Southern Co-operatives is set to launch a major new anti-crime initiative covering the Portsmouth area.
The scheme, labelled Portsmouth Business Partnership Against Crime, is due to launch in mid-August and is designed to maximise the partnership between businesses and the local police in order to prevent crime and increase community safety.
Gareth Lewis, loss prevention manager for Southern Co-operatives, said it would be the biggest community partnership anywhere in the UK and would run in conjunction with a new community policing policy which is being trialled by the Home Office.
Local businesses will assist the police by offering them the use of their premises. Lewis said that these, including many of the more than 30 Co-op stores in the city, would then be used as local police stations from which the police have promised to flood the city with community support.
The partnership will also use information-gathering software to identify both individuals and trends of anti-social behaviour or crime, direct radio links between retailers and police, and CCTV monitoring. Lewis said: "If it emerges that a retailer always has a problem between 9pm and 11pm on a Friday night, we can then assign a security officer to the store for that time."
He added: "This is a massive project and we still need a lot more support, but the potential benefits to the community and businesses are huge."