Northumbria police and crime commissioner (PCC) Kim McGuinness has pledged to make reporting retail crime an easier process by utilising online tools.

McGuinness met with Northern district president Graeme Pentland, former national president Mike Mitchelson and retailer Jason Birks last week.

Mitchelson told betterRetailing that he was encouraged by the meeting. “We pointed out that a lot of people who are victims of crime don’t report it, and Kim was keen to make giving evidence an easier process,” he said.

“She argued that even if it’s logged online, it helps to build up a picture, which can later be investigated by the police.”

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Pentland explained that McGuinness confirmed that there was no £200 levy for Northumbria Police. “We have been under the impression that the police will not attend a shop theft for a value of under £200, but Kim stressed that this does not exist,” he said.

Mitchelson added: “They don’t adhere to the £200 levy and Kim said they would investigate all theft, regardless of the price.”

McGuinness also confirmed to the federation that she’d commit to a yearly meeting to discuss the seriousness of retail crime.

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“She said that if she is still elected next year, she would ensure retail crime is included in her police crime plan,” said Mitchelson. “She wants to continue consulting with us, and guaranteed us an annual meeting.”

McGuinness promised to put more police on the high street, by paying a particular focus to community officers.

“Although this will take time, Kim did say that she would like to put more community officers on the street which would rapidly increase the safety of the areas where independent shops operate,” said Mitchelson.

“She is very conscious of the pressures facing retailers and the impact of them on their businesses.”

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