Wednesday, 13th October marks the first year anniversary of Guildford’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership’s (BCRP) Exclusion Scheme, which was introduced across the town in a bid to reduce the incidence of repeat offending. Guildford’s BCRP is a town-centre initiative that aims to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour by collectively detecting, deterring and detaining shoplifters and other individuals causing low-level anti-social behaviour on the high street.


Delivered by Experience Guildford, and supported by Surrey Police, Guildford Borough Council, British Transport Police, Guildford Pubwatch, local businesses and other key town centre stakeholders, the BCRP collectively monitor, tackle and respond to crime levels in the town with a suite of reformative based programs to deter future offending. There are currently over 590 individuals from 230 Guildford-based businesses signed up and using the scheme, a number which continues to grow as the benefits are realised.


Operated by a representative Board of Management from the BCRP, The Exclusion Scheme offers a warnings-based platform available to all partnership members to help identify and bar consistent repeat offenders from all businesses within the scheme, whilst also encouraging a more reformative approach to crime.


Under the scheme, any member of the BCRP can issue an initial warning letter to an individual shoplifting or causing anti-social behaviour in their business to discourage a repeat offence. If this initial warning is breached within a set time framework (ranging from 3 to 12 months), then the specific crime and individual will be reviewed by the BCRP Board of Management and a more formal banning and privacy policy letter could be issued, plus the visual identity of the offender and detail of their offence could be shared amongst other members of the partnership to enable a town centre-wide banning order.


Since its introduction 12 months ago, the BCRP Exclusion Scheme has issued a total of 65 warning letters, with a non-re-offending rate of 89%. Of the 11% that have re-offended or been given a straightforward exclusion, 67% have not breached their ban. Of the small number remaining that have then gone on to continue to offend, the BCRP works with Surrey Police to identify and build a case to act swiftly and robustly in respect of any future offences.


The ethos behind the Exclusion Scheme is to deter repeat offenders and encourage self-motivated reform. After an initial warning, known individuals become aware that they are in the BCRP’s spotlight, making them think twice about re-offending which could possibly result in town exclusion.


This cohesive approach to town centre crime is sending a strong message to would-be offenders that Guildford will not tolerate shoplifting or low-level anti-social behaviour.


Businesses themselves feel empowered to take action to detect and deter crime on their premises, whilst the stronger links with Surrey Police and the DISC system, a secure online information-sharing platform designed to help drive down low-level crime and antisocial behaviour, has enabled far more offenders to be identified and their details shared amongst members, to minimise the impact to the town and local businesses.


Commenting on the success and continued rollout of the BCRP and the Exclusion Scheme, Pete Lambert, Town Safety and Venue Liaison Manager at Experience Guildford says;


“We’re delighted to see the enthusiasm and the take-up to join Guildford’s BCRP, and to see the positive effects from The Exclusion Scheme. Collectively, Guildford has come together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour in our town, and to send a strong message to would-be offenders who are considering offending here. These initiatives are all in place to protect our local businesses and to protect residents and visitors to the town, whilst at the same time, offering a reformative route of transition for repeat offenders.

“Thanks to all the partners for getting behind this scheme and to the Board of Management for their ongoing delivery of it.”