MP praises local PCSO's Business Watch initiative
Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert has praised a scheme set up by a South Downs PCSO to help protect local businesses from crime.
PCSO Tom Guiney, who works across the Dial Post, Partridge Green and West Grinstead parishes, established Business Watch a year ago. The initiative aims to reduce crime affecting local businesses in Sussex, many of which are sited in remote rural areas.
The scheme is being trialled in the Horsham district, and is expected eventually to roll out across the whole of Sussex. Nick Herbert, who is the Minister of Policing and Criminal Justice, joined Tom as he advised a local business on the advantages of signing up to the scheme.
Andy Smith, a director of A J Walter Aviation on the Star Road Industrial estate in Partridge Green, welcomed the MP and PCSO to his offices to learn more. They were also joined by local Horsham District Councillor Andrew Dunlop.
PCSO Guiney explained how the objectives of the scheme are helping to reduce crime through effective reporting. Industrial Estates and other vulnerable business locations are more likely to be victims of crime.
The scheme strengthens the business community and improves communication between its members and Sussex Police. Members are encouraged to report all suspicious activities and incidents as they occur, and this information is then circulated through a community messaging system.
Sussex Police are better able to support these businesses through sharing intelligence on crime trends, such as metal thefts, and giving practical crime prevention advice to better secure property and goods. Businesses are encouraged to support each other too, such as sharing secure lock ups, parking and CCTV.
Andy Smith was impressed with the scheme, and committed to sign up all three of the business's sites. It is free for any company to join Business Watch.
Since its inception in January 2011, Business Watch has gained 430 members and continues to grow and expand amongst the business communities of West Sussex. As more members join then the flow of information is better, and this will have an impact on reducing crime.
Mr Herbert and PCSO Guiney also visited the Dark Star Brewery on the same estate. The company are already members of Business Watch, and were able to look at further ways they can protect their business, including improved signage.
Nick Herbert commented: "I am very impressed indeed by PCSO Tom Guiney's initiative. Business Watch is helping to reduce local crime and forge a strong partnership between the police and local businesses.
"I think it's fantastic that this scheme was thought up by a local PCSO and has been promoted thanks to his commitment and energy. It's a real credit to Sussex Police and it shows what a valuable role PCSOs can play to help keep our communities safe."
Notes for Editors
1. Photograph attached showing Nick Herbert MP, PCSO Tom Guiney, Andy Smith of A J Walter Aviation, and Cllr Andrew Dunlop.