Police crackdown sees reduction in Wrexham shoplifting – DollarJob

Police crackdown sees reduction in Wrexham shoplifting

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But the officer running the campaign, Supt Jon Bowcott, says he’s not resting on his laurels and is the first to admit there’s still a lot of work to do.

Since last Autumn he’s been the North Wales Police lead on retail crime and he’s set up a task force to combat it.

Supt Bowcott will be giving an update on the crackdown and offering advice and guidance at a special conference – titled Protect Your Business! Expert Session – that’s free for North Wales businesses next month.

The event, between 10.30am and 1pm on Thursday, March 7, at the Scala Cinema in Prestatyn, is being organised by the North Wales Police and Community Trust (PACT) in conjunction with North Wales Police and the North Wales Business Council.

Other speakers will be focusing on how businesses can guard against cyber crime and property theft as well as dealing with anti-social behaviour and spotting the signs of modern day slavery.

The renewed push on detecting retail crime across North Wales comes against a backdrop of a significant increase in offences across the UK – with a 32 per cent hike in England and a 36 per cent rise in Wales as a whole.

While the 24 per cent increase in the region is smaller, there have been 800 more shoplifting offences reported in the region since last April, compared to the previous year.

The good news is that a growing number of shoplifting crimes are being now detected as a result of the force’s campaign.

When it started in the Autumn, the detection rate was running at 29 per cent and had increased to just over 38 per cent during January.

The onslaught has been particularly effective in Wrexham where there has been a 9.6 per cent drop in the number of shoplifting offences.

Supt Bowcott said: “There has been a national trend where retail theft was increasingly dealt with over the phone if the offender wasn’t there.

“We’re moving away from that and switching it around so that the default option is that we will attend when retail thefts have been committed, particularly where an offender has been detained, where violence has been used or threatened or where there are enquiries at the scene the would benefit from an officer attending. 

“Cracking down on retail crime aligns well the force’s vision set by our Chief Constable Amanda Blakeman and is absolutely the right thing to do.

“We started this half way through the crime recording year which runs April to April and, despite an increase in reporting which is a national trend, we have seen an increase in the outcome rates in the past three or four months.

“When we started we were detecting around 29 per cent of shoplifting incidents and the monthly positive outcome rate for January was 38.3 per cent so we are seeing green shoots but we are not complacent because there is more to do.”

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According to Ashley Rogers, the Chair of PACT and Chief Executive of the North Wales Business Council, the improvement in the detection rate for shoplifting was “hugely positive and encouraging” news.

He said: “Coming out of Covid, people’s behaviour is different and the economy is different and retail theft has increased as well as a perception that anti-social behaviour has become more of a problem.

“For North Wales businesses who are on the front line in terms of handling these issues, it’s really valuable to have an insight from the experts along with guidance  how to manage things if and when it happens or even avoid it by designing your premises in such a way that would discourage it.”



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