A pilot project that has had dramatic success in nearby towns has been brought to Bognor Regis.
The ‘business wardens’ enable the police and local businesses to work in partnership.
Warden Katie Mariner said: “We have been doing this in Littlehampton for five months and already it has had a dramatic impact.
“There has been a 30 per cent decrease in crime, and we hope to replicate that over here.”
In addition to deterring shop-lifters, attending incidents and reporting crimes the team also focuses on anti-social problems like street drinking.
Warden Karl Wise admitted the high-vis, high-profile presence is a ‘huge part’ of the initative’s success, as is a quick response.
“Facewatch is a very good platform that we use, it gives businesses a way to keep an eye on regular offenders and they can report incidents through it.
“The process can take minutes, rather than the time it would take calling 101.
“Then we can go in and do a full report which will be sent to the police.”
The project runs seven days a week on a shift rota but coverage by the teams will depend on demand.
Ms Mariner said: “It is about being where the issues are, if there are no issues in Bognor Regis we won’t all be here.”
The reduction in crime rates has has knock-on benefits elsewhere.
Warden Ashley Styler said: “It makes the area more appealing to new businesses, we have already seen that in Littlehampton already.”
Ms Mariner added: “We have also noticed a lot of the older generation have come out of their shells too, they are more confident about going out.”
Town centre manager Toyubur Rahman is confident the business wardens will be an asset to the town.
“For me this is all about trying to create a welcome, safe, place for people to come in to.
“This is the bread and butter, basic stuff, for the town.
“It needs to be clean, it needs to be safe, it will help change perceptions of the town being a place these bad things happen.”
The project has been made possible through funding from the Home Office and the Southern Cooperative.
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