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Businesses highlight work of dedicated PCSO and security radio scheme

PUBLISHED: 15:36 24 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:49 24 April 2018

Mike Soanes, the PCSO part funded by Lowestoft Vision and dedicated to the BID area. Picture: Courtesy of Lowestoft Vision.

Mike Soanes, the PCSO part funded by Lowestoft Vision and dedicated to the BID area. Picture: Courtesy of Lowestoft Vision.

Archant

Business owners have spoken of how a security radio scheme and dedicated PCSO have helped to reduce crime in Lowestoft town centre.

London Road North, Lowestoft.
Picture: Nick ButcherLondon Road North, Lowestoft. Picture: Nick Butcher

Both schemes are delivered by Lowestoft Vision - the business improvement district (BID) - to make the town more safe.

And as the organisation looks to secure another five years delivering its services, members have highlighted the importance of the projects.

In 2015 Lowestoft Vision began to part-fund a full-time Police Community Support Officer (PCSO) to work within the BID area. As part of the agreement with Suffolk Constabulary, Lowestoft Vision is able to set the priorities for each quarter for PCSO Mike Soanes, based on the needs of local businesses.

Mike Soanes, the PCSO part funded by Lowestoft Vision and dedicated to the BID area. Picture: Picture Studios.Mike Soanes, the PCSO part funded by Lowestoft Vision and dedicated to the BID area. Picture: Picture Studios.

The priorities include reducing crime, street drinking and enforcing parking restrictions.

Following its formation in 2013, Lowestoft Vision also took over the management of the town security radio scheme, allowing businesses to keep in contact with each other to monitor potential risks in the town over secured channels.

Matt Wade, from Annatar in London Road North, said: “Since taking up the town radio at Annatar, it has helped identify and apprehend at least half a dozen potential and actual shoplifters.

Annatar in London Road North. Picture: Archant.Annatar in London Road North. Picture: Archant.

“On one occasion specifically, the CCTV operators watched a known shoplifter enter my shop and notified me of his presence. The man in question whipped an item off the shelf before I could respond, but as CCTV followed the individual I was able to check my internal CCTV, confirming that suspect had stolen something. We were then able to send the police to intercept, retrieve my stock and the man then served a custodial sentence for the theft.”

James Vater, speaking on behalf of Boots in the town, also praised the service.

He said: “We find it extremely helpful here at Boots, the radio scheme has really helped us work together as a team with regards to theft.”

As a result of the projects, Lowestoft Vision recorded a 23.8pc reduction of shop thefts in the BID area, a 34.5pc drop in anti-social behaviour and 778 parking notices issued by the PCSO.

The vote to renew Lowestoft Vision’s work for another five years will take place from Friday, April 27, and all levy-paying businesses within the BID area will have been sent a ballot paper. The ballot closes on May 24 and the outcome will be announced soon afterwards.

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