Traders agree on new anti-crime measures

NEW measures to tackle crime have been planned following a recent meeting between Banbridge District Policing Partnership and the local Chamber of Commerce.

Town Centre Manager, Mechelle Brown, said the get-together was a largely positive one, resulting in two new initiatives -

Training sessions for town traders on crime prevention and a refresher course on the Radio Link scheme which allows traders to keep in touch with the CCTV base in Craigavon, the police and also each other.

“A range of issues were discussed, including crime prevention advice,” said Ms Brown. “The tone was generally positive and although crime rates were down over Christmas, many traders felt they need to take more of a pro-active approach in keeping it this way.

“For this reason it was decided to organise crime prevention sessions for traders and also offer a refresher and training course on the operations of the Radio Link scheme, as this is considered vital in maintaining low crime levels and providing a safer shopping experience for people in Banbridge town centre.”

At the meeting Ms Brown said traders were also updated on their ‘rights’ and the legalities surrounding crime issues by a number of Neighbourhood Policing Officers who were in attendance.

“Some people were also keen to find out how they could react in certain circumstances - if a trader has the right, for instance, to ban a shop-lifter from his shop and what to do in other hypothecal situations. The police officers were able to offer advice on these type of issues,” she added.

The meeting was attended by DPP chairman Councillor Seamus Doyle, DPP Independent member, Chris Nelmes, who has recently taken up a post as centre manager for the Outlet at Bridgewater Park, and Banbridge Neighbourhood officers Billy Stewart and Constable Chris Mulholland.

A flyer highlighting the role of the Banbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team and giving their contact details is also being promoted: Sergeant Billy Stewart can be contacted on 07764 638506; Constable Gill Hoyle, 07745 225740; Constable Jill McCormick, 07745 224817 and Constable Warren Todd, 07742 537533.

In 2009, Banbridge DPP commissioned its own survey of local community groups in Banbridge district, with the the two top issues identified as crime and anti-social behaviour.

A high percentage of respondents also said they were aware of the neighbourhood watch scheme, with nine out of 10 considering it useful in preventing and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour.