Retailers have been left dismayed at a continued lack of action from MPs on the issue of retail crime.
The Queen’s Speech, the Government’s action plan for the coming year in parliament, failed to mention any legislation to fight retail crime despite a recent spate of sickening attacks on retailers and their stores.
Not only are there no immediate plans to stiffen the penalties for violent crime against retailers, but there is also nothing on the agenda to tackle shoplifting and other issues blighting independent retailers.
Nothing’s being done, that’s what we’re saying, that’s what traders and retailers think
Charlie Pandya, Gillingham
Now the only hope in getting anything done within the next 12 months comes in the form of a private member’s bill.
The need for action comes as the Government’s own figures show that shop theft has risen to its highest level for five years – 313,000 offences in the year to the end of September 2013.
And the Home Office’s commercial victimisation survey suggests that in urban areas there were 11,425 incidents reported per 1,000 premises. In London that rose to a whopping 30,466 per 1,000 premises.
Paul Baxter, chief executive of the NFRN, said that is was clear that the Government needs to introduce tougher measures to combat the problem of retail crime.
“The figures from this survey are shocking enough, but when you consider that many incidents go unreported, the figure could potentially be far higher than any of us realise,” he said.
“Independent retailers want to see tougher punishments for those who are caught shoplifting and provide additional protections to retailers who are victims of violent crime.”
Retailer Charlie Pandya from Rik’s One Stop in Gillingham has himself been the victim of crime, having had some of his teeth knocked out during a raid on his store.
“Retail crime, whether it’s a small trader or a large multiple, is costing us millions. It’s a shame that such important matters were left out of the Queen’s Speech,” he said.
“Sentencing is next to nothing, it encourages them to do whatever they want. Sentences should be harder, retailers should be compensated for whatever they’ve lost.
“Nothing’s being done, that’s what we’re saying, that’s what traders and retailers think.”