Chief Constable of Northumbria Police admits approach to shoplifting was 'not acceptable' and promises change

Northumbria Police has promised tougher action against shoplifters after admitting that its previous approach was inadequate.
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Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine told councillors in North Tyneside that her force’s response to shoplifting reports had been “nowhere near where it needed to be” and promised a new clampdown.

It came after Preston ward councillor Cath Davis told the chief and Police and Crime Commissioner Kim McGuinness that shoplifting was having a “massive impact on town centres.”

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Cllr Davis, who sits as an independent after leaving the Labour Party earlier this year, told a full North Tyneside Council meeting last Thursday that she had personally witnessed a group steal a large box of lager from a shop and staff had been “afraid” to challenge them.

Northumbria Police Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine. (Photo by LDRS)Northumbria Police Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine. (Photo by LDRS)
Northumbria Police Chief Constable Vanessa Jardine. (Photo by LDRS)

She claimed that “disappointed” shopkeepers had been informed that the police would only attend an incident if the value of items stolen was more than £200.

The chief constable replied: “Our response to shoplifting was nowhere near where it needed to be and should be.

“We have changed the way we deal with shoplifting. That was about four to six weeks ago now and we have been responding in a much better way to reports of shoplifting, to violence in shops, and violence and assaults towards staff.”

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She added: “You are right to point out that it was not acceptable and we have changed the way we are operating.”

Ms McGuinness added that shoplifting was an issue of “real concern” and that violence against store workers across the region “has to stop”.

Northumbria Police said its changed policy on shoplifting would see prolific offenders being actively targeted and officers working with retailers.