Dixons urges retailers to join anti-crime scheme

Dixons boss John Clare has issued a call to arms to retailers, ahead of the arrival of shopworkers 'on the beat' on Oxford Street.

The Shopwatch programme is operated by Dixons and Woolworths in the London borough of Camden. Trained staff are seconded as special constables one day a fortnight.

More than 40 retail chief executives have been invited by Clare to a meeting in the first week of July. The plans to extend the scheme to Oxford Street will be laid out alongside its benefits.

The Dixons Group chief executive said: 'For the scheme to take off, it needs active participation from more retailers. If it gets that support, Shopwatch could make a substantial contribution to cutting retail crime. I encourage all retailers to look closely at Shopwatch and seriously consider getting involved.'

The introduction of the programme in March, spearheaded by Dixons strategy and new business director Joe Garner, has coincided with a sharp increase in the number of arrests for shoplifting in the Camden area.

Arrests increased from low single digits in the first months of the year, to 13 and then 20 in April and May respectively.

Audited losses at Dixons in Camden have halved, and dropped an average of 39 per cent in the other stores where the special constables work. Clare said the results had been 'encouraging'.

Participating staff are given three weeks' training before spending one day a fortnight on the beat in their role.

Dixons Group announced an 11 per cent increase in pre-tax profits, excluding goodwill amortisation and exceptionals, to£331.6 million for the 52 weeks to May 1.

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