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Business Improvement Districts go online with Facewatch

Posted 9 April 2013 · Add Comment

Facewatch, the crime reporting system that enables businesses and city centre CCTV operators to report crime directly to the police, is being recommended by the national association that represents business improvement districts (BIDs).

BIDs are business-led partnerships focused on improving and enhancing commercial areas including town and city centres, commercial locations and industrial estates. 
Dr Julie Grail, chief executive of the British Bids Association said: "We are delighted to introduce Facewatch as a new commercial partner alongside Boots, Jones Lang LaSalle, and Santander among others. Rapidly modernising the way crime is reported across the country and providing integrated online systems will prove of immense value to BIDs across Britain who are doing a tremendous job in improving our city centres." 
British BIDs is leading the way on the development, management, renewal and evolution of business improvement districts. 
Launched in 2010 with the Victoria BID and most recently adopted by the Waterloo Quarter BID, Facewatch is already used by the biggest BIDs in the UK, along with a further 6,000 businesses. 
Facewatch has recently been upgraded to include the latest social media tools. The new system will be made available free and with full training for the first 12 months of use by any BID. 
The new social media additions to Facewatch make the system especially useful for the management and control of information by BIDS and business crime reduction partnerships (BCRP) which are working closely with city centre businesses and the police. All members are able to confidentially share and alert members to incidents and highlight individuals that are known offenders in real time using internet tools in a completely secure, confidential and trackable way, fully compliant with Data Protection rules.  
The system means that the overt use of radio communications, especially at night, is reduced and a more discreet range of deterrents using smartphone technology can be used to ensure bad behaviour and petty crime is managed and ultimately reduced. 
Ruth Duston, chief executive of the Victoria BID said: "Victoria BID was the first to see the potential of Facewatch and we have been working with the team since the very start in 2010.  We have seen and contributed to the system development to get it to where it is today and are convinced that this will make our communities safer over the coming years. I would commend Facewatch to anyone who genuinely wants to make a difference and particularly BIDs who are in an excellent position to improve their local areas."   
In just two years Facewatch has been adopted by many UK police forces, including the Metropolitan Police, the British Transport Police, and the Northamptonshire, Surrey and West Midlands Police forces with around 11 more forces committed to joining soon.  Facewatch also works in partnership with Crimestoppers and is imminently launching in Australia and the USA.
Simon Gordon, chairman of Facewatch (pictured with Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, said: “From its early beginnings as a simple way for businesses to report low level crime with CCTV evidence directly to the police, Facewatch has evolved into a confidential communications platform leveraging the very latest in internet technology. With the focus on creating crime free and community focused city areas, BIDS will find Facewatch the ideal tool to communicate easily with all the agencies involved and as an already established solution, used by many police forces, acceptance will be quick and effective.”
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