Police dish out DIY crime report kits to stores as shoplifting soars

Police force dishes out DIY crime report kits to stores after shoplifting returns to pre-pandemic levels

  • Part of Operation Retail, kits will be used when CCTV is the only line of enquiry
  • READ MORE: Violent shoplifting gangs given the ‘freedom to loot’ by lax policing

Retailers blighted by prolific shoplifters are being issued with DIY crime report kits to gather evidence for police.

The packs are used to make the evidence gathering process more efficient, allowing staff to provide statements and CCTV footage of offenders that can then be passed onto detectives.

The Metropolitan Police said the package of evidence would be reviewed and ‘if it is adequate, the report will be opened and investigated.’ 

The kits, part of Operation Retail, will be used when CCTV footage is the only line of enquiry, no violence or weapons are involved and the suspect is not a repeat offender.

The development comes after a business owner in Hampshire said this week that local police would not bother to investigate thefts unless a list of criteria is met – including that he knows the thief’s full name.

Retailers blighted by prolific shoplifters are being issued with DIY crime report kits to gather evidence for police (stock image)

Richard Inglis, who runs a chain of Co-op supermarkets, said officers will not investigate unless the items stolen are valued at more than £200, there is clear CCTV of the theft and the accusers already know the identity of the suspect.

Figures show shoplifting offences have returned to pre-pandemic levels, with 33,000 incidents taking place this March – an increase of 31 per cent compared with March last year.

Analysts say it is difficult to pinpoint the reasons behind soaring shoplifting rates because only about five per cent of perpetrators end up in court, but the cost of living crisis was likely to be a major factor.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said it had launched Operation Retail in affluent parts of the capital including Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea and Hammersmith and Fulham.

‘The operation aims to develop strong and efficient relationships between police and retailers, ensuring that retailers know exactly how to report offences to police and to provide information and crucially evidence in the best possible format to help police identify suspects and support successful prosecutions,’ they added.

‘Officers will continue to respond to calls from retail premises where urgent police attendance is required and arrest shoplifting suspects where appropriate.’

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