Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe is showing his support for tackling business and retail crime, during Safer Business Action Week (October 16-22) with a £10,000 grant to support a more joined up approach between police, retailers and licensed premises.
The funding is to allow the Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative (WRCI) to expand not only its membership but also to deepen the links with Warwickshire Police, with the aim of tackling prolific offending in shops, bars and pubs across the county. It has already delivered some impressive results, including arrests of several offenders.
WRCI is a partnership of own member schemes in Stratford, Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth, Rugby, Nuneaton, Bedworth and Atherstone for retail and licensed premises. The current membership is 163 retail premises and 104 licensed premises.
Members share data via an encrypted app, DISC, on which they can also report incidents and view images of individuals who have been reported by members for committing crime and/or excluded from entering member premises because of their actions. Since July this has resulted in 77 shoplifters being deterred because members recognised them from using the app.
To date in 2023 members have reported 2,114 incidents, with 18% involving some form of violence or abuse towards the member. A total of 330 featured incidents involving individuals being on a member premises when excluded, some resulting in some form of confrontation when they were asked to leave.
Discussing the grant award, Warwickshire Police and Crime Commissioner Philip Seccombe said: “The level of incidents involving some form of violence in our shops and licensed premises is simply unacceptable, as is the level of prolific offending against these businesses.
“The funding I have given to the Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative aims to support the development of better links between police and retailers to stamp out this kind of offending and give greater confidence to businesses to report crime in the first place. WRCI members have a wealth of vital intelligence which could assist the police by forging these closer links, more targeted action can be taken against offenders. It is already delivering some concrete results and I hope to see further successes in the future.”
Peter Guillaume, Board Member of Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative added: “The Warwickshire Retail Crime Initiative and members are very grateful for the grant for the Police and Crime Commissioner which has enabled the scheme to forge closer links with Warwickshire Police to make best use of the very considerable volume of information reported by members.
“In August police conducted a town centre shop lifting operation in Nuneaton, with the majority of the target data supplied by WRCI from DISC. This resulted in the arrest of nine people, of which five were remanded in custody. Numerous fines, compensation orders, rehabilitation orders and victim surcharges followed, showing how the closer working the Commissioner’s grant has enabled is already bearing fruit.”