Skipton police have backed the BID, and say the work it has done on crime prevention and disorder has been invaluable.
Sergeant Paul Evans says there is no doubt it has helped reduce crime and disorder and helped keep people feel safer in town.
The BID helped set up the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership five years ago with partners Stopping Trouble and Night-time Disorder (STAND), Skipton Town Council and Craven District Council, ShopWatch, and Skipton Police.
BID Manager Geraldine Thompson said: “By working together, businesses in Skipton can discourage retail crime and anti-social behaviour and help the police catch criminals.
“The key to the success of the scheme is talking to each other and sharing information.”
That could include suspicious behaviour in the town, intelligence about offenders from other areas, notification of fraud attempts like fake vouchers or counterfeit notes from elsewhere in the region, and notification of theft and shop lifting incidents.
“That can be instantly shared on our smartphone app and through our radio system,” she said.
The Partnership was re-launched last year with the BID taking over the cost of members’ access to a secure database and the rent of the digital radios.
The Partnership, linking in to the existing ShopWatch and STAND groups, allows members to download a dedicated app for smart phones called DISC which gives instant access to vital information including banned lists, mugshots, offender profiles, news, alerts, documents, upcoming events, ID-sought images and much more.
Geraldine urged any businesses who were part of the BID who were not taking advantage of the scheme to come on board as quickly as possible.
Sgt Evans said: “The BID has helped us massively in terms of reducing crime and disorder and since I came on board they’ve enabled us to push on two of the main schemes which were the ShopWatch Radio Scheme and also the pub watch scheme STAND.”
He said help had been needed in maintaining the schemes, particularly the Shop Watch. Initially businesses had to pay a premium for a radio link which was a way to share information with each other and also a link to the police.
“The BID came along and said its part of our role – let us fund that. So what they have done is remove the cost for local businesses for the radio.
“The radio link is key. Sharing information, communication and intelligence. They’ve done a sterling job helping us fund that.
“On the back of that has come the web link, which again has brought the crime reduction partnership into the 21stcentury.
“The web link sorts out all the data protection issues that we had around paper records and BID has helped finance that side.
“Support for STAND with admin facilities in terms of capturing the people who are on the banned list and the galleries that are on the web app which can be shared amongst business users is thanks to the BID.
“They’ve been huge and really have made a big difference in helping us reduce crime and disorder in Skipton.”
Dean Majors, community champion at Skipton Tesco, said the store is a big supporter of the BID and of the Crime Reduction Partnership.
“We work closely with the BID within the community and also with the crime reduction scheme,” he said.
“They are a vital link between us and the independent businesses in the town by helping us keep one step ahead of any anti-social behaviour that happens from time to time.
“We vote YES to Skipton BID, as it offers us great support with any local events, like the markets and the Santa Run.”
Geraldine stressed that the future of both the newly-restored CCTV cameras and the Skipton Crime Reduction Partnership would both be in doubt if there was a no vote in the BID renewal ballot in January.
She said that as part of the Business Support strand of the BID Business Plan, the BID will continue to fund and promote STAND and the ShopWatch scheme if it gets the green light for a third term.
“We want to develop the sharing of intelligence and information across the town for the good of everybody who lives, works, and does business here,” she said.
“The BID can deliver the administration and funding to not only keep this partnership going successfully but to enhance and develop it to further improve the information we offer.”
Sera Brook, landlady of the Albion Inn on Otley Street, is also chairperson of the Skipton STAND group, which is the town’s pub watch scheme.
She says the BID has been a huge help with the legal side of the STAND and the administration of the lists and keeping them up to date.
“Crime is an issue and it is going to get worse as Christmas approaches. The Crime Reduction Partnership has helped our links with the police. To have Sgt Evans is great – we’ve got a specific person to go to. That wouldn’t work without the Crime Reduction Partnership.
“What the partnership does is give licensees the back-up they need.”
The BID keeps online a list of all the people banned from pubs, as well as information on potential issues and groups that may cause problems.
“The deterrent of being banned from every pub in Skipton that is in STAND, which is the majority of them, is a big one, and the knowledge that this list can be accessed instantly by all members has certainly acted as a deterrent,” says Sera.
“We are not about ruining people’s fun; we are just about keeping ourselves and our customers safe and the support of the BID helps us do that.”