One of the key tactics in preventing violence and aggression is effective partnership working. Partnerships can be between either you and one other agency, business or organisation, or between a whole network of organisations. Your partners may include the police, your local authority, and other local businesses.
Partnerships might be on a local, regional and national basis.
The benefits of such partnerships could include:
- sharing and dissemination of information;
- pooling of funding and expertise;
- greater likelihood of identifying and understanding violence and crime in your business.
If you are interested in partnership working, the easiest thing might be to find out if a suitable scheme already exists in your area, or if you are part of a larger organisation, your colleagues in other shops/pubs/clubs may already be involved in one.
If there is not a suitable scheme available to you, you could think about organising your own group. The tips below will help you to see who could be involved.
Who could you work in partnership with?
Partnership activity with the police can include:
- increased visible police presence outside premises to deter crime and violence;
- intelligence sharing;
- increased links with police through CCTV and radio, text or pager links; and
- help with enforcement strategies such as exclusion orders, Anti-social Behaviour Orders or local police enforcement powers.
- All police forces have officers trained in crime prevention - contact your local police station for advice
Here are some examples of the sort of partnership activities that could exist between local businesses and the police.
- Encourage local police officers to call in and chat to staff to build relationships and give advice.
- Work with the police and other local businesses by using radio/phone links to alert other businesses, the police or CCTV control rooms, when a known offender is in the vicinity, or when there is trouble.
- Ask police for information on security issues and local crime problems/suspects.
- Visits from crime prevention officers or others to give more crime prevention advice.
- All police forces have officers trained in crime prevention - contact your local police station for advice.
- Talk to the police about any particular or persistent troublemakers or specific 'hot spots' located in your business, highlighting the issues.
- This might help the police redistribute their resources, for example to provide a larger police presence in your area.
- Take part in any existing Business Watch Schemes in your area (eg Shopwatch and National Pubwatch).
Your local authority (LA)
Examples of the ways that you can work with your LA in partnership include:
- Liaise with your LA health and safety enforcement section for general advice on exclusion orders or to find out if there are any local crime reduction or anti-social behaviour initiatives.
- Consider teaming up with others in the community to find solutions to anti-social behaviour.
- Your LA may already have, or you could help develop, community safety strategies. These may be co-ordinated by a town centre manager.
Examples of strategies may include considering crime and disorder in planning applications.
Working in partnership with trade union health and safety representatives can help you reduce the risk of violence.
- Union representatives will consult with members, which will help you work together to identify issues and create strategies.
Other local businesses
Ways of working in partnership with other local businesses include:
- Improve communication between businesses.
- You could share good practice in anti-crime and anti-violence measures, or share information, photos or evidence on persistent offenders.
- You could also decide to ban persistent troublemakers from all local premises.
- Join national or local trade and business associations.
- Warn each other of violent customers.
- You could do this by all jointly investing in a radio system to alert each other and the police, or simply go and talk to your business neighbours.
- Agree that you will all consistently support legislation such as not serving underage people. For example, asking for identification.
- Think about joining or setting up a local business crime reduction partnership to help with sharing resources and information. Action Against Business Crime can provide a list of current business crime reduction partnerships.
- The Scottish Business Crime Centre has set up the 'Retailers Against Crime Scotland (RACS)' initiative. This is a system whereby organisations share intelligence on professional and travelling offenders. Based at the Scottish Business Crime Centre, information on crime and offenders is collated, analysed and disseminated to member stores and shopping malls throughout Scotland via regular newsletters and other updates.
If you are finding it hard to obtain co-operation from your local businesses it might be useful to involve a local Chamber of Commerce or Trade Association. You may also need ongoing support, so you could encourage the appointment of a 'champion' amongst the premises who can drive the project forward and co-ordinate efforts to make the partnership more effective.
When carrying out alterations, whether large or small, work with designers to help you, for example, design better environments that minimise the risk of violence and crime. Crime prevention design officers are available through the local police force to assist with this process. Other organisations that could assist include The Institute of Conflict Management and The Suzy Lamplugh Trust.
How can I assess whether our partnership is being effective?
You should make sure you assess how effective any partnership programmes are and think at the beginning about what you want to achieve with the partnership. How much information is shared between agencies?
You should also view your partnership working arrangements and make necessary changes to improve their effectiveness as the partnership progresses.