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Retailers sceptical about Home Secretary’s call for ‘every theft’ to be investigated.

Posted on in Business News

Shop owners have expressed scepticism that the Home Secretary's recent call for every theft to be investigated by the police will come to fruition, suggesting that police resources are already too stretched to tackle shoplifting.

Syella Bravaman

Last week, Suella Braverman said that every crime must be investigated, and that it was “unacceptable” for crimes such as shoplifting and phone theft to be treated as “less important”. She claimed all police forces in England and Wales had pledged to follow ‘all reasonable lines of enquiry”, with new guidance on investigating such crimes is to be issued.

The following day, though, the National Police Chief’s Council warned nearly half of all police forces have less officers now than in 2010 and said this meant police forces still need the freedom to make ‘difficult decisions’ on how to manage their resources.

Speaking to Better Retailing, Terrence Ford, shop owner at One Stop in Ely, Cambridgeshire, reported a shoplifting incident at his shop last week to the police. Cambridgeshire saw a 37% increase in shoplifting in the past year, the fifth worst-hit area in the UK. The UK saw an average increase of 24%.

Ford said he believes the Home Secretary’s call will “absolutely” help the current shoplifting epidemic taking place in the area.

“Realistically, we’re not allowed to do anything [about the shoplifting] – we just watch them do it and ask them to leave.”

He said it was important to get “more police on the streets”, but at present the force “is very stretched out”.

“With all the budget cuts across the board, it is absolutely understood why all of this gets ahead of them,” he said, and added that there was “absolutely” concern that the police won’t be able to follow through with the home secretary’s demands as a result.

Meanwhile, Eugene Diamond of Diamonds Newsagents, Ballymena, County Antrim, told the site that shop theft had “shot up in the past year”, but he does not believe the Home Secretary’s pledge will make a difference, as desperation and not caring are “the main factors” of theft.

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