New approach to tackling retail crime reaping results in Northamptonshire
Main article content
Increasing numbers of shoplifters are being charged following the roll-out of an initiative across the county to better support victims of retail crime and bring more offenders to justice.
Northamptonshire Police launched Operation Elegance this spring, in collaboration with the Northamptonshire Business Crime Partnership.
The partnership funds two retail crime evidence gatherers, who work alongside three police officers and a sergeant dedicated to addressing retail crime.
Since its launch, Operation Elegance has seen the Force’s average detection rate – the number of people charged or otherwise dealt with in connection with retail crimes – sit consistently above 20 per cent, with a peak of 36 per cent in July.
Chief Inspector Carl Wilson, of the Crime Management and Investigation Unit, is leading the work.
He said: “Retail crime isn’t a victimless offence – it causes real harm to businesses, business owners and their staff, and helps fuel increased prices for the rest of us.
“By working so closely with the Business Crime Partnership and individual retail premises, together we are making our county a hostile place for retail offenders.
“Due to the hard work undertaken by those directly involved in Operation Elegance and officers from our local policing areas we have seen several prolific offenders brought to justice recently, and it’s really great to see such an exceptional positive outcome rate.
“Operation Elegance isn’t just about shoplifting, as those responsible are often also involved in other types of crime, including drug harm, so this work absolutely supports wider community safety.”
Alison Farr, crime manager at the Northamptonshire Business Crime Partnership (NBCP), added: “We are delighted to be working with Northamptonshire Police on Operation Elegance, supporting retailers in the county to provide evidence against the most prolific or violent offenders, causing the most harm in our communities.
“The NBCP is the envy of many other business crime partnerships across the country due to our countywide status and close working relationship with Northamptonshire Police and retailers.
“The NBCP employs two evidence gatherers, with money from the Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner, to work alongside police, gathering evidence and inputting it directly in to the police intelligence system. This targeted approach is resulting in many high-profile offenders receiving significant custodial sentences.
“The safety of retail staff and customers is paramount and the NBCP works very hard with member stores to keep them informed of the most prolific and violent offenders, excluding them from all member stores and ensuring the stores know who to look out for, which improves the safety of all.”