Multi-agency approach welcomes shoppers and deters shoplifters

30 May 2022

Events and activities, plus the warmer weather have seen Chester and town centres get increasingly busier. Cheshire West and Chester Council is working with Cheshire Police and partners to welcome residents and visitors to enjoy the high street whilst deterring shoplifters. 

The Business Crime Reduction Partnership, which is managed by the Council, is a nationally accredited not-for-profit initiative which operates several localised schemes, linked to shopping areas across West Cheshire and now extending into North Wales. 

These schemes cover retail settings in the borough such as Chester, Ellesmere Port, Cheshire Oaks and Northwich.

Participation in the scheme allows businesses to access an information sharing system which contains images of shoplifters and enables notifications to be sent to service users and the Police, if a known or suspected shoplifter is thought to be operating in the area. 

Over 200 businesses in Chester city centre are signed up to this initiative, which also provides businesses with a direct radio link to the Council’s CCTV operators and police officers who are working in the area.

Additionally, there are over 300 CCTV cameras within the borough, which are monitored by a control room that is staffed 24 hours a day, so cameras can be quickly moved to focus on incidents or suspected offenders, to gather evidence and direct resources.  

Businesses also get access to weekly meetings that share intelligence on shoplifting, including current techniques being used, and associated issues such as counterfeit cash and organised crime.

This work is underpinned by local multi-agency Problem-Solving Groups that work with businesses, and the Business Crime Reduction Partnership to gather evidence of offences and pursue criminal sanctions. 

In some cases, Criminal Behaviour Orders are also sought to exclude individuals who shoplift from prescribed areas, and this has recently resulted in some individuals being banned from entering Chester city centre for several years. 

The Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Strategic Transport, Councillor Karen Shore said:

“There are robust arrangements in place to tackle shoplifting and information sharing agreements that mean the work of the Partnership is very successful.  

“CCTV operators are able to observe shoplifting incidents in real time and can direct Police officers to offenders in minutes so they can be apprehended, and action taken.

“Shoplifters beware, you will be caught, please think twice before exploiting businesses in the borough.”

Chief Inspector Mike Ankers, Cheshire Police said:

“Chester Local Policing have improved the policing presence within the city significantly over the last few months. This team is working closely with our partners within the Local Authority and Chester BID to protect our business communities.

“These partnerships will provide the foundations to bring to justice those entering the city for illegal purposes, and we will use all means to ensure they remain out of our city.”

If you observe shoplifting that’s in progress call 999 and make a report to Cheshire Police. Businesses can also report shop lifting for investigation retrospectively via 101 or online on the Cheshire Police website.

Chester BID Manager, Carl Critchlow, said:

“We have a very strong network of businesses linked together through a digital radio network. These businesses have a direct contact with the Council’s CCTV control and Beat Police.

“By reporting crime and sharing details of suspicious behaviour we have a very good deterrent to anyone considering shoplifting. Our members also use a database app, that shows who they should be looking out for before they even enter the store.  We are watching you."
Any business that would like to participate in the Business Crime Reduction Partnership, please call 0300 999 1111.

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