DOZENS of people have been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting in the past week as officers continue to crackdown on retail theft.
A total of 39 people have been arrested on suspicion of shoplifting including nine in Southend and Basildon.
So far, 19 of those arrested have been charged with a total of 30 offences. Eight tested positive for class A drugs.
Under Essex Police’s drug test on arrest scheme, adults accused of acquisitive crimes such as shoplifting are required to take a saliva test that will reveal whether they have taken cocaine, heroin or crack.
A positive test leads to an automatic referral to a specialist drug treatment programme with one of the three charities Essex Police work with.
The force’s Business Crime Team review every shoplifting arrest and encourage retailers to report all thefts and assaults of shop staff.
The team then work with officers to apply to court for Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO) to tackle persistent offenders.
Sgt Christian Denning, from the Business Crime Team, said: “The proceeds of shoplifting can fund other forms of criminality. It is not a low-level crime.
“We want our retail areas to be safe for visitors and shop workers, which is why we’re encouraging staff to report thefts, anti-social behaviour and assaults.
“We are targeting the individuals who are repeatedly committing theft, and by collating evidence of patterns of offending, we can apply for criminal behaviour orders that will limit their ability to reoffend.
“Alongside this, we are helping those who have issues with drugs to combat their addictions by entering treatment programmes as this can be the root of their offending.
“Our officers are also working with businesses by providing specialist crime prevention advice and information about staff security.”