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Independent retailers can get a stronger police response to crime in their store by using the right terms when reporting incidents, according to City of London superintendent Patrick Holdaway.

Speaking at the NFRN’s London district council meeting last week, he confirmed a lot of incidents of crime fail to get an on-site response from the police due to not enough details being shared in the initial report.

Holdaway said if terms including, ‘violence’, ‘theft’ and ‘abuse’ are used in the report, it can escalate the seriousness of the incident to the authorities.

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He also stressed the need for stores to inform the police if there is a safeguarding issue and a need to protect a vulnerable person; whether violence has been used or someone has been threatened, physically or verbally; where there is an injury, or a concern for the welfare of somebody at the scene; and whether an offender is still present, or in the immediate area.

“When you phone the police, what you tell them will determine what is done next,” said Holdaway. “In most cases, if not enough details are shared, it will mean the incident will be recorded, but no action will be taken at the time.”

NFRN national president Narinder Randhawa expressed how a lot of independent retailers have lost confidence in the police after numerous failures to attend, resulting in them no longer reporting crime.

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In response, Holdaway said: “My pushback is that unless we know about the incident, there is nothing we can do about it. I’d encourage retailers to report crime through the website rather than calling 101.”

Sergeant Will Davies, from the Metropolitan Police’s Business Crime Hub, reassured stores that officers are reprimanded if the correct course of action isn’t taken.

“I believe in a policy of honesty,” he said. “We are aggressive with challenging officers if incidents are not acted upon.”

The pair were later questioned by Scottish retailer Mo Razzaq on their efforts to improve reporting for businesses and helping secure funding for stores to protect themselves against incidents of crime.

Holdaway confirmed the force is planning on rolling out a way of updating retailers on cases via text. “We want to make sure stores feel like they aren’t being forgotten, and we are looking to develop a personal account that offers updates on incidents and processes,” he said.

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