An historic North West city is safer than ever for residents and visitors thanks to the efforts of Chester Against Business Crime (CABC).

With more than 200 members CABC which operates through Chester Renaissance, is a proactive partnership of the city’s businesses, Cheshire West and Chester Council and Cheshire Constabulary.

Now thanks to a new National Business Information System (NBIS), the city is tackling the threat posed by thieves traveling from Merseyside and Manchester to the city’s shops and businesses head-on.

Chief Executive of Chester Renaissance, Rita Waters, says the partnership aims to combat all aspects of crime and anti-social behaviour in the city.

She said: “The partnership is self funding and already operates a radio rental scheme which enables members, including retailers, the police, community enforcement officers and the river patrol to all be linked via the partnership’s new digital radio system.

“Chester is open for business and we are ready to welcome visitors to our fabulous city. However, that welcome doesn’t apply to thieves. Chester is a very safe place to reside and visit and we will do everything we can to make it an even safer city.

“The new information management system we have employed will help us do that and help our retail shops, in particular, maintain profits. I am delighted that thanks to the more accurate picture we have gleaned from NBIS on safety issues in Chester, we can better direct resources, such as the police, to focus on issues that matter most to local businesses.”

Bob Lelliott, Manager of Chester Against Business Crime, said: “When we were looking for an information management system to handle our crime data it was  important we were able to link to and access the data from other similar schemes run in the North West.

“Through speaking to Action Against Business Crime (AABC) about the type of system we required, the Hicom NBIS system we have employed was the only one that could effectively meet our specific criteria.”

He added: “The main advantage NBIS has over other technology is the ability to share information with other partnerships that use the system. Neighbouring towns and cities such as Liverpool, Manchester, Bolton and Blackpool are all using the system, which means we can exchange information quickly and easily on criminal activity in the region.

“Being aware of the latest scams enables us to better advise our retailers and local businesses on what behaviour to be aware of and how best to protect themselves.”

He said: “NBIS allows us to deliver first class intelligence and bring value to the partnership. For example, we have found NBIS particularly useful in regards to dealing with anti-social behaviour offences, such as shop assistants being verbally abused.

“While this type of behaviour might be considered too minor to involve the police by some retailers, it must not be tolerated and needs to be logged appropriately and the information collated for future action if required.

NBIS gives us this functionality and we can then monitor the individual’s behaviour, taking appropriate action should the same offence happen again.”

He added: “Lyn Brunton is our NBIS expert and looks after all CABC intelligence matters. Thanks to her linking in with other cities and towns on NBIS she has identified a number of travelling criminals that have been subsequently taken before the courts.”

CABC holds weekly information meetings attended by representatives from the police, CCTV operators, the local business community and anyone with a vested interest in the CABC scheme.

Bob Lelliott said: “These meetings are really beneficial as they facilitate the exchange of information between authoritative bodies. The quality of the intelligence we gain through NBIS is paramount and reliable information is key to the success of any business crime reduction partnership. It all helps make Chester safe and welcoming for all.”