A police scheme to cut down crime rates (particularly shoplifting) in Romsey over the festive period has been deemed a success by local forces, with a marked drop in reported offences.
Operation Scrooge saw officers from Test Valley’s Neighbourhood Policing Teams carry out high-visibility patrols in town centres to deter shoplifters in the run-up to Christmas, concurrently liaising with community businesses and the local councils of Romsey and Test Valley. Officers also handed out free crime prevention bells that could be attached to purses and bags to deter pickpockets.
The efforts in December resulted in a 32% reduction in shoplifting figures; police received 32 reports of shoplifting across the Test Valley district, down from 47 reports in December 2018.
Inspector Chris Taylor noted:
This is a good result and I’m pleased that the work we did with our partners has resulted in a reduction in shoplifting in December. A number of people have been arrested and charged as a result of our enquiries.
Romsey and Andover are safe places to live and work, but they are not immune from those who want to take advantage of shoppers and retailers over the Christmas period.
We will continue to look at a range of options to tackle offenders, including the use of Criminal Behaviour Orders for the most prolific offenders, which give the courts greater sentencing options.
Despite these good results, we still believe that there is an under-reporting of shoplifting offences. We want all businesses to report offences, which can be done online via the Hampshire Constabulary website or by dialling 101. This allows us to target our resources to support stores, especially at Christmas.
Romsey Town Centre usually sees a peak in retail and street crime in the lead up to Christmas, this activity is often undertaken by organised professional criminals who move the area. The Daily Echo has reported on the extra security assigned to patrol the streets of Romsey in previous years for crime prevention.