BUSINESSES, police and BCP Council are uniting to tackle antisocial behaviour and shoplifting in Bournemouth, Christchurch, and Poole.

Three of the area's business improvement districts (BIDs) are leading the new conurbation-wide 'Against Business Crime' partnership.

The project is supported by Dorset Police, Dorset Crime Commissioner David Sidwick, and the BCP Council - who are all stakeholders in The Business Crime Reduction Partnership.

Organisers say it will be a 'game-changer' in tackling rising levels of theft, verbal and physical abuse and antisocial behaviour – all key issues impacting businesses which are going significantly underreported due to frustration with a perceived lack of response.

Bournemouth Town Centre BID chief operating officer Paul Kinvig said: "We believe this will be a game-changer for our levy payers and the town centre more generally because safety and security are by far the biggest issues."

All BID member businesses and other businesses who wish to sign up for the scheme will have access to a cloud-based crime reporting platform.

Here, incidents and potential threats can be logged, alerting members with updates on local crime trends and emerging issues, including specific updates on more prolific repeat offenders.

UK Partners Against Crime will collate the information gathered, aiming to reveal hotspots, high-risk times of day, and patterns of repeat offenders.

Sophie Sajic, head of public protection at BCP Council, said: "We are really pleased to support this new initiative to encourage reporting and proactive enforcement of issues in our town centres. We will work closely with the BIDs, Dorset Police, and businesses to take appropriate action."

A clearer picture of the scale and nature of the issues could also help Dorset Police lobby for improved funding.

Additionally, BID member businesses will have access to a 'Business Crime Liaison Officer' (BCLO) who will be on hand to help with the signing up process and offer training.

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner David Sidwick added: "Business crime is not a victimless offence, and since I came to the office, I have heard from business owners how serious and damaging incidents of shoplifting can be, especially when staff are abused or attacked.

"It is only by working together and sharing intelligence that we can truly tackle the crimes our business communities across Dorset face. Shoplifters prey on our communities, and by working together, we will bring more of them to justice and make our shops and streets safer."