Dog owners are being reassured over incidents of pet thefts in Staffordshire as initial research indicates cases in the county are low.
And officers say the force will continue to respond to reported incidents but have moved to relay fears over a perceived rise in dog thefts.
Chief Inspector Mark Thorley, commander of Moorlands Neighbourhood Policing Team, is one of the force’s rural crime leads.
He said: “The issue of dog thefts is something that is highly emotive and I can fully appreciate why. I am aware of the concerns over this offence and in response asked for some research to be carried out to understand the picture in Staffordshire.
“That initial research done by the force appears to show what I believed and that is cases are low in the county and incidents look to have fallen over the last year. We will continue to monitor these statistics in order to build up a final picture.
“I am aware of national reports and incidents that have been reported in the county but at this time it appears that Staffordshire does not have the perceived increase of dog thefts which people are concerned over.”
Recently the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) has issued advise to owners following reports of dog thefts rising across the country. To guard against thefts owners are continued to ask to take security measures including thinking twice before leaving their pet tied up outside a shop, not leaving their dog in a car alone and varying times and routes of the walks they go on.
Chief Inspector Thorley added: “It is right that owners are vigilant and take the necessary steps to guard against dog thefts. We are aware of the figures from across the country and our officers respond to reported incidents in Staffordshire.
“But the issues in other areas of the country do not appear to be reflected here and while we ask people to be vigilant I would not want owners to be fearful. I want to reassure them that such thefts do not appear to be as prevalent locally as it may be nationally. Our officers are active in their communities to provide visibility and support.”