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Firm dubbed Britain's first 'private police force' takes suspected burglar to court

Firm dubbed Britain's first 'private police force' takes suspected burglar to court after officers failed to investigate shoplifting spree.

Story by Iwan Stone

  • TM Eye called after £500 of steak and 20 prosecco bottles were taken from M&S


A firm dubbed Britain's first 'private police force' is to take a suspected burglar to court for the first time after officers failed to investigate a shoplifting spree.

TM Eye were called in after £500 of sirloin steak and 20 bottles of prosecco were taken from an M&S.

The private investigating force of former police detectives was called in after police decided not to investigate.

Two detectives were quickly able to identify a suspect on the store's CCTV - making an arrest and allegedly getting a confession recorded on their body cams, the Telegraph reported.

The suspect - who faces a maximum of 14 years in prison - is now set to be prosecuted for five burglaries, including a second alleged offence at the same supermarket.

The private investigating force of former police detectives was called in after police decided not to investigate.

'The lesson is that every burglary deserves an investigation because there is always an opportunity to solve the case if you take the time to do the basics,' TM Eye's founder David McKelvey told the Telegraph.

It comes after a Mail on Sunday investigation found retailers are spending £30 million a year on security and private 'police forces' to arrest and prosecute shoplifters after 'giving up' on getting help from the authorities.

The move has seen some of the biggest brands in the UK resorting to a private army of uniformed 'officers' to protect staff from increasingly brazen and violent shoplifters.

TM Eye employs 100 'bobbies', who wear police-like uniforms with red stab-proof vests, and 28 plain-clothes detectives who mingle with shoppers.

Mr McKelvey, a former detective chief inspector at Scotland Yard, said: 'Retailers have given up on police investigating shoplifting. That's why we do these prosecutions.'

When the firm's detectives arrest shoplifters, they hand them over to the police. But if they believe they have enough evidence, they send it to magistrates' court to request a private prosecution.

Using its own team of lawyers, so far the company has prosecuted 300 thieves in court, winning 299 cases.

The spread of private policing comes as the UK faces a shoplifting epidemic, with more than ten million thefts every year – about 30,000 per day or one every two seconds.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) said this summer shoplifting had risen 27 per cent across ten of the largest cities in the UK, with some cities up as much as 68 per cent.

It estimates that shops lost £953million to customer theft last year - the greatest loss on record in recent years.

Home Office data shows shoplifting rose by 24 per cent last year, as thieves take advantage of lax policing and a criminal justice system that lets off perpetrators without jail sentences.

And 88 companies, including Tesco, Sainsbury's, WH Smith, Aldi, Primark and Superdrug, have written to the Government to demand action as Britain's shoplifting epidemic spirals out of control.

The retail giants - who are usually bitter rivals - are urging the Government to make assaulting, threatening or abusing a retail worker a specific crime - something which exists in Scotland already.

'This standalone offence would send an important signal that our colleagues will receive better protection in law and act as a deterrent to would-be offenders. This action should be taken without delay,' the letter says.


John Bellamy Comments:

No wonder the public have such a low respect level for the police when they do not even tackle easy crime like shop lifting. It seems they are too busy chasing down motorists and any serious crime gets a very second rate service and hence so many crimes are not even investigated let alone solved.

When my Mother's apartment was broken into a decade or more ago it took the police a full week to respond to her 999 call about being burgled and they actually - stupidly, expected her to leave the mess left - as it was - and not to tidy up AT ALL so they could check for finger prints etc. and when she did tidy up as she couldn't live in the mess, they accused her of destroying evidence... OF ALL THE DUMB THINGS TO SAY to an old lady of 79 and for which I BARKED LOUDLY AT THEM - and how they expected to leave her in the mess of a burglary and the stress that entails on anyone, let alone an old lady living alone. They were useless. Every single time I have had dealing with the police here at Hamilton Hall I have had cause to complain - and on several occasions - LOUDLY - to their faces - about the incompetent - inconsiderate and generally stupid - attitude of the police who are clearly untrained and CLEARLY haven't a fucking clue what the hell they are doing. No liaison between various officers at the same crime scene and where they are falling over each other asking the same dumb questions over and over to victims of crime at a time when they are stressed and need a competent police force and not dumb schmucks who CLEARLY haven't a clue and have absolute no concept about the injured party when they are causing and creating so much more stress and anxiety by blatantly showing us all just how incompetent they truly are - while arrogance - their ARROGANCE - knows no bounds while being shit at their job.

Some branches of the police do good work but the ordinary copper we are offered in time of theft or any home invasion etc. is shit -absolutely shit and for this, we pay.

No wonder so many of the larger stores cannot trust the police to help them when they catch shop lifters and no wonder these stores have given up on the police and pay for their own security to take people to court as the alternative, is everyone will shop lift and then where would be be - in a lawless society where the police don't give a damn while seeing us all as guilty without us even doing anything and yet doing sod all to help those who are victims of crime and where they cannot even be bothered to attend - let alone actually hunt for the thieves.






John Bellamy





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