27 April 2023
More than a quarter of a million pounds worth of stolen goods have been returned to businesses in Southampton, thanks to a crime-reducing partnership.
The Southampton Business Crime Partnership (SBCP), set up by the city’s Business Improvement District GO! Southampton has worked alongside SWL Security to provide an additional presence across the city centre.
GO! Southampton funds three security members via SWL, who work daily to patrol the city centre and support businesses. Their work alongside the SBCP has proved so successful that they have reported the recovery of almost £286,000 worth of stolen goods since the initiative began in 2020.
Almost £100,000 of shoplifted stock was recovered in the past year alone, along with 231 arrests for various offences. The security team has also assisted in a further 373 arrests, 347 of which were for theft alone. A third of these arrests were met with some form of resistance, so the team needed to ultilise their professional training to help deal with the situation safely.
“The largest issue Southampton faces is shoplifting, particularly at a time when the cost of living is at its highest,” said Carol Bowers, Business Crime Reduction Administrator for GO! Southampton. “This comes as no surprise as the city is one of the best retail destinations on the South Coast.
“It means that as well as thefts being carried out by known local offenders and organised crime groups, the current cost-of-living crisis could see a potential increase in opportunistic offenders.”.
“But it is not just the public facing these issues, businesses are feeling the squeeze too – and we need to make sure as much of that money goes into those tills as possible to keep those businesses thriving and the local economy stable.”
Over the past 12 months, the GO! Southampton security team has visited retail and hospitality organisations that required assistance, supporting both their personal security teams as well as the local police.
It isn’t just crime that security deal with, however. Dean Rawson, Media & Marketing Administrator from SWL Security, said, “Although managing crime takes up a lot of the security team’s time, a significant amount of their role is to support the general public.
“Members of the community have stated the value, confidence and peace of mind they receive through the visual presence of the deployed team. While on patrol, the team is always on hand to help patrons and visitors by offering advice, giving directions, assisting in first-aid incidents, as well as much more. The team also frequently provides pastoral support for vulnerable people, such as the homeless and those with mental health issues.”
Stephen Manion, Chief Executive of GO! Southampton, said: “We are proud to have such an efficient team present within the city. This is a sentiment reflected by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire who recently awarded the SBCP with a certificate, which recognises their outstanding contribution to reducing business crime, and to thank them for helping to keep the community safe.”
The BID also achieved the coveted Purple Flag status in February this year, which recognises measures taken to make the centres of towns and cities safe, diverse, vibrant, appealing, well-managed, and to offer a positive experience to night-time consumers.
Stephen added: “We want to ensure Southampton is a safe place for our businesses, as well as for its residents and visitors, and we are extremely thankful for the hard work of SWL Security and the GO! Southampton security team.
“By keeping the city safe, visitors can enjoy a warm welcome, which we’re hoping will inspire even more people to return to the city and support local businesses through footfall and spending.”