The work retailers do to tackle crime and create safe communities is being spelt out on a new website ahead of the introduction of locally elected Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs).
The Tackling Retail Crime Together site, run by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) will be launched this Thursday (13 October) at the BRC’s Annual Retail Crime Conference. It uses case studies to show how retailers are working to prevent crime, reduce re-offending and support local policing.
The BRC says the introduction of elected PCCs in November 2012 will pose a number of challenges to the retail sector. Retailers want to know they are recognised as a vital part of safe and vibrant communities and to be genuinely involved in setting priorities for tackling local crime. There is also concern about the failure to measure business crime properly.
The BRC’s most recent survey found the annual cost to retailers of crime is £1.1 billion. There has been a ten per cent increase in the amount retailers themselves are spending on protecting their staff, stock and premises, to £210 million a year. The new website allows retailers to further demonstrate the part they are playing in crime prevention and shows they are entitled to expect support from their local police forces in return.
British Retail Consortium Director General, Stephen Robertson, said: “The riots in August rightly put a spotlight on the issue of retail crime. The crimes of theft and vandalism committed against shops damaged local communities by wrecking valuable services and putting people’s jobs in danger. Retail found itself in the frontline of the attacks when, ironically, it’s actually in the frontline of the solution.
“Retailers of all sizes are contributing to efforts to prevent crime and create safe neighbourhoods. They run projects to oversee offenders on community sentences and to provide resources for local beat officers, for example.
“Retailers are playing their part by investing time and money in crime prevention for the good of their local communities. The message this new website sends out to the Police and Crime Commissioners of the future is – we expect you to support us in that.”
Association of Convenience Stores Chief Executive, James Lowman said: “Tackling Retail Crime Together is a great resource for retailers to share the many positive projects that they participate in to stop retail crime.
“The clear message from existing case studies is that retail crime is best tackled in partnership with communities, police and local authority agencies. I hope this site continues to develop and can be used as a learning resource for retailers across the country.”
Lord Henley, Home Office Minister for Crime Prevention and Antisocial Behaviour Reduction, said: “Shops are the lifeblood of our communities. We recognise the cost and disruption retail crime causes to business as well as the damaging effects for communities and consumers.
“We are working with business and trade associations to improve understanding of crimes against business and to find effective solutions. This month I will be chairing my first meeting of the National Retail Crime Steering Group, set up in 2007 by the Home Office, and co-chaired by the British Retail Consortium.
“In addition, from November 2012, directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners will make forces truly accountable to their communities, retailers and businesses, to ensure they appropriately address local policing concerns.”