Police are encouraging shop workers to detain thieves themselves with a 'citizen's arrest', sparking an angry backlash from critics who accuse them of asking civilians to do their job for them.
Several forces have outlined how employees can take the law into their own hands, saying shoplifters can be detained if they are 'reasonably suspected' of committing a crime.
There is a suspicion that a spike in offences is being fuelled by hardcore shoplifters who have little fear of being caught.
Oh yeah, this is going to go over well. And note that grabbing a thief is 'taking the law into their own hands'.
James Lowman, chief executive of the Association of Convenience Stores, said: 'Many retailers have to deal with shop theft on a regular basis, and in far too many cases challenging thieves leads to abuse and violence.
'The police need to respond to theft rather than putting shop owners and staff at further risk when making citizen's arrests. Any indication that retailers are being left on their own to deal with potentially dangerous criminals is irresponsible.'
Not to mention the probability of the cops winding up charging some shopkeeper or employee with a crime for daring to grab a thief or vandal.
I mean, if you can be threatened for pictures of shoplifters...
A shop manager has put up posters of suspected shoplifters in his window after becoming fed up with a lack of action to the petty crime by the police.
John Keppie blew up CCTV images and placed home-made posters bearing the word 'thief' in his Bournemouth shop window after he says three girls spat in his face and stole drinks.
The Sweet Thoughts boss in Dorset said he took action after police failed to investigate, despite being offered the footage. But he claims officers have now warned him he could be fined for the posters.
And you just knew this phrase was going to turn up at some point:
Kevin Strudwick, the crime manager for Bournemouth Business Reducing
Crime Partnership, a co-operative of local business, police and council
representatives said the 'wanted' posters risked turning the resort into
the 'Wild West'.
Ever notice that modern Brit authorities worry more about the 'Wild West' than people living in it did?