are not welcome in Dover.
That's the strong message from the Dover Partnership
Against Crime - one of the most successful groups
of its kind in the country - which involves traders,
business people, police and the local authority in
preventing offences from being committed in the town.
Set up more than 10 years ago, DPAC now covers Dover,
Deal and Sandwich, and has more than 150 members,
including retailers, licensees, taxi companies, transport
firms and local attractions. We employ a co-ordinator,
Karen Griffiths, who is based at Dover police station.
Each member has a two-way radio which enables them
to communicate with each other, the police and the
CCTV control room, tracking criminals, deterring them
from committing offences and catching them if they
There have been dozens of examples of successful arrests
involving DPAC members when criminals have stolen
from local shops.
» A woman who carried out a series of jewellery
thefts from one store was arrested by plain clothes
police officers who, working with five members of
DPAC and the CCTV operators, tracked her through the
town centre to one of the back streets where she thought
she was out of sight.
» A man who snatched cash from a till at a newsagent's
found himself being pursued by 10 DPAC members until
police arrived to arrest him.
» A man suspected of possessing drugs thought
he might get away with it if he dropped the drugs
out of sight of the police. But he was seen by a DPAC
member, arrested and charged.
» Two women who snatched hundreds of pounds
worth of clothing from a store climbed up hills and
over railings, and then hid in the doorway of flats,
as a police patrol approached, in a bid to escape.
But they had been followed and watched by a DPAC member
who stopped the police officer, and they were arrested.
» A man was arrested in the town centre after
he twice walked out with two DVD players from a superstore.
The first time he disappeared. But the second time
staff at the store were able to get the DVD players
off him before he ran off. He evaded police officers
who were in the area, but a DPAC member remembered
his description and recognised him walking down the
main street some time later.
And the fact that criminals are likely to be caught
in Dover is certainly becoming well-known in other
parts of the area. One thief who was caught stealing
a jacket from a clothes shop told officers who arrested
him: "They say it's not worth committing crime
in Dover - and they're right."
Prolific offenders are issued with DPAC Exclusion
Orders banning them from DPAC members' premises for
12 months. One way in which the success of DPAC is
measured is the fact that a couple of years ago about
30 people had exclusion orders. Now there are just
six. Others have either changed their behaviour -
we have been pleased to see some criminals turning
over a new leaf - or they have moved away from the
But we are not complacent. We continue to be vigilant,
and target anyone - young or old - who commits crime
in the town. And we encourage those who are stealing
to fund a drug habit to seek help at the Kent Council
for Addiction centre in Dover.
And it's not just thieves that members look out for.
DPAC has helped cut down on anti-social behaviour
in the town, as well as helping to find lost children,
reunite owners with lost bags, purses and keys, and
even help motorists who have forgotten where they
have parked their cars!
March 2002, DPAC was presented with the Home Office
Safer Shopping Award, becoming the first town in Kent
to achieve the stringent criteria laid down for this
award. This was renewed in 2005 with the Safer Business
Award, presented by Michael Schuck of Action Against
Business Crime. At the same time, we also gained the
Safer Socialising Award, and appointed another co-ordinator
to work with the licensees of pubs, clubs, restaurants
and off-licences to encourage them to gain their own
individual awards. The first awards are due to be
presented very soon.
members are also involved in the Three Strikes scheme
which is being pioneered in Dover to tackle anti-social
drinking. Yellow cards are issued to offenders after
their first drinking offence, with a warning about
what will happen if they offend again. After a second
offence, a red card is issued and they are banned
from licensed premises in the scheme for six months.
A third offence will result in an anti-social behaviour
order being applied for, and a ban from all licensed
premises for at least two years. Less then two weeks
after the scheme was launched, the first red card
was issued to a 17-year-old boy who wasn't old enough
to be drinking legally anyway!
In conjunction with Dover District Council, DPAC has
also put together a PowerPoint presentation for schools
to inform pupils what will happen to them if they
become involved in crime in the town. It is hoped
this will make them think twice about offending.
DPAC and its partners are making a significant difference
to Dover, and we would welcome more traders, pubs,
clubs and other businesses joining us.
More information is available from DPAC Co-ordinator
Karen Griffiths on 01304 218172.