CITY centre cops will be armed with body-cams in a bid to deter and catch festive shoplifters during one of Glasgow’s busiest shopping periods.

The team of officers from the Retail Crime Unit, who are based at Stewart Street Police Station, have been bolstered with the technology in the run up Christmas and will take on the crooks intent on stealing from stores in the city’s Golden Z which includes Argyle Street, Sauchiehall Street and Buchanan Street.

Sergeant Gordon Coburn, of the Retail Crime Unit, said: “Officers will be wearing body cameras and we will get pictures of the shoplifters there and then.

“We will be able to identify them and that image can be circulated with all our partners.”

The team work closely with loss prevention officers who are based in most of the city’s big retailers.

That image of a shoplifter can be shared with the stores so they can add them to a watch list which will allow them to keep a look out.

Sergeant Coburn said: “The loss prevention officers in shops are important to us because looking out for shoplifters is what they do.

“They are a wealth of information for us. We work with loss prevention officers and we share information with them like who is in town and who is active.”

The Retail Crime Unit recognise that shoplifting is an issue for Glasgow city centre but they are encouraged that their proactive approach to tackling the issue is working.

Sergeant Coburn said: “We don’t have a huge problem with shoplifting but it does exist. What we have is opportunist thieves and organised criminal gangs who shoplift to order.

“We try and stop thieves using intelligence led policing, CCTV cameras, high visibility police patrols and plain clothes officers who are all watching and looking for the tell tale signs.

“If we have intelligence that groups are acting and working together to shoplift in the city centre, they will get picked up on CCTV, they will get caught and they will get the jail.”

Sergeant Coburn, however, says that most shoplifters that are caught seem to be opportunist.

The organised criminal gangs of shoplifters appear to be avoiding Glasgow city centre at the moment, and he believes it could because the deterrent tactics are working.

One of the deterrent tactics that the Retail Crime Unit employs is educating shops on ways they can prevent loss through shoplifting.

Officers started visited stores last month to issue advice and suggest methods which can deter shoplifters.

Sergeant Coburn said: “The staff in the shops are more savvy and aware because our officers have been going in, and talking to them and educating them.

“We have information packs we give to the shops as well so they are more aware of how to deter people.

“An example is when someone is walking around the shop and the assistant asks them if they need help. If they are going to be looking to steal something that will immediately put them on the back foot.

“It is small things like that which we are getting through to the shops that seem to be working.”

The unit, however, will be gearing up for their busiest period as the festive season brings more footfall into the city centre, and ultimately more shoplifters.

Sergeant Coburn said: “Thieves count on the volume of people to take away from their activities.”

The unit, however, which previously consisted of one officer will have more cops to tackle the issue over the festive period.

Sergeant Coburn said: “We had one officer who solely dealt with shoplifting but because of the increase in footfall during Christmas, we really had to up the number of officers dedicated to this issue.

“It is part of our festive plan for the city centre and we know that shoplifting goes up at this time of year for a variety of reasons.

“We have to react to that. We have a team who are proactive rather than just waiting.

“Shoplifting is not a victimless crime. We pay for it at the end of the day as shops can put prices up to cover loses.”

The Retail Crime Unit encourage other shoppers to report shoplifting. You can contact police on 101.