The safety of our members, their customers, staff and guests has been a priority since the outset of the BID’s first term. Levels of crime, fear of crime and anti-social behaviour were all cited as one of the top concerns.
The BID’s vision is to foster a location in which people can be confident to do business, shop, stay, work, eat out, attend school and live. We aim to protect our members and their operations, and to provide them with the insights, intelligence and tools to build resilience.
Marble Arch Street Team
In establishing the BID in 2016, almost every business told us they were concerned about the high levels of anti-social behaviour in the area. As a result, we introduced our Marble Arch Street Team in August 2016. Responding to demands from businesses and the Police, we have extended their patrolling times twice over the first term, introducing a morning patrol and increasing days from five to six per week.
The Street Team has become the go-to resource for businesses and residents in the area. They have won numerous awards and provide a visible, reassuring presence on the street, offering practical support to shops, restaurants, hotels, banks, schools, offices, cafes, and the emergency services.
Since 2016 the Street Team has:
- Tackled 9,611 incidents of organised begging;
- Checked or referred rough sleepers on 3,562 occasions;
- Assisted 1,972 businesses, responding to requests for help and undertaking courtesy calls;
- Cleared telephone boxes of vice cards 7,066 times;
- Moved on 719 pedicabs ved on 589 pedicabs;
- Dealt with 617 incidents of aggressive behaviour;
- Responded to 131 thefts;
- Assisted 2,251 visitors;
- Helped emergency services deal with the impact of 372 incidents of fire, personal injury or a road traffic collision.
"The Marble Arch Street Team have proved invaluable, supporting our security team in dealing with shoplifters, and ensuring that rough sleepers get the support they need."
David Fitzgibbon, Marks & Spencer, Edgware Road
The Street Team regularly support the Metropolitan Police in their activities, carrying out joint patrols, Project Servator campaigns, operations such as weapon sweeps, reassurance visits after terror attacks, help with a missing person/murder investigation and carrying out preparations for Eid to ensure restaurants are ready for the celebrations. The team has received specialist training in how to respond to acid attacks and how to interview and refer rough sleepers to the appropriate agencies.
In the BID’s second term we will continue to deploy our Street Team six days a week from early morning to late at night throughout the year. We will step up mystery shopping to make sure the team continue to be responsive to, and meet, the needs of all our members.
"We are delighted with the support that has been provided by the BID and the Street Team. Their help to manage our external environment has ensured pupils and parents feel supported and safe."
Eva Valverde, Hampden Gurney CE Primary School, Nutford Place
An Intelligence-Led Approach
The BID’s membership of Safer West End, a local business crime reduction partnership, provides a GDPR compliant online intelligence sharing platform that allows our security team and some member businesses to log information and intelligence about individuals committing regular thefts and anti-social behaviour in our area. This offers a network for information sharing across central London so that individuals committing offences can be more easily identified. The BID is a member of its Steering Group, helping to direct its priorities and create better relationships with the Police. We have rolled out free access to Safer West End’s incident database to individual businesses to enable them to report incidents for themselves and view images and intelligence relating to suspects.
We attend monthly neighbourhood problem solving and Ward Panel meetings with Westminster City Council and the local ward Police teams (Hyde Park and Bryanston and Dorset Square). Here we raise business specific issues and provide evidence collected by our Street Team to tackle problems and lever in additional Police and Council enforcement resources, which proved instrumental in the designation of Edgware Road as a Community Protection Zone. This means that warnings can now be issued, and arrests made for begging and anti-social behaviour.
"The comfort and security of our guests is our first priority, and the BID provides excellent support through regular intelligence and their dedicated Street Team."
Erden Caner, Hilton London Metropole, Edgware Road
The BID launched its Business Crime Group in 2018, in conjunction with Safer West End, enabling local businesses to meet the local Police Teams and raise local concerns. Businesses have received presentations on topics such as rough sleeping, modern slavery and how to protect premises and customers from theft. These will cotinue into the BID’s second term.
Since January 2020, the BID has funded a dedicated Neighbourhood Co-ordinator post at Westminster City Council, whose role it is to corral Council services, analyse data from problem issues and areas and commission multi-service and multi-agency solutions. The evidence collected from the Street Team feeds into this, with real time data being made accessible, helping Council services to be agile and responsive on a daily basis.
Problem locations are now being ‘designed out’ through changes to the public realm, removal of street clutter and increased monitoring and surveillance.
We have provided face to face counter terrorism training by the Metropolitan Police to our businesses, such as Project Griffin and Argus and now signpost businesses to on-line Action Counters Terrorism e-Learning modules. We are part of a wider West End Security Group, working with our neighbours to share information and create support networks.
This proved invaluable during Extinction Rebellion protests and the Covid-19 pandemic, when we benefited from daily conference calls with the Police and City Council, obtaining operational information in advance that enabled us to forewarn our businesses and keep them up to speed with rapidly evolving situations. Our bespoke security bulletin service ensures that security leads across the district receive real time alerts and intelligence.
Building resilience will continue to be a priority in our second term, with the BID taking part in table-top emergency planning exercises across the West End and helping businesses prepare for any interruptions to their operations.