Shoplifting on decline but Avon and Somerset remains in top 10 for incidents

PUBLISHED: 12:00 18 June 2018

Avon and Somerset police dealt with the 10th highest number of shoplifting incidents last year.

Avon and Somerset police dealt with the 10th highest number of shoplifting incidents last year.

Archant

Closer partnerships between retailers is needed to reduce shoplifting in Avon and Somerset, according to the force’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC).

The force area saw 11,417 incidents reported from April 2017 to March 2018, according to figures from www.data.police.uk

Although this is a 12 per cent decline on the previous year – the second-highest in England and Wales – it still has by far the highest number of shoplifting incidents in the South West, and the 10th highest number out of the 42 police forces across the country.

PCC Sue Mountstevens says the constabulary needs to be ‘realistic’ about its aims due to ‘squeezed budgets’ and a rise in ‘complex crime’.

Ms Mountstevens said: “In an environment where policing resources are stretched, complex crime is increasing and budgets are being squeezed, we need to be realistic about what can be achieved.

“Working together we need to make it harder for shoplifters to commit their crimes through increased security, stronger intelligence-gathering processes and greater partnership working between retailers, and I am setting up a business crime forum to support this work.

Avon and Somerset has also seen the largest decrease in thefts of technology in the UK over the past two years, with 5,623 items reported stolen in 2015 compared to 2,991 in 2017.

The figure represents a 47 per cent decrease, but Ms Mountstevens says police need to continue to ‘break the crime cycle’ by understanding why offenders commit crime in the first place.

She added: “To continue the reduction in shoplifting incidents, we also need to better understand why the crime is being committed in the first place.

“For example, if an offender is shoplifting due to a substance misuse problem, we need to help them break the cycle of crime.”

Nationally, Dyfed-Powys Police saw the lowest number of shoplifting incidents reported – despite a 21 per cent increase – while the Metropolitan Police Service had the highest with a total of 46,840.

Shoplifting also accounted for £500million of the £700million lost due to retail crime in the UK from April 2016 to March 2017, according to the British Retail Consortium.

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