The Commissioner with Inspector Zakoscielny
I visited the shopping centre and market at Beaumont Leys on 20th February to meet with Inspector Zakoscielny because of the dramatic improvements that have been brought about by a dedicated action plan to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.
The Problem Management Plan was introduced just before Christmas and brought together the police, local shop managers, the shopping centre management, local councillors and other interested parties – all working with funding provided by my office as part of the crime prevention programme.
The plan saw increased police patrols in the shopping centre – both in uniform and in plain clothes – as well as targeted visits to nearby areas such as the market. Crime prevention advice was given to shop managers and other businesses to reduce shoplifting and related crimes. For instance, high value items were moved to the area next to the staff restrooms so that there were frequent visits by the staff, which deterred opportunistic thefts. This activity was backed up by a social media campaign which reached 13,000 local students and over 23,000 adults as well as specific ads targeted at businesses.
As I walked around the shopping centre with Inspector Zakoscielny she pointed out to me the features of the shopping centre that make it so attractive to local residents and visitors from further afield – but which also lure in large numbers of youths who can cause problems. There are several large secondary schools within easy walking distance, and at school leaving time thousands of children pour out on to the streets. If it is raining, the covered areas of the shopping centre and market are hugely attractive to youngsters looking for somewhere to sit and socialise.
When the Inspector and I walked through the market area there were two groups of teenagers totalling around 30 who were sitting on the empty stalls chatting. They were doing nothing wrong, but I could see how their presence might be intimidating to elderly or vulnerable shoppers. And some teenagers can be guilty of vandalism and antisocial behaviour.
It was good to hear that the Problem Management Plan has produced such obvious improvements in the area. This demonstrates that crime prevention measures really do work, and all the more effective when the police work with local partners and stakeholders.
More power to their elbows and congratulations to Inspector Zakoscielny and her team for all their hard work.
Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
Posted on Wednesday 22nd February 2023