Town centre's walkie-talkie hotline to police expanded - The Rugby Observer

Town centre's walkie-talkie hotline to police expanded

Rugby Editorial 10th Nov, 2019   0

THE FIGHT against town centre crime has been boosted by an expansion of a network of walkie-talkies.

Rugby’s retail radio network – which gives local shops, businesses, pubs and clubs a hotline to police, Town Rangers and each other – has been expanded by a new repeat transmitter, which will expand the area it covers and more than double its capacity.

A £1,000 grant from Warwickshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) has funded the expansion, which will allow the number of radios in the network to grow to up to 500.

Ryan Webster, operations manager of town centre management company Rugby First, said: “Currently there are nearly 250 radios in use on a daily basis.

“Our local police officers and the Town Rangers are also equipped with the radios and it allows everyone on the network to talk to each other and share information in real time about what is happening in the town centre.

“It’s not just about theft and shoplifting – the radios can help tackle problems of anti-social behaviour and also to prevent and deter problems in our pubs and clubs.

“The new repeater has also allowed us to increase the number of radios by up to double what we have now. If new businesses want to get involved or to do more, it gives us the capacity to do that.”

Warwickshire PCC Philip Seccombe said: “I get a lot of correspondence from shop owners and other businesses concerned about shoplifting and other forms of retail crime as I know it can significantly dent their profitability. It also takes a huge amount of time and effort to deal with, so if we can try and help prevent and reduce that crime taking place, that’s good news for everybody.

“Equally, when people go out in the pubs and clubs we want them to have a safe and enjoyable time, so giving the network the capacity to expand into more venues will help everyone concerned to communicate more effectively, allowing them to intervene before trouble flares up.

“The radio network is already very successful and much valued by businesses in the town. I am pleased that this funding will help to ensure its sustainability into the future and enable more venues to be part of this really important crime reduction initiative.”

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