New intelligence line to tackle rise in shoplifting

PUBLISHED: 14:00 27 September 2011

Shoplifting is on the increase in the town centre

Shoplifting is on the increase in the town centre

Archant

POLICE are looking to turn the tables on shoplifters in Weston town centre after launching a new intelligence line to tackle the rising number of thefts in the resort.

Shoplifting in the town is on the increase, and the new system will allow retailers and business-owners to communicate directly with the force’s town centre team about individuals and incidents.

That direct line will allow them to leave messages anonymously if they wish, with businesses now being urged to sign up by contacting the force.

One of the officers operating the new line, PCSO Nicola Barton, said: “The radio links all the businesses in the town, as well as the police and intelligence can be shared between the businesses and us.

“Staff and members of the public can give us sufficient information for us to act on it and sort shoplifting problems out, and if any member of the public wants to share information they can do so on the number which is 01934 636868.”

Town centre manager Steve Townsend, who heads the town centre partnership, said: “From speaking to our members, shoplifting is a concern and has been on the increase, although that is also true nationally - perhaps the recession has something to do with it.

“A line like this will clear up doubt in business-owners’ minds as to whether to call 999 or the new 101 number, so this can only be a good development.”

The idea has already been welcomed by shop bosses.

Helen Reilly, manager of the British Heart Foundation charity shop in High Street said: “We are a charity shop so it’s ridiculous that people come in and steal from us to be honest.

“We have regular people who come in and steal items, we know who they are so maybe this is a good idea so we can let others know about them.”

Alana Fleming, manager of Superdrug, said: “The police have told us that we are bucking the trend in the town centre, as shoplifting is certainly a problem and it has got worse.

“I think the intelligence line is a fantastic idea, I think it will work as if businesses know who is causing trouble this way they can make sure everyone knows about them.”

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