Tackling retail crime sat at the top of the NFRN’s priorities when it launched its Public Affairs Agenda for 2016 this week.

Retailers, MPs and suppliers from across the UK gathered at the House of Commons event, hosted by MP Guto Bebb, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Retail Crime (APPGRC).

The MP for Aberconwy called for retailers to continue to lobby the police and crime commissioners to increase awareness of retail crime.

“Retail crime needs to be taken seriously – all aspects of it,” he said. “Whether you’re talking about shoplifting, theft or crimes of violence, if you crack down on crime at its lowest level, you might stop it happening at its highest level.”

NFRN national president Ralph Patel spoke about the effects of retail crime and the violence and abuse that retailers and their employees suffer. “Hardly a day goes by when someone working in a shop does not become a victim of crime and these instances, as well as becoming more frequent, are becoming more violent and more terrifying for store owners,” he said.

He called for police forces to improve their response rates to incidences of retail crime; for police officers to take shop crime more seriously; and for physical abuse of shop workers to be made a specific offence.

“We encourage all parties to work together to make sure this issue is tackled,” he added.

Three focus areas for 2016

  1. Tackle retail crime, which includes theft, violent crime, fraud, illicit trade and proof of age scheme
  2. Level the playing field, dealing with Sunday trading, bill payments, monopolistic wholesale, and town centre policies
  3. The cost of doing business, including the living wage, payroll costs, energy bills and business rate reform