Crime Briefing

Known offenders targeted in town centre crime crackdown

Retail leaders in the town centre have welcomed a renewed focus on dealing with anti-social behaviour as part of a drive to cut crime and make Northampton a safer place to shop.

The Northampton Town Anti-Social Behaviour Reporting Scheme (NTARS) programme was relaunched earlier this year and has already seen more than 200 members underline their commitment to reducing rates of criminal activity in the town.

Over the past three months, businesses have collated 74 offences through the system, with a further 27 added in July so far.

Mark Mullen, operations manager of Northampton Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID), said: “Obviously, in an ideal world there wouldn’t be any offences to report but at this stage it’s really encouraging to see members using the system. That is allowing police to be aware of the issues and responding accordingly to identify, arrest and prosecute known offenders.

“We have a gallery of 97 known offenders and members are building character profiles to establish patterns of offending, giving police the chance to be proactive in their approach to crime prevention. We’ve already seen the fruits of this approach, with seven convictions as a direct result of this information gathering.

“All of us want to see the town centre prosper and be a place where visitors can come to shop or enjoy a meal out with friends in a safe and welcoming environment. It won’t happen overnight but we are making progress. Rough sleepers continue to be an issue but we are seeing earlier interventions to signpost those in need to the relevant help and support that is available.”

Earlier this month, dozens of businesses attended a briefing event in Grosvenor Shopping Northampton to discuss retail crime and the relaunch of the Cops Adopt A Shop campaign, which has seen 60 town centre businesses benefit from relationships with a named police officer.

Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Beth Warren said: “Since we began our targeted work in the town centre, we’ve seen a significant decline in ASB incidents and will continue our operations to ensure this continues into the school holiday period.

Inspector Warren added: “The briefing session for businesses was a great opportunity for officers to chat with BID members, the Northampton Retail Crime Initiative, West Northamptonshire Council’s ASB unit and outreach workers to share information about how we can all work to keep Northampton a safe and welcoming place to work, live, shop and visit.”

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