Retail Crime Challenged Head On: VIDEO REPORT

A ‘highly engaging and educational event’ aimed at the prevention of retail crime in the Belfast city centre, has been praised by the Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor Arder Carson.

Hosted by Belfast City Centre Management in partnership with the Police Service for Northern Ireland, the event was attended by over 60 Belfast businesses – from independents to multi-national stores.

Speaking at the event, which was held in Belfast City Hall, the Lord Mayor said: “I am delighted to here today in support of such an important event for retailers.

“Belfast is the only city in Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales with declining retail crime figures.  We are achieving this success through close partnership working between business, Belfast City Centre Management and the PSNI. Innovative projects such as Retail Crimewatch and Shop Safe – which highlight the excellent way these agencies work together – are to be commended.

The Lord Mayor concluded: “By raising awareness through events like this, we’ll make it even harder for the criminals to be successful in their pursuits in Belfast and indeed better equip businesses to prevent and deal with crime.”

Visitors to the event listened to address from the Lord Mayor, BCCM, PSNI, and the Ulster Bank. They were then invited view an exhibition which showcased the work of Retail Crimewatch, Safe Shop, and Belfast City Council’s Community Safety initiative.

Andrew Irvine, Belfast City Manager continued: “We are delighted at the turnout at this morning’s event, which was aimed at providing local businesses with an opportunity to understand steps they can take to prevent crime.

“Retail crime cost the economy £603m across the UK and Northern Ireland 2013-2014 which, combined with an already difficult economy for retailers, leads to the loss of jobs in our city.

“Today was an opportunity to get an up-to-the-minute look at the methods that criminals are using today in the city. I thought I’d seen every trick in the book, but I certainly learned a couple of things, which every business owner needs to be aware of.

“Today we had displays of counterfeit money, ID and credit cards as well as foil lined bags which shoplifters frequently use in department stores. This was combined with latest crime prevention methods outlined by the PSNI. ”

BCCM maintains an ongoing partnership with PSNI to educate business owners and their staff about the techniques that criminals may use against them. Today’s event educated business owners and their staff on the technically sophisticated fraudsters and counterfeiters alongside the more familiar methods of the shoplifter.

Andrew concluded: “An event like today’s is the best way for a retailer to learn the risks they face and how they can protect themselves. We want every business in Belfast City Centre to be fully briefed and on their guard.”

For further information on retail crime prevention visit www.belfastcentre.com or call 028 9024 2111.

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