A PILOT scheme designed to help retailers tackle crime and anti-social behaviour is being trialled in Stirling.

The Shopwatch initiative is being launched by Go Forth Stirling and hopes to mirror the success that Stirling’s Pubwatch system has seen.

Pubwatch provides pub and club owners with a fully digitised communications system so they can share information, photographs and intelligence with eachother.

Shopwatch would hope to emulate this idea, allowing retailers to link up with each other – plus the police, the Thistle Centre and the city’s CCTV system – and give them the opportunity to work together to tackle disturbances.

Danielle McRorie-Smith, project director at Go Forth Stirling, said: “We’re launching a pilot Shopwatch scheme for the day-time economy which we hope will be just as successful as the Pubwatch initiative has been for the night-time economy.

“This is an important investment which will make a significant difference to communications between business and build confidence in Stirling’s economy.

“We’ve been listening to concerns from retailers about crime and anti-social behaviour and believe this project will be a good solution giving them the capability to work together in a quick and secure fashion to help make our city as safe as possible.”

Go Forth will subsidise a network of two-way radios for BID businesses and plan to organise a training and information session for those involved.

Regular meetings will be held where retailers can discuss concerns and share anti-social behaviour problems that have observed with each other, police officers and partnership organisations.

The BID is also working with Retailers Against Crime (RAC) to give traders access to a crime-fighting system called SentrySIS which allows business owners to report incidents so they can warn others and create evidence logs.

Danielle added: “We already have several businesses signed up to the Shopwatch pilot and would like to see at least 15 in total involved to ensure the system works as effectively as possible.

“We will also train businesses to work with the SentrySIS system so they can alert fellow traders to real-time incidents and gather vital information for the police and youth justice teams who are working to combat anti-social behaviour.

“I hope many of our independent traders will join Shopwatch and collaborate with us and other business owners to help make Stirling an even better destination for visitors, residents and businesses alike.”

Any traders interested in finding out more information or wish to register for Shopwatch should email admin@goforthstirling.co.uk.