Campaign helps reduce city’s youth shoplifting

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Police in Middle Street, Portsmouth, over the weekend.

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SHOPLIFTING by young people in Portsmouth dropped by 76 per cent in the run-up to Christmas.

From October to December 2009, 117 young people were arrested and charged with the offence.

Last winter, 28 young people aged from 10 to 17 received a criminal record.

The Safer Portsmouth Partnership focused on the issue with a Shoplifting can Ruin Your Life campaign.

The campaign was aimed at 10 to 17-year-olds living in Portsmouth, and the pre-Christmas build-up was chosen as analysis showed this is the time most young people get arrested. Education packs, which included a DVD and lesson plan, were supplied to schools and youth groups in the city.

The DVD contained a Portsmouth-based drama showing how CCTV cameras make it easy to identify and catch criminals.

Manager of the Portsmouth youth offending programme Bruce Marr said he could prove the campaign singling out children had made a difference, as the number of adults shoplifting had remained the same, and the number of young people being dealt with by triage – not being arrested – had also stayed the same.

This means other factors had not caused all cases of shoplifting in general to go down.

He said: ‘This means young people who committed this offence were still getting arrested when caught.

‘I’m pleased 99 young people will not be lumbered with the consequences of having a criminal record.

‘I’d like to thank everyone who supported us making the DVD, including Portsmouth City Council’s CCTV team, City of Portsmouth Boys School, Learning Links, the police, Portsmouth Business Crime Partnership and the Portsmouth Players.’