Boost for Woodley Shop Watch schemeBy Jon Nurse
August 23, 2012
Shopkeepers in Woodley are being encouraged to pick up their walkie talkies as the town’s neighbourhood policing team breathes new life into its Shop Watch scheme.
Police community support officer (PCSO) Dominick Perera said he has notice a decreased use of the scheme, which has been running for three years to allow traders, police and town centre management to alert one another to suspected and ongoing crime via walkie talkies.
In the coming weeks Woodley’s PCSOs will visit town centre stores to give presentations to shops on how to use the scheme, provide packs detailing how to use the equipment and hand out forms to be collected every fortnight by officers for anything shopkeepers choose not to broadcast over the radio.
PCSO Perera said: “It used to be quite successful and was well used as an informal way to talk to the police with the ultimate goal to deter and catch offenders.
“It’s really useful for us to have real-time information of what is going on.
“At the moment in Woodley it has fallen by the wayside a bit. We have noticed a definite drop in the usage of the radio.
“We want to get it going again and get it more on par with what other areas are doing.
“Perhaps a reason people are speaking less is that new staff don’t know how to use them.
“When we first started everybody was trained up but there hasn’t been anything to continue that training.”
Jamie Mahoney has worked as a store supervisor at Iceland in Crockhamwell Road for the last four months.
He said: “As far as I’m aware, since I arrived the walkie talkie hasn’t been used.
“I wasn’t taught how to use it by my predecessor and I’m not sure there’s anyone in the store that does know how it’s done.
“It’s a good idea though. I’ve come from a store in Aldershot with a similar scheme where it worked well.
“There was a good communication between the police and shops. We were able to pass information on and it kept people aware of what was going on in the town.”
Woodley town centre manager Jacques Lherbier said: “It’s [the scheme] been working very well across the town centre and has been going for a number of years.
“It is in use every day and is used to anticipate if a crime is to take place and acts as a deterrent to prevent theft in shops.
“We are just looking to refresh the scheme and give it a new drive.”
PCSO Perera is encouraged by reduced rates of shoplifting, and said: “Shoplifting was rife in Woodley two years ago but the total is no way near that total anymore.”