The retail industry is calling on candidates to commit to three pledges that would support the fight against spiralling retail crime ahead of Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections on 2 May.

As part of its #GetToughOnRetailCrime campaign, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) calls on PCC candidates to commit to the following:

  • Make retail crime a priority in Police and Crime Plans
  • Work with other policing stakeholders to ensure the standalone offence for assaulting a retail worker is used (once introduced) and data on its use is tracked
  • Allocate necessary resources for tackling retail crime in their region

 On 10 April, the Government announced a standalone offence for assaulting a retail worker. This new legislation should help improve the police response as police will now have the necessary data to understand the scale of the problem and allocate sufficient resource to improve their response to incidents.

The BRC’s latest crime survey shows levels of violence and abuse facing people working in retail skyrocketed across the country to over 1,300 incidents per day in 2022/23, from 870 the year before. These incidents, which can include everything from threats with weapons and physical assaults to racial slurs, can take a severe toll on the physical and mental health of victims, who must return to their workplace day after day wondering whether they will be targeted.

Shoplifting poses a huge issue to businesses and communities across the country. Last year, losses to theft doubled to £1.8bn, with 45,000 incidents every day. This money could be better invested improving the shopping experience and reducing prices for customers. Not only has the number of thefts increased, but thieves are becoming bolder, more aggressive, and more frequently armed with weapons.

Retailers are playing their part in fighting retail crime, spending a record £1.2bn on crime prevention measures last year. Government has signaled their support, and now police forces in all corners of the country can step up and help protect the three million hardworking people in retail.

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said:
“Inadequate police action has given criminals free rein to steal goods and assault retail colleagues. Newly elected PCCs have a fantastic opportunity to get tough on retail crime through the new standalone offence, and I hope the next wave of PCCs deliver the protections that those working in retail and our communities up and down the country deserve.”