A NEW plain clothes police team has been launched in York.

The four-person team has been given funding to take on shoplifters, bike theives and other acquisitive crimes in the city, and is concentrating on offenders recently released from prison, along with other known offenders.

Inspector Charlotte Bloxham said the new team was not created following a rise in crime, but with the intention of trying a new method of dealing with volume crime.

Insp Bloxham said: "We have had some good results in areas where they would perhaps not have done previously because they weren't in plain clothes.

"They do quite a lot of plain clothes patrols, because they were on core shifts before and were chained to their radios. They are freed from that and can target locations where there are particular problems."

Crime figures released by the Office of National Statistics last month showed a fall in antisocial behaviour, burglary, robbery and vehicle crime, while shoplifting was up eight per cent on 2013 and bicycle theft was up 27 per cent.

The unit - which is made up of one sergeant and three constables - was launched seven weeks ago, and operates mainly in the city centre, and currently focuses on so-called volume crime - thefts from individuals, shops and offences relating to the nighttime economy.

However, the team's brief is expected to change as and when new problems come to light, with upcoming investigations including burglary in suburbs outside York city centre.

Insp Bloxham said: "They are there as a resource for us to use. If we are having a particular problem we can focus on that.

"It is a different way of looking at how we tackle volume crime, it is not as a result of a significant increase in crime."