New Inverurie retail crime initiative launched

Police Scotland
Police Scotland

A new initiative in Inverurie has been launched involving the Police and retailers to combat crime and antisocial behaviour.

Officers have been working closely with retailers in the town to target those involved in crimes such as shoplifting.

Now a scheme known as 'ShopWatch' has been introduced which allows shops and the Police to share information relating to suspicious persons or activity.

The scheme works with those businesses taking part - 57 signed up in total, including all supermarkets - contacting each other and the Police to provide early warnings of any suspicious activity.

Premises will maximise CCTV opportunities to help detect crimes which do occur.

One of the main benefits of the initiative also includes the speed to identify the most prolific and persistent offenders who can then be excluded from the town when convicted.

Local officer Constable Steve Middleton said: "By improving our knowledge and helping prevent theft, we can add value to our town while businesses can improve profitability. We all have a role to play to ensure we make a real impact and reduce shoplifting and antisocial behaviour in the town and elsewhere.

"This type of crime and behaviour can seriously undermine businesses' viability, threaten the safety of staff and turn away customers."

Mr Ian Sinclair, owner of Sinclair's Jeweller in Inverurie - one of the businesses involved - said: "This demonstrates that not only is Inverurie a first-class shopping destination, but it also offers a safe and friendly environment for visitors

"I think it is important that Police and retailers are proactive in trying to prevent crime and work together. The 'ShopWatch' is an ideal way for retailers to get involved and reduce crime."

Local Area Commander Chief Inspector Murray Main said: "There are a number of initiatives in place and being developed to reduce crime and prevent offending in the area.

"We have officers policing our villages and towns right across Aberdeenshire South, working with retailers and those involved in the night time economy to ensure the area remains an attractive place to stay, visit and enjoy the many attractions."

Officers are also carrying out additional patrols in towns including Inverurie, Banchory and Stonehaven. Anyone who has concerns can report these to Police on 101.

In a separate development, two men aged 54 and 47 have been charged in relation to 11 incidents of shoplifting in the Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen areas which happened between August 2015 and July 2016. Towns targeted included Inverurie, Westhill, Banchory, Stonehaven, Cults, Bucksburn and Kingswells.

Both men have been reported to the Procurator Fiscal and are anticipated to appear at Aberdeen Sheriff Court at a later date.

The value of the items taken was around a low four-figure sum