Drive thru staff upskilled to help stop criminal exploitation

Staff at drive thru restaurants are being offered exploitation and vulnerability training so they know the signs of criminal exploitation – and can help police safeguard vulnerable people.

Last year, West Mercia Police introduced two dedicated exploitation and vulnerability trainers who, building on the success of work in Telford, deliver bespoke training sessions to raise awareness of criminal exploitation and vulnerability across Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire.

People who have received the training so far include hotel workers, licensed premises and council workers, refuse collectors, teachers and voluntary organisations. More than 18,000 people across the area covered by West Mercia Police have received the training.

The next phase will see police work with drive thru restaurants based on retail parks and service stations to upskill staff. The training will help raise awareness of the signs staff need to look out for, and what to do if they suspect criminal exploitation.

The initiative is the latest from We Don’t Buy Crime, which takes a holistic approach to acquisitive crime and associated harm.

We Don’t Buy Crime’s Inspector, Ram Aston, said: “We’ve already worked with staff at service stations as part of our fuel theft initiative and are really pleased that we are now rolling this out to staff at drive thru restaurants.

“Staff at these venues play an important role in helping us to protect those who are most vulnerable, they are our eyes and ears and may or hear something that sparks concern, if that information is passed on to police it could prove crucial in helping to prevent crime. The training will help staff to spot these signs, help them to identify what information police need and how they can pass this on to us.

“We’re really grateful for the role our communities play in helping us to protect those who are vulnerable, it is fantastic that we now have more than 18,000 people upskilled in exploitation and vulnerability and are committed to increasing that number and delivering the training to even more people and even more sectors in the future.”

Signage will be displayed at participating venues informing customers staff have been trained and are working with police to protect local communities.

The initiative is also supported by West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion.

Police and Crime Commissioner John Campion said: “I am committed to creating a safer West Mercia, and protecting the most vulnerable in our communities from harm. As part of this commitment I have provided £63,825 contribution to funding the dedicated exploitation and vulnerability trainers. ”

“Extending the work of the vulnerability and exploitation trainers to include staff at drive thru restaurants is another step forward to protecting vulnerable people, and educating communities to look out for each other.”

We Don’t Buy Crime is West Mercia Police’s response to acquisitive crime and associated harm. The initiative has five main strands: We Don’t Buy Crime Towns and Villages, which now includes retail and business areas and industrial estates, which sees whole communities protected with property marking technology; work with second-hand stores to help prevent the sale of stolen goods; work with fuel stations to prevent people driving off without paying for fuel, and upskill staff to identify associated harm; We Don’t Buy Crime also utilises the latest in covert technology to help catch criminals when crime does happen. Exploitation and vulnerability training is the fifth and latest strand which aims to tackle the associated harm.

Earlier this year We Don’t Buy Crime won the partnership category of the national Tilley Awards which recognise problem solving and demand reduction in policing.

To find out more about We Don’t Buy Crime visit www.wedontbuycrime.co.uk follow @wedontbuycrime or visit We Don’t Buy Crime on facebook. 3s^E�