Police in Wakefield have announced that they will embark on a new operation to curb shoplifting in the city after traders reported a rise in thefts.
The Wakefield District Neighbourhood Policing Team has warned thieves that they will be at the top of their priority list after launching the clampdown across the district.
Officers will work closely with shops to identify and target their repeat offenders over the coming weeks.
Inspector Helen Brear said: “Shoplifting is far from a victimless crime and can cause real harm to smaller local businesses.
“We are aware of an increase in shoplifting in Wakefield District over the past few months and will be working with partners in the sector to put shoplifters out of business.
“Clearly identifying those who are causing most harm will be the key so, while we obviously already monitor known offenders, and whom we have been serving city centre exclusion notices on. This is already having a positive impact.
“We will be working very closely with partners in the sector to identify suspects who may not be on our radar.
“What we want to do is help them talk better with us and each other to make sure thieves are well known and spotted early, and this is where Wakefield Area Business Against Crime Business Crime (WABAC) is instrumental in helping us communicate and engage more efficiently and effectively.”
Inspector Brear said additional key focus would also be close work with partner agencies to help rehabilitate offenders.
Crime prevention officers will also be working closely with retailers in the District to help them better protect products and explore funding options for improving security.
Local officers will also look to set up a key contacts network among retailers in city and town centres to help them easily share information with officers regarding offenders.
Steve Hunt, WABAC Manager, said: “I urge all businesses to support us by becoming WABAC members, joining the CCTV link radio scheme and advertising that the right security measures are in place by displaying our WABAC Member exclusion notice stickers at the entrance of their premises.
“We can deter and detect offenders by acting together to identify offenders and improving loss prevention techniques.”