Betting shops across Hounslow town centre are being urged to join a new initiative aimed at reducing crime in the area.
Betwatch launched at Hounslow Police Station on Monday (October 23) and currently has eight members with support coming from the big names in betting including Betfred, Paddy Power and William Hill, alongside Hounslow Council, the Gambling Commission and Safer Business Hounslow.
As part of the initiative, members of Betwatch will be displaying posters warning individuals if they are barred from one betting shop, they are barred from them all, including licensed premises.
By working together, those behind the scheme hope to reduce crime, anti-social behaviour and the apprehension and prosecution of offenders and suspected offenders.
The scheme is joining forces with Pubwatch and the newly formed Safer Business Hounslow to ensure crime is reduced not just in betting shops, but in pubs and other businesses, such as retailers, across the borough too.
"It is an information sharing agreement"
Chief Inspector Wayne Matthews, from Hounslow Police, said: "This is a very exciting initiative which Hounslow Police have launched in Partnership with the London Borough of Hounslow Council and also all licensed bookmakers within the Hounslow town centre.
"In essence, it is an information sharing agreement, creating a hostile environment for those individuals who engage in anti-social or disorderly conduct inside betting shops," he added.
"If someone becomes barred from a bookmakers, then they will be barred from all betting shops in the area.
"The details of the individual will be shared with all bookmakers, so if barred individuals go into other bookmakers then they will commit offences for which they can be prosecuted.
"The ethos behind the scheme is, 'Barred from 1, barred from all' the scheme will also be used by other licensed premises such as public houses, meaning offenders may also be banned from pubs.
"There is a significant campaign at the moment for everyone to bet responsibly and that includes the way they behave in these types of premises. No one goes to work to be abused or assaulted and this initiative further protects betting shop staff and other customers."
A trial run of the scheme resulted in a 70% reduction in crime and anti-social behaviour (ASB) in the area.
Prior to the trial, 76% of crime and ASB committed in betting shops in the borough of Hounslow from January 2016 to 2017 was committed in Hounslow town centre.
Debbie Dobson, coordinator of Safer Business Hounslow, in which retailers and businesses work together to prevent crime, said: "We will be working alongside Betwatch to encourage reporting and provide the tools to share information in order to prevent crime and anti-social behaviour within business communities."
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