Convenience stores have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to influence the future of retail crime policing, according to Sunday Times’ political editor Tim Shipman.

Speaking at the ACS Heart of the Community summit, Shipman said: “Politicians don’t have the bandwidth to think outside Brexit and will bite the hands off trade associations and retailers who can suggest solutions on other issues.”

All-Party Parliamentary Group on Retail Crime chair Stephen Hammond MP agreed, and highlighted current theft value requirements for shoplifting investigations as a potential area for change. He said: “Retail crime is a solvable issue, and the message I want to get out if that if you say you’re not going to investigate crime under a certain level, it sort of says ‘it’s open season, chaps’”.

The NFRN has also been pressuring politicians over the theft value requirements. The group is pushing for an amendment to antisocial behaviour laws from 2014 that allow those who steal goods valued under £200 to avoid appearing in court.  “Our aim is to remove those instances where people don’t have to go to court, ” said NFRN national president Mike Mitchelson. He added “Anyone who commits a theft should be made to go to court and face their crime.”

Trade bodies are already working to build policy on retail crime. the SGF has supported efforts in the Scottish Government to create specific shop worker protection, the ACS is working with the Centre for Social Justice to build processes to tackle shoplifting caused by addictions, and the NFRN is meeting MPs to address retail crime. 

Following meetings between the NFRN and both major parties last week, MP Martin Vickers demanded a debate on retail crime in the House of Commons. He said: “There are concerns that retail crime is not being prioritised by some police forces, and the growing demands on the police means retail crime might slip even further down the list of priorities.”

Read more: Stats show independents are an easy target for shoplifters

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