Police are thanking businesses for their support in tackling thieves during the recent busy Christmas shopping season in the Isle of Wight’s capital town.
Shoplifting offences in Newport town centre fell from 35 in November 2010 to 12 in December 2010, when reports of shoplifting were also down compared to the 32 offences recorded during December 2009.
The Island’s police force took a decision to increase high visibility foot patrols in and around shops as part of a dedicated operation, codenamed Humbug.
Police officers, Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) and Special Constables worked alongside shop staff to challenge people acting suspiciously.
Shops also displayed police posters warning shoplifters about the consequences of being caught stealing from premises.
Sergeant Ken Crosby of the Newport Safer Neighbourhoods team said: “We adapted our tactics for the recent Christmas shopping season so there were more high visibility patrols, rather than plain clothes officers on duty. Businesses belonging to the Newport Shopwatch scheme communicated with each other and the police through a specific radio system, which allowed problems and suspects to be reported and targeted swiftly.”
PC Jade Hucklebridge of the Newport Safer Neighbourhoods team said: “We worked hard as a team with businesses and Isle of Wight Council CCTV staff to make sure this operation was a combined effort. By all pulling together, our message of zero tolerance is being heard by would be-shoplifters.”
Newport Shopwatch chair Stewart Gibbs said: “Newport Shopwatch takes a zero tolerance stance against crime and disorder in the town centre area. We will continue to disrupt and make it difficult for criminals to operate, providing a safe environment for residents, businesses and visitors.”