Shopliftings in Sidmouth need to be reported so police can justify resources

Sergeant Andy Squires from Sidmouth police. Picture: Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW

Sergeant Andy Squires from Sidmouth police. Picture: Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW - Credit: Archant

Shoplifting should be reported to police even if the perpetrators may not be caught.

That is the message Sidmouth’s top police officer, Sergeant Andy Squires, is sending to the town’s shopkeepers.

Sgt Squires said he is aware that shoplifting is going unreported, which affected how much of the police’s resources could put into preventing and catching thieves.

He said resources are focused on where the crime statistics show they are needed the most.

Sgt Squires spoke about the issue at the latest Sidmouth Town Council on December3.

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He said: “We are firmly of the opinion that there is a lot more shoplifting going on than we get reported to us, which is disappointing because I have to base my resources, and what we actually attack, on stats and if I only have four shopliftings to show as evidence then something else is going to trump it every month.”

Sgt Squires said the Sidmouth policing team visited all the shops in the town as part of national drive and used it as an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue.

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He added: “The plea to shop keepers is to report it to us. Whether or not you think it is possible for us to detect it or not isn’t the issue. It’s the fact [that] we need to know what is happening so I can justify putting more resources into it.”

Sgt Squires used the meeting to reveal the town’s October and November crime statistics, comparing them to the same months last year. The number of recorded crimes rose slightly from 93 to 99.

‘Violence with injury’ offences were up from 11 to 14 and violence without injury was up to 23.

The number of home burglaries rose from one to two, and the number of ‘non-dwelling’ was down from 10 to three. Shoplifting incidents were down from 10 to four and other thefts stayed the same at 14. Criminal damage offences remained the same and public order crimes were up from seven to 10. Possession of drugs incidents were up to three and the police detection rate remains at just over 20 per cent - about on target. Vehicle offences have risen from three to eight. Sgt Squires reminded drivers who use rural car parks not to leave valuables in their cars.

Overall the number of incidents rose from 250 to 255.

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