Store owners in Yorkshire can now call a special hotline to report and record incidents of anti-social behaviour in and around their store.
The hotline, a joint project by Kirklees Council and West Yorkshire police, was set up so that retailers can report lower level crimes and allow the authorities to intervene before it escalates into a more serious incident.
The new number, 01484 414998, is not designed to replace the traditional 999 number or West Yorkshire police’s direct line - it is to allow the council and the police build up a picture of where the incidents are happening and how it can be best tackled.
Cabinet member for Community Safety Cllr Peter O’Neill explained the importance of the service. “Many retailer have told our teams and the police that there is low level but inappropriate behaviour and abuse - it could be a minor theft or damage, or verbal abuse towards customers - which they do not want to report as it takes a long time to do and that they feel it wastes police time.
“We need to know when this behaviour is taking place so we can target resources to stop it at an early stage,” he added. “We do not want people to feel that minor damage is going unpunished, so they do something else and it escalates into a more serious crime.”
Neighbourhood policing teams will also be visiting stores in the area to discuss security measures that retailers have in place, how they can be improved and what funding is available to help them.