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Icom IC-F44GS Two Way Radio Fleet used in Jersey Shopwatch Scheme

Retailers in Jersey are being given a new weapon in the fight against crime – a radio network which allows staff in shops and businesses to make each other aware of thieves operating in town.

The system which used Icom IC-F44GS handheld transceivers, went live in St Helier this week, with around 20 stores, all part of Shopwatch, now on board with the scheme. Shopwatch is a shop crime initiative involving the Chamber of Commerce, People Against Crime, Police and retailers - where photographs of persistent shop thieves are distributed to retailers within the scheme - of which there are some 150.

Staff at shops in town will have training in how to use the radio system, which is called STORENET. The introduction of the radios mean that information such as descriptions of shoplifters can be circulated quickly between businesses, enabling them to react quickly to information being received.

The radio system has been developed by Welsh based company M-R-S Communications. This week, members of the company have been in Jersey installing the system. There is a base unit which all the two way radios are connected to. The system is being funded through the rental of radio sets by individual store users. It is in use all over the UK, including many city centres.

Commenting on the new system, crime reduction officer Det Con Bruce Liron said: ‘We see a system of this kind as an important investment in crime reduction. Shoplifting is costly to businesses and we hope this will act as a deterrent to would-be thieves. It is pleasing that the system is in place for just before Christmas, when shops tend to be very busy. The stores who are taking part in STORENET will make it clear that they have this radio system in place by displaying stickers in their premises.

‘We feel this is a good crime reduction tool – a good method of deterring thieves. Shoplifting does feature in our acquisitive crime figures and we are keen to work with businesses in any way we can to help cut down on shoplifting. If we hear descriptions of offenders over the radio we will have, we can let the Control Room know that thieves are active in a certain place, and we can send officers to that area. This is intelligence we would not have got otherwise.’

Chris Marsden, the business development manager for M-R-S Communications said: ‘We are pleased to be able to bring STORENET to Jersey. There are already 160 systems like it in use throughout the UK including some city centres. It is essentially a two-way radio which links to all the stores, and allows people to experience what is happening in a town centre at that time.’

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