Retailers central to government crime crackdown plans

Retailer participation will be vital to secure support from MPs for a crackdown on crime, according to a recent All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) meeting. 

The APPG on retail crime, safe and sustainable high streets met on 6 September, and was chaired by MP Steve McCabe. It marked the first time the group had met since the AGM in June. 

Discussing the importance of raising awareness of crime, MP Ian Paisley said it was “good to get it back on the agenda”, praising home secretary Suella Braverman’s latest pledge that she will “not tolerate violence and abuse against any shopworker”. 

In a bid to take action, members of the group confirmed they intended to host an event for retailers to share their experiences with MPs and highlight the seriousness of the issue, as well as lobby for support. 

As a result, retailers will be called upon to provide evidence, including police reports and CCTV. “It is certainly worth putting something like this together,” said McCabe. “This would be an important way to get more MPs talking about retail crime and raising its profile.” 

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City of London police superintendent Patrick Holdaway supported the move. “The issue of retail crime is frequently underestimated. More recently, it has been written off as a consequence of the cost-of-living crisis, but it’s been going on for years,” he said. “It’s organised and planned, and we need to help retailers dealing with it.” 

Owner of a DIY store in Smethwick in Birmingham Surinder Josan went on to explain the challenges in reporting crime, and stressed the need for simple reporting. “For low-level crime, there needs to be an easier way to report it,” she said. 

Holdaway agreed, claiming of the reports the police see, only around 5% relate to retail crime, making it “diffi-cult to identify prolific offenders”. 

Paisley said that although “these meetings are helpful, it’s important to have some action flowing from them”. 

He added: “I’ve had people from across the UK get in touch with me over the past couple of months, sharing the experiences they’ve had with crime.” 

McCabe also discussed the potential “opportunity for retailers” to host roundtables within their local areas, to help strike up relationships with police officers and concerned parties. “We can look into how we can help retailers,” he added. 

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