UK Government

Home Office: Grants boost security for small retailers

Press Release   •   Feb 02, 2010 10:48 GMT

Hundreds of small retailers across the country are set to receive grants to buy security devices such as alarms, security cameras and UV markers, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell announced today.

Designed to help fight crime, the money from the £5 million Small Retailers Grants Fund is being allocated to around 1,000 small retailers across England. In addition 72 partnerships made up of groups of small businesses and local authorities will receive grants to help improve their neighbourhoods and reduce crime.

The fund is a key part of the Retail Crime Action Plan (RCAP) which was published in August 2009 and was drawn up in conjunction with the retail industry. It sets out a broad range of actions to tackle crimes against retailers and small businesses.

The grants are being used to:

• purchase security equipment for individual retailers such as CCTV, infrared security cameras, security shutters and rollers, safes, alarms, anti-fraud equipment such as UV markers to detect counterfeit notes and anti-graffiti paint; or

• fund partnership projects benefiting larger groups of small business. In Castleford, Wakefield 96 businesses will have a new Alert Box system installed. The system is described as an electronic “Neighbourhood Watch” allowing groups of retailers in an area to alert each other to any suspicious activity or crime by simply pressing a button.

Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said:

“This fund was set up to provide real help to the small businesses that need it the most and I am delighted that more than 1,000 retailers will benefit from the increased security these grants will provide.

“It is just one part of the government’s work to target the crimes that affect businesses, especially during an economic downturn. We will continue working closely with the industry and police to ensure action is being taken to keep crime down.”

One partnership to receive a grant was the E11 Business Improvement District (BID) in Leytonstone, London. They received £50,000 to pay for a major CCTV system covering the town centre, providing reassurance to both local businesses and the community. The new system will include facial recognition and Automatic Number Plate Recognition technology. The E11 group met Mr Campbell today to talk about the work they are planning to carry out with the grant.

Fawaad Shaikh, Chairman of the E11 BID, said:

“It’s great that we’ve been given this money and it’s a testament to the strong partnership between us, the council and the Home Office that our bid was successful.

“This is a project that never would have happened without that and the businesses have supported us 100 per cent. It’s so crucial for a town centre and its retailers to feel secure and this project will help us do that.”

Councillor Terry Wheeler, Waltham Forest Council Cabinet Member for Enterprise and Investment, said:

“Securing this funding is a great achievement and it just goes to show how hardworking and enterprising Waltham Forest’s business community is.

“This is a real boost after a difficult year and should help to ensure the E11 BID companies are even more successful in the future.”

The RCAP was developed with the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG). It looks at what more can be done to help victims of business crime and encourage work between businesses, the Police and Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnerships.

As well as the Small Retailers Grants Fund the Home Office also published an online risk assessment tool for businesses that was developed by crime prevention experts. Small business owners can complete the tool online to identify simple things they can do to improve the security of their store and who they can contact for help.

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The areas eligible to bid for grants from the Small Retailer Grants Fund are: Middlesbrough; Kingston upon Hull; Durham; Birmingham; Blackburn with Darwen; Hartlepool; Newham; Stoke on Trent; Blackpool; Bradford; Pendle; Leicester; Haringey; Hastings; Oldham North East; Lincolnshire; Preston; Newcastle upon Tyne; Barrow-in-Furness; Sheffield; Wolverhampton; Burnley; Sunderland; Bolton; Doncaster; Merthyr Tydfil; Northumberland; Redcar and Cleveland; Great Yarmouth; Mansfield; Walsall; Barnsley; Blaenau Gwent; Derby; Coventry; Thanet; Wigan;  Rhondda Cynon Taf; Wakefield; Darlington; Kirklees; Barking and Dagenham; Tameside; Waltham Forest; Torbay; Norwich; Plymouth; Portsmouth; Lincoln; and Swansea.

2. The Retail Crime Action Plan is just one part of the Home Office’s strategy to tackle property-related crimes and turn the tables on criminals who seek to take advantage during an economic downturn. The strategy is backed by a £20 million fund which includes £15 million package addressing acquisitive crimes such as burglary and robbery by cracking down on offenders, providing support for victims and crime prevention advice for the public which was announced in April 2009.

3. The National Retail Crime Steering Group was set up in 2007 and is currently chaired by Home Office Minister for Crime Reduction Alan Campbell. It includes some of Britain’s largest retailers and all the major retail trade bodies, including the British Retail Consortium, the Federation of Small Businesses and the Association of Convenience Stores. They are joined by representatives from central and regional government and the Police. The group provides a forum to discuss and devise strategies for tackling crimes of concern to retailers.

4. The interactive risk assessment tool is available on the Home Office’s website at www.homeoffice.gov.uk/secureyourbusiness

5. To request a copy of the Retail Crime Action Plan or for more information contact the Home Office press office on 020 7035 3535.

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