Police Recruit Shropshire Traders In War on Burglars
The scheme, called The Gold Standard, is being launched next week, as the latest move in Citadel, the West Mercia Police initiative which targets house burglars.
It is being rolled out across the county's towns by the police in partnership with Shropshire Trading Standards and the British Jewellers Association.
The Gold Standard protects businesses against the trade in stolen gold and other jewellery while helping police identify thieves trying to sell their ill-gotten gains.
Community Support Officers will visit jewellers, goldsmiths and pawnbrokers urging them to sign up. Members receive a window sticker and posters to demonstrate their membership to the public and to deter criminals looking to dispose of stolen gold and other valuables.
Inspector Edward Hancox, the scheme's organiser in Shropshire, said: "When the price of gold is high we see a rise in burglaries where gold and jewellery are targeted. The Gold Standard is a national voluntary code of conduct to reduce the opportunity to sell stolen precious metal jewellery in quick, anonymous sales.
"If there's no market for thieves to profit from, there's no need for the crime."
He said the police, from next week, would be actively encouraging traders to join the Gold Standard. "By working with the jewellery and pawnbroking trade, we will help prevent them becoming inadvertent handlers of stolen property while reinforcing that should they break the law, we will fully investigate and prosecute those handling stolen goods."
Under the code, retailers are asked to:-
- Obtain a name and address from every customer.
- Verify customers' identity, if possible, by photographic id.
- Only purchase from over 18s.
- Capture transactions on CCTV and retain footage for 31 days.
- Keep transaction, customer and photographic details for three months.
- Produce information to police if required.
- Take every precaution to ensure property is not stolen, e.g. use UV lamps.
- If goods are suspected stolen, discontinue the transaction and call police.
Inspector Hancox said the concept was to persuade traders to introduce verification, evaluation and best practice protocols to provide them and their customers with added security, as well as deterring offenders.
"The Gold Standard scheme has the potential to prevent acquisitive crime, particularly burglary and handling stolen goods, by limiting the places where valuables can be traded.
"It will also help increase detections by effectively recruiting jewellers and pawnbrokers to be on our side in terms of recording and documenting potential offences," he added.
The scheme is supported by ACPO (The Association of Chief Police Officers), the Home Office, the Trading Standards Institute and the National Measurement Office.
Its introduction in Shropshire is the latest move under the police Citadel initiative which focuses on reducing burglaries while increasing arrests and detections.
Please note: There is an eye-catching logo available with this press release. Inspector Hancox is available for interview on request.