Felixstowe traders want radio boost

TRADERS in Felixstowe were today urged to get back on board with the town's crime-fighting radio link scheme to help tackle its shoplifting problems.The scheme was working well in the town centre but now the number of stores using it has slumped and organisers are finding it difficult to get people to take it up.

TRADERS in Felixstowe were today urged to get back on board with the town's crime-fighting radio link scheme to help tackle its shoplifting problems.

The scheme was working well in the town centre but now the number of stores using it has slumped and organisers are finding it difficult to get people to take it up.

Chamber of trade chairman Peter Dawes said the radio link was a vital tool in the fight to stop town centre crime, especially shoplifting or purse thefts.

The police were working hard and the town was looking forward to getting CCTV cameras this year, but every initiative needed to be embraced and used to its best effect.

“The police have been excellent and have said they are willing to help us with another go at getting this back off the ground,” he said.

“I think we really need to raise the awareness of what the radio link system is and the real benefits it can have for those shops in and around the town centre.

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“We need to do all we can to stop crime.

“Shoplifting is an ongoing problem and the radio link is one way of getting the message out early and quickly.

“We need to work hard to get the message across and I hope more traders will take up the scheme.”

The system works by shops renting a radio which staff and police can use as a central information point. As soon as a crime is reported, details of those involved - descriptions of the suspects and their methods, and what they are stealing - can then quickly be transmitted to every shop with a radio so they can all be on the look-out for the troublemakers.

A decade ago the system was working superbly. Police reported a 130 per cent detection rate with nearly 100 arrests in two years and said shoplifting in the town had virtually been wiped out.

Shopkeepers were also supplied with an album of photographs of known shoplifters and active thieves were regularly tracked from shop to shop and arrested.

Is the radio link a good idea? What else would help catch shoplifters? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk