any concerns you may have about where you live, work or shop.
Friday, October 20
Beat Bus visit to Tungsten Business Park, Brackmills, where between 9.30am and 2pm cybercrime officers will be speaking to business users and visitors to offer cyber safety and fraud advice, as well as posters and other free resources to help protect businesses and staff from fraudsters and cyber criminals. Police officers will also be on hand to share free crime prevention advice on securing vehicles, equipment and tools.
Saturday, October 21
Beat Bus visit to Abington Street, Northampton, from 10.30am to 12.30pm.
Beat Bus visit outside The Range on St James’ Retail Park from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.