With all of the talk of referendums and rows within the political parties of Westminster over recent weeks, it’s easy to overlook one of the most important local decision makers settling in after the May elections.

The new (or in some cases, re-elected) Police & Crime Commissioners (PCCs) are responsible for holding the police to account in your local area, so getting in touch with them to talk about ensuring their priorities for tackling crime in the local area including taking shop theft and other crimes against retailers seriously is absolutely crucial.

On a national scale, shop theft in the convenience sector costs more than £43m a year, which is the equivalent of more than £800 in goods stolen in every store in the UK.

Despite what some people think, shop theft is not a victimless crime – the £43m lost every year is not just absorbed, it impacts on the investment decisions of stores, the overall profitability of businesses and takes a significant toll on staff.

It also amounts to a 3p tax on every transaction in a convenience store across the UK.

Despite the impact of shop theft on their businesses, retailers are increasingly reluctant to report shop theft offences because they’re either not taken seriously by the police forces, are ignored completely, or in some cases they even fear longer term negative consequences such as their alcohol licence being reviewed.

Retailers must get help from the police to deal with shop theft without fear of repercussion.

At our Crime Seminar earlier this spring, crime minister Karen Bradley stated very clearly that retailers should continue to report instances of theft and that these should prompt an effective response by the police.

PCCs are a very important part of making this national policy work on the ground, so why not meet them face to face and talk about the problems you are facing with crime in and around your store?

You can find details of your PCC at apccs.police.uk/find-your-pcc.