Citywide success as Southampton’s Safer Business Action Day focuses on reducing retail crime and anti-social behaviour

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21 March 2024

GO! Southampton and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, and other local partners held its Safer Business Action Day on Thursday 14th of March. The major coordinated operation showed a targeted and ramped up approach to tackle and help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre, with strong results.

The latest SaBA Day saw a combined show of solidarity from partners across the city, with the newly launched Southampton Police City Centre Unit, both the Bargate and the Bevois Units, that oversee the city centre and Bedford Place/London Road area, working alongside GO! Southampton’s security team to cover the day of action. Other organisations taking part on the day included Southampton City Council’s Welfare Wardens, Homeless Outreach Workers, private security firms and local businesses.

This heightened police and security presence proved successful, with a number of arrests taking place across the day. Arrests were made for shoplifting, as well as an arrest for ‘possession with intent to supply class C drugs’.  Officers from the Bevois Unit joined forces with City Council Trading Standards officers and seized multiple bags of illegal vapes. Other results from the day included*:

  • Five arrests made for shoplifting
  • Seven Community Resolutions were issued for various offences
  • An arrest was made after an individual was spotted receiving stolen goods from a known shoplifter
  • Two Conditional Cautions were issued

*provided by the City Centre Policing Team

This was the fifth SaBA day in Southampton, part of the wider Safer Business Action Week formed by the National Business Crime Centre. Stephen Manion, Executive Director at GO! Southampton, said: “It was a really busy day for the teams out on patrol and the results speak for themselves. All partners have really ramped up efforts and we now want to maintain this safe environment for our businesses to thrive. We will continue to liaise closely with our partners to ensure retail crime and anti-social behaviour reduces.”

The action day serves as a vital component of the BID’s work through its Southampton Business Crime Partnership (SBCP) to create a safer working environment for Southampton’s businesses while enhancing the city’s appeal to residents and visitors alike. As part of their commitment to the day of action, the BID doubled their usual security resources to have four members of the team active from 8am to 8pm.

Southampton Chief Inspector Marcus Kennedy said: “Our city centre unit has seen significant results since its launch in November and our dedicated officers continue to disrupt the prolific offenders causing misery in Southampton. In March alone we have charged 18 people with theft offences in the city centre and we know that this work is making a real difference to staff and businesses in the area.

“We know that there is more to be done of course and our efforts won’t stop. We will continue to keep up the pressure on those targeting retailers and shop staff, who have a right to feel safe and secure at work.

“Retail crime remains a priority for us and we know it remains a priority for businesses here in the city, that’s why it is important for us to be part of this day of action again this year. The work of the city centre unit will continue, with similar action taking place across the city by our dedicated neighbourhood policing teams.”

Police and partners engaged with a number of businesses on the day, advising how they can deter crime in the workplace and encouraging official reporting of incidents to provide an accurate picture of the current levels of anti-social behaviour and crime in the city.

GO! Southampton’s SBCP team were also on hand, visiting businesses that have been targeted by prolific offenders to encourage staff to report incidents via DISC or seek help if they have been affected by abuse, hate crime or violence.

Safer Business Action Day made an impactful effort, reinforcing the commitment to safety and crime reduction in the city centre.

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