New ‘town watch’ radios for Wimborne businesses are already helping to drive down crime

Wimborne BID (Business and Improvement District) has recently been awarded a £5000 grant to fund new security radios for businesses in the town. The grant application was approved by Dorset’s Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick who said: “The radios are such a good initiative and part of the plan to drive down shoplifting and crime throughout Dorset. The PCC is delighted to support and partner with Wimborne BID.”

The new radios allow businesses to communicate with other businesses immediately to warn them of suspicious activity, sharing live and immediate intelligence about crime and anti-social behaviour. Radios have also been provided for the Town Council, BID, the town’s CCTV room and police.
BID Manager Tammy Sleet said: “Our old radio system was just not up to scratch, so we looked to upgrade it, and we’re very grateful for the support of the PCC.”

The funding has allowed the ‘Town Watch’ radio infrastructure to be completely updated to a digital system to overcome past problems of signal reliability and sound quality. The two-way radios are supplied by JS Communications in Poole. Wimborne BID is using the grant to provide a subsidy for businesses to have the radios free of charge for six months.

In less than a week of being issued, the radios were already proving effective. East Dorset Neighbourhood Policing Team reported that they were able to stop a repeat offender in Crown Mead shopping precinct in Wimborne.

Sergeant Steven Payne explained:  “A male was detained having stolen from a local store and was in possession of several items that have been recovered.  This male has been identified as being involved in several thefts locally and is being dealt with for all these matters.  These thefts would not have been detected if it was not for the help of two local stores, the Town Watch radios system supplied by the BID and the willingness for shops to report thefts to the police.”

Sergeant Payne added that East Dorset Neighbourhood Policing Team is determined to work with local businesses and the community to make Wimborne and Ferndown safer places to work and live in, urging business to report thefts online or via 101 and in instances of violence or threatening behaviour to call 999.

Tammy Sleet said:  “The new ‘Town Watch’ project is a tangible way of supporting businesses. If someone is causing problems in our town, business owners can communicate immediately and prevent them entering other premises. With the cost-of-living crisis, businesses have seen a huge increase in theft and abuse, which is just not acceptable.”

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