MP hosts Retailers Roundtable meeting on ASB
Maria Miller, MP for Basingstoke, recently hosted one of her regular Retailers Roundtable meetings on Anti-Social behaviour in our town centre and shops. Those attending included Terry Norton, deputy PCC, Insp Mike Thorne from Basingstoke police, Gary Cooper from Festival Place and Daniel White from B&DBC Safer Communities team. If you are a local retailer in the town and would like to receive information about these meetings, please sign up here www.maria4basingstoke.co.uk/contact
Maria said, “Boots, Primark, and Tesco, as well as a cross section of independent local retailers came together to talk about the issues their businesses face as a result of anti-social behaviour, theft and shoplifting in the town.
The Police are clear Basingstoke has a good record when it comes to keeping down levels of crime; but businesses remain concerned about the impact of a relatively small, determined group of people who are regularly involved in criminal behaviour, including school aged children.
Retailers were briefed on the joint initiatives by Basingstoke police, the Council with its team of CSPO’s and Festival Place security, which demonstrate that as a town more resources are deployed to deter crime than in other similar towns, including ongoing and regular intelligence gathering and data sharing about the activities of individuals who are known offenders.
Festival Place uses the highly effective DISC system providing online information, alerts, view galleries of offenders and retailers to submit reports of incidences. This scheme has been shown to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
26 people are currently banned from our shopping centre, as a result of this joint working. These systems and comprehensive CCTV in the town centre is part of the plan to help increase the safety of retailers and residents alike.
Businesses want to see even more visible action from the police: on patrol, responding more quickly to incidents and generally demonstrating that criminal acts will be punished to deter these perpetrators from our town. There is a perception amongst a small group that crime can be committed with impunity; a strong visible policing deterrent would help break that misconception.
Terry Norton, Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner, who met retailers at the meeting, said, “The extra police officers allocated to Basingstoke, and a return to a traditional policing model in Hampshire means there will be more visible policing, a dedicated resource and named police officers for specific areas of our town. Basingstoke is a safe place, but the Police and Crime Commissioner wants to make sure our Police force focuses on deterring crime too. The increased visibility of officers on the beat should make our town a safer place for everyone by deterring perpetrators of anti-social behaviour from carrying out crimes in our community.”
Maria went on to say, “These meetings help ensure town centre retailers have the opportunity to talk directly to the police and the Police and Crime Commissioners office to raise the issues that impact their businesses. There was agreement that there had been success in reducing the number street attached§ people, though begging at the Top Of The Town has been on the rise of recently.
I will continue to convene Retailers Roundtable meetings, giving shop owners and managers an opportunity to liaise and raise their concerns with the Police, and Council.
§ street-attached – these are a group of individuals who, despite on-going efforts to support them, face significant periods without accommodation and have become acclimatised to their situation.