PLAIN clothes officers are keeping a close eye on criminals in shops in Evesham and Broadway as part of a scheme to cut retail crime.

Shop Watch schemes in Evesham and Broadway 'are going from strength to strength with a record number of shops and businesses signed up' says West Mercia Police.

Cotswold Journal: ACTION: PC Ben Trowman with Broadway parish council clerk, Kevin Beasley and other parish council members ACTION: PC Ben Trowman with Broadway parish council clerk, Kevin Beasley and other parish council members (Image: West Mercia Police)

The Shop Watch initiatives see local retailers and businesses working with officers from the Evesham and Rural South Safer Neighbourhood Team (SNT) to help prevent crime and anti-social behaviour.

In Evesham, PC Matt Beards is now serving as the town's 'bespoke Retail Crime Officer'.

He has introduced the Evesham Shop Watch scheme to some of the bigger retailers in the town after concerns were raised about shoplifting and other crimes.

PC Beards is working with local managers and security teams to offer advice and support and to find long-term solutions to local issues and help reduce crime in the area.

The Evesham SNT were out yesterday carrying out ‘plain-clothed’ patrols in the retail shops that have most felt the impact of crime.

With some officers out in shops wearing their everyday clothes, the uniformed officers stationed themselves in the CCTV rooms of the retailers on the watch for any known or suspected shoplifters. This is just one of the many ways local policing teams are working with communities to help manage retail crime.

The Loss Prevention Officer in TK Maxx, who has been closely working with PC Beards and the team, says the relationship between retailers and the local SNT is helpful to working towards reducing crime happening in stores.

Led by PC Ben Trowman, 48 shops and local businesses are now also signed up to the Broadway scheme, which also includes the surrounding rural villages.

The parish council has also got on board and is said by police to be working closely with PC Trowman.

Along with providing a regular visible presence in the towns and villages, offering reassurance and face-to-face support, the watch scheme members also receive tailored news and updates via Neighbourhood Matters from their local SNT.