A DIGITAL radio scheme has been unveiled by two city anti-crime partnership schemes in a bid to further enhance their communications in the fight against crime.
Worcester CityNet which is run predominantly for retailers as part of the Worcester Business Improvement District (BID) and its evening equivalent, NightSafe have moved from their current analogue systems.
Among the benefits will be members and the city centre as a whole will stay one step ahead in the fight against shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.
CityNet currently has 90 members with 56 licensees members of NightSafe and all were invited to attend the launch to receive their radios and have training on how best to use the them and make the most of their memberships which are free for BID businesses.
Non BID businesses can also sign up to the scheme which would cost £20 per month for each radio hired.
Head of Worcester BID, Adrian Field said: “This is a huge step forward for the business community in Worcester.
“The schemes have ensured Worcester remains a very safe place to shop or have a night out.
“With the new digital scheme users can hear and be heard more clearly all over a greater distance, it is more secure, and conversations can be recorded and used as evidence in court.
“We have negotiated a deal to help ensure that the improved set up is also cheaper for the businesses to hire the radios with some set to save up to £120 per year.’
Chf Insp Rebecca Love of West Mercia Police who themselves have signed up for 20 digital radios for their officers added:
“Thanks to Police and Crime Commissioner funding as part of pledge to tackle business and rural crime, we have 12 more radios available than at present with more officers being able to monitor and react to communications through CityNet and NightSafe.
“This will help to build on the success that both schemes have enjoyed in making Worcester city centre one of the safest places in the country.’
Businesses are delighted that the upgrade will help them and Tim Evans who owns Toys and Games of Worcester in Broad Street hailed the scheme as ‘like an extra member of staff’.
Dean Hill, owner of Tramps, Mode and Velvet as well as being Chairman of NightSafe said: “Communication is the key in ensuring that all licensed premises know about people causing anti-social behaviour and the new set up will make it easier to ensure those people will not attempt to try other venues and spoil it for the majority.’
CityNet currently boasts a 91 per cent detection rate meaning that over 9 in 10 thefts from member retailers results in an offender being apprehended. This compares with 34 per cent for non-members.
Businesses interested in joining either scheme or generally finding out more about the anti-crime schemes can visit www.worcesterbid.com or call 01905 731612.