For many of us working in place management, our focus is on creating dynamic events; eye catching marketing; and public realm enhancements.
Rarely do we consider safety and security, yet this is perhaps the most fundamental element of all.
This is because we can have the most wonderful event, marketing and public realm imaginable but if communities do not feel safe or secure, they will not engage with your offering.
This critical element has been the bedrock of my career and I have seen firsthand how public perception of crime can influence how an area is perceived, footfall, developed and invested in. It is my belief that safe and secure is the foundation on which everything is built.
Working alongside retail and night time economy businesses, it has been apparent to me how each individual business and its community is perceived differently based on customer interactions and their sense of value not just as a customer interaction but the environment provided for them. Pubs seen as rowdy or stores with high levels of anti-social behaviour will see less visitors, impacting sales or increased losses resulting in closures and voids space which can have a domino effect leading to fuelling those wider public perceptions.
Sadly, due to austerity, policing budgets have been slashed meaning that the once visible policing of our civic centres is almost non-existent and this has led to a marked increase in criminal behaviour which at a time of increasing pressures on the High Street is the last thing businesses need.
However, there are solutions available to communities that can address some of these issues and robustly challenge the wrong element, protect businesses and communities, and support the police by reducing demands. Over the coming months, I will explore and discuss some of these in detail but for this article I will start on the most effective and perhaps simplest solution to introduce – a BCRP.
A BCRP (Business Crime Reduction Partnership) is a community led response to some of the key issues affecting town and city centres. They bring together traders; police; local authorities together to share offender management solutions and provide a support network of communications to identify, tackle, and prosecute criminals operating within a defined area.
It is important when developing a BCRP that a compliance to Data Protection Act 2018 and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulations is at the core of your operation. Non-compliance now carries a very large financial penalty and the prospect of imprisonment, it is therefore essential that all involved have a working knowledge of their responsibilities with this legislation.
Data sharing is the lifeblood of a BCRP. This usually involved life communications via a radio link network. This enables users to advise on suspect or known offender movements; to share information on suspicious vehicles or packages; and to call in live incidents happening within a business. This builds a support network of businesses and from that base, incidents reports can be reported into a central administrative point, usually a BCRP Co-ordinator employed to oversee the operation.
Incident reports are critical, they enable the BCRP to share names, images, and key data about an offender to aid all members to identify offenders who are then deterred or disrupted if seeking to commit offences in their stores. By closing down the opportunities for crime, businesses suffer less crime and create a safe environment for staff and customers. This then ripples out to neighbouring stores and the wider community.
Where an offender is persistent or prolific in their offending, then the BCRP can support their members and communities by operating exclusion schemes. This is where a locally defined threshold is reached and the right of entry is revoked for particular individuals. An exclusion is an incredibly useful tool in beginning legal proceedings against these types of offenders. If an exclusion is breached, then criminal and civil court action can follow leading to a point where the offender is no longer able to conduct their offences.
This is the briefest of overviews of what a BCRP is and can do for you and your community. It may be that you have an existing BCRP, looking to revive a failing scheme or to start one afresh, regardless of your situation it is vital that you start to think about attaining the National Standard. This demonstrates compliance and excellence in your BCRP and it will become essential for police services and businesses alike that any scheme they engage with has this standard or is working towards it.
Revive & Thrive are an assessing organisation of this standard and our newly launched Business Crime Reduction Services can assist you with every aspect of this work from inception to accreditation, so why not drop me a line to discuss your business crime reduction issues and let us assist you in taking the right measures to address this blight.
Director of Business Crime Reduction Services, Revive & Thrive.