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Police to introduce new 'app' to deter shoplifting in Hungerford

New computer scheme following crime increase

John Garvey

John Garvey

john.garvey@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886628

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POLICE plan to introduce a new computer ‘app’ scheme to help tackle shoplifting in Hungerford.

The news was announced after councillor Martin Crane told a full meeting of Hungerford Town Council on Monday night: “One shop has reported to me they had two suspicious people in, but no way to alert others or report it to police. They don’t answer the 101 number.”

Town mayor Helen Simpson replied: “I have some good news on that. There will be a new app- based scheme introduced.

“The new app will be called ShopSafe and [deputy mayor] Keith Knight and I both expressed an interest in it for our town.

“Maybe the Chamber of Commerce would like to be involved.”

Last May the town council heard how shoplifting was soaring, with thieves reportedly perceiving the town as an easy target.

Sgt Alan Hawkett said at the time that a group of prolific shoplifters was deliberately targeting the town and that thieves were also travelling from Swindon to shoplift in Hungerford High Street.

When Mr Crane asked Sgt Hawkett at that time whether a ShopSafe scheme could be introduced, in which police and traders shared information, he was circumspect.

Sgt Hawkett replied: “We need to be very careful not to leave ourselves open to being sued.”

Instead, Sgt Hawkett said there was a plan to deploy police community support officers from the neighbourhood police team to patrol the High Street and other potential shoplifting target areas, as a deterrent.

However, Mrs Simpson told the meeting on Monday night that the new scheme would be welcome and added: “We’re told it’s already working very, very well in Newbury.”

Meanwhile, a new PubWatch scheme is being drawn up for Hungerford.

Mr Knight told the meeting: “We attended a meeting with the neighbourhood police team and they said the new scheme has had a 100 per cent sign up from licensees in the town. That’s good to know.”

Mr Knight said he would give more details at the next full town council meeting in April.

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