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Crime Prevention: Small Businesses

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps he is taking to encourage local authorities to design security systems and ensure safe environments for small retailers and traders. (321544)

Section 17 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 (as amended) requires all local authorities to exercise their functions with due regard to their likely effect on crime and disorder. The prevention of crime and the enhancement of community safety, including that of small retailers and traders, are therefore matters that a local planning authority should consider when exercising its functions under the Town and Country Planning legislation. All police forces have specialist crime prevention design advisors who can provide architects, developers and planners with advice on using design to help minimise the risk of crime for the whole community.

In October of last year I wrote to the chairs of all Community Safety Partnerships (CSPs) highlighting the importance of working closely with businesses when developing their annual strategic assessments to make communities safer. These are a requirement for all CSPs and provide an opportunity to identify a better understanding of crime and the solutions which are effective.

To encourage them to develop their working relationship with local businesses, I drew their attention to the guidance produced by the then Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform and the Home Office:

http://www.crimereduction.homeoffice.gov.uk/business/partnershipsknow.pdf

This is designed to give businesses and their local partnership practical advice on reducing crime including how to work better together.

I also took this opportunity to draw their attention to the Home Office's ‘Securing your Business’ online self assessment tool:

http://secureyourbusiness.homeoffice.gov.uk/

which allows business users to assess what simple steps they might take to reduce the risk of crime, including store design and security systems.

We are currently distributing the Small Retailers Capital Grants Fund which is designed to help fight crime and is being allocated to around 1,000 small retailers in 50 priority areas across England and Wales. The grants are being used for a variety of purposes including: purchasing security equipment for individual retailers including CCTV, infrared security cameras, security shutters and rollers, safes, alarms, anti-fraud equipment such as UV markers to detect counterfeit notes, and anti-graffiti paint.