The Royal Borough of Greenwich has launched an app for traders and community groups to share anti-crime information as part of its Town Centre Community Safety Partnerships scheme.
It has adapted the Schemelink app for its Eltham Townwatch scheme and said it plans to make it available for other town centres in the borough at Woolwich, Greenwich and Plumstead.
Eltham Townwatch is an online portal for sharing instant updates and local information, which builds on the community safety work already taking place in the area.
The app enables users to record crimes like shoplifting and anti-social behaviour and send alerts. They can include CCTV image stills and descriptions of perpetrators, and they can communicate through text message or live chat.
The scheme will also include setting a photo gallery of offenders who have been banned from the area, and evidence can be logged on the system to support criminal prosecutions.
Greenwich is charging £35.99 to join but offering a free 12-month licence for 50 local businesses, community group or partners to get it started. They all have to register as stakeholders through a face-to-face process with council or police officers.
A spokesperson said that Greenwich is the first council to set up Schemelink as part of a Town Centre Community Safety Partnership, which takes in community groups and other partners. The app is used for around 340 schemes around the UK, but most are confined to retailers.
Councillor Jackie Smith, cabinet member for children’s services and community safety, said: “Eltham Townwatch is an innovative way for us to build on the community safety work we’re already doing in the area, and the app will work in partnership with the Safer Neighbourhood police team and Eltham Business Forum.
“Our town centres are unique hubs that provide a diverse offering of shopping, community services, leisure and housing. While most of us visit and use these areas with good intentions, there are some people who are shoplifting and acting anti-socially and this will not be tolerated.
“This app is a great example of how as a community we are working together to become more resilient and deter crime.”
Image PeterEltham at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0