A CRACKDOWN on shoplifting has been launched in Malvern by police after a large rise in the number of incidents.
Operation Blast, which began on Monday (September 22), will involve a large presence of plain clothed officers in the town’s shopping areas as well as a high level of uniformed PCSOs patrolling known hotspots to provide reassurance to traders and customers.
Posters displaying the message ‘Shoplifters beware’ have also been put up around the town as part of the drive in a bid to deter thieves in the area and anyone who may travel to Malvern specifically to target shops.
Steph Brighton, Malvern Hills Safer Neighbourhoods Inspector, said there were numerous statistics which demonstrated a rise in the number of shop thefts in recent months.
Between April 2013 and March this year there were 203 incidents in Malvern – an increase of more than 22 per cent compared to the year before.
Insp Brighton said supermarkets were the main targets with some stores losing up to £600, although a portion of that could be attributed to stock-taking errors.
Operation Blast is specifically focused on Malvern and is part of a larger tactical plan being rolled out through the entire Warwickshire and West Mercia force areas to tackle the impact of business crime.
A ‘Shopwatch’ scheme was launched in the town earlier this year with many traders signing up and those who are yet to do so have been urged to subscribe as soon as possible.
Insp Brighton added: “The focus is on partnership working, crime prevention and effective targeting of those who cause harm.
“I would encourage all Malvern retailers to join Shopwatch in order to improve communication, the sharing of intelligence and to reduce crime.
“There will be a significant police presence in Malvern retail areas but you may not see us.
“However, you will see uniformed PCSOs in the area conducting reassurance patrols and engaging with members of the public as normal.”
The town’s @MalvernCops Twitter team has already got the ball rolling raising awareness of the campaign and will continue to keep its 2,000 plus followers updated with the latest offences and police actions.
Anyone with information on shoplifting incidents has been urged to contact police in the normal way on 101 for non-emergencies or by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 to pass information on anonymously.