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Working together to tackle shoplifting in Dorset

As part of last week’s national week of action on business crime, I joined partners united in the fight against offences such as shoplifting and anti-social behaviour, to talk to staff at businesses in Poole. Along with Dorset Police’s Crime Prevention Design Advisor Claire Davis, PCSO Kerrie, BCP Council’s Anti-social Behaviour Officer Hayley and Jacqui Rock, Poole Business Improvement District (BID) lead, we spent some time with retailers providing support and advice.

It was great to see this partnership in action, engaging with businesses and employees to support Safer Business Action Week, equipping business owners and security staff with the tools they need to tackle crime and raise awareness of the support which is available.

Engaging with businesses in Poole as part of Business Crime Week

During our visit, one of our Neighbourhood Policing Team on patrol informed us about a shoplifter who had been caught just minutes before following reports of a theft at a nearby supermarket. The offender had also been abusive towards staff but thankfully was dealt with appropriately by the officer at the scene. This incident demonstrates the importance of reporting offences to police and partners. Without the information from businesses, we cannot tackle the crimes which impact your livelihoods. Supplying intelligence to police means officers can begin the process of bringing Dorset’s prolific offenders to justice.

I know how damaging incidents of shoplifting can be. Here in Dorset, reports increased from 2,891 to 3,944 between June 2022 and June 2023. This 36.4% increase really reflects what is happening on a national scale. I am dedicated to tackling this crime, and through partnerships like the Dorset Safer Business Partnership, I am committed to driving down these offences and protecting our hard-working business owners and employees.

That is why I welcome the ongoing discussions between politicians, retailers, and police representatives around shoplifting, which have taken place in Westminster this week. It’s not just the financial impact of shoplifting which hurts businesses, but the threat to the safety of hard-working staff which makes this such a distressing crime.

Another way I have pledged to support businesses in the fight against business crime, is through my Business Crime Community Fund, giving grants to BIDs. I have invited BIDs across Dorset to apply for funding through this project, which will help them deliver lasting change to their areas. Those who are successful in their applications, can use the grants of up to £5,000 towards initiatives which reduce business crime or abuse against shop workers.

During our Safer Business Action Week engagement event in Poole, Jacqui Rock, Poole Business Improvement District’s lead, said: “It’s been great to have this one-to-one time with the PCC, visiting Poole’s businesses. It really demonstrates that he is invested in tackling these crimes. To have his presence here is so valuable – and you can see how engaged he is with people – so many people have come up to talk to him.

“Businesses are frustrated by crimes such as shoplifting and abuse towards their staff. I do not want our shop owners to become victims; we have got to protect them and keep Poole safe in order to encourage even more footfall. It’s all about communication between partners and clear messaging to let offenders know they are not going to easily succeed in Poole going forward.”

Protecting Dorset businesses from crime is a responsibility I take very seriously. But it cannot be done through policing alone. We need to work together to ensure we make Dorset the safest county to live and work.

David Sidwick

Dorset Police and Crime Commissioner

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