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SHOPPING COMPLEX HIRES KENT POLICE

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Crime cost Britain's shopkeepers a record sum of more than£2bn last year, according to The Sunday Telegraph (p8). ...
Crime cost Britain's shopkeepers a record sum of more than£2bn last year, according to The Sunday Telegraph (p8). A big increase in credit and debit-card fraud, and growing investment in security measures such as CCTV, are key factors in the rise - the first for six years.

New ways of stamping out retail crime will be discussed at a conference this week, attended by delegates from across Europe and addressed by home secretary Jack Straw and Metropolitan Police commissioner Paul Condon.

One of the security schemes under srutiny will be the introduction of an 'intranet' computer system at the big Bluewater shopping development in Dartford, Kent. Details of thieves or people acting suspiciously in the centre can be passed to all retailers at the flick of a switch.

In a separate move, developers of the new Bluewater centre have hired 22 Kent police officers at a cost of£750,000 a year. It is the first time that a police force has entered such an agreement with a private contractor.

Ann Grain, directorof the British Retail Consortium, said: 'Retail crime is becoming increasingly sophisticated. Effective co-ordination across the industry with the police and other authorities is a vital strategy'.
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