A CRIME-FIGHTING group has defended itself after firms criticised its prices.
Dacorum Business Against Crime wants to expand the areas it covers, but firms in Tring have labelled it ‘too expensive’.
Companies were put off by the gold membership rate, which requires them to cough up £460 for a service which includes a radio.
But business development officer Ian Pearce wants to reassure them over the cost.
He said: “Tring and Berkhamsted is mainly made up of small retailers so what we do is offer our cheaper scheme.
“It only works out at £70 a year, which is just over £1 a week. They get training in reporting incidents which affect them, training around personal safety and training about theft and fraud.
“They get access to the exclusion notice scheme, which means we can exclude people from a shop and then all the shops in the scheme
“The gold membership is more for the larger shops because they have larger teams of security staff.”
The service is also free to charities and non-profit organisations.
Mr Pearce added: “The way things stand, police resources are tight.
“The police are doing the best they can, but they cannot provide all the services we are doing.
“We are working with the police to liaise better with the community.
“We are helping the police and the council in meeting their crime reduction obligations.
“We are basically a charity and not profit-making.”
Business-owners questioned the need for the service in Tring because it is smaller than Hemel Hempstead, where the scheme represents 64 shops.
Mr Pearce said: “An incident in a smaller town can have quite an impact because word spreads quickly.
“We recognise Berkhamsted and Tring are safe and we want to keep them safe.”
He said that so far 11 businesses from Tring and 11 from Berkhamsted, including the town centre Waitrose supermarket, have signed up to the scheme.
A meeting for businesses in the town will be held on Tuesday, March 20, at Berkhamsted Civic Centre, starting with a buffet at 6pm.
The group will present the scheme alongside representatives of Dacorum Borough Council and Herts Police before deciding on a group to help run the scheme.