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Keighley exclusion zone bans are hailed
Thirty thieves and troublemakers have been banned from Keighley shops during the first few months of a town centre exclusion zone.
Traders say crimes such as shoplifting and purse-dipping have been slashed, and staff feel more confident about tackling suspects.
Following the success of the pilot scheme – revealed by the Keighley Town Centre Association – more shops, including supermarkets, are clamouring to sign up.
The zone will be extended across the whole town centre in the New Year following its trial in the Airedale Shopping Centre and Keighley market.
Police will pursue anti-social behaviour orders against prolific offenders who try to enter shops in the zone after being banned.
Almost 30 businesses signed up to the scheme after it was first announced last June by the KTCA and Neighbourhood Policing Team.
Exclusion notices have been issued by police, shopping centre security staff and businesses.
An association spokesman this week told the Keighley News the exclusion zone enabled action to be taken quickly against offenders.
He added: “When someone is excluded from a particular business, they are excluded from all the businesses that have joined the scheme.
“Traditionally, some businesses issued their own notices, but this scheme sets out to put together a package. In the past it’s been piecemeal, but now it’s a concentrated effort that seems to be working well.
“Any business can use the process, so long as they are signed up to the scheme and have been trained by the police.
“Businesses feel more in control and empowered to come forward with information about anti-social behaviour.”
District councillor Andrew Mallinson, a member of the KTCA’s partnership board, said the exclusion zone was helping create a more vibrant and crime-free town centre.
He added: “I’d like to see it extended to a wider area and more shops signed up to it.
“It gives a retailer greater security to get involved, knowing they have the back-up of the police and the association.”
KTCA chairman and Airedale Shopping Centre manager, Steve Seymour, said major companies like Marks & Spencer, Next, Poundland and Boots are pleased with how the scheme is working in Keighley.
Neighbourhood policing team inspector, Dave Collyer, said officers and partner organisations had worked well to ensure the exclusion notices were successful.
He added: “We hope they will serve as a warning to others crime and anti-social behaviour in the town centre will not be tolerated.
“Our next step will be to evaluate the scheme in January, with the aim of rolling it out in other areas across the town.”
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