The NFRN’s West Yorkshire district has stepped up its campaign against retail crime by recording evidence to present to the regional crime commissioner.
The measure comes following claims of an ‘alarming spike’ in retail crime nationally and fears that investigations are not being prioritised by police forces.
According to NFRN West Yorkshire district president Jay Banning, retail crime not only increased 30% last year, but increased by another 30% in the past two months.
“People are closing their businesses down because of what is happening,” he said.
In the West Yorkshire district, there have been seven recorded robberies in the past two months, according to the group’s newly created log of criminal activity.
“The idea is to make a log between districts, so there is hard evidence to take to the police and crime commissioner. We want to say: ‘This happened on this day, and this is what they have done,’” said Kate Brown, West Yorkshire branch secretary and owner of News-2-You in Leeds.
Mr Banning added that while police have recognised the importance of tackling retail crime, budget cuts have prompted forces to admit cases under £200 will not be investigated.
In West Yorkshire alone, police numbers have been cut by more than 1,000 in the past 10 years.
“This ignores the cost of damages to counters, windows and refrigerators that can occur during a robbery and be thousands of pounds,” said Mr Banning.
He added: “There is a need for more constables on the streets, better lighting and faster response times to deal with the robberies. It’s not the value of what is being stolen, but what is being damaged that is the real problem.”
The matter was also escalated to parliament this week, with Mr Banning raising it at the NFRN Westminster parliamentary reception on 20 February.