Retailers from the West Midlands met with the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) after it was revealed the area is facing some of the highest levels of retail crime.
Rav Garcha and Paul Cheema were invited to meet Commissioner David Jamieson in Birmingham, as local representatives of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS). It follows a recent survey carried out by the PCC that reported the West Midlands as having the most lodged crime reports.
Mr Garcha who runs five stores in Birmingham, Walsall, Shrewsbury, Broadway and Sutton Coldfield, told RN: “We were invited to raise the profile of retail crime and prove that these incidents aren’t just a number, and instead need to be put on the PCC’s agenda. We tasked the Commissioner to invest in retail crime.”
Gun and drug crime were the top two priorities during the meeting, with at least half of all associated crimes such as theft and shoplifting being related to drugs, stated Mr Jamieson.
Last Christmas, both retailers experienced incidents involving gun crime, and Mr Garcha urged that “it needs to be taken more seriously”. In response, Mr Jamieson insisted that removing guns from the streets is a top priority for West Midlands police.
“Last year we held a weapon surrender which saw hundreds of weapons taken off the street. The police are working to ensure that weapons aren’t being used,” he said.
Although an introductory meeting, Mr Garcha was left excited about progress, emphasising “good links were made”.
ACS chief executive, James Lowman said, “The ACS will continue to help retailers to make their case locally”.
Going forward, the PCC plans to utilise its West Midlands Business Crime Partnership (WMBCP), set up last year, to bring together businesses and the police to sure information and look at how they can best respond to crime.
The 2018 ACS Crime Report revealed crime against convenience stores cost the sector £193 million and £3,873 per store nationally.