Police want to make Tonbridge a ‘no-go’ zone for shoplifters and are calling on Tonbridge stores to sign up to the town centre’s ‘shopsafe’ scheme in a bid to fight persistent thieves. Many of the town centre stores are already signed up via the radio link, which instantly notifies everyone on the network and the police of suspected shoplifters attending stores.
This comes as the police launch a dedicated operation to prevent shoplifting by carrying out extra patrols in the town centre precinct.
Shoplifting in the area has not seen the same reductions as other crime types and police are keen to tackle the issue so thieves don’t see this type of crime as an ‘easy’ option.
Sainsbury’s is one such retailer who signed up to the ‘shopsafe’ scheme and have recently employed an undercover plain-clothed store detective to catch would-be thieves.
Inspector John Phillips from Kent Police comments: “Sainsbury’s is showing best-practice in their attitude to crime prevention by taking these steps to reduce shoplifting and we will be working closely in future with their new store detective. I would urge other businesses in the town to join the ‘shopsafe’ scheme, as it will mean Tonbridge becomes a no-go area for shoplifters, as more of the town centre shops sign up.
We are taking our own steps to tackle this issue by carrying out additional patrols in the town centre, which will be both plain-clothed and in uniform. Furthermore, we can help enforce banning orders given out to persistent shoplifters, which forbid these individuals entering any of the shops signed up to the ‘shopsafe’ scheme.
Should shoplifters ignore these bans, the consequences can be severe, as they are then considered as trespassers and could face charges of burglary rather than theft, which tend to attract higher penalties in court.”
David Perks, Store Manager at Sainsbury’s Tonbridge, said: “Thankfully incidents of shoplifting are rare, but we have been working closely with the police and authorities to keep it that way. We are delighted to lend our support to this initiative and we are sure it will deliver fantastic results for stores right across Tonbridge.”
Amanda Smith, the Tonbridge and Malling Safer Towns Co-ordinator, says: “Shop Safe has been up and running in Tonbridge for 18 months and has proven to be very successful. It has over 40 businesses signed up to the scheme in Tonbridge High Street alone. There are many other benefits to being a member in addition to hiring a radio; increased awareness and public safety, as well as photo and information-sharing.
I would urge more companies to join the scheme in the battle of reducing business-crime in the town.”
For more information please contact Amanda on 01732 876024