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Rise in shoplifting prompts police campaign in Watford town centre
Police in Watford have this week launched a new campaign to tackle shoplifting in the town centre.
Operation Counterguard has come in response to a rise in incidents in recent weeks and as part of the operation, officers will be conducting more high visibility patrols in the town centre to act as a deterrent and to attend reported incidents quickly. Police say there have been 260 incidents of theft from shops since April.
Officers are linking with Watford Business Against Crime (WBAC), a group of retailers in direct contact with the officers using a radio system which enables information about suspicious incidents to be shared straight away.
WBAC is also able to link in directly to the town’s CCTV centres and is notified by police of any offenders or suspects.
Shops in the town centre are also being given advice about how to prevent shoplifting. They are being encouraged to display a poster highlighting the high number of police arrests for this crime to act as a visible deterrent.
Rachael Robertson, Intervention Sergeant, said: "Although shoplifting is down overall since April, we have recently seen a slight increase in incidents which has prompted Operation Counterguard.
"Through education, high visibility patrols and close working with Watford Business Against Crime and other stores in town, we hope to see a reduction.
"We want people to know that Watford is not an easy target. We catch the vast majority of shoplifters, so if you do choose to steal from shops, there’s a very high chance you will be caught.
"I’d reassure our residents that all crime in Watford continues to fall and together with other agencies we will continue to make the area a safe and pleasant place to live in."