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Norwich BID radio scheme to protect businesses gets £25,000 boost

PUBLISHED: 07:00 14 November 2013 | UPDATED: 11:05 14 November 2013

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A cooperative security system offering protection for Norwich businesses against crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in the run-up to the busy Christmas period and beyond has received a £25,000 boost.

Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) is today relaunching Alert, its business crime initiative, which aims to make the city a safer place for businesses and customers.

Businesses are being given the chance to sign up for specially discounted rates, thanks to a £25,000 grant from Norfolk’s County Community Safety Partnership, following an application from Norwich BID and Norfolk Constabulary.

The scheme uses a digital radio security system, online information-sharing database, a 24-7 control room and direct links to CCTV and the police. The radios are carried by the SOS Bus, community first responders and Norwich street pastors.

Norwich BID executive director Stefan Gurney said: “We are very pleased to be working with the police and to have secured £25,000 funding. The scheme is already proving successful but we want to involve more Norwich businesses and to help reduce crime for the business community.”

Mr Gurney said that the more businesses which signed up, the more effectively the scheme would operate. “Over the past two Christmases, a key trading time in the city, the scheme successfully reduced crime and this is something we want to grow and develop by offering businesses subsidised rates to the Alert scheme,” he added.

The Alert scheme offers a night-time and day-time scheme, meaning that business, retail and night-time economies can benefit.

Sgt Darren Brooks, of Norfolk police’s licensing regulation team, said: “Improved communication between venues operating in the city centre is vital in combating crime and disorder. Licensed premises must work together to keep troublemakers out and make safer nights out for the vast majority who just want to have a good time.”

Members of the scheme say it has already proven its worth. Marcus Green, of Castle Mall, said: “Being a regular user of the scheme has proved beneficial to us in the detection and reduction of crime within Castle Mall, by the information exchanged between the radio users as well as the ability to update ourselves visually using the database.”

Norwich BID is run by businesses for businesses, to make positive changes to the city centre.

Businesses can find out if they are eligible for discounted radios at Open, on Bank Plain, between 9am and 5pm today. For more, call Norwich BID on 01603 727930.

Do you have a business story for the Norwich Evening News? Call the business desk on 01603 772426.

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