The Small Business Friendly Borough Awards 2019 are jointly run by the Greater London Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) and London Councils and the fifth annual awards took place on 20th May 2019.
The London Borough of Lewisham won the inaugural award for Best Programme to Reduce Impact of Crime on Small Businesses. This new category celebrates efforts by boroughs to prevent and tackle crime affecting micro and small businesses.
Lewisham was recognised for Safer Lewisham Business Crime Reduction Partnership (@SaferLewisham), a membership scheme of 120 businesses working with the police, council, and other interested stakeholders to reduce crime, violence, anti-social behaviour, and other crimes that affect the profitability of businesses. The partnership acts as a business representative body as well as a link to the different authorities, and allows the sharing of real time information via a state of the art digital radio network. As one of the Safer Business Network partnerships, Safer Lewisham is a locally managed BCRP, facilitating local business crime priorities, alongside partners in the local authority and police.
This award recognised the work of the BCRP last summer in reducing youth violence and anti-social behaviour in Lewisham Town Centre.
The BCRP were quickly able to use their links with the business community to bring them together and gather evidence and impact statements for the local authority in their enforcement efforts. The BCRP then had the unique opportunity in working with the Youth Offending Service as part of their reparation process. They met with 12 young offenders, some of which were involved in the ASB, and explained how their behaviour impacted the business community, eventually leading to a reduction of those visiting and shopping in the town centre, a detrimental effect to all.
A month on from the original intervention, business feedback was overwhelmingly positive. They reported feeling well informed about the action taken to tackle the issues and having seen a reduction in the number of incidents impacting their business. With the BCRP's direct involvement from the beginning, working in close partnership with the local authority, Lewisham shopping centre, Metropolitan police and a local school, they were able to carefully nurture existing relationships and maintain excellent communication, to deliver information and intervention efforts throughout a period of disturbance for the business community.
Hannah Wadey, Safer Business Network CEO says “this is a clear example of how our links to the business community can directly support the work of the police and the local authority to reduce crime. Our BCRP was quickly able to pull all the information together on the problematic offenders, and capture information from our members which is often missed in areas without such a strong business partnership. The collective response to this issue stopped the problem escalating further."
Marc Norman, Metropolitan Police (Lewisham) added “ I’m proud of the small part my teams and the MPS have played in the award. This confirms that the great partnership work undertaken together with our key stakeholders such as the BCRP, Lewisham Shopping Centre, local businesses and the local authority is not only effective, but that it is also making a real difference to those living, working and visiting Lewisham. This award is deserved recognition that our partnership work is achieving great results and evidence that despite sometimes challenging circumstances, we will continue to work hard together, strive to achieve positive results and do what is best for the communities we serve”
For more information about the Safer Business Network and other crime reduction initiatives they lead please visit www.saferbusiness.org.uk
For more information about Business Crime Reduction Partnerships (BCRPs) visit the guidance
section of our website.