Holistic approach keeps town centre safe

The work of a Great Yarmouth crime-fighting scheme was held up before a national conference this week as an example of how to keep town centres safe and inviting.

The work of a Great Yarmouth crime-fighting scheme was held up before a national conference this week as an example of how to keep town centres safe and inviting.

Town centre manager Jonathan New-man addressed the gathering at Reading on the town's “holistic” approach to ridding the town's retail heart of crime, for the benefit of traders and visitors.

He was among about 200 delegates attending the British Retail Consortium annual conference and was asked to shine the spotlight on Yarmouth's unique crime reduction partnership.

Mr Newman said: “I initially


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thought I had just been asked to take a workshop, but when I got the schedule for the day I found myself put on a pedestal in a 40-minute slot.”

He added: “What we have done is brought all the various strands under one roof. One of the things that has been vastly reduced is street drinking, because people cannot sit there undis-turbed. If we are discouraging any sort of criminal behaviour, we are also discouraging all the things that go with it, like criminal damage and graffiti.

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“We tackle everything holistically, and it has made the town centre a safer place to trade and visit. It works particularly well with the team of street wardens and a procedure for sharing information via a secure server. Any trader can access it and upload information. It means we can distribute pictures of shoplifters when they are caught, not when they are convicted, which is much more efficient.”

Mr Newman said there was a distinct advantage in the way the town co-ordinated its CCTV system, radio link and street wardens under one roof, and in the excellent support that retailers received from the police. “A 50pc reduction in retail crime during the Christmas period was further proof of the effectiveness of the scheme and the pro-active policing that was carried out during December,” he said.

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