The findings from the retail crime consultation carried out last year are expected to be published in March, betterRetailing understands.

The Home Office broke its promise to independent retailers last year by failing to publish the findings in November.

At the time, betterRetailing reported an anonymous source within parliament who blamed the general election for the delay.

The 12-week call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop staff, backed by MP Victoria Atkins, opened on 5 April, and trade bodies hoped it would support new measures to tackle retail crime.

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Speaking at the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on retail crime yesterday, chairman MP Steve McCabe said he would attempt to secure a Westminster Hall debate to discuss the results once they were released. 

Asked about the NFRN’s plans for after the publication of the retail crime consultation, national president Stuart Reddish said: “The NFRN welcomes the fact that the APPG on retail crime, for which the NFRN act as secretariat, has agreed a plan of work for the coming year that engages with ministers and MP with the aim of getting the government to act over the problem of retail crime.

“The publication of the government’s response to the call for evidence on violence against retailers will be a key moment in protecting retailers in our shops and we hope that the government will engage seriously with us to tackle the problem that is effecting all in the independent retail sector.”

Alongside outlining their plans for the year ahead, McCabe also pledged to support the retail crime survey launched by betterRetailing last week.

The National Business Crime Centre’s chief inspector, Patrick Holdaway stressed at the meeting that under-reporting of crime presented a challenge in being able to understand the impact.

“The level of under-reporting taking place means that information is missing and we are unable to understand the full picture of impact from retail crime,” he said.

He expressed that the police force is trying to overcome this by creating an online reporting tool for retailers.

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“Although we are a long way off, we are trying to create a system that makes it easier for businesses to directly report crime online,” he added.

The comments come after it was revealed the number of police reported incidents of shop theft decreased 3% to 351,874.

The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics for the year ending September 2019 showed no change in the number of theft offences in the last year, but when compared with the year ending March 2017 there was an 8% increase.

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