Shoppers and traders have welcomed the introduction of new market enforcement officers, who will tackle crime and anti-social behaviour around the Bull Ring Markets.

The Open, Rag and Indoor markets and surrounding areas are now patrolled market enforcement officers, employed by Birmingham City Council’s Markets Service, to keep staff and shoppers safe.

Five market enforcement officers – the first in Birmingham to be trained by West Midlands Police under the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme (CSAS) – were officially unveiled outside the Open Market on Wednesday (07/09).

The market enforcement officers, who began their beats earlier this year, will provide support and reassurance to traders, shoppers and visitors – as well as a clear deterrent message to offenders.

The scheme provides a legal framework for non-police bodies, such as Bull Ring Markets, to give their staff additional powers to help prevent and reduce crime. Officers have also been taught self-defence and restraint techniques as part of their training.

The new officers can issue on-the-spot fines for disorder and littering in and around the markets area, as well as having powers to deal with anti-social behaviour, begging and people drinking in and around the Bull Ring Markets area.

Jacqui Kennedy, Acting Strategic Director of Place for Birmingham City Council, said: “We want people to flock to our historic markets so they can thrive, but to achieve that both our traders and visitors must feel the markets are a safe place to work and visit.

“West Midlands Police have trained our new market enforcement officers, who will serve as the eyes and ears of the markets, to tackle any anti-social behaviour and crime in the markets area.

“I believe these new officers will provide the necessary support to anyone who comes to the Indoor, Open or Rag Markets, and that their presence will encourage more people to visit the city’s own ‘Aladdin’s cave’.”

Market enforcement officers will serve as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the markets, which should result in fewer calls being made to West Midlands Police.

Inspector Gareth Morris, of West Midlands Police, who leads Birmingham’s city centre team, said: “This is a great opportunity for us to work in partnership with Birmingham City Council to tackle low level crime and anti-social behaviour and enhance the reputation of the markets.

“We fully support the new market enforcement officers in their ability to deal with these issues, and we see this as a step closer to rolling the Community Safety Accreditation Scheme out to the wider force area.”

Andrew Taylor, one of the five new market enforcement officers, explained the team deal with all sorts of issues on a daily basis, ranging from lost children and giving directions to anti-social behaviour and shoplifters.

Andrew said: “These are just some of the things where the training we have received comes in very useful in respect of confrontational, aggressive and other challenging situations.

“We are really looking forward to working more closely with West Midlands Police and other partners to ensure there is a clean and pleasant shopping environment for anyone who visits or works in or around the Bull Ring Markets”

Anyone who spots any anti-social or illegal activity around the Bull Ring Markets area should report it to a market enforcement officer.