In a decisive move against rising shoplifting incidents, Essex Police have reported 24 arrests relating to shoplifting in the past week. Following these apprehensions, 16 individuals have been formally charged with theft offences and associated matters.
Essex Police's specialised Business Crime Team is collaborating with local officers to seek criminal behaviour orders (CBOs) against two individuals, emphasising their commitment to curbing repeat offences. At present, three cases are under active investigation.
Notably, seven of the arrestees tested positive for Class A drugs during the drug test on arrest scheme, a critical initiative by Essex Police. This scheme mandates individuals arrested for acquisitive crimes, like shop theft, to undergo a saliva test for substances including cocaine, crack cocaine, and heroin. A positive test result initiates an automatic referral to a specialised drug treatment program, reinforcing efforts to address the root causes of criminal behaviour.
Shoplifting remains a significant concern in various districts of Essex. In the Harlow district alone, seven arrests were made between Monday 9 and Sunday 15 October. Additionally, Chelmsford and Thurrock districts reported four arrests each, followed by two arrests each in Braintree and Tendring, and one each in Basildon, Maldon, and Southend.
Sergeant Christian Denning from the Business Crime Team highlighted their proactive approach: “Most shop theft investigations are carried out by officers locally to bring offenders to justice. But our team reviews every shoplifting arrest and, where we believe a criminal behaviour order (CBO) would be justified to help protect retail staff from repeated abuse from offenders and stores from recurrent offending, we work with our local colleagues to apply to the courts for them."
The Essex Police Business Crime Team is committed to supporting businesses by providing valuable advice on security, staff safety, crime prevention, fraud, and cyber-crime prevention. Their "Open for business, closed for crime" initiative encourages businesses to report crimes and offers insights into the reporting process and the subsequent actions taken.
CBOs are a critical tool in the fight against anti-social behaviour, addressing both the symptoms and root causes of offending. Offenders failing to comply with the CBO terms can face serious consequences, including imprisonment or fines.
Out of the arrests made last week, three individuals faced no further action, emphasising the thoroughness of the police operation.