Shropshire Traders Join Police In War on Burglars
The scheme, called The Gold Standard, was launched this week, as the latest move in Citadel, the West Mercia Police initiative which targets house burglars.
It encourages jewellers, goldsmiths and pawnbrokers to sign up to a protocol which will make it more difficult for criminals to dispose of their ill-gotten gains.
The Gold Standard code is being rolled out across the county's towns by the police in partnership with Shropshire Trading Standards and the British Jewellers Association.
Police officers and Community Support officers are visiting outlets dealing in gold, silver and jewellery explaining the scheme and urging them to sign-up.
Inspector Edward Hancox, the scheme's organiser, said the initial response had been "very positive" with 15 retailers signed up in the first three days.
"Numerous others have been approached, made aware of the scheme and are considering joining up. I expect membership to grow rapidly in the next few weeks.
"It's pleasing to receive such a positive response as it will ultimately help protect the public from becoming burglary victims. If there's no market for thieves to profit from, there's no need for the crime".
Members receive a window sticker and posters to demonstrate their membership to the public and to deter criminals looking for outlets to dispose stolen valuables.
Inspector Hancox 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.
"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 added: "The Gold Standard scheme has the potential to prevent acquisitive crime, particularly burglary and the handling of stolen goods, by limiting 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."