Spotlight on the Essex Police Business Crime Team
Over the last few years, the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner for Essex has provided the funding to enable Essex Police to recruit more than 500 extra officers. These officers have strengthened the response to serious violence, exploitation and gangs, the increase in numbers has meant the introduction of Town Centre Teams, the transformation of the Rural Crime Team and the Business Crime Team. . This has led to significant reductions in burglary, theft and anti-social behaviour.
To illustrate how Essex Police’s new teams are making a difference in your communities, our Communications and Engagement Apprentice Alana Closs has been finding out more about the Business Crime Team. She spoke to Sgt Terry Jacobs who heads up the team.
Essex Police’s Business and Crime Team strives to create positive partnerships with business owners to improve their confidence within Essex Police. Before this team, business owners felt as though they hadn’t received a good deal with Essex Police, and that crimes such as shoplifting were not prioritised. However, the introduction of this team has allowed owners to be able to rely on the Police, and they now know they’ll receive advice and help so that businesses can succeed and prosper without the threat of crime.
Sgt Jacobs explained the aims of the team, and its strategic delivery plan which involves five key areas:
- Develop a business network to enable communication with Essex businesses.
- Identify and share best practice on crime prevention across all businesses within in Essex.
- Support Local and Community Policing teams to deliver effective Business crime policing.
- Reduce fuel theft.
- Reduce violence and anti-social behaviour towards business employees across Essex.
The team is made up of three officers who endeavour to communicate with the businesses and provide support, and an analyst who can help identify trends of crime so that areas can be targeted to prevent crime and ensure justice. Each day the team meet with businesses and local partners to provide crime prevention advice and solutions to issues their businesses face.
Already a hit with businesses, Sgt Jacobs spoke of the positive feedback they had received and the difference that they had made. The team worked together with a national newsagent business which was suffering theft and antisocial behaviour that threatened to shut them down. The Business Crime Team worked to put in extra prevention measures to protect staff, and with Community Policing Teams to ensure that there were high visibility officers to deter crime. The team identified best practice nationally and shared the use of new technology solutions which the business had not previously implemented. This is the feedback the operation received:
“The difference in crime is night and day. Word spreads fast, we are not seeing the youths congregate at night time as we were before and we are now seeing older locals come in at night to use the store commenting that they feel safer to come out after dark to shop.”
Another achievement the team are incredibly proud of is their project around Criminal Behaviour Orders. A CBO is a court issued order that stops prolific offenders from doing certain things, such as going into a specific chain of shops. The team’s analyst looks at which offenders cause the most harm to business, so that they can be targeted and stopped. In the last year, CBOs have been granted on 10 offenders. Recognising that many offenders suffer from addiction and mental health difficulties, part of the conditions of the CBO are that the offenders must attend support sessions and treatment. Whilst early in this programme, initial analysis has shown that offending for these top ten offenders has reduced by 90 percent. The Business Crime team not only prioritise the management of crime, but also prevent crime and help offenders to change their ways so that our businesses and communities are safer.
Sgt Jacobs said: “As time goes on, more and more businesses build on the relationship with the team and become more confident in Essex Police. Business owners can rely on us and contact us directly for support and guidance.
“We are here to help businesses so contact us for help and support. Even the smallest pieces of information help with intelligence so that strategic plans can be put in place and crimes can be prevented.”
So, what are the team’s future plans?
Sgt Jacobs said: “I would love to see the team grow in order to provide an investigative function so that more serious and organised crime can be dealt with. We want to do everything we can to support even more businesses and ensure they are able to succeed and prosper.”
To find out more or get in touch with the team you can contact them at [email protected]