There is no correlation between shoplifting and police numbers in multiple UK areas, according to analysis by RN.

Police crime records show that despite cuts to police numbers, shoplifting rates decreased in some police authorities. 

In other areas, shoplifting rates rose after police numbers were increased.

Merseyside in north-west England saw a reduction of 11% in shoplifting between June 2017 and June 2018, set against 978 fewer police officers in 2017 than 2010. 

Merseyside Community Rehabilitation Company’s assistant chief executive, Karen Rooney, explained: “Six months ago, we launched our STAR (shop theft activity requirement) programme.

“The programme aims to teach offenders who pose a low or medium risk of harm to society about the impact shoplifting can have on victims, based on a restorative justice approach.”

Rooney confirmed there had been a reduction in reoffending over the past year. “We have set up community safety partnerships,” she added. “We make each other aware of the initiatives that are being developed and share them with our police and crime commissioner.”

The programme reinforces the effectiveness of tackling shoplifting at the root. “It’s important
to consider why somebody is reoffending and try to address those factors,” said Rooney. 

Meanwhile, Somerset in south-west England recorded a 13% decrease in shoplifting from June 2017 to June 2018 after experiencing a loss of 635 police officers since 2010. 

In a statement, Avon & Somerset police said: “We have concentrated our efforts on crime prevention, working in partnerships with retailers through schemes such as Shop Watch.

“As of 31 October, we received 5,793 reports of shoplifting via the online reporting form and these will all have been acted on accordingly.”

NFRN’s national president, Mike Mitchelson, has also pledged his support. “We support the extension of rehabilitation programmes across the country if they are reducing shop theft,” he said.

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