A £250,000 initiative to tackle business crime is being piloted across Sussex.
Business wardens will work with Sussex Police to gather evidence and provide crime prevention advice as part of the two-year project funded by the Home Office and the Southern Co-operative.
Starting initially in Littlehampton and Eastbourne, it is hoped the pilot will be extended to Arundel and Bognor Regis – with potential to extend the scheme further if it proves successful.
Chris Neilson, business crime lead for Sussex Police said: “This project is about forging a stronger partnership between businesses and the police to tackle crime.
“It will provide a dedicated service and reduce time for businesses as they will be able to report a crime directly to wardens, who will take details and any evidence like CCTV and submit this directly to the force.
“There will be three wardens in Littlehampton and two in Eastbourne. We hope it will give assurance to the businesses who sign up to the scheme that these wardens can deal with this type of crime efficiently and take all the details quickly.
“This is vitally important to us to build up a picture of the crime being committed in those areas. The wardens will also act as a deterrent for anyone thinking about stealing from these businesses.”
The wardens will use an application called Facewatch, a secure online crime reporting tool which enables businesses, residents and police to share images for the prevention of crime.
It can also be used to submit CCTV evidence and witness statements to the police to help solve crimes.
The system is monitored by police and followed up appropriately.
The project is supported by Sussex Police, Eastbourne Business Crime Reduction Partnership and Littlehampton businesses.