Police in Swindon have defended moves to cut retail crime by forcing shopkeepers to send CCTV footage of thefts directly to its investigators.
Officers will not collect the CCTV from premises “when there is no offender on the scene and the crime or incident is in the past”, a spokesman said.
The force believes the pilot scheme could cut costs and increase arrests.
But Swindon North MP Justin Tomlinson told The Sun: “I hope they will reconsider these plans.”
Ginette Gower, of Swindon Chamber of Commerce, said: “This could encourage crime to increase and may affect insurance and income.”
Supt Charlie Armstrong said the force was trying to reduce bureaucracy.
“One way in which we can do this is to remove the need for our employees to attend in person to collect CCTV footage from different premises when there is no offender on the scene and the crime or incident is in the past,” she said.
She added that once the CCTV footage and statement was received it would be streamed directly to a crime management team in Devizes.
The force is also cutting back on face-to-face advice following shoplifting incidents, providing instead telephone assistance with a trained investigator.
“An increase in turnaround times, the apprehension of a greater number of suspects and a reduction of crime are also anticipated as a direct result of these changes,” said Supt Armstrong.
Wiltshire Police said the pilot scheme would begin in November and will be kept under review.