Making an Impact: Southampton’s Safer Business Action Day Bolsters City-Center Safety

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24 October 2023

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

GO! Southampton, alongside Southampton City Council, and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary held its Safer Business Action Day on Wednesday 18th of October. The day was to tackle and help reduce crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre.

The event also focussed on identifying and targeting the top five high-harm offenders in the city, the individuals who have previously been issued ‘member- wide exclusions’, meaning they have been banned from the city centre. 

There was a dedicated police presence which saw sergeants, police officers and PCSO’s patrolling throughout the day and this continued into the following few days. The heightened police presence proved successful as a number of arrests took place.

In total four arrests were made with one person charged, including a breach of court bail, a breach of Criminal Protection Notice and two people were arrested for a road rage and criminal damage incident.  

The Dispersal Zone also proved effective, it was in place from 7am on 18th October for 48hrs enabling Officers and PCSO’s powers to direct a person to leave the City Centre if they were engaged in anti-social behaviour. The day saw three Section 35 Dispersals distributed for anti-social behaviour and two community resolutions for possession of cannabis and low value shop-theft. 

Police accompanied Southampton City Council’s trading standards team on visits to retailers to check for counterfeit goods, illegal vapes and illicit tobacco. A substantial quantity of counterfeit goods were seized from one business. 

This was the fourth SaBA day event, Stephen Manion, Executive Director at GO! Southampton said: “The Safer Business Action Day has shown why a continued and active approach is needed. 

“We are keen to bring partners together to continue to build on the successes of the event, deterring and preventing crime and anti-social behaviour in the city centre.  

“We’ve been really focusing on retail crime, as many of our members are retailers or in hospitality and we’re all working together to deter retail crime and show a robust group effort to keep this kind of crime low. 

“We want to maintain a safe environment for our businesses to thrive.”

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.  

It has been part of the National Business Crime Centre’s Safer Business Action Week, contributing to a nationwide effort to combat crime and anti-social behaviour. Partners collaborating alongside GO! Southampton and Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary included Local Authority enforcement teams, trading standards, homeless outreach workers, Southampton City Council Welfare Wardens, businesses and private security to ensure a well-rounded approach to preventing crime.  

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 spent the day in the city centre, disrupting offenders and speaking to staff at local businesses.  

“Retail crime is a priority for us and we disrupted 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.”

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

Victim Support paired up with GO! Southampton’s Ranger, visiting businesses that have been targeted by prolific offenders to encourage staff to 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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