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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 February 2006, 21:07 GMT
Police 'sorry' after letter gaffe
A police force has apologised after an officer issued a crime prevention letter advising people not to report shoplifting thefts worth less than 75.

The overzealous Dorset Police officer also wrongly said Human Rights legislation prevented the public from detaining a crime suspect.

The letter was distributed to traders across Boscombe in Bournemouth.

Supt Nick Hazelton said the letter was sent without consultation and all allegations of crime would be recorded.

While sent with the good intention of reducing crime, the letter... was a mistake and incorrect
Supt Nick Hazelton

"I would like to apologise to retailers who were led to believe that we may have changed our policy," he added.

"We have not changed our policy and we record all allegations of crime before assessing the best level of investigation in order to bring offenders to justice.

"The references in the letter to not calling the police for thefts of items below a value of 75 and the references to Human Rights legislation preventing the public from detaining people they suspect of having carried out a crime are incorrect.

"While sent with the good intention of reducing crime, the letter sent to traders in the Boscombe area of Bournemouth by a local police officer was a mistake and incorrect - it does not reflect Dorset Police policy."

The incorrect letter also came to the attention of Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, who went as far as "calling for an urgent meeting with Dorset Chief Constable, Martin Baker" about its contents.

Mr Ellwood also said he would be "writing to the home secretary for an explanation".

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