Businesses in Grantham are being offered a new digital app for phones and tablets to connect them and protect them from crime.

The app is part of a new and upgraded Business Watch scheme in Grantham using ‘state-of-the-art technology to make the town safer and more prosperous’.

South Kesteven District Council is initially funding the scheme, working in partnership with Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, Lincolnshire Police and the Lincolnshire Police & Crime Commissioner. 

The digital app costs £2.30 a week.

It will be shared by the operators of the council’s CCTV cameras and Police Community Support Officers as the quickest way to get police involved in any incident, plus offer a level of safety if there is sole or low staff occupancy in a premises.

A former analogue radio link, which has been in operation for 20 year, has now been turned off.

Coun Nick Robins, SKDC Cabinet Member for Retail and Visitor Economy, said: “We want to make our towns great places to live, work, study, visit and invest in, and we can achieve this through security, safety and peace of mind for visitors and businesses alike.

“The more businesses we can include, the more effective it will become. It helps to create a community feel in the town and ensures everyone is up to date with what Is happening.”

The scheme has already been trialled in Bourne, with a clutch of successful prosecutions for public order and shop-lifting offences as a result and there is plans to roll it out in Stamford in the near future.

“It should be universally welcomed,” said Coun Robins. “It’s an excellent way for scheme members, police and CCTV to share information with each other to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour.”

Simon Beardsley, Chief Executive of Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “We have seen Business Watch schemes operate really well in the county and we are keen to bring the benefits of this new technology to Grantham.

“Business Watch does need businesses to get involved and the more businesses that contribute, the stronger the system will be.”

Members are in continuous contact and will be able to communicate information about suspicious or anti-social activity, although if a crime is being committed they will still be urged to call 999.

A major additional benefit is access to criminal data from the new Lincolnshire-wide police data sharing scheme, allowing sharing of a photo gallery of known criminals so that members can discuss possible banning orders.

Photographs and videos can be used in prosecutions, voice transmissions are recorded and text messaging can be used.

Posters and window stickers will be displayed by Business Watch scheme members, alerting any would-be offenders to the risk of being caught and banned.

Businesses interested in joining can call Steve Jackson at the Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce on 01522 846930.