TACKLING crime and anti-social behaviour is a major concern for businesses based in Luton town centre. But their fears are being eased with the launch of a new scheme that is bringing extra security to the streets.
Luton Business Improvement District is funding the My Local Bobby initiative in response to feedback from late-night businesses such as pubs, restaurants, shops and takeaways. Two security officers are patrolling every Friday and Saturday night, starting this month.
Luton is the first town outside of London to begin the crime prevention initiative, launched in 2007 by former Metropolitan Police detective David McKelvey.
My Local Bobby provides a full range of security services and patrols of residential and public realm areas across London. Its senior management team consists of former police officers and ex-military personnel and the scheme has made a significant difference to crime and anti-social behaviour levels in the areas they work.
Luton BID is in communication with Luton Council and Bedfordshire Police to increase the statutory provision of officers but sees the My Local Bobby partnership as a temporary solution.
BID manager Julia Horsman pictured left said: “We have a fantastic working partnership with Bedfordshire Police and Luton Council and are determined as a collective to reduce the fear of crime for the benefit of staff and the public. We ultimately want to improve town centre safety and create a safe and secure environment for all.”
In the meantime, My Local Bobby is providing a temporary answer. “This will lead to greater economic investment, ensuring a brighter future for Luton,” said Ms Horsman.
AW House, a family-run office building in Luton town centre is supporting the initiative by allowing the officers to use the facilities in the office space while they are on patrol.
My Local Bobby’s operations director Ahmet Izzet said the patrolling security officers are sociable and will proactively engage with workers, residents and visitors. “They will focus on developing great working relationships with businesses, who will all have a direct line via town centre radios to the bobbies, providing reassurance that they can be contacted if staff or business owners are feeling vulnerable or concerned.
“We are looking forward to bringing our successful My Local Bobby crime prevention initiative to Luton, as it is the first town outside of London to benefit from the scheme. Our bobbies have been proven to provide a visible presence through regular patrols and to act as a deterrent for crime and anti social behaviour, dealing with issues as they arise and contacting the police if required.”