Fringe Box



Offenders Beware, Guildford Businesses Mount Town Centre Blitz on Repeat Criminals

Published on: 15 Oct, 2020
Updated on: 16 Oct, 2020

Shoplifters should think twice

More than 200 businesses in Guildford have combined to mount a blitz to deter and reduce the number of repeat criminal offenders in the town.

They have formed the Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP), supported by Surrey Police, Experience Guildford, town CCTV and the borough council.

The campaign, designed to identify and tackle crime at its root and starting today (October 14), will detect, deter and detain shoplifters and other individuals causing low-level anti-social behaviour.

This coincides with the partnership’s launch of a new Town Centre Exclusion Scheme, available to all BCRP members and aimed at reducing repeat crime across Guildford.

The TCES offers a warnings-based platform available to all partnership members to help identify and bar consistent repeat offenders from all businesses in the scheme, while also encouraging a more reformative approach to crime.

Now, any member of the BCRP can issue an initial warning letter to an individual shoplifting or causing anti-social behaviour in their business to discourage a repeat offence.

If this initial warning is breached within a set time (ranging from three to 12 months), then the specific crime and individual will be reviewed by the BCRP Board of Management and a more formal banning and privacy policy letter could be issued.

That means a photograph of the offender and details of their offence could be shared with other members of the partnership to enable a town centre-wide banning order.

Exclusion Schemes already successfully operate in towns including Brighton, Gloucester, Bath and Bristol. A 2018 survey by Gloucestershire University into the impact of the Exclusion Scheme, found 76% of offenders committed no further offences after a BCRP warning letter.

Guildford M&S store manager Kim Eden said: “I am proud we are part of the Business Exclusion Partnership.

“The programme enables retailers to demonstrate we are serious about sharing resources, communicating to promote the very best experience for visitors to our town so those who want to enjoy the area can do so peacefully.”

PC Victoria Detomaso, Surrey Police added: “The Exclusion Scheme is a positive way to tackle those who commit offences and/or anti-social behaviour.

“It provides the ability for Guildford to stand up, in a united front, to prevent repeat offending, and for Surrey Police working in partnership with Experience Guildford to achieve this.”

Pete Lambert, safety and venue liaison manager at Experience Guildford, said:

“Collectively, we can all work together to combat crime in our town centre and show would-be criminals and repeat offenders we have the means and systems in place to deter them.

“By launching initiatives such as the Business Crime Reduction Partnership and Exclusion Scheme, we are doing our bit to protect Guildford’s visitors and residents, at the same time protecting the interests of the businesses that operate here and instilling a reformative approach to crime in a bid to reduce repeat offending.

“Thanks to all the partners for getting behind this scheme and to the Board of Management for their efforts in delivering it.”

For more information on the ongoing activity in Guildford town centre to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour, plus detail of the Business Crime Reduction Partnership and the Exclusion Scheme, visit

Share This Post

Responses to Offenders Beware, Guildford Businesses Mount Town Centre Blitz on Repeat Criminals

  1. Rick Sanchez Reply

    October 19, 2020 at 5:46 pm

    Will the scheme simply “move on” the criminals to locations outside of the scheme? Perhaps one without the scheme? Why do public funds (the police) have to be used so extensively to compensate for the companies not fulfilling their own responsibilities?

    Perhaps the shops shouldn’t make the theft opportunity so convenient. Instead they should employ some competent guards and install effective security systems that would help identify and convict offenders? That would increase prevention and deterrence. But since it requires effort and an acceptance of responsibility, it won’t happen.

  2. John Perkins Reply

    October 20, 2020 at 11:48 am

    Rick Sanchez would have shops pay a second time for “guards” to do the job they pay the police for.

    Where can we buy a security system capable of convicting offenders?

  3. Dave Middleton Reply

    October 20, 2020 at 5:57 pm

    In response to Mr Sanchez’s points above.

    The primary objects of the police are, after the preservation of life, the protection of property and the prevention and detection of crime. Theft is a crime, therefore it is a police duty to deter crime and where crime is committed, investigate and where possible, place the offenders before the courts. Shopkeepers, like other citizens are entitled the the efforts of police on their behalf and through their taxes and business rates, contribute a significant amount to the policing budget.

    As for his other contention that shops shouldn’t make theft so “convenient” he appears to be blaming shopkeepers for being the victims of theft! Would he rather that all shop stock be kept behind steel mesh screens and all shoppers be considered thieves until proven otherwise? Hardly a pleasant shopping experience.

    Security guards, store detectives, and security systems all cost a significant amount of money, which the shopkeeper can ill afford and will have to recoup the costs of, via higher prices for their goods, so effectively the genuine law-abiding shopper has to pay for these additional measures.

    Presumably by his logic, it is acceptable to steal things if it’s easy to do so? It seems that he has forgotten that it is the thieves that are in the wrong, not the shopkeepers.

Leave a Comment

Please see our comments policy. All comments are moderated and may take time to appear.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *