Essex Police’s new ‘Closed for Crime’ campaign launches in Southend
Updated: May 20
w/c 3rd May 2021
As retailers across the UK have reopened their doors in lieu of Coronavirus restrictions easing, they’ve felt a sense of relief and delight. However, this transition hasn’t come without difficulty. Unfortunately, we have seen a rise in abuse and violence towards retail staff; this is particularly common during busier periods and after months of closures, the issue is becoming increasingly familiar. It is for this reason that the Southend Business Improvement District (BID) has partnered with Essex Police and Community Safety teams to launch a new ‘Open for Business, Closed for Crime’ campaign across Southend-on-Sea. This promises to support local workers and businesses alike, proactively addressing the issue.
The ‘Open for Business, Closed for Crime’ campaign, created by the Essex Police Business Crime Unit, centres around supporting public-facing employees whilst raising awareness of the abuse and violence that retail staff withstand. Southend BID hope that this will change customers’ mindsets, whilst the Essex Police Business Crime Unit demonstrate a zero-tolerance approach.
Southend BID Manager Suzanne Gloyne says: “Working in retail can be stressful, especially during busier periods. We urge everyone to be patient with staff as they adhere to measures to keep themselves and customers safe” … “Abusive behaviour is never acceptable and we are urging businesses and their staff to report any incidents to the police.”
Southend BID’s Street Ranger Team will be on hand to assist BID businesses with any instances of crime, working in partnership with the many teams who operate across the town to keep visitors and residents safe.
Meanwhile, Police Constable Alex Plakhtienko from the Essex Police Business Crime Unit discusses their zero-tolerance strategy: “Our intention is to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service in instigating Criminal Behaviour Orders against any person who subjects retail workers to abuse and violence.” … “Our message is clear: ‘Violence and abuse towards retail workers will not be tolerated’”.
Southend BID is committed to keeping the community safe, offering proactive support to BID businesses who are at risk of such violence and abuse. In order to do so, the BID also provides members with the DISC crime system to help manage low-level crime and ASB; this allows members to share information and raise current awareness amongst levy payers. Similarly, we host a bi-monthly Southend Business Against Crime meeting which is attended by members of the Town Centre Police Team, Business Crime Unit, Community Safety Officers and Outreach Teams. These meetings are open to all BID businesses should they wish to hear updates or highlight issues they are experiencing.
As a community, we must work together to support the recovery of local businesses and the wider retail sector. This can only be achieved by supporting customer-facing employees; if you’re a local retailer who would like to find out more about this support, visit the Southend BID website for more information. To report an incident, contact Essex Police.