Business wardens are being launched in Littlehampton and Eastbourne as part of a pilot business crime reduction initiative by Sussex Police in partnership with The Southern Co-operative.
New business wardens will be able to efficiently report crimes directly to Sussex Police, gather evidence, and provide crime prevention advice to help reduce crime affecting shops and businesses in the two towns with a future roll out planned across the whole county.
Gareth Lewis, Loss Prevention & Security Services Manager for The Southern Co-operative said: “At The Southern Co-operative, we were early adaptors of the Facewatch platform and have found it to be an effective way for our stores to share information and report criminal activity without the need for police to be dispatched or our colleagues to be inconvenienced.
“Our partnership with the Sussex Police and supported by the Home Office is rolling the platform out to all willing businesses in Littlehampton and Eastbourne, which we are hoping will mirror the success we have seen in The Southern Co-operative stores.”
Business wardens will have access to the Facewatch application which has been specifically designed to help businesses report crimes and track their progress with the Police via online feedback.
The project, supported by Sussex Police, Eastbourne Business Crime Reduction Partnership, Littlehampton businesses and the Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner, is being funded by the Home Office and The Southern Cooperative until 2017. The project is part of a collaborative bid, worth £249,000 over two years, with the joint aim being to improve business crime reporting and the targeting of criminals across the county.
Chris Neilson, business crime lead for Sussex Police said: “This project is about forging a stronger partnership between businesses and the police to tackle crime. It will provide a dedicated service and reduce time for businesses as they will be able to report a crime directly to wardens, who will take details and any evidence like CCTV and submit this directly to the force.
“There will be 3 wardens in Littlehampton and 2 in Eastbourne. We hope it will give assurance to the businesses who sign up to the scheme that these wardens can deal with this type of crime efficiently and take all the details quickly. This is vitally important to us to build up a picture of the crime being committed in those areas. The wardens will also act as a deterrent for anyone thinking about stealing from these businesses.”
The pilot is due to run until 2017 and the aim is to extend the scheme into other areas across Sussex if proved successful.