Covert patrols may be used in a bid to tackle shoplifting in Geraldton as police work closer with businesses. Geraldton police are hopeful the increased co-operation with businesses and more patrols will lead to a drop in anti-social behaviour and shoplifting. Police recently held a second meeting with the Mid West Gascoyne Chamber of Commerce and Industry, retailers, shopping centre managers and other business figures. Engagement and support unit officer-in-charge Senior Sergeant Russell Hurst said after the productive meeting, more measures would be implemented to address shoplifting in Geraldton. “There’ll be a number of high-visibility patrols around shopping precincts, we’re going to work with retailers to get some of their loss prevention officers to come up from Perth to assist with notifying us of offences, potentially looking at doing some covert patrols, making sure we’re getting out unidentified people to the media and working with the community to identify these people who are hurting us,” Sen. Sgt Hurst said. He said police had streamlined the reporting process and were encouraging people to report online. Police were also now able to assist businesses with issuing banning notices for people charged with offences and encouraged shopping centre managers to issue longer misconduct orders. “We have seen a minor delay between our initial meeting and this meeting, but we’re all on board and prepared to start. We’re looking forward to working with the retailers and store owners alike to reduce this harm in the community,” Sen. Sgt Hurst said. “We spoke about employee safety as a priority. We’re not encouraging any action by them that would put themselves at risk, we’re encouraging the reporting of offences.” Sen. Sgt Hurst said there would be another meeting with retailers in two months. The issuing of banning notices and the number of charges laid for breaching banning notices would be tracked in the meantime. “The retailers, the police, everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities and we should start to see some positive results,” he said. Another measure recently implemented was the Shop Watch online platform which enables retailers and police to communicate with each other. Sen. Sgt Hurst said it had been a success since being launched in February. “We’re seeing owners sharing information and notifying each other to antisocial behaviour. We had one the other day informing each other about people throwing rocks at moving vehicles,” he said.