The scheme started in 1998 when a small group of retail businesses came together to tackle shared problems, which were mainly focussed around shoplifting.
The group quickly grew to 20 subscribers, sharing information to prevent crime on their premises and working closely with the local police under an information sharing protocol.
Shortly after the scheme started, Operation Goldfinch achieved the arrests of 12 people in just two days.
The Shop Patrol aims to provide a low-cost, up-to-date effective communication system between traders in the town and local police to enable crime prevention and detection.
Mr Hodges has been responsible for communications and the system now includes networked radios which cover Minehead from the town centre retail shopping area to the seafront.
Information is passed between traders, police officers, and PCSOs about occurrences and activities of suspect individuals in the town.
In addition to the radio links, a CCTV system now covers the town centre, with a part-time CCTV co-ordinator who also monitors the Shop Patrol radio.
Information is shared about known shoplifters and their whereabouts in and about the town centre.
Avon and Somerset Police Assistant Chief Constable Rod Hansen said Mr Hodge’s local knowledge had proven invaluable on many occasions and ‘his dedication, energy and enthusiasm for reducing shoplifting have been invaluable to the scheme’.
ACC Hansen said: “With his help, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour have been reduced and offenders identified, arrested, and convicted.
“The community liaison between the traders and the police in Minehead has been greatly supported and improved by Martin and his hard work with the Shop Watch scheme.
“It is for all these achievements that he is given this award.”
- Our photograph shows Martin Hodges (left) receiving his certificate from Assistant Chief Constable Rod Hansen. Photo submitted.