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Hull member Ian Smith laid bare the dangers of operating an independent convenience store during an NFRN meeting last week with Humberside Police and Crime Commissioner Jonathan Evison. Mr Smith outlined the different aspects of retail crime he has faced over the years. These experiences include theft, abuse, and antisocial behaviour.

The Commissioner understood these grievances and was positive about the upcoming plans to improve the force’s response to attacks on local, independent businesses. Firstly, Mr Evison emphasised the importance of reporting, regardless of the scale of the crime, to gather the data necessary to hold the Humberside chief constable to account. Without the data accumulated through reporting, the Commissioner cannot identify the areas where resources are needed most.

Understanding the busy lives of retailers, Mr Evison explained the upcoming improvements to be taken on the online reporting software, which will include victim statements and CCTV/imagery uploading facilities. Whilst this work is underway, the Commissioner explained the importance of utilising the Disc software, which is currently used across multiple forces, in over 500 UK towns and city centres.

Disc is an online information-sharing system for crime reduction and is helping drive down low-level crime and antisocial behaviour across the country. The Disc system aims to help business communities and their members share information about offenders so they can protect their property, staff, and customers. Disc also supports local Shopwatches, Pubwatches and independent Business Reduction Schemes in urban and rural areas. The Disc app can be downloaded onto smartphones so you can receive data, information from other Disc member and the app also provides a direct-to -police crime reporting system.

The Commissioner also outlined his plans to offer more services for victims of crimes and recognised the importance of Victim Impact Statements to make more impacts on court proceedings. Currently, only six per cent of retail crime incidents ever reach the inside of a court room, and where they do, the results do not give retailers any greater cause for hope. Over the last year, the NFRN has been pushing for all victims of crimes to be offered the opportunity to complete a victim impact statement, to allow the courts to better understand the impacts of the crime when passing sentences.

The NFRN hopes to work closely with the Commissioner in the coming months, as he vows to make retail crime a key priority of his crime plan and engage with our members in the Humberside region to make their voices heard.

For more information on Disc, visit: discagainstcrime.com

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