Following the election of Police and Crime Commissioners earlier this month, you need to take the opportunity to build strong relationships with them.

That was the message from retailers as the Federation of Small Businesses called for PCCs to focus on retail crime.

Bay Bashir, owner of Lifestyle Express Belle Vue Convenience Store in Middlesbrough, said retailers cannot stand by and expect PCCs to resolve their problems.

“I’m hoping that my PCC will work with me, but tackling retail crime will always be a work in progress – you get out what you put in,” he said.

“I think many of us want to find out what’s going on in terms of crime in our communities so that we can find out how it’s impacting retail. If people think they can just get on with it and hope for the best, no change will come about.”

Bashir also believes that retailers play an important role in their communities when it comes to addressing crime.

“We need to work together as communities to reduce those problems, and everyone has to say their own part so that convenience retailers are understood,” he urged.

“We all have to get behind our PCCs as an industry and drive change forward.”

Jatinder Sahota, owner of Max’s Londis in Sheerness, Kent, told Retail Express that regularly communicating with local authorities is vital.

“The better that relationship the better we are; it helps us to keep on top of legislation and all the red tape we face as retailers,” he said. “This is also why social media is so important – most of these forces have accounts now.”

Sahota uses social media to stay in touch with local police, and to demonstrate that regular correspondence to his community.

“It’s important to remember that PCCs and police officers are hoping for help from us too,” he said. “But from what I hear, people in the industry don’t necessarily get involved.”