Surrey Police officers made 20 arrests in just one day as part of a new approach to dealing with shoplifters.

This comes off the back of a 26 per cent increase in shoplifting offences in Surrey over the last 12 months – reflecting national trends.

Superintendent for Neighbourhoods, Adam Smith, explained why tackling this rise is a force priority: “Shoplifting is not a victimless crime and we have increasingly heard from our residents how this is of particular concern to them; as well as the associated effects like anti-social behaviour and the fear or use of violence.

“As a force we have listened to these concerns and will continue to deal with offenders as robustly as possible. Shoplifting can have a devastating financial impact for businesses, as well as leaving shop workers and owners feeling afraid and intimidated at their place of work. This is simply not acceptable.”

Surrey Police's approach to combating shoplifting includes:

  • Uniformed patrols at shoplifting hotspots
  • Deployment of plain clothes officers to known hotspots
  • The review of all new and recent shoplifting offences
  • Mobilising large numbers of officers and staff across all departments to match demand where necessary
  • Engaging with shop owners/workers to share security advice and gather evidence
  • Increased intelligence work to identify trends, patterns and prolific offenders
  • Engaging with previous offenders to support them to stay off the path of criminality

On just one day of activities on Tuesday, December 12, officers made 20 arrests, charged eight people with 23 offences, visited 135 commercial premises to offer security advice, and engaged with 12 previous offenders to help support them stay out of criminality.

Superintendent Smith added: “These are some great results of proactive police work and we hope it makes it clear to offenders that we will not tolerate shoplifting in Surrey.

“We are also encouraging shop owners to continue reporting all incidents to us via our online reporting tool; this information is crucial in allowing us to build a clearer intelligence picture of what is going on and where in Surrey. If a crime is in action or you feel in immediate danger, please call 999.”