For almost a year now, high street businesses have faced unprecedented challenges. Covid has closed tens of thousands of retail premises resulting in a temporary decline in shoplifting, while the virtual closure of the night-time economy has reduced the level of associated anti-social behaviour (ASB). Yet overall, data show that lockdowns, job losses, business closures and social isolation has stoked a new wave of ASB – and shifted it onto the streets of our towns and city-centres.
Anti-social behaviour falls into four categories:
- Personal: when a person targets a specific individual or group;
- Nuisance: when someone causes trouble, annoyance or suffering to a community;
- Environmental: when behaviour affects public spaces or buildings;
- Covid-related: we should (hopefully only for the time being) include a new type of ASB: non-compliance with Covid restrictions.
How does ASB affect local businesses?
ASB impacts local businesses as much – perhaps more – than residents. Public-facing businesses such as retailers, licensees, and sporting venues suffer not only from the fear, or impact, of violence, but also concern for workers and customers’ health and potential business property damage and the cost of repair.
Research shows a growing demand from local business owners for police forces to deal with anti-social behaviour. Unlike shoplifting, ASB is highly visible and often directly affects customer footfall. Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) can help protect local businesses from low-level crime and ASB and naturally their levy payers want to see action.
ASB affects both daytime and night-time economies and often crosses over between the two. Alcohol-fueled or drug-related ASB, for example, poses challenges for both daytime retail and night-time hospitality venues. Hence the growth of local Shopwatches and Pubwatches over recent years, as well as larger Business Crime Reduction Partnerships.
It is vital to ensure crime information is shared between businesses who open during the day and those that open at night – but Shopwatch and Pubwatch schemes often run independently of each other so there is little sharing of information between them.
How can Disc help?
With Disc, schemes like these can work entirely independently, while sharing information between them (and their members) efficiently, effectively – and compliantly.
Disc also helps them work more closely with police, self-managing their own low-level crime and ASB but also identifying prolific offenders so that the police and other public agencies can focus their limited resources on pursuing them through the conventional criminal justice process.
This is ‘filling the policing gap’. Despite rising incidents of ASB, they are woefully under-reported to police. Lengthy delays on the 101 police non-emergency helpline and the belief that police won’t follow up such reports explains a lot.
Disc is a game-changer, enabling local businesses not only to fill the policing gap, but also enabling police to target their limited resources where they can have the biggest impact – on the prevention and detection of more serious crimes.
Disc enables effective information-sharing and through the Alert system, emerging issues and developing prolific offenders can quickly be identified and dealt with immediately. Police benefit through the gathering of evidence for a CBO, receiving information about ID-Soughts and focusing their resources on combatting prolific offenders.
Most importantly, all of this information can be shared securely and processed in full compliance with Data Protection Law and GDPR, including the processing of young persons’ data. Disc has been developed with ‘compliance by design’ at its heart, ensuring information security is embedded throughout its data-gathering processes.
To find out more about how Disc, or to book a demonstration of the system, please complete the enquiry form and we will be in touch!