Chair of the Scottish Police Federation David Hamilton addressing retailers

Scottish retailers were given the opportunity to have their retail crime concerns heard by a police chief and a leading minister at this year’s Scottish Conference.

Held last month in Glasgow, former district president Ferhan Ashiq, owner of Levenhall Village Store in Musselburgh, told betterRetailing: “It was great to feel as though we were being listened to.”

Simplifying court processes

Scottish Labour Party leader Anas Sarwar urged stores to create a policy document to lobby for the simplification of the judiciary process, to tackle cases not being dealt with quickly enough.

Ashiq said he’s had court cases go on for more than two years against individuals, following arrests made from incidents in his store.

Speaking at the conference, he said: “It’s really costly to go through the Crown Prosecution Service, and there needs to be a simpler process with dealing with cases.”

In response, Sarwar advised store owners to put together a document detailing what they would like the judiciary process to look like.

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“This will help create a whole-system approach from beginning to end, highlighting what retailers hope to achieve within the process,” he said. “This could be something that can be passed onto politicians after being formed.

“There needs to be a procedure where cases don’t get caught in the judiciary process. We need to develop a local, fast approach and commit to making a better policing model.”

Chair of the Scottish Police Federation David Hamilton, pictured above, welcomed the idea. “It is frustrating for the police after investigating an incident that it isn’t properly dealt with,” he said.

“When retailers report a crime, it starts a process, which in most cases is an expensive one for them.”

Improving crime response

Hamilton went on to reveal a raft of new ways forces in Scotland intend to deal with crime, including a focus on retrieving evidence online.

“The expectation is that we will ask retailers to upload CCTV images online,” he said. “I would advise them to ensure their systems are updated so they can do this once a report is made.”

Shops urged to report retail crime in detail for full police response

In addition, Hamilton confirmed forces would be using new software to handle emergency calls. The function known as ‘Thrive’ allows officers to check ongoing threat, risk and vulnerability to the individual through analysis of terminology used when crime is reported.

The model will ensure any incidents that could prove fatal will receive a quick response to reduce any potentially dangerous situations.

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