Online system helps town centre traders crack down on crime
03 October 2016
A ‘rogues gallery’ of shoplifters, vandals and other offenders is being shared by shops and businesses to help crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour in Bridgend town centre.
Nearly 40 businesses in the town have signed up to a new online system that enables them to see and post alerts about known shoplifters that are operating in the area, and also warn others about any anti-social or suspicious behaviour.
Pubs and clubs are also using the secure system to make it easier to identify and ban individuals who have committed violent crime.
The ‘DISC’ system (Database and Intranet for Safer Communities) was launched in the summer with funding support from Bridgend County Borough Council, and can be accessed by traders either through computers or via a smartphone ‘app’.
Kate Scourfield, who runs the Phoenix pub in Bridgend, is co-ordinating the initiative. She said: “We were extremely keen to introduce this system after hearing how effective it has been in reducing crime in other town centres across South Wales including Cardiff, Newport, Barry and Merthyr.
“Working with the police, we are able to compile a gallery of offenders and share those images among traders so that we all know who to watch out for. We are also able to keep everyone updated on the latest tactics being used by shoplifters, and report incidents of suspicious behaviour, use of fake IDs, graffiti and vandalism. Basically, anything that businesses would benefit from knowing about.”
As well as raising awareness of crime, the system is also being used to share missing person alerts and news of any upcoming events in the town centre.
Councillor Ceri Reeves, Bridgend County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Communities, said: “This new system is a very welcome addition which will make Bridgend town centre even safer for traders and shoppers alike. It’s an excellent use of modern technology and will greatly assist the work of the police in preventing crime.
“As similar systems are also in place in other South Wales towns, it also enables intelligence to be shared so that Bridgend’s traders are more aware of those shoplifters that are known to be working the M4 corridor to target particular stores.
“There are numerous advantages of this new system and I am pleased to confirm that funding is in place to introduce it in both Maesteg and Porthcawl over the next few months as well.”
It costs £9 per month to be a part of the Bridgend Businesses Against crime network, and membership also provides traders with a storenet radio that gives them direct access to a PCSO, CCTV and the police. For further details, please call 07715 655011.