Aylesbury MP praises Government crackdown on 'devastating' shoplifting

The Government has pledged to spend £55.5 million on new technology tackling shoplifting
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Aylesbury’s MP has backed the Government’s new measures to crack down on shoplifting and other retail crime.

Rob Butler has backed changes to laws around retail crime announced by the Government last week.

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Assaulting a retail worker will be made a standalone criminal offence with those found guilty facing up to six months in prison and uncapped fines.

Aylesbury MP Rob ButlerAylesbury MP Rob Butler
Aylesbury MP Rob Butler

Mr Butler said: “Retail crime is a serious problem. During visits to local shops, I have heard first-hand the devastating impact this type of crime can have, with staff at times often not feeling safe at work.

“I have raised these concerns directly with ministers and during discussions at No 10. “I’m pleased that the Government has now announced measures which will help keep our shopkeepers safe. These will help build on the important work already being done locally by Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber, with his Retail Crime Strategy.”

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In January Commissioner Barber announced a new strategy to tackle retail crime which was being introduced across the Thames Valley.

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It was revealed that the new strategy was based on six different areas of action: Intelligence, Enforcement, Partnership, Prevention, Justice and Reassurance.

He said: “My new Retail Crime Strategy sets out a series of tangible actions to help redress the balance. It includes the creation of a Business Crime Team within Thames Valley Police to improve investigations and identify prolific offenders and, with the rollout of Operation Purchase, the Force’s operational response to retail crime, increasing the visible presence of police officers and PCSOs in retail spaces as well as improving the officer response to reports, particularly incidents involving violence towards staff.”

As well as announcing the new punishments for those caught committing retail offences, the Government announced a £55.5 million investment over four years using new technology to catch perpetrators. This includes using mobile vehicles to complete facial recognition scans in crowded areas.

Civil liberties campaigners have warned this move is a dystopian breach of people’s privacy that does not have a place in democratic society, and the technology has been referred to as Orwellian.