Wardens are being deployed across Sussex to deter and disrupt criminals who are targeting businesses.
Six community guards sponsored by Sainsbury’s and Mitie are now being deployed in Brighton and Hove alongside the current Business Improvement District ambassadors.
The wardens take the task of reporting crime away from businesses, securing physical and digital evidence and preparing statements for Police. Their role has been supported by Sussex Police and the Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne, who praises this partnership approach to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.
Mrs Bourne said: “The feedback from business communities about the value and impact of wardens has been excellent.
“It is vital that local organisations and the police work together to reduce business crime and help to create a safe and secure county in which to live and work.
“Because wardens are trained to secure the best physical evidence and take statements, they are helping businesses save time and reducing demands on police. They are also able to provide services beyond security like first aid, counter-terror awareness and emergency planning.”
Nationally business crime accounts for up to 25% of all crime. In Sussex that figure is 19% and Mrs Bourne is keen to encourage more firms to report it so this percentage continues to fall.
Sussex sees 28.3 crimes per 1,000 businesses, putting it 12th from the bottom of all 43 forces across England and Wales. Shoplifting accounts for 45% of all business crime in Sussex while criminal damage is just under a fifth; crimes at a convenience store represent 8.7% of the total number of business crimes.
Since 2015 business and community wardens have been introduced in Hastings, Eastbourne, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis and Haywards Heath. They were initially hired for an 18-month pilot jointly funded by the Home Office and the Southern Co-operative.
The existing business wardens in Sussex have powers to seize alcohol thanks to a community safety accreditation scheme which allows organisations and their employees to be given targeted police powers by the Chief Constable. These powers mean wardens can seize alcohol from under-18s or people drinking in designated spots, deal with begging and request the name and address of someone they believe has committed a relevant offence.
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