September 30 2014 Latest news:
Matt Stott & Andrew Hirst
Thursday, August 7, 2014
Business leaders in Ipswich have highlighted the importance of tackling shoplifting after new figures were released showing that more than 13,000 offences have been reported in Suffolk since 2011.
Ipswich Central and the Chamber of Commerce both agreed that shoplifting presented challenges for businesses though they pointed to a number of successful schemes dealing with the issue.
Dave Muller, chairman of Ipswich Chamber of Commerce, praised the “excellent work” being carried out by Ipswich Central and Suffolk police’s town safe team for reducing crime.
“Retail is a vital part of the economy and its recovery across Suffolk and in particular our larger towns,” he said. “That is why shoplifting remains a real challenge for businesses who often work with very tight financial margins.
“That is also why the excellent work of Ipswich Central and Suffolk police’s town safe team is making a real difference and despite the frustrating levels of shoplifting, this partnership has an important role to play in protecting our popular high street stores.”
Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said Street Rangers have recovered about £3,500 of stolen goods on behalf of retailers since April.
He added: “Ipswich Central also runs the town centre exclusion scheme where offenders are banned for a year if they are reported for theft and other anti-social incidents on two occasions.
“Ipswich Central has also recently invested in an all new digital radiolink system which instantly connects participating retailers, Street Rangers, CCTV and police as part of the plan to reduce shoplifting.”
According to figures obtained under a Freedom of Information Request to Suffolk Constabulary, thefts from stores in the county between January 2011 and June 2014 totalled 13,133.
Isla and Pradip Patel, who run Coes Newsagents, said: “Losing money is the worst part of shoplifting.
“Plus it causes a lot of stress and wasting valuable time when you could be making money, speaking to the police about someone stealing.”
There were 3,510 last year, compared to 4,235 in 2011. While 1,806 were reported in the first six months of this year.
Out of the 13,133 reported shoplifting incidents, officers handed out 832 cautions, 2,781 community resolutions, 678 penalty notices, 211 reprimands and 4,531 shoplifters were charged.
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “We continue to work with town centre shops and CCTV throughout the county to reduce the number of shoplifting offences.
“Periodically, operations are carried out to try to target such offences through high-visibility and covert patrols in a bid to disrupt shoplifters, particularly persistent offenders who chose not to change their criminal behaviour.
“Shoplifting offences will be dealt with robustly with all the powers available to us.”