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Western Business Watch restarted

Businesses in the western parishes came together yesterday to present a unified front against anti-social behaviour.MarketPlace, White’s, Raynor’s Service Station and Ceasar’s Pharmacy were among businesses that met with police as part of a newly reformed Western Business Watch.While the Watch was originally started in 2002, Pc Donville Yarde of the Western Community Action Team, said a redeployment of police staff caused the meetings to taper off.Yesterday, the Watch officially relaunched, with representatives from around a dozen businesses in attendance.They said they intend to share information about criminal activity such as shoplifters, and make rules such as refusing service to people wearing helmets more consistent.Zack Moniz, manager at Lindo’s, said many stores already share information about shoplifters and people who cause problems.“It’s up to the management. If someone is stealing food because they can’t afford it, that’s one thing. There is a human element,” he said.“But if someone is causing problems and is no fun to deal with, then everyone needs to be aware and take caution. If I have a name or pictures, that information will be shared.”He said by banning the wearing of helmets and hoods in all stores, people will become more accepting of the rule.“When is the last time you walked into the bank wearing a helmet?” he said. “We just don’t do it.“It’s a security issue. People are getting robbed at gunpoint and the helmet is an easy way to conceal your face.“Right now, when I confront people about wearing helmets in the store, 95 percent of people understand, but then there’s another five percent. Hopefully this will help remove that five percent.”The group said it is also discussing a uniform policy on requesting photo ID when accepting credit cards and checks.Pc Yarde said partnerships between the community and the Police Service are becoming more and more important in the fight against rising crime.“These businesses are competing with each other but despite that they are saying they are unifying in the fight against crime and anti-social behaviour,” said Pc Yarde.“We know the police cannot do it alone and the businesses cannot do it alone.“We are coming together because enough is enough and we must eradicate crime and anti-social behaviour in the community.”l Businesses in the Western parishes that would like to be involved in the Western Business Watch are asked to contact Pc Yarde at 717-0332 or dyarde[AT]bps.bm.