Muntazir Dipoti, Fed national president, said: “After so many years of police forces appearing to turn a blind eye to shoplifting offences, the Fed is pleased to hear that these crimes will be investigated, provided there is evidence available to help lead to a conviction.”
Dipoti added that the Fed will be writing to chief constables and police and crime commissioners to “ensure that officers do act” when shop theft is reported.
Other shop owners were more cynical of the police’s promise. Hitesh Pandya, owner of Tonis Newsagents, Kent, told Better Retailing: “More resources doesn’t mean better. It means diddly squat. There are opportunist shoplifters, and if nothing is done about it, they’ll do it on a regular basis. Some people are desperate, but some do it just because they can.”
In Pandya’s county of Kent, shoplifting was reported to increase by 3% for the year ending March 2023, according to ONS figures, one of the lowest rises of anywhere in England and Wales.
“[Retailers] have got to do their due diligence and make sure their stuff is protected,” Pandya continued. “A lot of retailers don’t provide evidence which is not acceptable. If you feel the police aren’t doing enough, you have to pursue them. If crime isn’t reported, we lose, the police lose – society loses.
“Some stuff we’re allowing to happen. We can’t expect the police or retailers to do everything. Both sides need to be a lot more interactive, then you should not have any problems with prosecution.”
Dipoti also expressed a concern for retailers failing to report crime due to “lack of police action, and that the current scale of crime could be worse as a result.
He added: “Tackling shop theft has to be given the energy and priority it deserves from the police and the justice system and independent retailers should be given financial support so they can invest in better-quality CCTV to protect them, their staff and their businesses.”