Keighley exclusion zone expansion plans

Keighley News: Steve Seymour Steve Seymour

A trailblazing scheme banning thieves and rowdies from Keighley shops could be expanded across the district.

The town centre exclusion zone will be held up as ‘best practice’ when agencies crack down on problems in other shopping areas.

Town centre bosses hope to learn from the success of the Keighley scheme in bringing together police, businesses and Bradford Council.

More than 60 traders across Keighley town centre have now signed up to bar named individuals from their shops.

The number of people on the watchlist – including shoplifters and persistent troublemakers – has almost doubled to 59 during the past three months.

One major Keighley store is understood to have seen a 50 per cent drop in shoplifting during the Christmas period as a result of the project.

The scheme, which began in the Airedale Shopping Centre and Keighley Market, was recently expanded to the town’s supermarkets.

Petrol stations are also looking at how to adapt the scheme to tackle the growing problem of customers driving off without paying.

The exclusion zone, spearheaded by Keighley Town Centre Association and the Neighbour-hood Policing Team, attracted 30 businesses when it was first announced last June.

By Christmas, 30 people had been barred from shops, with police pursuing anti-social behaviour orders against prolific offenders who flouted the ban.

Steve Seymour, chairman of the association and manager of the shopping centre, is very pleased with the exclusion zone success.

He said: “It’s a scheme that can be put in any town to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour.

“Most shopping centres have exclusion schemes, but this one joins up all the dots about what businesses are doing.”

Mr Seymour said businesses joining the scheme could sign a tried-and-tested agreement that was legally enforceable.

He added: “Staff are now very confident about dealing with these issues, and they know they will be backed up.”

Councillor Andrew Mallinson, an association member, described the possibility of the exclusion zone expansion as “fantastic news”.

He said: “Once agencies come together in Keighley, it shows how effectively they can work.”

Inspector Diane Collins, of the Keighley Neighbourhood Policing Team, said the exclusion notices demonstrated a commitment to tackling crimes against businesses in Keighley.

She added: “Crime and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in the town centre, and we hope these notices will serve as a warning to that effect.”

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