Independent retailers should partner with local crime prevention initiatives to tackle the growing problem of retail crime.

That was the message as the ACS launched its 2017 Crime Report this month. “We are not competing as an industry – we all need to come together to tackle retail crime,” said James Lowman, ACS chief executive.

“It’s tempting to look at crime in convenience as a vicious cycle where you’ve got a lack of faith in police, a lack of faith in response and cuts to police resources. We need to break that cycle. It’s about building partnerships and sharing information.”

As well as working with local police, the ACS encouraged retailers to engage with services such as Catch a Thief, which publicises stores’ CCTV to catch suspects.

Richard Barron, chief executive of the National Association of Business Crime Partnerships, urged retailers to not be put off reporting every crime. He said: “We know businesses have problems with finding the time to do incident reporting, but reporting incidents is the lifeblood for any partnership.”

The report found that crime, including shop theft, burglary, robbery and violence, cost convenience stores £232m last year, equating to an average of more than £4,600 per store. The annual cost of shop theft alone to every convenience store was £2,600, with alcohol, meat and confectionery the most frequently stolen items.

The ACS called for the Government to do more to deter shop theft. “The current laws around shop theft do not adequately capture those who are repeat offenders stealing items of less than £200 on a regular basis, and we believe this needs to change,” Lowman added.

Four tips for tackling retail crime

  1. Partner with schemes such as Catch a Thief. For a small monthly fee, Catch a Thief posts your CCTV footage of criminals in your store online to encourage members of the public to identify them.
  2. Focus on customer service. Shoplifters like to be left alone so they can easily steal. Increasing the attention you give to customers on the shop floor by offering to help them find products and put things behind the till for them while they browse will discourage them from stealing.
  3. Work with police as much as possible. Get data and evidence together on the crime that has taken place to enable them to take the matter forward.
  4. Find out if you can report crime online. Sussex is just one area of the country that has a business crime reporting hub for non-urgent crime. Find out if your local area has this facility.

Download the full Crime Report.

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Louise Banham
Louise is the editor of Retail Express, which reaches more than 50,000 stores every fortnight. Retail Express is the start of the journey for every independent convenience retailer, providing key news stories and effective, easy-to-implement advice. Louise can be found on Twitter at @RetailExpress and @LouiseBanhamRE; on louise.banham@newtrade.co.uk; and 020 7689 3353.

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