With elections for a new Police and Crime Commissioner due to get underway in Sussex next month, and following a spate of high profile crimes in East Grinstead town centre of late, I was again contacted by my local radio station last week to discuss my views on police responses to crimes against retailers.
I can’t fault police responses to serious crimes such as armed robberies and assaults, such as the recent violent break-in to the local jewellers.
Not that long ago there was an attempted robbery in my store where my husband was attacked with a glass bottle. Police came very quickly on the scene, watched the CCTV, identified the person and even managed to find and arrest him within the hour. This was very impressive!
However, having said that, much more could be done on so-called smaller crimes such as shoplifting, verbal abuse and vandalism, which I do not think they take seriously enough.
As a result retailers generally do not tend to report these crimes as they feel that they are wasting their time. They are usually given a crime reference number once such a crime is reported. An appointment is made to take a statement, CCTV footage is taken, and then most of the time they never get back.
As a retailer I would certainly like to see less serious types of crimes being taken a lot more seriously to bring back the confidence in policing. Better visibility of police on the streets would also be a huge help.
Sussex Police is currently proposing to add an extra officer to its existing force of three PCSOs and three PCs in the town within the next few weeks, which I would support. Harsher punishments to deter would-be criminals would also be welcome.