Southend Business Against Crime virtual meeting - 24th November 2020
Many thanks to those attended the Business Against Crime meeting on 24 November 2020.
Minutes and Actions from the last meeting
· Defibrilator locations given to the council for uploading.
· Crime prevention booklet has been discussed with Essex Police Business Crime Unit (BCU) and final copy will be distributed.
BID Crime and Safety Updates
· October Stats: 178 visitor enquiries (-14%), 126 business crime assists (+58% vs September), 86 ASB incidents (+18% vs September), 52% recovery of stolen goods (circa £1.6k)
· In November Rangers have been assisting open businesses and checking the premises of all temporarily closed businesses – tips for closed premises are on the bid news section and on DISC.
· After discussions with GAME it was decided to put on early shifts for the XBOX and PlayStation launches to assist with distancing. Good example of the partnership coming together quickly with Community Safety and Police teams.
· Before closure the partners worked on a face covering awareness session with the shopping centres and press release was issue to ensure the guidelines are publicised further.
· Rangers have undertaken a Project Servator training session with the Police team.
· It is advised to log on to DISC regularly in order to get news and updates from the area.
· Specific COVID cars deployed for COVID incidents and these will then patrol high risk areas when not called out on jobs.
o This specific car has been on the high street for 135 minutes and seafront for 205 minutes within the last week.
· Knife Arch operation was held on 10th November.
· Warrant on a town centre brothel – someone was found to be a victim of modern slavery and has now been removed from that situation – a great outcome.
· Great town partnership information sharing that have led to several arrests recently.
· Final operation Gull (illegal cockle pickers) has taken place and ensure individuals also had resources to support any modern slavery issues.
· Project Servator – introduced for the Edinburgh Commonwealth games as a means of counter terrorism. Objective is to provide lots of obvious, maximum visibility officers and then plain clothes officers watch for those then acting suspicious and purposely avoiding them. Training being undertaken and go live is on the 22nd December for that.
· COVID – some reports that businesses will be extending their opening times upon reopening which may also see an increase in the amount of crime in the area.
· Commented by two parties that a number of retailers are looking for late night opening and this list will be shared (will also be loaded on Visit Southend) (ACTION).
· Request to share knowledge of businesses that are operating later hours (ACTION).
· Looking at holding Q&A sessions with FSB and Essex Chambers of Commerce – look to do once a quarter so businesses can speak directly to the team, will update (ACTION).
· Holding off “Open for Business, Closed for Crime” (theft, asb, violence against staff) as it wouldn’t have the right support due to COVID focus – launch in Jan/Feb.
· Special Constables project underway.
· Increasing input into industrial areas that are under policed.
· Crime Prevention Booklet will be launched imminently – advice for businesses and staff – and will be shared with BID businesses (ACTION).
Community Safety (CS) Team Update
· Reiterating comments by the Police about how information sharing has led to arrests – example being an individual was “wanted” at the PlayStation launch and was spotted.
· Team has been down two permanent officers for an extensive period but one role has been recruited for and the other will be filled in December subject to vetting requirements. Extra support contracted in.
· Massive increase in complaints of ASB since start of Covid lockdown 1 with a high proportion of neighbour specific incidents – a consequence of more home working and furloughing – which significantly impact CS officers time.
· Continuing to provide a minimum of two officers across the high street and seafront each day for high visibility and addressing any ASB witnessed.
· Definite increase in the number of new members of the street community in the last month with many new faces.
· Work is being done to understand the reason the attractors to this area and to ensure the right actions are being taken to help those in the area that need it, but enforce against those who are not engaging and who are behaving in an anti-social manner affecting others
· Working to tighten up links and information sharing with outreach and CS teams as they are working different hours and ensuring that we are joined up in our approaches to these individuals
· Ultimately recently there has been a large increase in enforcement. First course of action is always to help people but if ASB continues and help is rejected then enforcement is taken.
o One attendee commented that there does seem to be a big increase and almost some new “leaders” causing disruption. Particularly bad around the back of M&S area is a trouble and in business doorways overnight and into the morning.
o Return comment that these ring leaders are identified and disruption activity is ongoing at the moment to discourage ASB and get individuals to move on.
Street Pastors Update
· Continued patrols in the lockdown but reduced the hours.
· Down the seafront has been busier for the team.
· Team out on most weekend and parks on Saturday afternoons – will adjust depending on tier.
· It has been confirmed that the new tiered approach will go live from 00.01 on Wednesday, 2nd Dec and the main changes are as follows:
o Tier 1 - people should work from home wherever possible.
o Tier 2 - Pubs and bars must close, unless operating as restaurants. Hospitality venues can only serve alcohol with substantial meals (tbc as to the ratio and timing of these meals).
o Tier 3 – hospitality (except for delivery and takeaways), indoor entertainment, hotels and other accommodation will have to close. Leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes are not allowed. Outdoor classes can continue.
o Closing time for hospitality will change so that it is last orders at 10pm with closing at 11pm.
· Tier decision will be made by central Government – local authorities will have no influence this time (e.g. Essex County Council requesting being in Tier 2).
· There is a COVID restrictions meeting hosted by the council early next week – once booking details are announced this will be sent out via emails and socials (ACTION).
· Questions can be sent through to Southend BID if businesses cannot attend.
· We are sending regular updates about the zone, COVID, etc so if you’re not on the mailing list then let me Southend BID know so you can be added.
· Parking will be free after 4pm and all day on Sundays in the run up to Christmas.
We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Next meeting: Tuesday 26 January 2020, 6pm