Eight suspected shoplifting offences were foiled by police as part of a concerted day of action against town centre crime and antisocial behaviour.
Officers in Mansfield again joined forces with local partners on Friday to address some of the key concerns experienced by residents and businesses from dawn ‘til dusk.
Starting at 6am they were supported by the charity Framework to engage with four local rough sleepers who were obstructing local businesses.
Supported by staff from Mansfield District Council and the Business Improvement District (BID) team they then focused on key issues affecting local businesses, such as theft, begging and antisocial behaviour.
Eight suspected shoplifting offences were prevented by officers and six suspects were detained. One was arrested, another was interviewed under caution, and two others were handed fines.
Two other suspects were dealt with by the restorative justice process, whereby first-time or low-level offenders are instructed to return or pay for goods with the agreement of the stores they have targeted.
Some of the shoplifting suspects were confronted by plain-clothed officers who were patrolling local business, including in the St Peter’s Retail Park.
With the additional help of PCSOs, neighbourhood wardens and traffic wardens they also took aim at nuisance cycling, e-scooter use and inconsiderate parking. Fifteen parking tickets were issued throughout the day.
The heavy police presence continued in the town until closing time for pubs and clubs, whose activities were closely scrutinised by licensing officers in order to ensure they were meeting their legal obligations.
During the day a Section 35 dispersal order was also in place, giving officers the power to instruct people to leave the town centre for a minimum of 48 hours – giving them a proportionate alternative to arresting people for lower-level misdemeanours.
PC Kevin Marshall, beat manager for Mansfield town centre, said: “We ran this initiative back in September and it was a great success. The idea is to flood the town with police and other partners on a particular day to really crack down on those issues that we know upset local businesses – things like shoplifting, public drinking and antisocial behaviour.
“Some of those officers were visible to people, and others were wearing plain-clothes – watching and waiting to respond to incidents as they occurred.
“As a town centre policing team most of us live on Mansfield and we really care about it. We want to make it a better place to visit and work in by tackling the issues that put people off head-on.
“We want people to say ‘I want to visit Mansfield today. I don’t want to visit Nottingham, Chesterfield or Sheffield…. I want to visit Mansfield today.’ And that’s what this is all about – giving people more reasons to support their town centre.”
Councillor Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities, said: “Once again Mansfield District Council was pleased to supported this very proactive policing initiative with our partners.
“These day-to-day problems affect all of us who care about the town and it really is up to us to address them together. That’s why this partnership approach is so effective – with Framework taking a lead supporting rough sleepers, council staff helping to enforce rules, and the police stepping in where necessary to stop criminal behavior.
“Making people feel safe in our town centre is a top priority for the council and we look forward to supporting many more of these days of action in the near future.”
Tom Wilson, of the Mansfield BID, works to support the interests of local businesses. He said: “It has been a very tough couple of years for local businesses bit things are slowly starting to get better from them.
“Christmas is an absolutely vital time for them so we want to send a very clear message to people whose behaviour may put people off from coming to Mansfield – we won’t tolerate it and we will deal with you if you overstep the mark.”