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Theft from the Person

On 22/07/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

I sit on the Forum for Innovation in Crime Prevention which is chaired by Jeremy Browne MP, the Minister for Crime Prevention. Our meetings have focused on the issue of ‘Theft from the Person’, otherwise known as pick-pocketing (it is only classed as robbery if force is involved).

Whilst most crimes are falling, ‘Theft from the Person’ is not. There was an increase of 8 per cent in this type of crime, according to the 2012 Police Recorded Crime Figures.

Specifically, two thirds of offences occur during the day, with more than a quarter in and around shops (often supermarkets). There are fewer offences at weekends, but there has been an increase in offenders targeting night-time venues and late night transport.

Why is this important to the licensed trade? One of the licensing objectives is the prevention of crime and disorder. If there is a high rate of theft from the person recoded in a specific premises and no remedial action is taken, this could be cause for concern by the police and licensing authority, as they might threaten the premises with a review.

One outcome from the Forum has been the publication of a ‘Theft from the Person’ information pack for partners which looks at lessons learned from police forces, key partners and academia around the UK.

After some background on the problem, the pack contains a section on lessons learnt, tone of voice and language sensitivities when advising customers on the safety of their belongings such as suggesting “be discreet” rather than “put it away”.

Adverts or promotional material reminding people to keep their valuables hidden or safe have proved to be effective. There is then a section on example messages and advice for students, young women out at night and local businesses operating in this environment. Examples of campaign material used by various police forces are included.

This all seems very sensible and worthy of further review. The more we can cut down crime in our venues, the happier our customers will be and the more likely they are to return.


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