Essex Police officers arrest 21 on suspicion of shoplifting in a week
Main article content
Our specialist Business Crime Team works with retailers to encourage them to report shop thefts and assaults of shop staff to us.
And, in the past week, Essex Police officers have arrested 21 people on suspicion of shoplifting, with 12 subsequently being charged with theft offences and other related matters.
Five people arrested also tested positive for Class A drugs under our drug test on arrest scheme, which sees adults we arrest for acquisitive crimes, such as shop theft, requested to take a saliva test for cocaine, crack cocaine and heroin.
Sergeant Christian Denning, of our Business Crime Team, says:
“People often steal to fund their drug habit so, if people test positive in custody for Class A drugs, they will be referred to a specialist drug treatment programme, with one of the three drugs charities we work with, to address the root causes of their offending. “In this way, not only are we dealing with the offenders themselves but we are seeking to turn them away from drug use and the need to steal in the first place.”
Four people were arrested in each of the Basildon and Thurrock districts between Monday 25 September and Sunday 1 October for shop theft. Three were arrested in each of the Chelmsford and Harlow districts, two people in each of the Colchester and Southend districts and one in each of Brentwood, Epping and Tendring.
Of the 21 people arrested last week, our Business Crime Team will be seeking criminal behaviour orders against three of them and another three will be subject of requests to vary the terms of their current criminal behaviour order.
Sergeant Denning says the Business Crime Team review every shoplifting case and, where it is believed a criminal behaviour order would be justified to help to protect retailers from repeated abuse and stealing, they work with local officers to apply to the court for them.
“Not only do criminal behaviour orders prevent offenders from entering stores they have been targeting, they can also be issued with conditions which are intended to get offenders support to change their behaviour and prevent further criminal activity.”
CBOs are designed to tackle the most serious and persistent anti-social individuals where their behaviour has brought them before a criminal court.
CBOs also tackle the underlying causes of offending and, where appropriate, require offenders to engage in treatment services, such as drug and alcohol addiction support.
It is an offence to breach the terms of a CBO and courts can impose a maximum sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment or a fine, or both, for an adult convicted of breaching them.
Cases involving four people arrested last week are still being investigated and no further action will be taken against five others.
Essex Police Business Crime Team
Our Business Crime Team specialises in supporting businesses, working to build relationships with independent shops and retail chains, explaining how they can report crime to us and, just as importantly, what will happen when they do.
They help to identify risks in the workplace, providing crime prevention, fraud and cyber-crime advice and strengthening links with businesses and partners, including local community safety partnerships, Essex Chambers of Commerce and the Essex Federation of Small Businesses.
Working with the National Business Crime Centre, the team share nationally-identified crime trends and best practice with our business community. And they have also developed a comprehensive guide to business crime prevention which identifies steps business-owners can take to protect themselves and their properties.