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    Indie retailers welcome focus on retail crime in new PCC report

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    Local independent retailers have welcomed the new report by Association of Police and Crime Commissioners that highlights how PCCs across England and Wales are engaging with businesses to tackle retail crime.

    The report, published today (13), follows the publication of the Retail Crime Action Plan in 2023 which establishes how police officers should respond to shop theft and violent incidents in stores. All police forces have signed up to the Action Plan.

    Police and Crime Commissioners are responsible for setting the priority of their respective local police forces, and holding them to account when assessing their response to crimes like shop theft and abuse. The report expands on what PCCs are doing to protect retailers and members of the public on a case-by-case basis, showing who the PCCs are working with, what others have said about their approaches, and an evaluation of their approach’s effectiveness.

    ACS chief executive James Lowman said, “We strongly welcome the focus on retail crime in this report, highlighting the work that PCCs are doing across England and Wales to make a difference on retail crime. We’ve been pushing for action to support retailers in reporting and tackling crime for several years, so it is encouraging to see progress being made in this area.

    “Implementing the Retail Crime Action Plan is a strong start, but we need to ensure that barriers to reporting are removed and prolific offenders are identified quickly so they can be apprehended by the police and the full extent of their crimes accounted for.”

    In the months leading up to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May 2024, the ACS Stop Shop Theft campaign calls on all PCCs to provide essential information about what they are doing to reduce retail crime in their area, to establish a single point of contact on business crime for retailers when reporting incidents, and to provide clarity on how retailers can submit evidence of crimes happening in their stores.

    Another independent retailers body The Fed has also welcomed the report saying it is pleased to see how police and crime commissioners (PCCS) across England and Wales are responding to protect retailers and the public.

    Fed officials and members have been meeting with their respective PCCs in recent months to impress upon them the urgent need to tackle attacks and shoplifting, which have soared to epidemic proportions.

    The Fed’s National President Muntazir Dipoti said, “We have held numerous meetings with PCCs all over England and Wales to highlight the number of retail crime incidents our members experience day in, day out.

    “It is pleasing to discover that the APCC is taking this matter seriously and that police forces are now being held to account in an effort to clamp down on offenders.”

    The report adds that a wide range of techniques and approaches have been adopted by PCCs, such as introducing new technology to identify offenders, implementing new education programmes to reduce the rate of crime, and changing how police forces respond to calls and incidences.

    One example from the report highlights the Violence Reduction Partnership (VRP) in West Yorkshire, which introduced forensic marking technology to tag individuals and objects with unique forensic codes to help identify any items or subjects involved in criminality. This has already reduced the number of calls related to shoplifting by 44 per cent in 3 months following its introduction at Wakefield city centre, and the report notes that there is a great potential for it to improve these rates even further.

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