THAMES Valley Police is charging some suspected shoplifters before questioning them in a bid to save cash, it has been reported.

The force has adopted a 'no interview' policy for cases in which overwhelming evidence, such as CCTV footage, points to a suspect.

According to The Mail on Sunday, TVP believe the move will save thousands of pounds a month and free up officer time.

Internal documents obtained by the paper revealed that the scheme had been conducted as a pilot at Abingdon custody suite.

During the pilot, 35 suspects were charged 'without interview, saving '105 hours' and '£2,310'. The document noted that an early guilty plea rate demonstrated the process did not impact adversely on successful prosecutions.

Another document acquired by the paper said the scheme had been rolled out across the force with the original successes reproduced.

The paper quoted a spokesman from the force as saying the process was legal and only used on suspected shoplifters in certain circumstances, adding: "In order to enable officers to move straight to charge a suspect , there is a very clear set of criteria that need to be met.

"The key one being overwhelming evidence - for example, CCTV evidence of sufficient detail and quality.

"If all the criteria are met, the officer can charge and produce a file for court. This approach is being adopted by our other suites but is limited to shoplifting offences."