Traders report crime online

BUSINESS managers in the Cheddar area can now chat online to report nuisance youths and break-ins on a new police forum

BUSINESS managers in the Cheddar area can now chat online to report nuisance youths and break-ins on a new police forum. Cheddar Business Watch Initiative's web forum has been set up by police community support officer (PCSO) Matthew Webb. He said: "The initiative has been in existence for three years, but now the web forum will help boost the scheme."Business owners can log on and report forged notes, nuisance gangs, suspect vehicles and warn others in the area about what is happening. Police can also monitor the conversations to see where the problem areas are and what we can do to help. "I am a strong believer that finding the root of the problems will help reduce crime levels. "Businesses who join the scheme are also given posters to put up in their window to warn thieves who may be operating in the area."Over 40 businesses are already signed up to the scheme, most of which are based in Cheddar Business Park. PCSO Webb says he was eager to get the forum launched in time for the school holidays. He said: "It is unfortunate, but a lot of youths tend to hang out in the business estate causing a nuisance. We need to deter this sort of behaviour and make them realise that the business park is not a place for loitering." PC Ian Barlett and PCSOs Webb and Gary Lewis can all sign on to the forum and read contributions, but to view what is written an account needs to be set up with the police. The forum is not open to the public and only members will be able to read what business managers and police officers discuss. Moneygivers Colourprint Ltd managing director Tim Weare, one of the supervisors who has signed up to the forum, said: "It is nice that someone has gone to the trouble of setting this up and speaking to everyone upfront. PCSO Webb is obviously really enthusiastic and is trying to do something that will benefit us all. Anything that helps prevent crime has got to be positive."Police officers are also keen to set up a similar scheme called Shop Watch, as Business Watch is mainly for warehouses and factories. Anyone who is interested in either initiative can contact PCSO Webb at matthew.webb@avonandsomerset.police.uk or call 07825 125102.


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