Supermarket bids to combat crime with funding for Portsmouth charities to help reduce offending
AN increase in violent retail crime has led a store vowing to pledge money to offence reduction initiatives.
The Southern Co-op has seen a 69 per cent increase in crime from 2018 to 2019 and a higher number of incidents with the threat of violence and the use of weapons.
One of the reasons the firm closed its store in Isambard Brunel Road, Portsmouth, on December 15, was due to the rise in crime and it has been campaigning for tougher sentences for people convicted of violent crime against retail staff.
Through its Safer Neighbourhood Fund, it is offering £100,000 to charities in Portsmouth that are delivering programmes that help residents to build a secure future and reduce offending.
The city was among four others – Southampton, South London, Bournemouth and Bristol – that the Co-op identified towns it believes would benefit from programmes tackling the causes of crime.
Gareth Lewis, Southern Co-op's loss prevention and security manager, said: ‘We commit a lot of time and money to protecting our colleagues and customers from violent offenders but the stark reality is, it is getting worse.
‘Every retailer is affected and we've personally seen a 69 per cent increase in crime across our estate from 2018 and 2019.
‘Our colleagues deserve to work in a safe environment free from harm and the fear of harm. We hope this new funding will be a step towards achieving this.’
Expressions of interest for funding will be open for an eight week window from today and the funding is available for charities operating in PO1 to PO6.
Jessica Hughes, Southern Co-op's community investment manager, added: ‘There are numerous reasons why people steal from our stores and there are charities out there that already do some great work in helping those affected by issues such as drugs, homelessness, poverty and abuse. We hope this funding will give them the boost they need to make an even greater difference to people's lives."
For more information about the funding or to register an interest, please visit neighbourly.com/SaferNeighbourhoods.