RETAILERS and the hospitality sector are joining forces in a move to crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour in Central Milton Keynes.
The Business Crime Partnership, set up by the MyMiltonKeynes Business Improvement District, aims to have more than 100 members signed up by the end of this year.
More than 40 businesses based in MK9 have already done so. The initiative is one of the biggest examples of city centre-based businesses working together to tackle crime since the inception of the BID in 2017.
The partnership has also launched DISC, a new digital software platform that enables partnership members to provide instant live information about local crime and anti-social behaviour, the offenders responsible for it and essential current awareness, as well as to manage local ‘exclusion schemes’.
BID chief executive Melanie Beck pictured right said: “The launch of the Business Crime Partnership is part of our commitment to improving safety and reducing crime and anti-social behaviour across the BID. The programme, and the ability to share vital information via DISC, will help businesses collaborate and cut reoffending throughout CMK.”
BID chief executive Melanie Beck has announced her plan to retire at the end of May after eight years as MyMiltonKeynes Business Improvement District chief executive. Read an exclusive interview with her, looking back on the success of the BID so far and assessing an exciting future for her successor, in Business MK’s latest edition.
The Business Crime Partnership is part of the Barwatch scheme already in operation across Milton Keynes. Ms Beck said the scheme will develop, with new initiatives added including Shopwatch – helping retailers to identify shoplifters – and Hotelwatch.
The partnership is part of the BID’s My Safe City initiative that is working to increase safety and reduce crime across the city centre. The BID has also contributed towards a new fully connected system of CCTV cameras being installed by Milton Keynes City Council as part of the the Safer Streets Project.
Nine of the 11 cameras, funded by Milton Keynes City Council’s Safer Streets Project, have been installed. A further two, which have been funded by MyMiltonKeynes Business Improvement District, are to be placed within the BID area to provide maximum coverage and to deter criminal activity.
The cameras are positioned to cover areas including Xscape, 12th Street, Exchange Square, Station Square and sections of Midsummer Boulevard. They also monitor overground bridges on the outskirts of the BID area, bordered by H5 Portway, H6 Childs Way, V8 Marlborough and the West Coast main railway line.
The BID has been campaigning for improved CCTV coverage for some time. Plans are already in place for two more cameras to cover the north of the city, said Ms Beck.
“This new network will play a vital role in helping us to continue to deliver a safer, cleaner, better connected, smarter and more vibrant city centre for all,” she added.
“We are committed to target hardening across the BID, from greater security infrastructure and additional policing to cohesively working together and sharing information which will make it much harder for criminal activity to take place.”