Throughout the week, the neighbourhood policing team visited numerous businesses to speak to staff, managers and customers about the issues that affect them – most commonly retail theft and assaults.
On Wednesday (18 October) PC Christian Gottmann, PC Charlotte Bartlett and PCSO Cloe Moy were at Tesco on Harefield Road in Rickmansworth, accompanied by colleagues from the fire service. The team spoke to both the public and shop staff about the reality of retail crime, and what is being done to tackle it. In addition, they signed 12 new people up to the Online Watch Link community messaging service, and referred eight people for a free home fire safety check.
In the afternoon, PCSO Alan Waller and PCSO Niki Phillips visited the Co-op on Lower Road, Chorleywood, where they were given a warm welcome by staff and spoke with customers about the impact of business crime. They also acquired three new members of OWL, and were pleased to find out that lots of those they spoke to were already signed up.
On Thursday (19 October) Rickmansworth-based PCSO Ryun Beeson was joined by Special Sergeant Elaine Colbeck on the High Street, where they conducted high-visibility patrols. They popped into all the coffee shops to raise awareness of recent distraction thefts that have been occurring in the area. They then paid a visit to both Marks and Spencer and Waitrose, where they spoke to staff and customers about retail theft and the increase in assaults on shop staff.
Later that evening PC Gary Wallington and PCSO John Diaz paid a visit to the Co-op on The Parade in Carpenders Park. They ran an event for staff and customers to highlight the impact that business crime has on the local community, the wider economy and how it is often mistakenly referred to as ‘a victimless crime’.
Over the past six weeks, PCSO Beeson has been busy re-launching Business Watch in Rickmansworth town centre, a scheme which allows retailers to quickly share information with police and other businesses about potential criminals operating in the area. Twenty-eight new businesses are now on board with the initiative, with more to come; PCSO Beeson will be visiting Money Hill Parade in the very near future so keep an eye out for him and say hi.
Sergeant Adam Johnson, from the Three Rivers’ Community Safety Unit, coordinated the week’s activities and said: “Crime affecting our local businesses is a year-round focus for us in neighbourhood policing, but this week was an opportunity for us to reinforce that message to both the retail community and residents alike.
“Through our high-visibility activities we were able to build on our existing relationships with shops, businesses and their customers, ensuring they were aware of the latest crime prevention advice available and how they can best prevent themselves from being an easy target for criminals.
“We also addressed the national increase in reports of assault and abuse against retail and shop staff, by highlighting the ShopKind campaign – a Home Office-backed initiative which aims to encourage positive customer behaviour while acknowledging the vital role of retail staff. It’s important for them to feel safe at work, but also to know what to do if they are the victim of a crime.”
You can use our anonymous community voice platform ‘echo’ to let us know what you think we should be prioritising in your area. Your feedback will help towards shaping our local policing priorities, initiatives, and campaigns. Visit bit.ly/police-threerivers and tell us your thoughts.
To receive police messages about a range of topics including burglaries, scams and missing people in your local area, sign up to owl.co.uk/herts or download the ‘OWL crime alerts’ app from your app store.