Business partnership aims to address crime in Stratford

Shoppers at Westfield Stratford City in one of Newham's biggest shoplifting hotspots. Picture: Isabel Infantes

Shoppers at Westfield Stratford City in one of Newham's biggest shoplifting hotspots. Picture: Isabel Infantes - Credit: Archant

A new initiative is aiming to fight crime in Stratford and make it a safer place to trade, work and shop.

Safer Stratford Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) has been formed to address concerns from local businesses around issues such as shop-lifting and verbal and physical abuse.

Launched by Stratford Original business improvement district (BID) with Safer Business Network, the project aims to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in the area and upskill staff members with training programmes.

BID manager Gianluca Rizzo said: “Making Stratford a safer place for everyone is our key priority.

“The launch of our Business Crime Reduction Partnership marks another significant step towards increasing safety in our town centre.

“Dealing with homelessness, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour remains our key focus.”

Safer Stratford BCRP surveyed 30 companies in June to gauge the business community’s views regarding crime, violence and antisocial behaviour.

The survey aimed to create "a baseline" for the BCRP to set priorities and actions that address their concerns and to deliver a safer area for businesses, employees and shoppers.

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In the survey, it was reported that shoplifting, violent and aggressive behaviour, and verbal and physical abuse towards staff are serious problems and have a detrimental effect on trading standards.

The latest Met Police business crime figures show there were 1,158 recorded offences across Newham in September - the most in a month since before the start of the pandemic.

Since October 2019, there have been 23,170 business crimes recorded in the borough, including 12,366 theft and handling offences and 5,454 cases of violence against the person.

The BCRP says surveyed businesses also reported that persistent begging, homelessness and street drinking remain "serious concerns" - even though these problems have "reduced drastically"  now that the Stratford Centre is closed overnight.

BCRP manager Alessandra Valencic said: "The secret for a successful BCRP sits within the business community and relies on them being 'our eyes and ears' on the ground.

“With a coordinated approach, we can make Stratford a safer place by gathering intel on the most prolific criminals and work in partnership with the police to bring these offenders to justice.”