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A new weapon in war on crime

PUBLISHED: 14:31 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 13:13 03 July 2010

Tackling crime: PC Lee Howell from Magdalen safer neighbourhood team accepts a cheque on behalf of Gorleston CCTV from McColls manager Tracey Garland.

Tackling crime: PC Lee Howell from Magdalen safer neighbourhood team accepts a cheque on behalf of Gorleston CCTV from McColls manager Tracey Garland.

THE battle against shoplifters and unruly teenagers on a Gorleston estate was made easier this week with the introduction of a new radio system.

Staff from participating shops on Magdalen Way will have a direct radio link to police, meaning they can share information on the movements of known troublemakers to officers.

PC Lee Howell with Magdalen neighbourhood wardens Jeff Woods and Elaine Turner.

THE battle against shoplifters and unruly teenagers on a Gorleston estate was made easier this week with the introduction of a new radio system.

Staff from participating shops on Magdalen Way will have a direct radio link to police, meaning they can share information on the movements of known troublemakers to officers. And the radios will also be used by the borough council's neighbourhood wardens, who at the moment call the control room at Norfolk Police if they need assistance.

Six months in the making, the radio link went live this week and is an extension of the highly successful system operating in Gorleston High Street, which combined with CCTV, has seen shoplifting offences slashed by a third.

Officers are hoping for similar results on the Magdalen estate where anti-social behaviour is a policing priority under operation Clamp It.

Leading the project is PC Lee Howell, of the local safer neighbourhood team, who revealed police were working towards extended CCTV to the estate, something which could be operational within four weeks.

PC Howell said: “I think it's so important to have this link with local businesses so we can work in partnership with shops to prevent crime.”

Improved surveillance in the High Street has meant some offenders have been driven towards estates like the Magdalen to commit crime. “Most offenders will shoplift whether there is CCTV or not, but the success of the scheme in Gorleston is certainly an element,” said PC Howell.

McColls manager Tracey Garland said while problems still existed, massive inroads had been made by police in tackling anti-social behaviour. In the past Mrs Garland admits to chasing troublemakers out of the shop.

“I know I shouldn't do but I've never put myself in danger. I've borrowed someone's pushbike before to follow a troublemaker so I could lead police to him.”

McColls is the first to sign up to the scheme, operated by volunteers at Gorleston CCTV, with the Co-op expected to follow soon.

Neighbourhood wardens, who aim to reduce crime and the fear of crime, coupled with improving the environment, will also be involved in the scheme.

Pictures: Laura Bagshaw

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