Street marshals sent out to protect businesses and make Leeds a safer place have helped to keep crime down at the busiest time of the year.
The Leeds Street Marshal Scheme, which is backed by Business Against Crime in Leeds (BACIL), saw marshals kitted out in high visibility jackets reassuring and helping members of the public and resolve incidents in Leeds throughout December.
In fact during the marshals’ patrols during December the number of thefts from shops was markedly lower than it was in both October and November, while public order and drunk and disorderly offences also decreased compared to the same time in 2011.
Andy Johnston, from BACIL, said: “Our goal, as an organisation, is to unite local businesses and together prevent and reduce criminality and anti-social behaviour in the city.
“The street marshal scheme is an excellent example of targeted activity that helps to meet this goal.”
Street marshals were sent to night time hot spots, in Call Lane and Woodhouse Lane, Leeds, and to busy taxi ranks for the four Saturday nights up to Christmas, while daytime marshals worked in busy retail areas on the same four Saturdays.
BACIL, which is made up of Leeds City Council, West Yorkshire Police, Safer Leeds and almost 300 businesses in central Leeds, funded the scheme.
The night marshals were provided by AMR Security and the daytime marshals were provided by Aim2Learn.
Mr Johnston added: “As well as proactively engaging with BACIL members, the marshals provided reassurance to the public and also acted as a visible deterrent to potential criminals – the reduction in certain crime figures, while they were operating, is testament to this.”
He said the organisation was hoping to extend the scheme further and increase its membership to include venues slightly outside the city centre.
BACIL, which aims to reduce business crime, also provides two-way radios to more than 150 daytime venues and 130 night time locations to give businesses instant access to the police.
It hopes to harness the latest technology, such as smartphones or tablets, to modernise the radio system in future.