Sidmouth police and businesses to revive Shop Watch

PUBLISHED: 06:55 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 11:02 10 November 2017

Sergeant Andy Squires of the Sidmouth neighbourhood police team. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW

Sergeant Andy Squires of the Sidmouth neighbourhood police team. Picture by Alex Walton. Ref shs 6983-28-13AW

Archant

Sidmouth police and businesses are joining forces to revive the town’s Shop Watch after concerns the town was a ‘soft target’ for shoplifters and other criminals.

Sidmouth shops. Ref shs 7054-06-15SH. Photo Simon HornSidmouth shops. Ref shs 7054-06-15SH. Photo Simon Horn

Sergeant Andy Squires spoke to members of Sidmouth Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday about ‘breathing new life’ into the scheme, which was set up to spread the word about suspicious behaviour in the town.

Sgt Squires - who introduced the scheme when he worked in Exmouth - said working together would show shoplifters Sidmouth was not an easy target.

He added that the system would be a simple phone call to four or five people on a list to begin raising awareness around the town.

“We want to show shoplifters that the police and shops are working together that there is a local focus,” he told business owners in the town.

Sidmouth shops. Ref shs 7071-06-15SH. Photo Simon HornSidmouth shops. Ref shs 7071-06-15SH. Photo Simon Horn

“Between us all we will get that going and show that Sidmouth is not an easy target for shoplifters.

“If we have a shoplifter moving around the town, there’s no good an emailing pinging up in the back office; the people on the shop floor need to know, an email alert might sit there for the rest of the day until they cash up.

“So we need an efficient method of getting to the staff in the shop.”

Sgt Squires reported that there had been a rise in shoplifting in October in comparison to other times of the year.

He added: “The message I need to get across is if shoplifting is happening, we need to know and it needs to be reported.

“Even if you are thinking there’s nothing that the police can do about it or there’s no police around or the shoplifters have left, we need to know because I can say to my bosses that we have a real spike in shoplifting and I can get resources in.”

In last week’s Herald, Brian Dowie from Fields called for the system to be relaunched after staff found security tags had been cut off items last week.

David Wheaton, chairman of the chamber of commerce, said: “I think it is an excellent idea and would encourage all traders who have shops in the town to consider signing up to it.”

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