Taking a proactive approach to Christmas parcel thefts and delivery driver robberies, the Local Policing team in Knowsley are trialling the use of a decoy delivery van in the area.
Working closely with a number of retail and delivery companies and analysing year on year parcel theft trends, Knowsley Police anticipated the need to deploy new disruption tactics.
The decoy van, the livery and make of which Merseyside Police have not disclosed, is filled with dummy parcels which plain clothes officers, acting as delivery drivers, are under instruction to deliver around Knowsley.
Knowsley Chief Inspector, Christopher Ruane, praised his team for leading the initiative: “Merseyside Police is about putting the community first in everything we do. In Local Policing, that means having a real empathy with the people who live and work in Knowsley. That’s how this operation came about: my team thinking about what impact this is going to have on people.
“The old saying that prevention is better than cure is right when it comes to policing. Even if we manage to return someone’s stolen goods to them, they’ve still had to go through the distress of the initial theft, the anxiety of not knowing whether they’ll get those goods returned to them, the worry of what to do if they can’t afford to have those things replaced. It’s much better for people if we can disrupt the activity before it happens.
“It’s because of prevention initiatives like these that the force has seen reductions in key crimes this year. Knowsley has experienced a 20 percent reduction in robberies, which for business premises is a reduction of 45 percent. There’s been an eight percent reduction in burglaries, a 33 percent reduction in theft from people, a 13 percent reduction in shop theft, and overall crime has reduced by 11 percent.
“Those statistics are no comfort though for the person that it does happen to. It’s always upsetting to have something stolen – but before Christmas, when maybe it’s the kids’ presents that have been taken… it’s not acceptable. We’re not resting on our laurels – we’re prepared to keep trying new strategies – to keep evolving.
“We have to. The market for stolen goods is evolving. It used to be that things would just get sold down the pub – which is relatively straightforward to disrupt. Online selling has changed that – whether it’s a local social media buy and swap page or a company that specialises in selling second-hand things online. These parcels might have been stolen in Knowsley, but they can end up all over the country. When someone is selling something ‘new with tags’ for a great price, maybe we all need to start thinking about why.”
Merseyside Police are advising that people should nominate a safe place that will accommodate even large items, divert packages to a family member or trusted neighbour where possible, and use parcel lockers for high value items.
The force are also appealing for anyone who has information about the selling of stolen goods to report via their website, DM @MerpolCC or call 101.
Alternatively, you can report completely anonymously via Crimestoppers: 0800 555 111