A new weapon in the fight against shop lifting and antisocial behaviour could soon be coming to Grimsby town centre – and businesses have been invited to come and see it for themselves.
Humberside Police, Freshney Place and North East Lincolnshire Council have teamed up to set up Grimsby Retailers in Partnership (GRIP) – and together they’re offering retailers the chance to sign up to a new scheme which could help dramatically reduce crime.
PC Thomas Crosfill, the Community Beat Manager for the town centre said: “We’ve been doing a lot of work with the retailers and other businesses in the town centre to look at how we can deal with issues around shop theft and antisocial behaviour.
“My team and I spend a lot of time in the town centre, both out on patrol and speaking to the retailers about any concerns they have and what we’re doing to address them.
“One thing that kept coming up was that they wanted a secure system where they could share information with each other.
“They wanted to be able to send out alerts to each other when prolific offenders are seen in the area, so they can take steps to stop them coming into their premises and stop shop thefts before they can happen.
“The businesses also wanted to be able to share information about those who are believed to be responsible for shop lifting and antisocial behaviour, so they can help each other identify the people committing crime in the area and pass on that information to us.”
After exploring a number of options, the team has found a system it believes could provide the solution at the touch of a button.
It works through a simple app, which can be downloaded to any smartphone or tablet and can then be accessed by specified representatives from each member firm.
To get the scheme off the ground, Humberside Police, Freshney Place and North East Lincolnshire have pledged a total of £5,000, allowing them to offer companies an annual subscription for £90.
The system’s administration will be supported by Freshney Place and GRIP will be chaired by owner of the franchise of the Victoria Street branch of McDonalds, Ayolt Kloosterboer (pictured above, centre, with Freshney Place Centre Director Amanda Austin and PC Thomas Crosfill).
Voluntary Action North East Lincolnshire (VANEL) is also actively involved and will fill the roles of company treasurer and secretary.
Grimsby town centre businesses and retailers are now invited to come along to a live demonstration of the system to see it for themselves and ask any questions they may have about how GRIP will work on Monday, June 17.
Freshney Place Centre Director Amanda Austin said: “We want to do all we can to support the retailers and other town centre businesses to enhance the experience for our customers visiting the shopping centre and Grimsby.
“I believe this is a really exciting opportunity, which could have a huge impact on crime and antisocial behaviour in the town centre and I want to encourage as many firms as possible to get behind the scheme.
“By working together we can make a real difference and enhance the customer experience within the town centre and make the most of Grimsby’s offer.”
Mr Kloosterboer added: “I have been really impressed with the potential of what GRIP could achieve in the town centre if businesses come together and support the initiative.
“This system will allow us all to get up to date information about the people who are most likely to cause harm to our businesses and how we can prevent that from happening.
“What I have found most powerful is that this scheme has already been adopted by more than 400 towns and cities in the UK and it’s proved to be a really effective tool in protecting their businesses, customers and staff, as well as in the fight against shoplifting and other retail crimes such as fraud.
“I want to urge as many businesses as possible to come along on Monday and find out more. There’s no obligation to sign up but I think you will be impressed at what you see.”
The event will take place at 10.30am on Monday, June 17, at Freshney Place’s Community Hub (close to the information point). All town centre businesses are welcome.
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