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Home Deal News Article
Shops, cafes, railway stations and ferry operators are all in on the Shop Watch scheme which is linked with police community support officers (PCSOs) and CCTV to catch thieves in the act.
Treasurer Alan Elcocks, a pharmacist at Boots in Deal, is one of the founder members and the only one who has been with DPAC throughout its history.
Members of DPAC are equipped with a portable radio, which allows them to confer, warn and help each other when they are victimised by shoplifters.
Anyone from a shopkeeper, to a security guard can be at the ready to stop a suspected thief getting away with stolen goods.
The organisation started in November 1995, boasting just six members at the time.
Now, in 2014, the protection against crime group has expanded to 100 members,
DPAC covers Dover, Deal and Sandwich and allows a tight form of communication to take place between the towns to catch thieves that are on the move.
It has proven to be a success, and has been so popular that Gwent Police in Wales have also followed suit and implemented the same scheme.
The group, which heavily relies on teamwork, is appealing for more to join.
Co-ordinator Karen Griffiths said: “We would like more people to join and we think it is at a reasonable cost.
“Per year it is £371.20 – that’s just over £7 a week.
“If you prevent or detect one shoplifter who is getting away with £50 worth of stuff, it is a saving.
“It makes shops feel safer.”
Mrs Griffiths added: “We are really proud of our members, they do such a good job.
“When they work together we think, wow.”
Chairman Graham Tutthill also highlighted how effective the teamwork can be, especially when the lasting result can mean fewer shoplifters operating in the area.
He said: “Once the dust has settled Karen and I pop up and say well done to everyone involved.”
Senior manager of Poundland, in Pencester Road, Dover, Steve Smith, added: “It is quite
effective. All of the shops get told when someone is about.
“I pay for it myself and I would strongly advise any shop to have it.”
All members display a sticker in their shop windows to show that they are part of the DPAC organisation.
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