Sussex Police launches scheme to connect businesses to its local policing teams

Following a successful pilot in Uckfield using DISC to enable local businesses small and large to connect with their local police team to share intelligence and information, Sussex Police worked with Wealden District Council and formed the Wealden Business Crime Partnership.​

Drawing on Safer Streets funding awarded from the Home Office, this new partnership will operate across the Wealden area to support local businesses.

DISC is launching initially in Hailsham, which will make it easier for businesses to report crime, share intelligence and connect with their local police officers with the intention to eventually make it available to businesses across the Wealden area.

DISC is a free online app where businesses can share information to help tackle business crimes such as criminal damage, shoplifting, and anti-social behaviour.

Across the UK, over 500 towns and city centres use DISC, as well as national retailers, many of the largest shopping centres in the country, security companies and police forces.

The app offers an alternative route to report incidents to police, reducing calling times to 101.

Businesses can also upload CCTV images to the app to share intelligence with other businesses, making it much easier for them to identify individuals causing concern.

Robert Muggeridge, Assistant Manager at Tesco in Uckfield joined the pilot scheme as staff were experiencing anti-social behaviour in the store.

Mr Muggeridge said: “I feel comfortable using the DISC app and confident that even if the case doesn't lead to arrest, it will still be reviewed and investigated. This is evidenced by the fact that every case we have reported has received a call back by local police or has been investigated, and in at least two cases has led to arrests. 

“The app has also given me the confidence to report all relevant issues from small incidents to full violent events or shoplifting, where previously with calling 101, I would weigh up how worth my time and effort entering the report would be”.

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said“Business crime is not victimless and has a negative impact on stores, staff and the wider community.  I’m delighted to see that the DISC scheme, which I initially launched in Sussex for farmers to quickly report rural crime and which we then expanded to business use, is continuing to make a difference.

“It is exciting that Hailsham council are able to use part of their Safer Streets funding to further develop partnership working across Wealden and allow for the DISC app to be used by even more businesses in East Sussex. 

“Strong partnerships are vital in tackling business and retail crime effectively. Through my Safer Sussex Business Partnership network, we successfully find ways to combat these crimes, divert offenders and empower staff by providing them with all available tools so that they can quickly report incidents to the police, share intelligence and gather the necessary information about business crime taking place in their area or store. ​

“Extending the bespoke DISC technology allows for strengthened communications amongst businesses, Sussex Police and partners. It also helps build successful cases against the most prolific offenders – leading to a more secure workplace for staff and safer communities for residents. I look forward to supporting Wealden’s new partnership and seeing even more businesses across Sussex adopting safety and security measures.”

Sussex Police Inspector Kendal Wells said: “This has been an exciting project to be a part of and DISC will be an effective engagement tool for businesses to use to help combat shoplifting and anti-social behaviour. My local Neighbourhood Policing Team will be aware of issues quicker and react to them when they can.”

Brendan Field, Safer Streets Project Co-ordinator at Wealden District Council said: “This is a perfect example of how partnership working between the police, the local authority, and private enterprise can yield positive results for the community.  Months of hard work between the different agencies has gone into delivering this, and we hope that local businesses will soon see the benefit of using this app to report crimes that affect their business."

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