New initiative is aiming to tackle local business crime

Chamber director Mark Fordham

Chamber director Mark Fordham - Credit: Archant

The Chamber begins 2014 with a new initiative to look after St Albans Business Against Crime (SABAC) as we feel this is a very important issue affecting a large number of businesses in the area.

SABAC was formed in 2006 and became a Community Interest Company in 2008, with the express purpose of reducing business crime in the district by bringing together interested retailers, the police and the city CCTV system, plus for those who choose to subscribe, a radio system run by Shopsafe.

St Albans Business Against Crime now successfully covers the majority of the district and is working with the police and local authorities to extend the already successful CCTV coverage.

SABAC has been coordinating the funding needed to replace the temporary CCTV camera at The Quadrant with two new permanent cameras. Anti-social behaviour in the area has already reduced and it is expected that this initiative will build on this success.

In this it has been exceedingly successful, with rates of shoplifting in particular falling steadily, especially in the earlier years (after the beginning of the recession, when national shoplifting figures were increasing). SABAC members ban known offenders and persistent trouble-makers from their premises, and information is shared to make this practical. Over 100 retailers are members.

SABAC is self-funding and relies on the payments of retailers (for the radio service and SABAC membership) so budgets are tight, and it sustains only one part-time role. To make this more practical and effective, it is hoped in the longer term that the SABAC function can be performed through the City Centre Partnership in some format.

However, this will not be clear for some months, so the SABAC directors are extremely grateful to St Albans Chamber of Commerce for undertaking the necessary liaison with retailers, the police and city centre CCTV to keep SABAC effective in the interim period, when a long term solution can be found as part of the overall development of the city centre.

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Chamber director Mark Fordham will be taking on this interim role with funding through SABAC’s share of radio fees and membership fees, and will be making contact with existing and potential new members as quickly as it is practical to get around to see them, and will be redeveloping the links that are so important to the impact of SABAC.

Mark said: “I am very much looking forward to speaking to local retailers and businesses about their concerns and helping to prevent business crime in the area. The Chamber feels strongly that we should be supporting local retailers and effectively helping to prevent business crime in the district.”

For more information please contact Mark Fordham by email: or by telephone: 07852 923996

We have a huge pool of talent to draw on within our business community so this year we will be inviting more of our Chamber members to contribute to this column sharing their knowledge and expertise with you, the readers. Throughout the year we intend to offer informed and insightful comments on local business issues and be a strong voice for business!

Our first event this year is a dynamic business breakfast on January 15 where St Albans Film Festival director Leoni Kibbey will reveal the festival’s aims and visions for the future and how this can benefit the city.

Delegates will find out how the festival is a vibrant high quality arts event which is about more than just film and find out ways in which your business can be a part of it. As the festival prepares for Year 2, guests will get a first sneak preview of what is to come in 2014.

This is a great networking opportunity, so come along and meet like-minded professionals. Book via our website.