Harrogate town centre shops urged to increase security after shoplifting increase

Harrogate town centre
Harrogate town centre
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Police have urged shop owners in Harrogate to increase their security after more than 100 additional offences were reported in the town centre alone this year.

Police have urged shop owners in Harrogate to increase their security after more than 100 additional offences were reported in the town centre alone this year.


From February to August 31 this year, the average number of reported incidents of shoplifting across the district was higher than the North Yorkshire average.


Low Harrogate, which includes the town centre, had the highest average number of reported instances in North Yorkshire during this period with High Harrogate just behind.


In a report to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Supt Mike Walker said retail premises were not taking ownership of the problem to help reduce the instances.


While police were continuing high visibility patrols and targeted operations, Superintendent Walker were not intervening enough to prevent shoplifting occurring.


He said: "I can’t say how it has come about. Maybe the economic climate we find ourselves in means the demand for stolen goods is higher than it used to be.


"From my point of view there’s an onus on the retailers in relation to how they deal with shop thefts.


"There are still shoplifting operations we do, we normally do them in the build up to Christmas because demand increases.


"But when it comes to threat harm and risk this isn’t one of our main priorities."


Temporary Inspector Alex Langley will now work with retailers to stem the increase of thefts by considering different methods of increasing security and deterring shop
lifters.


These include enforcing banning notices, deterring barred individuals from entering the shop and making sure certain items are not placed near the doors.


However, Supt Walker stressed in his report that it was ‘no longer acceptable’ for profit making organisations to avoid responsibility for criminality in their stores.


He said: "I understand that some retailers don’t have security which is their prerogative but that does deter shoplifters. They will target easy shops where they know it’s easy to steal items.


"The biggest shops do have anti theft devices but they also need to be more aware of where certain items are in place in the store.


"Shops have to do a lot to stop shoplifting. We know their priority is selling goods to the public but sometimes their man priority is not to stop shoplifters.


"Shoplifting is one of the issues where other people can do things about it opposed to the police.


"That’s why we want to work with the retailers to find out how they’re designing out their stores in the first place to stop them from ever happening."