Cambridgeshire Neighbourhood Watch Association


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The Office for National Statistics reports that 365,164 shoplifting offences were recorded by police in the year to June 2023 – up 25% on the previous 12 months. Industry professionals estimate the actual number of shoplifting incidents were likely to be 15 to 21 times higher than these figures.

The most commonly stolen item was confectionery, followed by alcohol and meat. Only 38 per cent of shoplifting was reported to the police

Shoplifting is illegal and unethical. If you witness someone shoplifting or suspect that it is happening, here are some general steps you can consider:

  1. Don’t Confront the Person: Avoid confronting the shoplifter directly. Confrontation can escalate the situation and potentially lead to violence or harm.
  2. Inform Store Staff: Notify store employees or security personnel immediately. They are trained to handle these situations and can take appropriate action.
  3. Provide a Description: If you are able to do so safely, take note of the shoplifter’s appearance, clothing, and any other relevant details. This information can be helpful for store security or law enforcement.
  4. Stay Safe: Your safety is the top priority. Do not put yourself in harm’s way or attempt to apprehend the shoplifter. Let trained professionals handle the situation.
  5. Cooperate with Authorities: If law enforcement becomes involved, cooperate fully by providing any information you have and being a witness if needed.

Remember that different stores and regions may have specific policies and procedures for handling shoplifting incidents. Always follow the guidelines provided by the store and local authorities.

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