Northampton's Retail Crime Initiative (NRCI) has been driving down retail-related crime and anti-social behaviour in the town since 2001. Now Northamptonshire Police, with some seed-funding from the Police & Crime Commissioner, is supporting the extension of the successful model right across the county.
The Northampton Retail Crime Initiative has launched a new organisation - the Northamptonshire Business Crime Partnership (NBCP) - which has already set up two new retail crime initiatives covering Kettering and Wellingborough. And plans are afoot to set up two more town-centre schemes in Corby and Daventry, and two rural schemes covering East and South Northants. The aim is to provide retail crime reduction support for retailers right throughout the county.
According to a case study published today (click here to download in PDF format) the success of the model is largely due to pro-active support from Northamptonshire police (including data-sharing and serving of Exclusion Orders) and to the direction and overall control of its voluntary Board of Directors and Chairman. Also key to its success is the use of online systems which enable new initiatives to be set up quickly and at low cost, and which relieve staff of much time-consuming administration so they can spend more time face-to-face with retailers, building relationships and expanding membership.
According to NBCP's Business Development Manager and ex-Police Officer Steve Lang, and its Scheme Administrator Denise Ellis (pictured), their online partnership management and data-sharing system not only helps them expand their services right across the Northants force area - it also provides clear evidence of the success of the schemes themselves. That means retailers can see the real benefits of membership in terms of reduced losses through shop theft which, in turn, encourages more participation and engagement.
Charlie Newman of Littoralis - the company that supplies NBCP's DISC system - says that Northamptonshire is a good example of how the system can be used to support an 'umbrella' retail crime reduction programme. "We currently have over 130 DISC implementations throughout the UK - mostly in larger towns and city-centres. But schemes like NBCP can use the same system to support initiatives for smaller towns and even rural areas too. Obviously the cost of supporting new schemes using the same DISC system is very low.
"We really welcome county- and force-wide initiatives like this. It means that retailers outside larger urban areas can benefit from membership of crime reduction partnerships - and with a larger number of potential members, it's easier and quicker for the umbrella scheme to achieve and maintain financial self-sufficiency."