New ‘cops adopt a shop’ scheme launches in Northampton in a bid to cut retail crime

The scheme is a way for businesses to address concerns and bring them closer to the police

Wednesday, 27th October 2021, 4:41 pm
L-R caption: PCSO Minnie Larkin, Karrine Akers (store manager River Island), PCSO Rea Abbott-Huckin.

Town centre businesses will be given a dedicated police contact as part of a new ‘cops adopt a shop’ scheme to cut retail crime in Northampton.

The campaign, which follows on from a meeting between the BID and Northamptonshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Stephen Mold last month, launches today (October 27), with officers visiting a number of retailers who have already expressed interest in the scheme.

Retailers will be able to have regular conversations with a named police officer, with a view to establishing a more cohesive approach to tackling town centre crime and a closer working relationship between police officers and retailers.

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Inspector Beth Curlett of the Northampton Neighbourhood Team said: “The idea is to offer retailers in the heart of the town centre their own personal police contact from the priority area team.

“The shop will meet and have the contact details for their officer who will drop by and see them as regularly as is needed (usually every few weeks).

“The officer can be expected to provide general advice and problem solving around anything that isn’t a police emergency.

“Each officer will have responsibility for a handful of shops which will be manageable alongside their other duties.

“This will ensure meaningful interactions and highlight the police presence in the town.

“Alongside this we’ll ask the retailers to sign up to Neighbourhood Alert, which will give them access to high-level live-time messaging relevant to their location.”

The scheme is a collaboration by Northampton Town Centre BID, Northamptonshire Police, West Northamptonshire Council and the Northamptonshire Business Crime Partnership.

Inspector Andy Blaize came up with the initiative after a meeting with local businesses. He said: “I recently attended a meeting with local shop keepers and members of the Northampton BID who told me they wanted better lines of communication with us.

“As a result, we will be rolling out a new initiative where we will have a nominated police officer or PCSO who will be the main point of contact for those town centre shops that want to sign up to the scheme.

These links are being put in place to allow shopkeepers to have someone they can speak to about any issues they have on their premises, as well ask any crime prevention advice.”

Mark Mullen, operations manager of Northampton Town Centre BID, an organisation run by business owners to make Northampton a better place to live, shop and work, added: “For many businesses, perceptions of retail crime and anti-social behaviour is their number one concern.

“The ‘Cops Adopt A Shop’ scheme is a way to address those concerns and bring businesses closer to the police so they can work together to identify repeat offenders and protect their business, their staff and their customers from the threat of crime.”

The project will also see refocussed police involvement in the Northampton Retail Crime Initiative (NRCI) and the Northampton Town Anti-Social Behaviour Reporting Scheme (NTARS) – a mobile app for reporting anti-social behaviour issues and sharing business crime intelligence, funded by the BID and free for use by all BID levy-paying businesses