Force crackdown on retail crime welcomed by Jane Kennedy

Liverpool / March 04

A Force-wide crackdown on retail crime has been welcomed by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner.

A Force-wide crackdown on retail crime has been welcomed by Merseyside’s Police Commissioner.

Nine people were arrested and another charged as part of the campaign which saw teams of police officers execute search warrants at houses in Bebington, Bootle, Prescot, Everton, Anfield and Toxteth.

The enforcement activity was following by visits by police to vulnerable shops, such as bookmakers, pawnbrokers, off-licences and convenience stores, in areas where robberies have previously occurred to offer advice on how to improve their security and crime prevention measures such as fogging devices, forensic sprays and electronic taggers.

It was all part of the Force’s continued crackdown on would-be robbers and thieves. Last week the force's Matrix Serious and Organised Crime unit (MSOC) arrested 17 people believed to have been involved in acquisitive crime.

The campaign has been welcomed by the Commissioner. Jane Kennedy said: “Nobody should go to work fearing violence, threats or abuse. Shop workers provide a valuable service to our communities. The impact of criminal attacks on vulnerable premises can be huge and have significant long-term effects on both employees and business.

“That is why I welcome Merseyside Police’s decision to continue their crackdown on retail crime and invest significant resources to combating shoplifting and robberies at premises across the region."

Chief Inspector Jenny Sims, who is leading the force campaign said criminals risked up to six years in prison for the sake of trying to steal only a tiny proportion of a bookmakers daily takings thanks to existing security measures.

She said: "Protecting local businesses from attack is a force priority and my message to would-be criminals is 'don't bother'. We have arrested a large number of people in recent months for robbery, burglary and theft and those we get charged face a considerable prison sentence if convicted at court.

"Traditionally bookmakers have been targeted because of the perception that they have a large amount of cash on the premises. But the reality is that there are many different measures in place at bookies which makes it almost impossible for anyone to get away with large sums of cash.

"Staff are well-trained in security procedures, they have security screens over the counter, secure safes to retreat to and instant access to the police if a robbery takes place. Bundles of cash contain trackers that enable the police to hunt down the offenders and dye devices stain stolen cash making it unusable and also the clothing and skin of the criminal.

"This all adds up to the criminal taking a considerable risk with only a small chance of even a small reward and the courts do not differentiate between someone who uses of threatens violence to get a few hundred pounds compared to someone who does the same and gets far more. The law treats them both the same and I cannot imagine any robber sat in jail at the start of the six year sentence thinking that what they had done was worth it.”

The nine people arrested were detained on suspicion of robbery, handling stolen goods and possession of drugs with intent to supply. Among them was a 35-year-old man from Bebington who was arrested in connection with an armed robbery at a Co-Op in Cross Lane, Bebington last December in which staff were threatened with an axe before having money stolen.

Two other men, aged 22 and 23, have been arrested in the Edge Hill area on suspicion of handling stolen goods and a 17-year-old from Toxteth has been arrested on suspicion of a street robbery also in Edge Hill in which a mobile phone and i-Pod were stolen.

A man in Bootle was arrested in connection with three recent armed robberies at business premises and two teenagers were also arrested for separate robbery offences.