‘Low value crime’ needs high priority


Thefts in supermarkets are on the rise but arrests and people being charged have fallen.
Thefts in supermarkets are on the rise but arrests and people being charged have fallen.

by NADEEM BADSHAH SHOPKEEPERS have called for more action to be taken against criminals by police and ministers after new figures showed the number of thefts has risen. Incidents have increased following the introduction a £200 threshold by police before criminals are pursued. Figures from 25 police forces suggest there has been at least a seven per cent increase in the number of offences reported by supermarkets alone over the past four years. Officers were called to investigate more than 78,000 shoplifting incidents in 2017, up from just over 72,000 in 2014. Separate data from the Home Office has shown overall shoplifting offences rose by nearly 23 per cent between 2013 and 2017. However, during the same period, the number of people arrested dropped by 17 per cent and suspects charged fell by 25 per cent. The Association of Convenience Stores, which says shoplifting incidents doubled last year, hosted a Crime Seminar on issues including tackling violence and robbers in March in London. Gurcharan Harrad, owner of Village News in Birmingham, told Eastern Eye: “I know big stores have had problems, regulars doing it every day. “It’s the lack of resources, by the time police arrive on the scene, they have gone and you cannot use force on them as there’s a risk of you getting prosecuted and they will get off scot-free. “It’s petty crime; what can they do when they are short-handed. “You see enough police cars but very rarely officers walking around. If there were more patrols that would deter them.” Harrad added: “Once I caught a woman, she drank half the bottle of wine she took and came when my wife was in our shop. I found her in a church drinking, she appeared homeless. “We have a red button; if we press it the police…

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