Introduction

It has been estimated that between forty and sixty per cent of all crime affecting business, particularly retail business, goes unreported.

Businesses routinely collect information about their losses and loss prevention incidents. They often detain the offender, record their details, and take their picture if one has not been captured on CCTV. This information is used for a civil prosecution or a claim, and the offender will be served with a banning order.

These businesses are storing intelligence and information, which can have a knock-on effect when it comes to the law because the police do not have all the necessary information about the offenders. For example, an offender may be known to an entire high street, but they have only been reported to the police once. As a result, they are treated as a low-risk offender, which means they might not get the appropriate sanction. This can risk the effective communication of the police with businesses.

Safer Somerset Business Partnership Overview

Safer Somerset Business Partnership (SSBP) is a council-led crime reduction partnership that will help you combat crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) in your community. All members will be exposed to crime, and ASB, and have either been a victim of crime, or are likely to be a victim of crime. With the endorsement of Avon and Somerset Constabulary, the Local Authority is now taking positive action, and has formed the Safer Somerset Business Partnership (SSBP).

SSBP will provide public area CCTV, Radio Link and access to the DISC database to achieve the following things:

  • Share intelligence
  • Manage banning schemes efficiently
  • Enhance security awareness
  • Increase engagement levels
  • Communicate with members
  • Provide a link to the police and other DISC users

This will provide a deterrent and prevent crimes like shoplifting, theft, violence, and disorder which will create a safer shopping and business environment.

Products and services

Public area CCTV can act as an early warning system that identifies crimes being committed or prepared. It can serve to identify known offenders, record unknown perpetrators, and record suspicious incidents. These details can be communicated to members using the Radio Link and Disc System.

The Radio Link is used to connect the council CCTV, the police, and local businesses to combat crime and disorder. It is a network of businesses from each town centre and outlying areas, all linked by radio to each other, the police and CCTV operators. The network means that offenders or suspected offenders can be quickly identified and tracked before they become a problem. It is a proactive tool which is carried and monitored by the police and PCSOs, and is also installed in the council CCTV room which covers most of Somerset.

Radio link exists to report on what is happening, has just happened, or what someone believes is about to happen. This is a very useful tool, but does not add to long term information and intelligence gathering to assist in effective target hardening and joint offender management. The radio simply serves to help with real time sharing of information on a day-to-day operational manner. The intelligence behind it is what is essential to the SSBP.

Database and Intranet for Safer Communities (DISC) Intelligence sharing platform offers businesses the opportunity:

  • to report on incidents
  • discuss known offenders
  • be aware and spot developing crime trends
  • to deal pro-actively with issues such as stock loss and anti-social behaviour

Members will have the opportunity to learn at first hand some of the key issues affecting their community, as well as to take an active role in reducing crime levels. DISC produces a weekly newsletter for all members, and has a facility to Alert all members of an imminent problem.

In addition, the SSBP DISC secure dedicated website serves as a vital tool for distributing information quickly and simply across the partnership area to members by providing them with the following:

  • up-to-date information on known offenders
  • who is on the banned lists
  • the latest scams
  • specific offences
  • county lines
  • terrorism
  • what is happening locally
  • Alerts!

Becoming a member

By becoming a member of DISC and subsequently the SSBP, the platform serves to gather and hold this information for businesses in a data protected secure environment. Trends and patterns can be identified by collecting the information in one place. It also allows a list of offenders to be compiled before passing back relevant information to members in a secure way. Data is usually shared through regular briefings and meetings, and through documents that are kept for a time before being collected and destroyed.

This process is overseen by a dedicated local co-ordinator. They can advise businesses on best practice and how to ensure compliance with data protection laws. The local co-ordinator can also act as an advocate for members in meetings with the police and other bodies. They also manage  intelligence which is generated.

Membership gives access to the DISC database information. This holds information on local offences from the most serious, to petty shoplifting and anti-social behaviour, and includes photographs and details of offenders. The information is constantly being updated, and the source of which is from SSBP members.

Crime and the fear of crime can impact on the profitability of your business. Joining a partnership will help you to reduce shoplifting and anti-social behaviour as well as theft from your customers. The added benefit is that it will empower you, your employees, and your partners, helping to educate and instil greater peace of mind for all. By being in constant touch with other businesses – sharing information, intelligence, and ideas – you will be far better protected.

The SSBP has two main operational arms, covering key industry sectors:

  • BusinessWatch
  • PubWatch

Through its BusinessWatch and PubWatch schemes, the SSBP also operates two exclusion schemes. These allow banning orders to be issued against persistent offenders such as shoplifters and those behaving inappropriately in the community.

We also provide a local business crime co-ordinator who will hold regular briefings and meetings where they give employees information, advice, and guidance to help prevent crime in the workplace.

What a full-time member will receive

  • Access to the DISC offender management database including an on-the-go App, which is accessible 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is best used pro-actively and re-actively
  • Radio link which is recorded for training and evidence gathering. This is good for communicating and reporting incidents and intelligence to partners and other members – this can be done as soon as it has happened
  • An alert service which allows you to keep up-to-date with what is going on using your computer, tablet, mobile or the App
  • A weekly newsletter to keep up-to-date with offenders and incidents, along with all the latest local and national news, other updates including unknown offenders
  • A Local Co-ordinator will be available to help through phone calls, briefings, site visits, problem solving or training
  • Regular briefings to allow you to build relationships with other members in your area, and share info and intelligence on offenders’ methods of operation (MOs) with other members and partners

That is why joining a SSBP is the best way to reduce the impact of crime, reduce your shrinkage, improve your profits and increase your footfall.

Last reviewed: September 19, 2023 by Paul

Next review due: March 19, 2024

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