Our business crime team is working to help retail staff and customers stay safe
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Retail staff should feel safe when they are at work and customers should feel safe when they are shopping, says Sergeant Christian Denning of our Business Crime Team.
Part of the team’s work involves liaising with business owners, store managers and community policing teams in all districts to deter and prevent persistent offending, such as shoplifting.
In the 12 months to 19 October 2023, courts imposed criminal behaviour orders (CBOs) on 37 prolific shoplifters across Essex thanks to this partnership working.
And more are in the pipeline as the team is currently working with the Crown Prosecution Service to apply to the courts for more CBOs to be imposed on persistent and prolific offenders.
Sergeant Denning says CBOs are a very important tool in preventing not only thefts but also violence, anti-social behaviour and harassment across the retail sector. He says:
“Shoplifting affects store staff and customers because of their unacceptable behaviour. Staff should feel safe when they are at work and customers should feel safe when they are shopping. “We work with our community policing teams to identify persistent and prolific offenders and seek to apply for criminal behaviour orders to break the cycle of offending.”
And a 39-year-old Clacton man arrested in Southend within ten minutes of being called by BP staff in Westcliff was jailed for eight weeks and issued with a CBO banning him from the garage, as well as a nearby butcher’s and The Range, plus a Co-op Food Store in Southend, for three years.
“As well as banning offenders from stores they have targeted, criminal behaviour orders can also be used to impose rehabilitation conditions, such as the requirement to attend drug or alcohol treatment programmes. “In this way we can seek to divert them from their behaviour by reducing their need to steal to fund their habit. “And there is a deterrent effect in that offenders who ignore their CBOs can face jail if they break its terms.” Sergeant Christian Denning
Essex Police officers made 1,147 arrests for shop theft* in the year to 30 September 2023. And officers solved 514 more offences – a 26.2% increase – than they did in the previous 12 months.
“Thanks to our Open for business, closed for crime campaign, retail staff now have more confidence to report theft and anti-social behaviour to us. This enables us to identify emerging issues and we can work with businesses to mitigate risk. “And it can provide evidence of patterns of offending behaviour which can be used in court to apply for CBOs to be imposed on persistent and prolific shoplifters.” Sergeant Christian Denning
*Arrests for shop theft. This relates to the number of arrests our officers have made. A person may have been arrested more than once for theft from a shop during the time period. And they may have been arrested for more than one offence.
Open for business, closed for crime
We recognise that incidents of violence towards public facing staff sometimes go unreported.
We want to raise confidence in reporting these incidents, ensure the best possible investigations are completed, deter offenders and support victims.
Violence and abuse should not be tolerated and we are working with partners in the private sector to support retail staff who are victims of such crimes and to prevent them by providing businesses with crime prevention guidance.
We want retail and hospitality staff who are assaulted or abused for simply doing their job to report it to us so we can investigate and bring offenders to justice.
Essex Police Business Crime Team
Our Business Crime Team specialise 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.
If you see something which you feel needs police attention, or you have information about a crime, anti-social behaviour or criminal activity, ring 999 if it is an emergency or a crime in progress, otherwise you can report it online where you can also speak to an online Live Chat operator on weekdays between 10am and 9pm. Alternatively, you can ring 101.
You can also contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, online or by calling 0800 555 111.