GO! Southampton and partners gather to help combat crime in Southampton’s city centre

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14 March 2024

Southampton’s Business Improvement District (BID), GO! Southampton, is working alongside Southampton City Council, and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary, to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the city.

Safer Business Action Day, held on Thursday 14th of March, will bring police and partners together with Southampton’s businesses for a day devoted to deterring crime in the city centre.

A recent survey from the British Retail Consortium has shown there has been an increase of 50% in the levels of violence and abuse aimed at retailers across the country in the last year, taking the number of incidents to a staggering 1,300 a day*. GO! Southampton is dedicated to helping reduce this statistic.

Stephen Manion, Executive Director at GO! Southampton says the SaBA Day initiative is an important part of the BID’s work via its Southampton Business Crime Partnership (SBCP) to create a safer working environment for the city’s businesses, while enhancing its appeal to residents and visitors alike.

He said: “We take Safer Business Action Days seriously and we’re committed to reducing retail crime and anti-social behaviour in Southampton. Safety is of huge importance to the shops, retailers and eateries we work with in the city centre.

“We are keen to bring partners together to show our vigilance on deterring and preventing criminal activity, and we want to maintain a safe environment for our businesses to thrive.”

The latest SaBA Day comes shortly after Southampton Police launched the City Centre Unit, a new unit dedicated to reducing retail crimes in the city and violence towards shop staff. The unit comprises of seven officers, a sergeant, and a group of PCSOs.

The unit has been up and running for three months and is proving a success, the police team has already made more than 136 arrests, which has resulted in 37 offenders charged and remanded into custody.

Southampton Chief Inspector Marcus Kennedy said: “We know that shoplifting and retail crime is a real concern for local business in Southampton, including shop staff and shoppers, which is why it was so important for us to be part of this day of action again this year. Myself and my team will spend the day in the city centre, disrupting offenders and speaking to staff at local businesses.

“Retail crime is a priority for us and we hope to disrupt many of our key perpetrators during the day of action. This work will not stop and we’ll continue to keep up the pressure on those known for committing these crimes.

“We’re in the process of implementing a city centre unit, made up of dedicated officers who will focus on crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre. We are committed to relentlessly pursuing those who carry out these crimes and hope that our work demonstrates our proactive approach to the public and local businesses, beyond this day of action.”

Representatives from the retailers will also be involving their staff in the SaBA Day, with Caroline French, owner of  W. J. French & Son in Bedford place, one of the oldest shoe shops in Southampton taking part in the day of action.

Today’s Safer Business Action Day in Southampton is part of the National Safer Business Action Day week in March, contributing to a nationwide effort to combat crime and anti-social behaviour. Partners collaborating alongside GO! Southampton and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary are Local Authority enforcement teams, trading standards, homeless outreach workers, Southampton City Council Welfare Wardens, businesses and private security. All will be ensuring a well-rounded approach to crime prevention.

Two GO! Southampton security guards patrolling Above Bar precinct in Southampton City Centre

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