New app set to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in South Shields town centre

Police chiefs are set to trial a new mobile app to tackle crime and antisocial behaviour in South Shields town centre.

The tool, referred to as a ‘disc app’, aims to improve communication between neighbourhood police, businesses, local authorities and transport bosses.

The online reporting tool allows information to be shared about individuals who may be causing problems in town centres.

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Neighbourhood Sergeant, Dave Stobbs, said similar technologies had been used in Sheffield and Liverpool.

King Street, South ShieldsKing Street, South Shields
King Street, South Shields

Although a planned trial in South Shields is at an early stage, the app could be expanded to other Northumbria Police force areas if successful.

“It’s a tool which is essentially an app on a phone which we will coordinate as neighbourhood police,” said Sgt Stobbs.

“Information is GDPR compliant which we can share about individuals coming into the town causing problems or maybe targeting certain shops or pubs.

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“If people have banning conditions to stay out of the town centre for a set period it makes everyone aware and if they’re seen, it can be reported straight to us.

“Other forces using this already have said it has improved communication in town centres and makes sure shops feel like they have some sort of buy in with police.”

The plans were discussed at a recent meeting of South Tyneside Council’s Riverside Community Area Forum (CAF) on Tuesday (March 10).

Initial ideas for South Shields include linking the app to Pubwatch and Shopwatch schemes, Nexus and the council’s CCTV control room.

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Sgt Stobbs said the app can be used to share information on “high risk missing persons” and keep partners up to date on changes to banning order conditions.

He added that expanding it further in South Tyneside would have benefits by creating”one large network.”

In response to a question from Coun David Francis, police confirmed they’re hoping to launch the app in South Shields later this year.

According to a website from disc app developers, the tool allows communities to “self-manage” low-level crime and antisocial behaviour.

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It is currently used in around 450 towns and cities, as well as by shopping centres, major retailers, sports venues and security companies.