Freedom of Information requests expose huge gaps in response times

Retailers face a “postcode lottery” on how police will respond to crime in their stores, data obtained through Freedom of Information requests has revealed.

The NFRN logged requests with 42 forces and received 16 responses that expose huge gaps in police response times throughout the year.

In Nottinghamshire, the average response time to an incident of retail crime for an ‘immediate’ (grade 1) response in March was 14 minutes, 199 minutes in June, and 65 minutes in October.

Similar inconsistencies were also since in other areas such as the City of London.

Meanwhile, the requests showed 29% of incidents of retail crime in Bedfordshire were categorised as ‘priority’ response, whereas in Lincolnshire 44% were classed as ‘priority’.

Will Pryce, NFRN public affairs manager, said: “What became clear from the responses, or in too many cases the lack of responses, was the police’s lack of clear understanding of what retail crime is.

“We do not believe in a postcode lottery of police responses. Retailers need to trust that police are taking their reporting seriously.”

The report also showed a variation in the response to incidents reported by supermarkets and independent retailers.

In Leicestershire, 56% of shop theft reports by independent retailers were ‘not attended’, compared with 36% of incidents logged by a supermarket chain being classed as a ‘priority’ response.

“Where statistics were available, huge disparities in response times were apparent, not just between police forces, but also between incidents at independent retailers and those at chain supermarkets,” Mr Pryce added.

“To better understand the real level of retail crime and how the police are recording, responding and reacting, the NFRN will be issuing more FoI requests in the near future.”

The responses also revealed an average 15% rise in the number of incidents in 2015 compared to 2014.