Derbyshire Constabulary earlier this month urged pet owners to remain vigilant following a ‘significant increase’ in people buying dogs during the Covid pandemic, which has led to spiralling rates of dog theft nationally.
Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, Hardyal Dhindsa, said he would be meeting with Derbyshire Constabulary’s chief constable, Rachel Swann, to ensure ‘robust action’ is taken to tackle the alarming ‘surge’ in the number of pets reported as being stolen.
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“Enough is enough. This must end, NOW,” he said.
In an impassioned video message, he added: “I will be charging the chief constable of Derbyshire to investigate the extent in Derbyshire and take robust serious action against any culprits and reported crimes in our communities.
"The maximum penalty is seven years. I want to make sure that we use the full force of the law as it stands and we make an example of people who are playing on people's emotions and their anxiety, stress and wellbeing.”
His message has been liked nearly 200 times on Twitter, where it has been widely praised.
One person wrote: “This is clearly organised criminality and should be investigated as such. There needs to be a national intelligence action plan and coordinated response.”
Another commented: “Great news. Starting to feel very unsafe walking my dog. He means everything to me. I don't know how I would cope if he was stolen.”
A spokeswoman for Derbyshire Constabulary said: “Whilst the media reporting, and coverage, of dog thefts in the UK has increased in recent times, dog thefts within Derbyshire thankfully remain very low. However, we recognise that for dog owners, the theft of a dog is akin to losing a family member, and this crime is particularly upsetting.
“We are working closely with Police and Crime Commissioner to assess the impact of the crime in our county, by supporting his efforts to encourage the public to complete a national survey from the Association of Police & Crime Commissioners (APCC).
"This survey is designed to understand public perception of dog theft, enforcement and the prosecution of offenders and will be circulated by the Derbyshire OPCC in the coming weeks.”