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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
CrimeUndercover cops tackling shoplifting in Stockport

Undercover cops tackling shoplifting in Stockport

Arrests for shoplifting in Stockport have increased by 56% in the last 12 months, according to new data.

Stockport Central Neighbourhood officers have been tackling the issue by wearing shop uniforms and taking it in turns as shelf stackers and customer service workers.

Some have been patrolling the supermarkets in plain clothes.

The approach follows on from the success of officers in Salford who arrested two men on suspicion of drugs offences, while dressed as builders.

Fastest UK growth crime

Sergeant James Senior said: “The concept of police officers working in plain clothes is not a new one – what we are doing is thinking out of the box to try and tackle the fastest growth crime in the UK.

“The retailers we work with love the idea and fully support what we are doing to tackle a crime that has a detrimental effect on their businesses.

“We want to sow the seed that criminals might be going into shops in Stockport staffed by police officers and if caught will be arrested.”

Stores in the town centre and surrounding areas are supporting the operation by buying extra uniforms for the officers to wear so they can blend in.

Array of tactics

Chief inspector John Picton, of GMP’s Stockport district, said: “Stockport police use an array of different proactive and innovative tactics, ensuring officers are always on the front foot tackling crime.

“Theft offences including shoplifting are a priority for the district, the teams work together with a ‘can do’ attitude, arresting and prosecuting offenders.

“The town centre proactive operations continue with high-visibility patrols supported by colleagues in plain clothes and partner agencies to combat criminality.

“Theft and associated ASB is not tolerated in Stockport – it causes harm to our community, we are relentless in our pursuit of criminals.

“Our officers are extremely proud to provide an outstanding service to the community.”

GMP officers have been ‘working’ in shops across the town centre for the past few months to keep an eye out for shoplifters and the undercover operation will continue in 2024.

Tackling shoplifting remains a priority across GMP’s 10 divisions with a dedicated team tackling the issue in Bolton.

Tackling retail crime

Superintendent Cara Charlesworth, GMP’s shoplifting lead, said: “GMP is aware of the impact that shoplifting has, not only on the businesses but also on the staff that work there.

“We remain committed to tackling retail crime – all crimes will be investigated and taken seriously with emphasis on targeting prolific offenders to bring them to justice.

“GMP is working with partners in the retail community to improve technology to make reporting easier. We are also piloting a new crime reporting procedure to improve the standards of investigations”

“As confidence increases, we would expect to see an increase in crimes reported to the police.”

“Our officers use a range of crime reduction tactics on a daily basis including crime prevention advice and both high-visibility and plain-clothes policing operations.”


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