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News - 11 December 2012

PAC Exclusion Scheme conference: ‘practical, down-to-earth, great value’

Another full-house
Partnerships Against Crime’s third subsidised regional conferences on ‘Exclusion Schemes – reducing high street crime and anti-social behaviour’ took place at the Leeds Hilton on December 6th. Feedback from delegates was outstandingly good: “This was a great conference: practical, down-to-earth, great value” was typical.

More than 70 delegates attended – from BIDs, BCRPs, shop- and pub-watches, local authority community safety groups and police. As always the programme featured local partnerships with local experience, as well as other relevant organisations from the region.

Despite some inclement weather, many delegates remained behind after the event to question speakers and to talk with exhibitors, including Vipauk, Apex Radios, Littoralis, Facewatch, MRS Radios and Meyertech.

The programme kicked off with an overview of Exclusion Schemes from CRP News editor Gabrielle Stirling. She described how Exclusion Schemes work and summarised their legal basis as well as the legal obligations of Members. She itemised the benefits that they can bring to business crime reduction partnerships and emphasised the importance of Good Practice and certification. Then, resuming her role as chair for the day, Gabi introduced the first of the day’s speakers.

Bob Lelliott, Manager of Chester Against Business Crime (CABC), one of the most successful partnerships in the North of England – and one which has run a highly effective Exclusion Scheme since its inception in 2005. He described the work of CABC and the tools which it uses to ensure efficiency and effectiveness. He emphasised the importance of interworking with as wide a group of other local organisations as possible. Bob explained how CABC had originally been funded by the local Crime & Disorder Reduction Partnership and the Government Office for the North West – funding which has long since been withdrawn, leaving the Partnership to generate its own income, which it has done with great success. Much of this reflects the Partnership’s determination to be seen as an integral part of the local policing family.

In addition to its Exclusion Scheme Chester runs well-attended weekly retail intelligence meetings and, of course a digital radio system. It subscribes to the NBIS national database of offenders and also uses BCRP Intranet for local distribution of offenders’ images, online incident reporting and communicating to its Members through BCRP Intranet’s automated weekly eNewsletter system. Projects undertaken by Chester Against Business Crime include providing ‘Jingle Bells’ and purse ties to reduce ‘dipping’ in the town, and the provision of UV Lights, ‘Static Policemen’ in stores, USB Sticks to distribute offender data to those not able to access the internet and much else.

Tony Mernagh runs perhaps the biggest BCRP in the UK – in Brighton and Hove – and provided step by step advice on how to set up a partnership from scratch. He also gave powerful statistical evidence to demonstrate the effectiveness of exclusion schemes. In addition to running its own partnership, Brighton & Hove BCRP also provides a full ‘out-sourcing’ service for other partnerships who can’t find the time or resources to do their own administration.

Jim Curry of Apex Radio Systems looked back, somewhat wistfully, to 1956 when he first became interested in crystal radio sets, and compared the world of short-wave analogue radio technology of those days with the latest systems available today. He offered guidelines on how a new partnership should approach the sometimes-challenging prospect of implementing its own radio system and some useful costings. These included the costs and benefits in purchasing a system outright and renting handsets out to Members in order to generate much-need revenue for the Partnership.

Charlie Newman from Littoralis – supplier of the BCRP Intranet online partnership administration system – discussed the practicalities and challenges of implementing 100% online administration in contrast to paper-based systems. He itemised the broad range of tasks which a paper-based system needs to address including documentation, compliance and membership management, Mugshot management, incident reporting, communications, Exclusion management and intra-partnership information-sharing. Then he showed how online administrations systems can reduce the amount of time spent on such tasks – and thus release an Administrator to spend more of his or her valuable time on delivering new projects and extending the reach of the Partnership to new areas, to new Members and into new activities.

Completing the presentations was David Ransom of the Sheffield-based Business Crime Reduction Centre. The BCRC delivers crime reduction advice and free reviews to small and medium-sized businesses in the Yorkshire and Humber area, and was able to show impressive figures to show the positive impact that the BCRC has made in the region. David fought for, and won, substantial funding for the project from the European Regional Development Fund as well as support from the four police forces in the area. The result: BCRP is one of the major factors which, together, have brought the number of business crimes in the area down from just over 35,000 in 2007 to a little under 22,500 in 2010.

David’s presentation was followed by a lively ‘Plenary Session’ in which delegates discussed issues raised in the day by the speakers. As with previous PAC conferences on Exclusion Schemes, the event was exceptionally highly rated by delegates. Comments ranged from “Best I have attended” to “Will make sure my colleagues come next time!” Delegates rated highly the relevance of the content, the quality of the presentations and excellent value-for-money.

The Leeds conference was the third in the current series of subsidised regional conferences on the theme ‘Exclusion Schemes: reducing high street crime and anti-social behaviour’. All are subsidised by PAC in order to attract relevant delegates, many of which are especially cash-strapped at present. The next conference will take place on February 28th in Birmingham. For more information on Partnerships Against Crime and its conferences visit the PAC website at www.partnershipsagainstcrime.com.


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