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On Wednesday 2 February, the NFRN’s Political Engagement team met with Hertfordshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner’s representative to discuss the new Independent Business Advisory Group (IBAG).

The IBAG is a strategic group designed to scrutinise the county’s constabulary response to all crime impacting Hertfordshire businesses, whilst providing consultative feedback to the Commissioner. The scheme provides a forum where independent advisors can provide guidance to members of the retail industry, enabling businesses to play their part in keeping Hertfordshire safe.

The group holds quarterly meetings which discuss police approaches to tackling various types of business crime, alongside national policy changes and crime prevention and security assistance. The work of IBAG places great focus on strong engagement with the business community throughout Hertfordshire and will continue to ensure both Hertfordshire Constabulary and the OPCC deliver an effective strategy that continues to address business crime across the county. Members are encouraged to put forward items for discussion in advance of meetings.

The Commissioner is particularly concerned about the increase of theft within independent stores, following the relaxation of covid restrictions, and hopes the IBAG scheme will encourage more retailers to report theft. The force is encouraging businesses to report thefts, in attempts to regain faith in the reporting system. The Commissioner has explained how businesses are as deserving of a police service in the same way residents are, and they require the reporting to build up a picture of the problem to allocate police resources effectively.

The NFRN is grateful to the Hertfordshire Commissioner for providing a larger focus on tackling retail crime within the county and will advocate for other constabularies to follow suit.

Jeremy Bishop, who is Chairman of IBAG said: “Business Burglary is a constant concern of business owners. One of the main aims of IBAG is to build trust and engagement by giving people the facts and explaining what they can do about issues and how they can get them resolved.”

Any person from Hertfordshire’s independent retail community is welcome to become a member of the IBAG. If you would like to join, please register your interest with the OPCC at Ty.Cartmell@herts-pcc.gov.uk

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