Small shops should receive £1,500 from the government to help “beef up” security systems, according to the Fed and the British Independent Retailers Association.
A letter from the groups earlier this month to the minister for policing, Chris Philp, made the call for “financial help” to deal with “record levels” of shop crime.
It claimed financial pressures on shops had left many “simply unable” to afford the £4,500 average annual bill per shop on upgrading and maintaining security measures.
The letter said the £1,500 figure was an “estimate” at what “would be effective in aiding small businesses to improve their security measures”.
The signatories said this would help police investigate and resolve more incidents, in line with their recent pledge to investigate “every reasonable lead”.
RN and Retail Express began campaigning for retail security grants in 2020 with a survey of more than 100 local shop owners.
It found the ‘next planned security investment’ for a local shop was estimated at costing £4,037.
However, the survey found the average store only had 25% of this cost saved, resulting in a shortfall of around £3,000.
Following a successful motion at the Fed’s conference this summer, the Fed adopted the fight for security grants as a key campaign issue for 2023.
The effort began this month under the banner ‘Safe Secure Supported’, supported by a retailer petition.
The campaign warned that without government investment, the gap between security investments in chain and independent stores would increase.
Fed national president Muntazir Dipoti commented: “The burden of crime prevention shouldn’t fall on retailers’ shoulders. Government intervention is crucial to safeguard retailers, particularly smaller shops.
“Security measures are expensive to buy and install, and we as shop owners need support to protect ourselves, our staff and our livelihoods.”
More than 300 retailers and their customers have signed the Fed’s petition so far by visiting chng.it/ RSKJvndRZH.
The campaign comes amid growing awareness of retail crime in consumer media, with the Fed and ACS conducting interviews across TV and radio last week, Co-op announcing it was hiring ex-soldiers to patrol its aisles and the boss of Iceland warning shop-lifting is “becoming unpunishable”.
A three-point plan to tackle shoplifting gangs was also sent to police forces and ministers last week by a coalition including the Fed, the ACS, BIRA, the BRC, the FSB and retail union USDAW.
The three points were: making it easier for retailers to report and share evidence, such as CCTV; dedicating police resources to tackling prolific shoplifters by working with retailers; and prioritising collecting evidence when violent incidents occur.
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