Douglas Shopwatch has launched Child Safe, a scheme to protect young children if they get lost in the town centre.
The scheme takes the form of an information pack produced in association with the police – in particular school liaison officers – with guidelines and procedures for parents, guardians and store workers.
The pack advises parents what to do if their child is lost and gives adults simple instructions to pass on to their children should they become separated, all of which is embodied in the Child Safe parents’ and guardians’ charter.
Shopwatch chairman and Strand Centre manager John Shakespeare said: ‘From its early days Shopwatch had a positive impact, driving up detection rates for recorded shop thefts and driving down levels of shoplifting by repeat offenders. It’s a scheme that brings benefits to retailers and to shoppers and now, with the launch of Child Safe, we’re broadening the reach of the scheme to help allay parents’ and young children’s anxieties.’
Victoria (South) ward manager PC Tony Lawler added: ‘Being separated from their child in a busy shopping centre is every parent’s worst nightmare. Child Safe is a practical and measured response, devised by professionals to help minimise distress and delay in reuniting a parent with their child.’
Development manager Chris Pycroft added: ‘Douglas Development Partnership has been pleased to play a central role in Shopwatch since its inception. As town centre regeneration gathers pace Douglas is becoming an increasingly attractive place to visit. It is vital those visitors feel safe and secure and also that store workers feel confident to deal sensitively with a child should it be found lost on their premises. It is against this background we welcome the launch of Child Safe, which complements the work of the Douglas Community Partnership that seeks to create a cleaner, safer, greener Douglas.’
Set up in 2006 Shopwatch is an intelligence-sharing partnership between the police, Douglas retailers and Douglas Development Partnership aimed at reducing incidences of shop theft in the town centre and providing a safe and secure environment for shoppers and visitors.
Retailers wishing to register for the Shopwatch scheme should contact Douglas town centre manager Michelle O’Malley, MOMalley@douglas.gov, 696304.
All Shopwatch members are required to be conversant with Child Safe procedures.
Douglas Development Partnership is at 7-13 Victoria Street, Douglas.