Retailers in Grimsby’s Freeman Street are united against crime – and leading the charge is new Community Beat Manager PC Rebecca Dawson.
PC Dawson, who came to us through the Police Now graduate programme, took charge of policing the area last month.
And although it does present some challenges – particularly around shop theft and antisocial behaviour - she’s already discovered that the community is firmly behind her.
PC Dawson said: “The thing I like most about policing Freeman Street is how friendly and welcoming everyone is. It’s a real united community and I’m really pleased to be a part of that.
“The retailers all look out for each other and have set up their own shop watch radio and social media groups which they use to share information about anyone who’s causing problems.
“They’re also great at letting me know if they have any issues or concerns, which means we can make sure we direct our resources where they’re needed, when they’re needed.
“There are big changes happening in the area at the moment and people are really upbeat about the future. It feels much busier and there are always people around shopping and visiting the cafes.
“I often hear how much brighter people feel the area is and that they don’t see people using or dealing drugs or begging as they have in the past.
“I want to be a part of that drive to keep making improvements. My focus at the moment is around reducing shop theft and antisocial behaviour, so working together like this is really important.
“While I am building up a relationship with the staff and owners of all the businesses, I have been working particularly closely with those who have been worst hit by shop theft in the past to see what can be done to tackle it.
“And we have already started to see some improvements. For example, Farm Foods have seen a reduction in thefts from the store after taking on new security staff.
“I’m also planning to work with traders in the Market to make sure we have officers in the area at key times to prevent problems they were having with a group of young people who were causing a nuisance, running around the stalls and damaging goods.
“Generally, I try to spend as much of my time as possible walking around the Freeman Street area. I want to be a familiar sight for anyone who spends time there and for them to be reassured that if they have any concerns, we will deal with them.
“I also hope that my being there will act as a deterrent to those who are involved in crime or antisocial behaviour.
“Finally, I want anyone who is concerned or worried about anything happening in the area to get in touch – whether that’s stopping me in the street or calling 101. I’m here to help but I can only do that if I know what the problem is.”
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