A new police-backed scheme designed to cut crime and anti-social behaviour in betting shops has been launched in Coventry – and it means troublemakers face a city-wide ban from bookies.
Betting shops across the city have signed up to a new Bet Watch initiative which enables them to share information on criminal offences or abusive punters with each other and police.
A ‘banned from one, banned from all’ policy is being introduced by eight of the city’s betting firms as part of a partnership to help prevent crimes such as robbery, assault, theft and anti-social behaviour.
Coventry Police is working alongside bookmakers, Coventry City Council, the Business Improvement District, Bookmaking Industry and Gambling Commission through the joint approach which also aims to protect betting shop staff and other customers.
Superintendent Richard North, from Coventry Police, said: “We understand there can be a mixture of emotions inside a bookmakers but it is never acceptable to carry out criminal or anti-social behaviour.
“Those who commit such offences face a criminal record and through Bet Watch we will work together to catch those responsible and ensure that staff and other customers feel safe in their surroundings.
“By bookmakers sharing information it can help identify anyone suspected of such behaviour quicker and increase the odds of tackling issues early."
Bet Watch in Coventry launches today (31 May) and follows on from similar schemes launched in parts of Birmingham and Solihull through the force crime reduction team which co-ordinates the approach.
Shops can share information between themselves digitally or through a forum which meets on a regular basis.