New policing methods and better technology are needed to help retailers who are “completely unsupported” in the face of rising business crime levels, a police and crime commissioner has said.

At the NFRN’s annual conference in Torquay last week, newly-elected Devon & Cornwall PCC Alison Hernandez said updated policing strategies were needed as the number of officers had reduced and modern technology had become more available.

“Thousands of police officer positions have been cut, but forces haven’t changed their working practices and they need to. There is stable funding available for the next few years and police need smartphones to give them better access to data and allow them to double the time they spend on the beat,” she said.

Speaking to RN about reports that a My Local manager had been told police officers had been instructed not to investigate shoplifting reports, Ms Hernandez said it was understandable that incidents considered to be low-risk were not prioritised. But police forces could respond to a greater number of incidents if existing ‘threat, risk, harm’ models were followed properly and officers were provided with modern technology to cut paperwork, she added.

Ms Hernandez told the conference she is forming a strategy to secure more support for businesses in Devon & Cornwall and better funding to protect them. CCTV partnerships and victim support units are two options being investigated. “I think you are completely unsupported, but there are lots of good partnerships around the UK and we’re putting these things in place to help you,” she said.

Ms Hernandez added she will launch a two-month consultation next month before allocating her budget in October, urging retailers to engage with their PCCs during budget consultations.