I must put my hand up and say that I did a drive-off the other day. However, it was at my local station and I did wave at the checkout a lot as I drove very slowly out and point to the husband who was waiting in the queue to pay. But I saw that no-one noticed me waving or driving off very very slowly and so it brought home the point that this can be a very easy crime to commit if you are relying on just your eyesight and bit of camera kit.
Unless you trade in Kent you are probably sick of reading me banging on about their enormously successful anti drive-off campaigns. I have asked several times in print why others can’t achieve the same. Now it looks like others are about to. In Rotherham there is a training company involved in fighting crime (run by four ex-coppers) in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce. WFO Training has launched ‘i-crime’, a service set to reduce business crime across the Rotherham borough initially, which hopes to take it eventually to other regions and wind up national.
The service is an internet-based facility where businesses can go online to report incidents as well as share information with the Crime Co-ordinator (appointed by the Chamber of Commerce), the Police and other businesses. “As information is collated, trends can also be identified,” Andy Frith, one of the principals of WFO told me. “For instance if a vehicle drives off from a petrol station without paying for fuel then the details could be reported to the Police via i-crime and the information then shared with other petrol stations in the area. I-crime will also have a database of suppliers, vetted by Trading Standards, who will attend the scenes of crimes to assist the victim.”
The service operates at no cost to business and offers advice on crime prevention. Frith is quite hopeful of the scheme rolling out – WFO Training also employs some 190 police officers across the country which it deploys to offer advice on crime reduction – so it isn’t just a little local concern.
If you have access to a local Chamber of Commerce you might want to bring the initiative to their attention. And if you are anywhere near Rotherham on April 14-15 you might want to attend the formal launch of i-crime at a Business Against Crime event to be held at Magna Science Park. For more info ring 01709 740078 or visit the website www.wfo-online.com