City centre businesses are crucial in the fight against anti-social behaviour and crimes and are being urged to continue to report any activity that makes them feel less safe and harms their work. The call comes after two men were banned from Liverpool city centre after their campaign of violence and aggression towards stores and retail staff was reported and tracked by businesses to Liverpool BID Company police officers. 

For one small city centre store alone, several hundred pounds were being stolen each week. 

29 year old Mark Thomas and 40 year old Richard Wright, have both been banned from large sections of the city centre after courts agreed to Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBOs) mid-January. Thomas has already been jailed for eight weeks after breaching his order outside Liverpool Crown Court within a week of the CBO being put in place. 

He was originally banned for criminal damage, theft, violence, anti-social behaviour and theft from a shop. Richard Wright was armed with a knife and was banned for violence and theft. 

The orders came into effect after sustained work and a collaborative effort by the Neighbourhood Team in Liverpool, bringing together Merseyside Police and the 2 BID Police Officers funded by Liverpool BID Company. Both orders cover anti-social behaviour taking place over several months, covering the first national lockdown and subsequent lockdowns in Liverpool.

The stores impacted gave statements to the officers, outlining the impact of the anti-social behaviour, and it was those, says Dave Crawford, BID Police Officer, that show how important reporting can be.

“The relationships we build with businesses across the BID Area at Liverpool BID Company are of vital importance during this kind of coordinated campaign, because the retail staff can be worried about reporting on violent offenders, they can think nothing is going to happen or that it’s too time consuming. It can take many conversations to secure statements but when we submit these to our colleagues at St Anne’s Police Station it brings it one step closer to the courts and to getting these offenders off the streets.”

“These banning orders haven’t just removed two dangerous individuals from the city centre, but make going to work safer for retail staff. Any abuse or violence is not tolerated in Liverpool, but particularly during this incredibly difficult time for staff on the front line.

Our message to business is that reporting each and every incident is worth it as it helps us to build a case and protect our city centre”. 

It is not a victimless crime, he says,

“At one store, several hundreds pounds of goods were being stolen on a weekly basis. At a time when retail is under such pressure, this could be the difference between surviving the economic crisis and being forced to close. It is a load off their minds, a store manager told me, knowing these individuals are something they won’t have to worry about, at a time when there is such much to worry about.”

The original banning orders are in place for three years. Mark Thomas has been jailed for eight weeks after breaching the banning order. 

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