A POLICING project to reduce crime on Wrexham Industrial Estate is to be used as a national 'model of excellence'.
The estate, one of the biggest in Europe with 550 hectares and thousands of employees, suffered significant problems with burglary and theft prior to the initiative, which was set up in February 2001.
Two police officers were posted to an office on the estate in a bid to improve security, and recent figures suggest that burglaries have been reduced by 60% and thefts have dropped by 13%. Other innovations included the introduction of CCTV, radio links and a website.
In an independent survey, 75% of people said they felt safer on the estate since the project started.
The success of the scheme has been praised by the Home Office, and is set to be used as a model across Wales, with plans to replicate the scheme on the Deeside Industrial Estate already underway.
PC Ian Massie, one of the project co-ordinators, said: 'We set out a vision to reduce crime and what we have achieved here through part-nership working has far exceeded any expectations we had. It is a shining example of what can be achieved when people come together.
'We are delighted to have been recognised and given demonstration status and hope the success we've achieved in Wrexham can be replicated on other industrial estates throughout the country.'
He added: 'When we first arrived on the estate, there were security officers at various buildings but they didn't liaise with each other. This meant that criminals were able to move around the estate easily, without being detected.
'Our role was to encourage communication between all businesses and security staff to make life harder for the criminals.
'We visited the businesses to offer free security advice and quickly realised that we needed to establish a community spirit if crime was to be reduced.
'This idea was embraced by all the businesses on the estate.'
Officers from the Home Office Business Crime Unit and the Crime Reduction Unit visited the estate last week to learn about the project, and its success will be the subject of two Welsh Assembly best practice conferences, to be held in North and South Wales later this month.
Paul Roberts, Wrexham Council's director of development services, said: 'The Council was delighted to support this important partnership on Wrexham Industrial Estate and North Wales Police are to be congratulated on the success of this initiative.
'It has clearly led to a number of significant improvements, not just around crime and safety, but also in terms of communication and networking between the businesses as well as improved linkages with other organisations including the local authority.'