New cardboard cut out cops for King’s Lynn

The many faces of King's Lynn Town Centre Beat Manager PC Mick Futter MLNF14PM05236
The many faces of King's Lynn Town Centre Beat Manager PC Mick Futter MLNF14PM05236
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PC Mick Futter has been watching over Lynn town centre for years now but never before could he be in a variety of places at once.

The town centre beat manager is now able to do just that after becoming the face of a new set of cardboard cut outs that stand in shops as a deterrent for shoplifters,

PC Futter said: “These boards are designed to remind anyone considering shoplifting in our town centre that we have eyes everywhere.

“We form a united front with our shop owners and work very closely with all our partners in CCTV to crack down on shoplifting in the town.

“We hope these boards will make those intent on shoplifting think twice.”

Some of the boards have the ability to hold a CCTV camera.

The new boards have been created at the request of shops who believed having a locally known face on them would be helpful.

PC Futter has been a part of Norfolk police force for 24 years and has been a town centre beat officer for the past seven years.

Cut-outs have been on show in town centre shops for around a decade and many shop owners believe they work.

Keir Howlett, manager of Lynn’s WH Smith, in Norfolk Street, said: “I just think that as a deterrent they are quite good.

“It shows we are working with local police and although it might not put off a determined shoplifter, anyone who is in two minds about shoplifting might just be put off by wondering what else is lurking around the corner.”

Lorraine Hartog-Davison, store detective at Boots, in Lynn, said: “I think they do work especially initially when people don’t realise they are a cut out.

“When we had the first ones we had an awful lot of comment from customers.

“People said it was good to see a police officer in the town even if it was a cardboard one!”

Lynn police has bought ten of the cut outs at a total cost of around £160.

They will be distributed among high street shops next week.

A police spokeswoman said: “The cut outs were designed in conjunction with the shops in the town and they felt they act as a good deterrent in that they make people think twice before shoplifting.

“They also have the facility to hold a CCTV camera so shops can use this if they wish.

“We will also be trialling the new roll out in specific areas where shoplifting can prove higher, for example, the alcohol aisle in supermarkets.

“This will mean we can compare the before and after figures to monitor the effectiveness.”

Cardboard cut out police officers have been used across Britain for many years and there are numerous claims of them leading to a reduction in crime.

In Doncaster, it was claimed there was a 50 per cent reduction in shoplifting in some stores that combined the use of cutouts with some other crime prevention techniques.

National research claims to show that similar tactics have reduced crime by 35 per cent.

The cut outs have also led to crime on occasion when they themselves have been stolen or attacked.

Some police forces, including in Scotland, have also used cardboard traffic police to reduce and prevent speeding.

The cut outs show a picture of a police officer or PCSO pointing a traffic gun and are used at roadsides.

In 2009, The Telegraph reported that police forces across the country had spent £20,000 on cardboard police officers.

Many other forces have reported spending £100 or more on each one, compared to the £16 each spent by Lynn police.