Any one for a shop lifting tour?
Wow it seems folks will head for Hungerford as police won’t come out for those who take less than £100 goods!
Police in Berkshire have provoked anger by revealing they will only attend reports of shoplifting if more than £100 worth of goods have been stolen.
Locals in the town of Hungerford were shocked when Thames Valley Police’s Sgt Holly Nicholls told a meeting that the force doesn’t have the resources to attend the majority of shopkeepers’ calls.
A squeeze on police funding meant high street stores would be given a form to fill in to tell officers what had been taken, she said.
Sgt Nicholls told Hungerford Town Council: ‘We won’t be making arrests all the time and taking it through the courts – it’s not practical,’ the Newbury Weekly News reported.
‘For example, we wouldn’t necessarily deal with shopliftings of under £100 now,’ she added.
‘Our main priorities are violence against the person, burglaries, theft from motor vehicles and so on.’
It comes after the sale of Hungerford Police Station leaves the town’s nearest headquarters in Newbury, eight miles away.
The announcement has angered residents of the town whose shops are often visited by the Duchess of Cambridge and her mother Carole Middleton, who lives in nearby Bucklebury.
Mother-of-three Jayne Robertson, said: ‘This is appalling – we’re going to be flooded with criminals who know they’ll get off Scot-free if they make sure they keep the bill under £100.
‘What sort of message does this send out? What are we paying our rates for if the police won’t turn up to arrest shoplifters? It’s crazy.’
Sgt Nicholls told the council a ‘new delivery model’ is being introduced by Thames Valley Police.
She said complaints would be dealt with under a triage system, adding ‘for example, we wouldn’t necessarily deal with shopliftings of under £100 now,’ which is most cases.
Town councillor Carolann Farrell said ‘So less than £100 and you won’t be coming out to it?’ Sgt Nicholls replied ‘Yes.’
Thames Valley Police bosses today distanced themselves from the sergeant’s comments to the council, saying it was not their official policy.
They said: ‘Thames Valley Police responds to all incidents based on threat, harm and risk.
Officers will continue to investigate shoplifting offences and the local neighbourhood teams continue to work closely with businesses to assist owners with keeping their businesses safe from all types of crime.’
Discretionary disposals, created to save policing costs, were first introduced in Northern Ireland and have yet to be widely used on the British mainland.
But critics have savaged the policy. David Green, criminologist and founder of think-tank Civitas, said: ‘In areas where there are problems of disorder it could end up tipping the balance in favour of the criminal element as opposed to the law-abiding.’
A Home Office spokesman said: ‘We are clear that all crimes reported to the police should be taken seriously, investigated and, where appropriate, taken through the courts and met with tough sentences.’
‘Decisions on individual investigations are an operational matter for Chief Constables.’
This makes a change from 2015 when the Home Office said: ‘This Government expects all police forces to investigate all crimes reported to them.’
Wow who said crime does not pay- soon be bus tours for shoplifters! Wow the UK has gone mad! Keep going dear prunes! Prune B.T.