Sussex Police business partnership approach will cut crime and build confidence


Sussex PCC Katy Bourne chaired the latest Safer Sussex Business Partnership meeting this week, (20th July) bringing together major UK and international retailers, business organisations and police business crime experts.

Today we looked at how stores could be encouraged to join Business Crime Reduction Partnerships and how the Safer Streets fund could be used to support smaller businesses to network and share intelligence on prolific offenders. Information sharing apps like DISC are already proving popular across the country for reporting suspicious activity.

The Partnership discussed the recommendations in the recent Home Affairs Select Committee report into violence against shopworkers including the recent debate about creating a new specific offence to address this.  Sussex Police stressed that they were still making the best use of existing legislation including working with business on civil measures - such as community protection notices - in conjunction with the force’s Integrated Offender Management unit aiming to reduce reoffending.

Breaking the costly and destructive cycle of theft and abuse by persistent offenders is the way ahead. We heard that in many cases 20% of offenders were causing 80% of the losses and targeting them cut crime immediately. Longer-term behaviour change however, does need support programmes that can be sustained and the Partnership will be looking at the best models and how they should be funded.

Paul Hannah from the Co-op reported that the One Touch Reporting pilot is being very well received by store colleagues because it is saving them valuable time, ensuring that incidents are being quickly and accurately logged by the nine dedicated business crime specialists in the Sussex Police Incident Resolution Centre.

Other stores in the group across Sussex and the rest of the country are looking forward to adopting One Touch shortly.

Boots are the first major retailer to take up DEMS, the Digital Evidence Management System which uploads CCTV and digital data to the cloud. Darren Challand from Boots said that DEMS was feeding directly in from 1000 stores into the new CCTV centre in Nottingham which I had the pleasure of formally reopening in May. To assist our businesses, large or small, visit Sussex Police website DEMs for Businesses on how to register cameras and/or use DEMs to efficiently upload your digital evidence, like CCTV, and enable your crime to be swiftly followed up and investigated. 

I was delighted to hear that other businesses and PCCs around the UK want to build partnerships like ours and even more happy to hear that some businesses “wish our force was doing what Sussex Police is doing to prevent and respond to retail crime”.

With this week’s relaxation of some Covid restrictions, stores and staff are understandably keen to make their businesses as customer-friendly as possible but still safe. As a Partnership we hope that as the holiday season starts this week customers and visitors to Sussex will continue to #SHOPKIND.