Police have said they will continue to put the squeeze on Wakefield thieves following a significant fall in shop theft.
Theft rates from shops in the city centre area fell by 19% between April 2017 and April 2018 in areas of the city covered by a Public Space Protection Order.
Officers have been operating a zero tolerance policy towards shoplifting in recent months and have been encouraging retailers to report all theft offences.
Police arrested a male suspect for shoplifting at an Ings Road store on Tuesday evening and continue to publish pictures of persons they want to identify for shoplifting on the force’s Caught on Camera website.
Neighborhood Police Team (NPT) officers have also been mounting enhanced patrols of the Public Space Protection order zones and speaking with shopkeepers about shoplifting and crime issues.
The NPT has also begun to operate a semi-regular crime prevention market stall on Kirkgate in the city centre with the support of Wakefield BID's Ambassadors.
Aside from providing residents with the opportunity to speak with officers, the team are using the stall as a means of providing a permanent police presence in the area.
Inspector Helen Brear of Wakefield West Police said: “Shoplifting is a blight on retailers in our city and we have been keen to assist them by reducing offences and taking action against thieves.
“It is clearly very good news that offences have fallen by 19 per cent over the past 12 months. Although offences have reduced from 789 in 2017 to 2018 in 642, these numbers clearly still need to come down further and we are continuing to work hard to tackle theft.”
She added: “Our officers are continuing their work to police zones covered by PSPO’s and deter drink related anti-social behaviour and will also be manning the crime prevention stall at certain times over the coming weeks.
“Suspects for shoplifting are regularly uploaded to our Caught on Camera website and I would encourage anyone who recognises persons on there in Wakefield to contact the force on the contact details provided.”
Elizabeth Murphy, Manager of Wakefield BID – the organisation charged by businesses in the city centre to support and promote the area – added: “This is welcome news and another step towards making our city centre even safer and more welcoming.
“Since the BID launched, we’ve worked closely with our businesses and West Yorkshire Police to identify ways to make real improvements and this is another signal that things are working.
“We’re stronger together and by joining forces we will create a city centre that is a must-visit destination.”