Shoplifting arrests in Calderdale on the rise according to new figures

Arrests for shoplifting in Calderdale almost doubled last year, according to new figures.
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There were 619 arrests for shoplifting in Calderdale between January 2021 and December 2023, with 172 of those in 2021, 159 in 2022 and 288 in 2023.

The figures have been released to the Courier under the Freedom of Information Act.

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The youngest person arrested was an 11-year-old boy in Park Ward in 2022, while the oldest person was a 68-year-old man in Skircoat Ward arrested for stealing alcohol in 2021.

View of Halifax, from Beacon HillView of Halifax, from Beacon Hill
View of Halifax, from Beacon Hill

Household articles accounted for 252 of the arrests, 159 were for personal accessories and 99 were for alcohol.

Eleven arrests were for chemicals or solvents, 10 were for machinery or tools, seven were for jewellery, four were for drugs and there were three arrests for vehicle parts and accessories and for building materials.

The majority of the arrests, 270, were in town ward, with the next highest total in park ward, 52, and then 43 arrests in both Brighouse and Ovenden.

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There were 25 arrests in Warley, 19 arrests in Elland and 13 arrests in Northowram and Shelf.

Police tapePolice tape
Police tape

All other areas of Calderdale had ten arrests or fewer.

In a statement, West Yorkshire Police said: "Calderdale district neighbourhood policing teams have taken a proactive approach to tackling shoplifting offences across the district, with a particular focus on Halifax town centre.

"NPT officers have been carrying out specific days of action targeting shoplifting, anti-social behaviour and drug misuse in and around the town centre."These days of action are planned in on a weekly basis and include engagement with local businesses and shop keepers, to encourage reports of theft, ASBand drug misuse. Officers also provide crime prevention advice and carry out enquiries to identify offenders from previous incidents."Having an increased presence in the town centre, helps to reduce any potential offending but also allows officers to make enquiries, identify offenders and arrest those found committing offences such as shoplifting or anti-social behaviour."

Holly Lynch, Halifax MP, said: "After almost 14 years of Conservative Government, it is clear to me that there has been a collapse in law and order and this is borne out by the shoplifting figures uncovered by the Courier which are shocking.

Holly Lynch, MP for HalifaxHolly Lynch, MP for Halifax
Holly Lynch, MP for Halifax
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"Labour would put police back in our town centres with guaranteed police patrols, we will also clamp down on shoplifting and violent against shopworkers, making it easier to take action against repeat offenders and creating a new specific offence of assault against retail workers.”

Craig Whittaker, Calder Valley MP, said: "I was a retailer for 30 years prior to becoming an MP, this is an issue I have had vast experience with over the years and is an issue that I have pressed government on during my time in parliament.

"The good news is that after enduring many decades of shop lifting not being high up the priority list, the government last year published their Retail Crime Action Plan which has been a game changer in how retail crime is reported. As a result of this report, we now see several key actions that have taken place, namely police prioritising where there is a risk of violence, targeted hot spot patrols in badly affected areas and training from the police available to retailers on how best to gain evidence to ensure convictions.

"Nationally we have seen a specialist new police team established to build a comprehensive picture particularly around organised crime – It’s called Pegasus and is the first of it’s king in this country and is a partnership between the police and national retailers.

Calder Valley MP Craig WhittakerCalder Valley MP Craig Whittaker
Calder Valley MP Craig Whittaker
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"The result of these actions means that shoplifting and retail crime is more likely to now be reported and probably explains the uplift in reported crime.

"Shoplifting is a scourge and blight for retailers, so it is good to see this is again being taken seriously and it appears from the increase in reported retail crime that the new invigorated focus on shoplifting is working well."

Nicholas Worsnop, from Business for Calderdale, said: "The rise in these figures is obviously very concerning as well as saddening.

"I suspect it is due to a number of factors, the most obvious being the significant increase in food and energy prices.

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"People do not have money to pay for things that are not necessities.

"Unfortunately, there is likely also a link to a general breakdown of values in society, as well as the fact that people may feel it is worth taking such risks as the punishments are not a sufficient deterrent."