21 October 2021
Shop theft in Southampton City Centre has been reduced by a whopping 62 per cent since the Business Improvement District (BID) launched Southampton Business Crime Partnership in 2020, new figures reveal.
During that time, measures introduced by GO! Southampton have seen the recovery of over £71,000 worth of stolen goods and prison sentences handed out to 41 prolific offenders.
Many offenders have also been provided with the support to change their ways, say GO! Southampton bosses.
The latest figures come as businesses in the city centre are asked to vote on whether the Business Improvement District (BID) should be extended for a further five years.
Through the creation of the Southampton Business Crime Partnership (SBCP), established in August last year, the city centre BID has worked on creating a safer city centre for businesses, residents and visitors by reducing shop theft, criminal activities, vandalism and other incidents, says GO! Southampton.
The results have come about by working closely with city partners which has seen more than 250 BID members sign up to the SBCP via the DISC crime-reporting portal and radio scheme. Through the SBCP, GO! Southampton continue to bring the daytime and nighttime economies together to share crime intelligence and build resilience. Another significant factor was GO! Southampton’s successful lobbying for more police on the streets, resulting earlier this year in the reintroduction of the City Centre Policing Unit.
The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) for Hampshire were awarded £500,000 via the Safer Streets Fund to improve security and reduce crime in the Bargate ward. GO! Southampton’s Deputy Executive Director Rebecca Handley, sat on the executive board to help influence the decisions made as to how the money was effectively used. Initiatives included the extension of CCTV and lighting in the parks and securing service yards to protect workers in the city.
Over the five years since the BID was formed, a total of 96% of offenders have been prosecuted leading to 41 prison sentences. But for GO! Southampton it is not all about crime and punishment, they are working also to help rehabilitate people and support charities that help others.
Giles Semper, Executive Director at GO! Southampton said: “We have cemented strong partnerships to help tackle complex vulnerabilities of the street-attached community to try positively to support individuals and change their behaviours by accessing the necessary support.”
In 2019, GO! Southampton introduced a security team for an additional safety presence across the city centre. Patrols now take place 7 days a week and cover the BID area as well as attending to incidents. In 2021, as part of the Southampton Street Support Action Group, GO! Southampton launched the ‘Change The Way You Give’ diverted-giving campaign which provides targeted support for rough sleepers through contactless donation points across the city.
As a result of the work of SBCP members and the security team, shop theft has been reduced by 62% and more than £71k worth of stock recovered.
Giles continues, “We are already doing a tremendous amount towards keeping the city a clean and safe place to live. As our renewal ballot begins, we would like the opportunity to continue doing what we are doing. The BID plans to develop and nurture the SBCP to become a central hub of crime intelligence for businesses as well as continuing to provide security in the city. We are so proud that the SBCP has been able to meet demanding national standards.”
Deputy District Commander, Chief Inspector Ricky Dhanda said: “Partnership working will be key in the years to come. Working with organisations like GO! Southampton, as well as the local community, will help tackle rough sleeping, offer support to street-attached individuals and tackle prolific offenders using collated case files.”
GO! Southampton came into being on 1 April 2017 after a successful ballot the previous November. The BID is currently undergoing their renewal ballot in which businesses get to vote as to whether they believe GO! Southampton should continue for another five years. City centre businesses have until 11 November to return the voting papers. More information and how to vote can be found at www.gosouthampton.co.uk/ballot2021