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Councillors, officers and shop staff stand outside Superdrug in Kirkby, smiling at the camera

Retail crime plummets in Kirkby

Retail crime is down by 45% in Kirkby thanks to a Shop Watch Scheme initiated as part of Ashfield District Council’s Safer Streets project.

In total, 15 businesses have signed up to the Shop Watch Scheme, formally known as the Business Crime Forum, which has been in operation in Kirkby for three months. The scheme has provided retailers with radios that link to the CCTV control room at police headquarters and allow communication between the shops.

From April 2023 – June 2023 there was a decrease of 45% of shop lifting offences within the Kirkby high street. There has also been a 27.4% increase in shoplifters being caught, cautioned, and prosecuted.

As well as the Shop Watch Scheme, over 20 businesses have signed up to the Safe Space Accreditation scheme in Kirkby. The retailers have received state-of-the-art CCTV systems, lighting, and training for staff to provide a refuge for vulnerable people and increase safety across the town.

Under the schemes, businesses are working in partnership with the Council and Nottinghamshire Police to tackle shoplifting, anti-social behaviour, and improve feelings of safety across the town.

Both schemes have been funded from the £750,000 Home Office Safer Streets initiative which the Community Safety Partnership and Nottinghamshire Police Crime Commissioner’s Office were successful in securing last year.

Cllr Helen-Ann Smith, Executive Lead Member for Community Safety and Crime Reduction, said:

“Our Safer Streets funded projects are making a real difference to Kirkby. The Council is committed to improving safety and reducing anti-social behaviour across the District and initiatives like these prove that we are on our way stamping out unwanted behaviour from the minority.”

Cllr Dale Grounds, Chairman of Ashfield District Council, who is a champion of the scheme commented: 

“The Shop Watch Scheme has been extremely popular with retailers such as Superdrug, Boots, and Boyes, who now feel safer at work. The massive reduction in shop thefts shows what a positive impact the schemes are making.”

Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Caroline Henry said:

“These results show that our innovative work across Kirkby-In-Ashfield is paying off and deterring retail crime as well as antisocial behaviour.
“The aim of Shop Watch is to give retailers and their customers an extra level of protection as it creates an improved network of organisations working closely together to root out crime and keep people safe.
“There is a myth that shoplifting is a victimless crime. We know that is not the case and through the Safer Streets scheme we will do everything we can in order to make communities safer, and more importantly feel safer.”

Inspector Jon Hewitt, district commander for Ashfield, said:

“Shoplifting is a blight on the entire town and can cause considerable damage to local businesses – not only because of the goods and money lost, but also because of the toll such offences can have on staff.
“We are working with Ashfield District Council and the businesses themselves to identify offenders, better understand their behaviour and the reasons for it, and put in place long-term solutions to prevent further offences.
“Along with catching and prosecuting offenders, we are also working to ensure more Criminal Behaviour Orders against repeat offenders. Once approved by a magistrate, these orders can ban individuals from certain areas and forbid them from doing certain things altogether.
“Breaching these orders is an arrestable offence and will often land perpetrators straight back in prison if they are breached.”