Portsmouth city centre shops prepare to ban prolific shoplifters

Shoplifters will be targeted at Cascades
Shoplifters will be targeted at Cascades
  • New scheme targets repeat offenders
  • After three strikes they will be informed of civil ban
  • If they return they could be arrested for burglary
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PROLIFIC shoplifters have been warned they face being banned if they steal in a city shopping area.

Chris Caesar, from a partnership tackling crime in Portsmouth city centre, said a new ‘yellow card’ system means repeat thieves will be targeted.

If you can keep them out the stores then the shops don’t get affected by shrinkage and stock loss

Chris Caesar

It means not only will convicted criminals face punishment from the courts for taking goods but they may later be banned from shops by a civil court.

Then if they return to a shop, Mr Caesar hopes the shoplifter will be arrested for burglary rather than theft.

Mr Caesar, based at Cascades, is the business crime reduction manager at Portsmouth Business Crime Reduction Partnership.

A similar scheme already runs for bars in Guildhall Walk and Southsea, with 89 punters banned from pubs and clubs that have signed up to the to scheme.

Mr Caesar said: ‘We’ll be looking at doing an equivalent. That’s three strikes and you’re out.

‘If you can keep them out of the stores then the shops don’t get affected by shrinkage and stock loss.

‘It’s about making members aware.’

When shoplifters get their first warning they will be written to and told they have been warned. After two more warnings they can be banned.

Sgt Richard Holland, of city centre neighbourhood policing team, said: ‘I would have no qualms about one of my officers arresting for burglary. It’s a deterrent as it will be treated as a burglary and you’re likely to get a bigger sentence.’

Mr Caesar runs a database that signed-up companies can look at.

It contains details – and CCTV photos – of some of the city’s most prolific offenders.

Just last year it was used 6,047 times. Mr Caesar hopes this will rise to 7,000 this year.

He added: ‘The database is kind of a collective of information with prolific offenders. We can build up the modus operandi of certain individuals. We can get positive identifications.

‘The information is data protected and shared with all of our members and the police.

‘If a shoplifter comes in to a shop we can put in the CCTV image.’

The scheme, paid for by its members, is also improving its handheld radios to better cover the area.

For more information, see pbcrp.com