A CRACKDOWN has been launched against shoplifting in Rhyl and Prestatyn, business leaders have been told.
North Wales Police and Crime Commissioner Winston Roddick CB QC revealed at a breakfast meeting of the North Wales Business Club and the Institute of Directors that shoplifting accounted for 10 per cent of all crime in the region.
According to Mr Roddick, half the incidents took place in 10 of the area’s large chain stores.
As part of the campaign, a new network of Shopwatch schemes will be developed by North Wales Police across the region, whereby stores will be encouraged to issue civil banning orders for shoplifters and a secure website is being developed so photographs of prolific offenders can be shared with retailers.
The Commissioner said: “The Chief Constable, Mark Polin, and I are fully aware that shoplifting continues to be a challenge with reported offences up 21.7 per cent when compared with the same period last year.
“Officers tell me that interviews of offenders and analysis of types of items stolen suggest many offences are committed to raise money to feed a drug habit or to obtain food.
“More work is required to quantify the impact which the current economic climate and benefit changes are having on crime levels,” Mr Roddick told the audience at the Quay Hotel, in Deganwy
“In the meantime, work is taking place to identify the location and operating hours of food banks and other support services. This information will then be made available in local communities and handed to those arrested for shoplifting.”
Mr Roddick, who said he was keen to gauge the views of the business community before setting his budget for the next financial year, added: “Crimes against businesses are sometimes seen as “victimless” which is not the case.
“The livelihood of the business owners and their employees are threatened by these crimes.”
Mr David Williams, Chair of the North Wales Business Club, said: “Ensuring North Wales is a safe and well policed region is immensely important both to indigenous businesses but also to other businesses who may be considering locating and investing in North Wales.”