Thames Valley: “we will NOT turn blind eye to shoplifting”

Thames Valley Police yesterday issued a statement denying that it would be turning a blind eye to shoplifting offences, following reports in local and national newspapers over the weekend. 


Thames Valley Police has issued a statement clarifying its policy on shoplifting after a police officer told a Berkshire town that it would no longer be investigating the majority of offences – following local concern and criticism in national newspaper coverage.

On Saturday the Newbury Weekly News had reported that shoplifting offences in Hungerford would not longer be investigated where the value of goods stolen was less than £100.

Officers told town councillors:

“We won’t be making arrests all the time and taking it through the courts – it’s not practical … Our main priorities are violence against the person, burglaries theft from motor vehicles and so on”.

The change, they said, was being introduced under a “new delivery model” for neighbourhood policing intended to adapt to austerity restrictions – and that councils and neighbours would be expected to do more.

National newspapers including the Daily Telegraph reported the story over the weekend, and Thames Valley issued a statement yesterday:

There have been some reports in the media suggesting Thames Valley Police officers do not investigate shoplifting offences in which the theft is worth less than £100.

“The Force would like to reassure communities that all reports of shoplifting are investigated – regardless of the value of goods stolen. In cases in which there is an immediate threat, such as a shoplifter becoming violent, the public can be assured that officers will be there for who need help”.

It added:

“Our neighbourhood officers continue to work closely with businesses across our communities to help owners keep their businesses safe from all types of crime”.

Shoplifing incidents can be reported via the 24-hour Thames Valley Police enquiry centre on 101 or 999 in an emergency.

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