AN ASHBOURNE department store has become the latest town centre retailer to join in a police scheme aimed at cutting shoplifting in the town.
Bennett’s, in St John Street, has joined the Derbyshire Police Shopwatch scheme which runs across the Derbyshire Dales and relies on communication between shop staff and police officers to run effectively.
Under the scheme retailers are given radios with which they use to keep in touch with fellow shop owners and the town centre police officers to share information about suspicious activity or incidents of crime.
Officers say the Shopwatch scheme has seen many results in Ashbourne and it was recently key to Operation Claud, a district-wide focus on shoplifting over the Christmas period.
Sergeant Steve Edwards, who is in charge of Ashbourne Safer Neighbourhood Team, said: “Shopwatch has been a great tool in helping us tackle shoplifting in our area and keep our towns and shopping centres safe.
“It’s an extra level of security that retailers are embracing and using to its full potential.
“We had two incidents recently where timely and accurate information sharing between a shop and police helped to detain two people suspected of separate incidents of shoplifting.
“They have now been dealt with, and demonstrate just how useful a crime-fighting tool Shopwatch is.”
Bennett’s is the 14th shop to sign up to the scheme in Ashbourne alone, with other shops joining in areas including Matlock and Bakewell.
Shops joining up to the scheme pay a small annual fee that covers the rental of the radio kit, charger docks and other items.
They are also given posters and signs alerting customers that they are part of the ShopWatch scheme.
Any retailers wanting to sign up to ShopWatch should call their local Safer Neighbourhood team on 101.
To report suspicious activity or crime, call police on 101 or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111. In an emergency call 999.