Shropshire Star

Keep your belongings and yourself safe, urge police in week of action against robbery

West Mercia Police is launching an initiative to tackle the "highly traumatic" crime of 'personal robbery' in Shropshire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire.

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Operation Calibre is a national week of police intensification dedicated to taking action against personal robbery, and sharing crime prevention advice on keeping belongings safe.

West Mercia Police said anyone can become a target of robbery and offenders often target some of the most vulnerable people in society, including children. The threats and extreme violence that may be used can be incredibly traumatic for victims.

Detective Chief Inspector Ross Jones said: “Thankfully, rates of personal robbery are low in our area and are continuing to decrease. This isn’t something we take for granted though, and officers work day and night year-round to tackle this highly traumatic crime.

“Tackling robbery requires a multi-faceted response. We can’t do it alone, which is why as part of our prevention work we continue our ongoing engagement with partners such as schools, charities and retailers. This gives us the opportunity to offer advice to those who are most at risk of becoming a victim, as well as to educate and engage with those who may be at risk of committing this type of crime.

“We’re sending a message to those who think it is OK to commit a robbery and inflict violence in our communities: we will not tolerate this. You will end up facing significant consequences and we will catch you.”

Steps people can take to reduce their risk of becoming a victim include:

  • Look confident. Move with purpose and try to be aware of your surroundings.

  • Plan your route and think about what to take with you, especially if you’re going somewhere you haven’t been before. Keep to busy, well-lit streets, walkways and paths which are more likely to be covered by CCTV. Only take licensed taxis or minicabs booked by phone or a mobile phone app.

  • Keep your mobile phone and valuables out of sight. If you’re using your phone it’s more likely to be snatched from your hand as you’re not paying attention to your surroundings, so look around you.

  • Never leave a mobile, any other device, wallet or purse on the table of an outdoor café, pub or restaurant. Same goes for any jewellery you might be wearing – keep it covered when walking down the street.

  • If you’re threatened with violence, don’t risk your personal safety. Property can be replaced, you can’t.

Anyone who has been a victim of robbery should report it to the police on 101 or by reporting it online. In an emergency, and where is crime is taking place now, always call 999.

If you have any information about a burglary or any crime but don’t feel comfortable speaking to police, you can speak to the independent charity Crimestoppers.

It is 100 per cent anonymous, they never ask your name, and they cannot trace your call or IP address. You can contact them online or by calling 0800 555 111.

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