Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire | WYPCC

PCC recognises Wakefield retail triage scheme success

20 October 2020

A Wakefield District retail triage scheme has been hailed nationally in a recent Howard League report.

The project has been encouraged and developed through the ‘Females at Risk of Offending Forum’ and involves various partners.

If a woman is detained in a store for shop theft, the store can call a dedicated police phone line for the retail triage scheme.

Women who are eligible for the scheme are not arrested by the police but instead diverted to the West Yorkshire ‘Liaison and Diversion’ service to the female specialist practitioner based within the women’s centre for full assessment to look at what may be contributing to their offending.

Commenting on the report, West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Mark Burns-Williamson OBE said:

“It’s extremely encouraging to see some of the innovative approaches adopted by West Yorkshire Police in partnership with the Liaison and Diversion service being held up as national examples of best practice.

“Last year, I launched the West Yorkshire Reducing Reoffending Strategy, containing a key priority of focusing on female offenders at the greatest risk of re-offending.

“This strategy outlines the need for early intervention and diversion schemes, such as the one we have seen highlighted here in Wakefield, whilst underlining the importance of partnership work to achieve it.

“To see this ethos now coming to fruition is a clear indicator that the expectations set within my Police and Crime Plan and strategy are being met, and moreover, that we are leading the way across the country.

“Similarly, it makes clear the ever increasing relevance and use of Restorative Justice solutions, which I have personally commissioned for these very purposes.

“We must continue to work together in this way to find alternative options that take people away from a life cycle of crime, whilst simultaneously supporting victims to help achieve better outcomes overall.”

Wakefield District, Chief Inspector Chris Norbury added:

“The setting up of this scheme and working alongside key partners is central to supporting vulnerable females.

“Offending research, acknowledging the root causes of being a victim of abuse is a key aim, as we look to reduce crime and vulnerability longer term rather than seeking immediate criminal justice outcomes.” Clint Hepworth, the Liaison and Diversion Service Manager, said: “Our female specialist practitioner based within the women’s centre allow for full holistic assessment to take place and identify contributing factors as to why females are committing shop theft. This enables us to put a package of support in place to break the cycle of offending.”