LITTLEHAMPTON has been selected for a Home Office-funded pilot scheme to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in the town centre.
A trio of business wardens have been recruited and will be on hand to provide everything from crime prevention advice to submitting intelligence to the police.
The government-backed pilot has been launched by Sussex Police, in partnership with Southern Co-operative, with the wardens provided by a private security firm.
Simon Vickers, chairman of Littlehampton Traders’ Partnership, said: “It is a fantastic asset for the town to have and we were lucky to be chosen as a pilot area because this means we get added security in the town, which can help us with monitoring the businesses and the high street when we are lacking in police resources.”
The wardens will use an application known as Facewatch, a secure online crime reporting tool which enables businesses, residents and police to share images for the prevention of crime. It can also be used to submit CCTV evidence and witness statements to the police to help solve crimes.
The system is monitored by police and followed up appropriately.
Arun District Council leader Gill Brown said: “Retail crime costs millions each year and town centre retailers have to deal with this on a regular basis.
“I therefore very much welcome the introduction of the wardens to help fight this crime that is detrimental to our town centres.
“Businesses will be able to work with the wardens to gather intelligence about offenders and crime and upload it on to Facewatch, an online information platform accessed by Sussex Police.
“If a crime did occur the wardens have the power to make a citizen’s arrest and detain the offender until the police arrived.”
The two-year pilot will be introduced initially in Littlehampton but eventually spread across the district, with a primary focus on Littlehampton and Bognor Regis. It is hoped the pilot will get a continuation of Home Office funding at the end of the initial period.
A council committee will discuss the scheme next week.