Thirty-nine people have been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in the past seven days as we continue to tackle retail theft.
Nine people were arrested in Southend and Basildon, with six detained in Colchester, five in Thurrock and three in each of Chelmsford, Tendring and Harlow.
So far, 19 of those arrested have been charged with a total of 30 offences. Eight tested positive for class A drugs.
Under our drug test on arrest scheme, adults accused of acquisitive crimes such as shoplifting are required to take a saliva test that will reveal whether they’ve taken cocaine, heroin or crack.
A positive test leads to an automatic referral to a specialist drug treatment programme with one of the three charities we work with.
Our Business Crime Team review every shoplifting arrest and encourage retailers to report all thefts and assaults of shop staff.
The team then work with local officers to apply to court for Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO) to tackle persistent offenders.
CBOs also tackle the underlying causes of offending and may require offenders to engage in treatment services, such as drug and alcohol addiction support.
It is an offence to breach the terms of a CBO and courts can impose a maximum sentence of up to five years’ imprisonment or a fine, or both, for an adult convicted of a breach.
Sergeant Christian Denning of the Business Crime Team said:
“The proceeds of shoplifting can fund other forms of criminality. It is not a low-level crime.
“We want our retail areas to be safe for visitors and shop workers, which is why we’re encouraging staff to report thefts, anti-social behaviour and assaults.
“We are targeting the individuals who are repeatedly committing theft, and by collating evidence of patterns of offending, we can apply for criminal behaviour orders that will limit their ability to reoffend.
“Alongside this, we are helping those who have issues with drugs to combat their addictions by entering treatment programmes as this can be the root of their offending.
“Our officers are also working with businesses by providing specialist crime prevention advice and information about staff security.”
For more information about the work of the Essex Police Business Crime Team,
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