Police are to clamp down on shoplifting in Perth by increasing patrols and using court orders to ban criminals from entering the city centre.
There has been a recent rash of such incidents at High Street stores but officers are determined to catch those responsible and have been in talks with the Crown and Procurator Fiscal service in a bid to ban individuals from the city’s main shopping area.
Chief Inspector Ian Scott, the area commander for Perth and Kinross, admitted the increase in shoplifting in the area is becoming a concern for shop owners and police.
“There does seem to be a rise in shoplifting so we have put an operation in place to increase police visibility of officers in and around the High Street and also at St Catherine’s retail park in Perth,” Mr Scott said.
“We have also been liaising with shop managers, community wardens and have the CCTV option. In addition, we’ll use plain clothes officers.
“And we’ve been working with the Crown Office to get exclusion orders granted at court.
“This bans individuals from entering the city centre and if they are targeting particular shop premises we try to support the shop by getting a bail condition where someone could not enter the likes of Tesco.”
He continued: “We’ve been looking at bail conditions and have also been trying to look at things like mental health issues with the shoplifters or drug or alcohol problems.
“Occasionally, you hear stories of a mother stealing to feed her five children but we’re not really finding that here. It tends to be substance misusers as opposed to people who are really struggling financially.”
Mr Scott stated police are trying to identify what has caused the rise in shoplifting in Perth city centre.
“There are a few issues, some of which are beyond our remit, but we have been working with people involved in the daytime economy to rectify the problem,” he added.
“This involves speaking to shop managers who use ‘shop-safe radio,’ which links in with us.
“The majority of criminals who are shoplifting are from the local area although we do sometimes get targeted from further afield.”