Six arrests made so far in crackdown on most prolific shoplifters
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We have launched ‘Operation Belleville’, dedicated to reducing retail crime across the county.
Community policing teams are tackling the top ten offenders across the top ten locations and gathering evidence to issue frequent offenders with Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO) designed to stop reoffending.
Chief Inspector Mike Chand, from the Bedford local community policing team, said “Retail crime can have a huge impact on local communities, and often comes hand in hand with intimidating behaviour or even assaults on shop staff.
“We have seen people continually re-offend despite being arrested or charged, so have been considering different ways of putting in more powerful deterrents.
“We have identified the most prolific shoplifters, gathering several months or years’ worth of evidence, to then charge them with as many offences as possible. This enables us to secure a CBO against them, banning them from taking any action that may lead to them reoffending. This might include entering a defined area where there are shops that they have stolen items from in the past. Breaches of these CBOs carry much harsher sentences and allow us to act quicker to prevent the offence before it happens.”
Having a better understanding of these prolific offenders, as well as the wider issues in communities in Bedfordshire such as drug addiction and street drinking will allow Bedfordshire Police to work to reduce the longer-term impact that these individuals are having on residents and businesses.
In aid of Neighbourhood Policing Week of Action, we are showcasing the hard work carried out by these local community policing teams. Earlier this month, the Bedford community policing team arrested two males who had stolen an estimated £10,000 worth of goods from a local shop over a four-month period.
At the end of last year, the team also arrested a further suspect who pleaded guilty to seven charges of theft from shops in Bedford within a three-week period, of items totalling a value over £500. Due to knowledge of her offending history, the suspect was issued a CBO which prevents her from entering retail parks listed on her charges.
As part of Operation Belleville, Bedfordshire Police will continue to target the most prolific offenders in the most affected locations around the county and aim to reduce the impact of anti-social behaviour on the local community.
If you experience anti-social behaviour in your neighbourhood, or if you would like to report any suspicious behaviour, contact the police via our online reporting centre or call 101. In case of an emergency or if the crime is still in action, call 999