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UK Police to unveil “zero-tolerance” shoplifting plan

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Oxford Circus Credits: New West End Company

Ministers, law enforcement, and retailers are collaborating to implement a robust "zero-tolerance" strategy targeting the pervasive issue of shoplifting.

Law enforcement authorities, in a summit at Downing Street, will outline their plan to combat shoplifting, which occurs over 1,000 times daily.

Retail industry leaders have criticized the inadequate response to shoplifting reports. The strategy includes establishing a dedicated national unit, "Operational Opal," funded by a consortium of 13 retailers, to investigate shoplifting as organized crime.

This unit will employ advanced analytics and facial recognition technology, cross-referencing surveillance footage with a police database. Police will respond promptly to violent shoplifting incidents, and security personnel will receive updated guidelines for apprehending offenders.

Footage from CCTV released last week confirm the shoplifting figures reach 1,000 incidents per day. Data released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show shoplifting offences recorded by police forces in England and Wales have risen by a quarter in the past year. Some 365,164 shoplifting offences were recorded by police in the year to June, an increase of 25 percent when compared to the previous 12 months.

Muntazir Dipoti, president of the Federation of Independent Retailers which has 10,500 members, said 850 incidents of theft or verbal abuse are recorded across its members every day, as reported by the Evening Standard.