Working together to make our city safer

ON PATROL Portsmouth Business Crime Reduction Partnership manager Neeta Dhorajia with, from left, Sgt Rob Sutton and PC Matt Debenham at Cascades Shopping Centre.   Picture: Steve Reid 110789-207
ON PATROL Portsmouth Business Crime Reduction Partnership manager Neeta Dhorajia with, from left, Sgt Rob Sutton and PC Matt Debenham at Cascades Shopping Centre. Picture: Steve Reid 110789-207
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Fifty troublemakers have been banned from city businesses and entertainment areas in a drive to cut crime.

Portsmouth Business Crime Reduction Partnership has taken the drastic step as it wages war against retail and alcohol-related crime.

These banning orders are the latest weapon being used by the organisation to stamp out trouble and help make Portsmouth safer.

Using intelligence from a wealth of sources – ranging from its members to door staff – the PBCRP builds up a picture of people causing problems.

Names, ages and addresses of those causing trouble in late-night drinking areas are already taken as part of an existing scheme that sees offenders handed red cards, excluding them from the area.

The PBCRP is now moving in to ban those who persist in causing trouble for a year. So far, 50 banking orders have been issued – including 30 to those causing trouble in the evenings.

Neeta Dhorajia, crime manager for the PBCRP, says: ‘The partnership operates an intelligence database where we store incidents reported by members and door staff. All this information is collated to build a profile of an individual and the problems they are causing so we can take the correct steps to address them and the effect their behaviour is having on our members businesses.

‘We operate a ‘banned from one, banned from all’ scheme and so far we have issued 50 successful violent banning orders on individuals in the last year as a result of red card intelligence.

‘We have effectively removed 30 persistent offenders out of our night time businesses and entertainment areas.’

The PBCRP has also seen a drop in crime in the city centre since working with police to ban 10 prolific offenders who stole to fund their drug habits.

Two girls, aged 14 and 15, were also banned from entering premises run by any of the 127 members of the PBCRP following a catalogue of anti-social behaviour in Commercial Road and The Cascades shopping centre.

Now the PBCRP is considering issuing banning notices immediately for anyone caught causing trouble in or near its members’ venues in the city.

The orders are handed out in conjunction with police, who use powers under section 69 of the Criminal Justice and Public order Act 1994, to enforce them.

If someone is caught entering an area they are banned from they could be arrested on the grounds that they are alleged to be committing aggravated trespass. The PBCRP says the threat of arrest is working as a deterrent. No-one has yet been caught breaching an order.

The ban extends to every business that has signed up to Portsmouth Business Crime Reduction Partnership, including stores at Gunwharf Quays, Commercial Road, Palmerston Road precinct and a handful in Cosham and North End, Fratton and Milton.

If a police officer reasonably believes a person is committing, has committed or intends to commit the offence of aggravated trespass on land in the open air, he or she can arrest them without a warrant under the Act.

Neeta adds: ‘We are taking a pro-active approach to alcohol related violence with the Drink Safe campaign and the one punch can kill campaign. We also donate radios to the Street Pastors and Portsmouth SCAS so they are also part of the communication loop with venues, CCTV and the Police Violent Crime and Licensing Team.

‘We intend to be stricter this year by issuing banning orders immediately on individuals who are reported as being violent.’

KEEPING IN TOUCH TO COMBAT RETAIL CRIME

The PBCRP has set up a raft of initiatives to combat retail crime.

These range from a radio-link scheme with a direct link to the organisation and police.

It enables businesses to stay in touch and alert each other when trouble flares.

The PBCRP works closely with police in other areas to combat retail crime as well as pubwatch schemes across the city.

Members are also offered training in how to handle conflicts.

It is hoped the radio link scheme can expand beyond the city centre, Gunwharf Quays and some businesses in Cosham to other parts of Portsmouth in a bid to drive business crime out of the city.

SPOTTING A FAKE

Businesses can now get training in how to spot counterfeit cash following an influx of fake money in Portsmouth.

The PBCRP, working with police from Portsmouth’s city centre unit, set up the sessions after it was revealed about £2,000 of dodgy notes were handed in to police in the last six months.

In one case, £500 of fake £20 notes were handed over in one go by worried staff from Grosvenor Casino in Osborne Road, Southsea.

But the real figure is feared to be far higher as many cases go unreported.

Sessions are delivered by experts from the Bank of England.

They are used to help train retailers to spot the difference between real and fake bank notes.

Visit pbcrp.com or call 023 9229 6012 for information.

RED CARD SUCCESS

A red card scheme set up to stop troublemakers in city drinking areas has proved a hit among businesses.

As reported in The News, more than 1,600 people have been shown a red card for causing problems across Portsmouth.

One half of the card is kept by the venue that hands it out. The other is given to the culprit to explain why they are being booted out of a venue and why their behaviour is unacceptable.

The cards can be handed out if a person is kicked out of a venue, or refused entry or bar service.

Reasons could include them being too drunk, under the influence of drugs, or violent, abusive behaviour.

Managers and door staff share the intelligence they collect over the PBCRP’s radio link, which alerts members to potential troublemakers.