Last week saw the publication and launch of BIDs & Business Crime: A Manifesto, which I was commissioned to write on behalf of retail industry business leaders, at Blackfriars in London. With 60 guests, including government officials, BIDs organisations, but primarily retailers, the audience heard about the concerns of business about growing levels of crime and anti-social behaviour in town and city centres.
A retailer’s survey showed that there top three concerns were:
- Safety of Staff
- Anti-Social behaviour
- Customer Safety
There has been growing concern about both the effectiveness of BCRPs but also a growing sense that businesses are “paying twice” with BCRPs and BIDs. At the launch one major high street brand told the audience that their total BIDs levy in 220 locations was now approaching £400k pa.
The number of Business Improvement Districts has steadily increased since legislation in 2003 enabled their introduction to the UK
- There are now more than 300 established BIDs in the UK
- BIDs raise around £100m in levy income each year and lever an additional £40-50m from other sources
- Average BID levy income is £425k pa; a third of BIDs have an income of £250k – £500k pa; but this is skewed by around 15 BIDs that have incomes of £1m+ (all in major cities)
- Staffing levels vary hugely, but over half of BIDs operate with a team of 3 or fewer
However, according to a recent British BIDs survey most BIDs – 87% – are involved in their Business Crime Reduction Partnerships in some way, often managing both Pub or Shopwatch schemes, providing radios, DISC or similar and local policing.
The launch (and Manifesto) included case studies from BIDs in Bristol Broadmead, Great Yarmouth and Reading.
What the Manifesto does is to set our clearly the minimum that retailers are looking for BIDs to provide, as funded by the levy. This compliments the new National Standards for BCRPs, which I wrote last year and have been adopted by the National Business Crime Centre and administered by Secure By Design.
So, the challenge for BIDs to demonstrate their worth in terms of combating crime and offering value for money.
I have put together a programme to help BCRPs and BIDs look critically at what they offer now and how to make sure it meets both the needs of the funders i.e. retailers and NTE businesses and will reach the new standards required.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07799 644556