Businesses in the Derbyshire Dales and High Peak districts can now sign up for free for a year to an East Midlands Chamber-run scheme that helps to reduce town centre crime and anti-social behaviour.
Retailers, bars, cafés, restaurants and other venues in towns including Ashbourne, Matlock, Bakewell, Buxton, Glossop and New Mills can access Disc, an online crime information-sharing system that connects businesses with local police forces, as part of the Derbyshire Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP).
The BCRP, which is run in partnership with Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner Angelique Foster and has about 300 members across the county, usually costs up to £100 to join.
But after the chamber of commerce representing the county secured funding via the UK Community Renewal Fund – which provides funding to help places across Britain prepare for the introduction of the UK Shared Prosperity Fund as a replacement for exhausted EU funds – it is giving 12-month free access to the scheme, which is also available in Derby, Chesterfield and Staveley.
Jackie Roberts, BCRP manager at East Midlands Chamber, said: “Businesses in town and city centres have been hit hard by the direct impact of the pandemic and for those struggling the most, being a victim of crime can sometimes be the tipping point.
“The Disc portal is an integral part of crime reduction strategies as it makes it so much easier for businesses to share intelligence about incidents and offender images between members, police, community safety officers and other partners such as the BCRP team – ultimately creating a safe town centre for everyone.
“Police resources have become really stretched so the BCRP fills the gap where police can’t deal with petty crime, and we’re delighted to offer this scheme for free to businesses in order to support them in becoming more resilient during the post-Covid economic recovery.”
Creating a Derbyshire-wide Business Crime Reduction Partnership
The Derbyshire BCRP, one of 200 such programmes in the UK, is funded by both the Chamber and Derbyshire Police and Crime Commissioner.
Its remit to reduce crime in the participating towns fits into an overall objective to make them a safer place to work, visit, socialise and shop.
Member benefits include a GDPR-compliant data-sharing system that facilitates direct reporting to the police without the need to use the time-consuming 101 system.
Intelligence and crime reports can be submitted electronically to the police and other BCRP members, who also have access to app and web-based image galleries of people who have been arrested or are known offenders.
A radio-only version of the scheme was previously available in Matlock and Bakewell before the recent upgrade to an online system.
Councillor Garry Purdy, leader of Derbyshire Dales District Council, said: “This is an example of partnership working at its best. Anything we can do to make it harder for criminals to operate is positive and I am delighted to support this initiative.
“One of our key priorities is to make sure our district remains a safe and welcoming place to live, work and visit and I would encourage Derbyshire Dales businesses to get involved with the scheme.”
Councillor Anthony McKeown, leader of High Peak Borough Council, said: “After difficult times during the pandemic, any level of crime can have a devastating effect on local businesses.
“Working together as part of the Business Crime Reduction Partnership can help reduce the impact of crime and create a safer environment for everyone to enjoy day or night.
“We all want to see our high streets thrive. So we would encourage businesses across the High Peak to sign up to this free initiative to help the borough remain safe for everyone to live, work and visit.”
Derbyshire BCRP is stronger with more members
Jackie added: “We’re seeing an increase in the number of unknown offenders who are travelling between towns across Derbyshire, but we’ve already had some successes in helping to identify shoplifters who are doing this.
“The more businesses that are involved in the BCRP scheme and sharing information, the stronger it will be – and the better the area will be as a result.”
The British Retail Consortium’s 2021 Retail Crime Survey found there were 455 violent or abusive incidents towards staff per day nationally in 2019/20 – up 7% from the previous year.
The total cost of crime rose from £700m in 2016/17 to £1.3bn in 2019/20 – with customer theft the most significant, costing companies £935m – while the cost to retailers of crime and crime prevention was £2.5bn last year, an increase of 14% on the previous 12-month period.
Anyone interested in discussing how to get involved with the Derbyshire Business Crime Reduction Partnership can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07919303816.