Both Home Secretary Suella Braverman and policing minister Chris Philp have already called on police to be tougher on shoplifting (Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto)
Shop workers have called on police officers to do more to help combat ‘unprecedented levels’ of theft and abuse which they say is blighting communities.
The coalition of businesses and staff claims they are not turning up to deal with violent attacks on workers because the criminal has already fled the scene.
In a letter to police and crime commissioners across the country, they said that ‘in the vast majority, if not all’ cases there will be CCTV footage available and urged forces to make it easier for them to pass on crucial evidence and boost efforts to find serial offenders.
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) estimates theft costs retailers nearly £1 billion per year, while the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) says nine in 10 workers have experienced verbal abuse.
Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: ‘Retail crime is getting worse – thieves are becoming bolder, and more aggressive. Violent and abusive behaviour is on the rise.
‘These confrontations might be over in a matter of minutes, but for many victims, their families and colleagues, the physical and emotional impact can last a lifetime.
‘Retailers are working hard to reduce crime, investing nearly £1 billion into crime prevention measures in the last year.
‘But now we need the police to do more to prioritise retail crime and bring levels of violence, abuse and theft down for good.’
Both Home Secretary Suella Braverman and policing minister Chris Philp have already called on police to be tougher on shoplifting.
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(ACS) chief executive James Lowman said: ‘The unprecedented levels of shop theft being faced by retailers cannot be allowed to continue.
‘We have set out a three-pronged approach for police forces across the UK to adopt and make it clear that they are committed to tackling the problem.
‘Theft and abuse are a blight on communities, with addicts and criminal gangs repeatedly targeting hardworking retailers and their colleagues.
‘These are not victimless crimes, and they must be investigated to bring the most prolific offenders to justice.’
The coalition is made up of business groups the ACS, the BRC, the British Independent Retail Association, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Federation of Independent Retailers and shopworkers’ union Usdaw.
Its letter says: ‘Rather than seeing this as high volume, low value crime, we can recognise the opportunity it gives us to identify prolific offenders who blight communities by committing these and other crimes.
‘You should expect retailers to provide good quality evidence on offenders, and they should expect this to be analysed, investigated and followed up with meaningful interventions for those individuals.
‘We can break the cycle of reoffending if we take this opportunity to commit …read more