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Police admit softer policy on shoplifters

Sergeant tells Hungerford Town Council meeting officers will no longer attend thefts of less than £100

John Garvey

Reporter:

John Garvey

police

POLICE will no longer send an officer out to nearly all instances of shoplifting.

As exclusively reported in the Newbury Weekly News on Thursday officers will now only be sent out if more than £100 worth of items are stolen.

The shock announcement was made as Hungerford’s former police station goes up for sale, and as the neighbourhood team reported five instances of shoplifting in the town in the past month alone.

Sergeant Holly Nicholls, standing in for the local team’s Inspector Warren McKeown, dropped the bombshell at a meeting of Hungerford Town Council on Monday night.

She revealed that, in a “new delivery model”, complaints will be dealt with under a triage system and said: “For example, we wouldn’t necessarily deal with shopliftings of less than £100 now” – in other words, nearly all of them.

She added: “Our main priorities are violence against the person, burglaries, theft from motor vehicles and so on.”

Town councillor Carolann Farrell asked: “So, less than £100 and you won’t be coming out to it?”

Sgt Nicholls replied: “Yes.

“We won’t be making arrests all the time and taking it through the courts – it’s not practical.”

She said that the district council would be encouraged to deal with some issues, such as ongoing disputes between neighbours, and added: “We will be working more closely with the council to deal with some things; it will be much quicker and more flexible.

“In these times of austerity we need to be more cost effective.”

Asked how shopkeepers would deal with thieves in future, Sgt Nicholls said they could be given a form to fill in and hand to police.

Although the town police station is closed, Sgt Nicholls said some officers would be based at the new tri-service fire station.

But she added: “Hungerford is away from the main hub of the command district so it’s felt that officers should start their tour of duty from Newbury to better manage their time and allocate where they need to be going.

“But there will very much be a visible presence with no reduction in the number of officers.”

Thames Valley Police had not responded to a request for more details on the triage system as this newspaper went to press.

n WHAT do you think of the new strategy? Send your views to john.garvey@newburynews. co.uk or telephone reporter John Garvey on (01635) 564 528.

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Article comments

  • Unhappy222

    12/03/2017 - 13:01

    Newbury retail park has been suffering with shoplifting for ages all the shops will tell you who the shoplifters are but nothing ever seems to be done about them. Low level crime leads on to higher-level crime.

    Reply

    • thepublandlord

      12/03/2017 - 16:04

      this is all a consequence of police cuts. If we all paid a few more quid in taxes we could have a larger police presence , but do we want to pay?

      Reply

  • Tommy

    11/03/2017 - 18:06

    It's not April Fools Day already is it !!!!!!!!!!

    Reply

  • Louise

    Louise

    11/03/2017 - 12:12

    TVP abandoning their statutory obligations. Our local PCC should be speaking out on this; is this ignoring of "minor" thefts permitted under the laid down Police & Crime Plan?. TVP apparently condoning theft, whilst favouring "PC" causes, such as minority rights/FGM/racial crimes/honour based crimes/equality & diversity.

    Reply

  • quadnewbury

    11/03/2017 - 11:11

    Great news for all the thieves and shoplifters out there.

    Reply

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