A “model” CCTV system on the White Lund Industrial Estate is leading the way in fighting crime, the Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims has said.
Damian Green met with a number businesses at White Lund in Morecambe to see how the new surveillance system has cut crime by 50 per cent since it was introduced earlier this year.
He also visited the Lancaster Guardian and Morecambe Visitor office in Northgate, where he tipped Holland to win the World Cup this year.
In Lancaster he spent time in the Business Improvement District to listen to concerns about retail crime and was given a tour of St Nic’s Arcade’s CCTV operations.
Mr Green then went on to the Borough pub in Dalton Square to learn about the impact of Pub Watch in the area.
He said of the White Lund system: “There’s been real co-operation here between the police and businesses in setting up a CCTV system which has cut crime by half in the first year.
“It’s a model of how businesses and the police can work together to cut crime.”
Mr Green also talked about plans to give Magistrates a wider range of duties, both in and outside courts.
He said: “One of my main aims is to try and reduce obstacles between the police and courts.
“Even in these difficult financial times we’ve got £200m to spend on digital technology to streamline paperwork between police and courts which will make the system flow a lot quicker and will reduce cancellations of trials or delays in hearings.
“I’m a huge admirer of magistrates.
“We’ve got 20,000 dedicated volunteers in the UK and we’re looking at how else we can use them.
“What else can Magistrates do that they don’t do now - for example, should they have some oversight on how cautions are issued by police?”
Lancaster MP Eric Ollerenshaw said: “It was great to have the Minister up here in our city, listening to the concerns of local retailers and discussing what can be done to help cut retail and pub crime.
“At the very least we need to get across to people that these are crimes like any other crimes and they will be pursued by police and owners together.
“As we pride ourselves quite rightly on so many good small businesses, then it is important to understand that a loss through crime just adds to the bottom line and therefore to the prices we pay and the possible viability of the business.”
Mr Green said it was difficult to link shoplifting with squeezed incomes and an increase in price for goods, but said the answer was more jobs, which is “the most secure income you can have”.
He added: “We encourage shops not to ignore thefts. The police need to know what is happening.
“Retail crime is a serious threat to the viability of many small businesses and we need to stamp it out.
“The measures I have seen today show what can be done to help shops and pubs, and to keep crime falling. Crime is down 10 per cent under this government, but there is always more to do.”