Police and crime commissioner hope to tackle dog theft

Recently, a new police system has been put in place to send pet owners information about dog thefts in their area.

Deputy Chief Constable Deb Smith told the BBC the free alert system was put in place in response to public concerns about dog theft.

We asked the six police and crime candidates what they would do in power to fight crime.

Photos of the six CPC candidates lr Liz Webster (Lib Dem), Jonathon Seed (Cons), Brig Oubridge (Greens), Mike Rees (Independent), Julian Malins QC (Reform UK), Junab Ali (Labor)

CCP Labor hope Junab Ali said, “Dog thefts have increased during confinement and are currently being treated as petty crimes.

“It requires the law to be changed by the central government. As a CCP I can and would like to ensure that pet theft is recorded in Wiltshire crime statistics as a specific crime so that the scale is known and resources can then be targeted. as appropriate, including, if necessary, the appointment of a specialist officer who can liaise with other forces in particular. where organized crime is or may be involved.

“We also need to help owners protect their pets by educating them to keep their pets safe and not to leave them unattended in gardens, ensuring they are microchipped and reporting suspicious activity,” as well as ensuring that animal theft, which leaves many families devastated, is actively investigated. as with other crimes.

Green candidate Brig Oubridge said: “Wiltshire Police, like all police forces (and more than most), lack the resources in terms of the work they have to do and therefore must prioritize crime reports to which it devotes resources.

“Dog theft has been a growing crime over the past year and should be detectable if dogs are microchipped properly.

“The CCP should be able to influence the choice of priorities, and if elected, I will investigate what more could be done, including the extent to which Wilts police have resources or resources. insufficient resources in the technical aspects of chip reading. ”

Conservative candidate Jonathan Seed said dog thefts are heartbreaking and traumatic for owners.

“I will ensure that the message continues to get across to the public that dog owners need to make sure they chip their dog, stay alert and stay away from known hot spots,” he said. added.

“I want to make sure that the chief of police’s focus on organized crime reflects the gang’s targeting of dog owners, and that the chief makes it a priority to ensure that local officers know and understand the anguish this type of crime causes.

“I want to see dog thieves caught and brought to court, and those convicted of such horrific crimes receive punishment commensurate with the grief this crime causes.”

Julian Malins QC, who represents Reform UK, said: “Virginia Bottomley was crazy to abolish dog licenses, which should be reintroduced immediately.

“It’s an animal welfare issue as well as a crime issue.”

Independent candidate Mike Rees said the increase in thefts was due to an increase in the value of dogs and increased demand during the lockdown.

“Although the operational response is the responsibility of the police chief, I hope there is a dedicated SPOC within the force’s intelligence system that collates infractions within the force, in conjunction with d other forces at both regional and national level.

“This will hopefully identify the criminal networks and the individuals involved in such offenses.

Each case should also be given an appropriate response with solid investigative strategies.

“This should be combined with information sharing and public awareness campaigns through social media and other forms of communication.”

Liz Webster, the Liberal Democrat candidate, said: “I started campaigning against the increase in dog theft late last year after noticing repeated reports in my area.

“As a dog lover and owner, losing a dog is horrible, but the angst and heartache of dog theft is so damaging.

“To combat this problem, we need a specific officer to investigate the dog thefts in Wiltshire, in the footsteps of the Nottinghamshire Police.

“And we need to focus on destroying the black market by catching thieves trying to sell dogs and educating the public with clear advice on best pet buying practices.

“Residents have highlighted the problems with reporting dog theft and we need to find solutions to ensure that the reports are taken seriously and followed up.

“Nationally, dog theft must be registered as a specific crime. This is something that I have been asking for and which was one of the key messages from the DogZoom event I hosted last month which was supported by Ricky Gervais, Sara Cox and Clare Balding. ”

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