New scheme aims to stop shoplifting and anti-social behaviour

Leighton Buzzard town centre
Leighton Buzzard town centre
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A new Shop Watch scheme has been launched in Leighton Buzzard in response to businesses’ concerns about shoplifting and anti-social behaviour.

Bedfordshire Police, working in partnership with Leighton-Linslade Town Council, has launched the town centre initiative.

It aims to encourage all business owners from Leighton Buzzard and Linslade to meet regularly to provide and share information and intelligence about offenders.

The group will be supported by and work closely with Bedfordshire Police, who will provide firms with photographs of prolific shoplifters so they are able to easily identify offenders and warn other retailers if they are spotted in the town.

Sgt Clare Thomas said: “We take on board comments from our local community, and Shop Watch has been launched after retailers in the town raised their concerns with us.

“Police Community Support Officers have been working hard in the area to put a stop to any criminality, and we hope that by introducing this scheme and working closely with business owners to offer tailored crime prevention advice, we can put a stop to this behaviour. If it matters to our communities, it matters to us, and we are dedicated to ensuring that those committing these offences are pursued and the appropriate action is taken against them.”

Town councillor Tony Morris said: “Working alongside Bedfordshire Police and Leighton-Linslade Town Council, the Shop Watch scheme represents an exciting opportunity for retail businesses (both large and small) to work together in managing crime-related issues pertinent to the retail community.

“The scheme which is free to join will allow local retailers the ability to share knowledge, experience and information in addressing petty crime such as shoplifting. As chairman of the Leighton-Linslade Police Liaison Sub-Committee, I would encourage as many of our local retailers as possible to get involved in Shop Watch.”

The group had its first meeting in September, and retailers in the town are invited to join the group.

For more information, contact either Leighton-Linslade Town Council or Bedfordshire Police at: southcentralcommunityteam@bedfordshire.pnn.police.uk