Engagement and participation: crucial elements in reducing business crime in Norwich
Established in 2012, Norwich Business Improvement District (BID) represents over 600 levy payers across the city centre. It works to improve their trading environment and, by extension, the wider commercial community. Among its projects is the ALERT scheme to reduce business-related crime and antisocial behaviour through close work between police and the local business community.
Martin Blackwell was asked to review the BID's crime reduction activities and identify and support new ones. His CV includes retail and town centre management, spells as head of Action for Market Towns and the Charity Retail Association, and five years as chief executive of ATCM, the national Association of Town and City Management in London.
So when the opportunity arose in 2015 to return to his East Anglian stamping ground, he jumped at it.
The BID had always enjoyed close day-to-day cooperation with local police in the city's daytime and night-time economies. Indeed, they part-funded the ALERT portable mobile radio scheme for the city's night-time economy. But Martin wanted to make that relationship even stronger.
"Effective interworking with the police is all about sharing information," says Martin, "and a formal Information Sharing Agreement, signed off at the highest level, has to be the keystone of that." So among the first of Martin's priorities was the development of a formal ISA between Norfolk Police and the BID.
It didn't happen quickly...