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Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Primark among those calling on police to prioritise retail crime

Over 100 retailers have come together in a joint letter to Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) in England and Wales, calling on it to commit to making retail crime a priority in local policing strategies.

In the letter, which was shared by the British Retail Consortium (BRC), retailers had expressed increasing concern over the rising levels of violence, abuse and antisocial behaviour across their business and the emotional impact it can have on its staff, their families and colleagues.

It went on to note that much of the crime reported was in relation to shoplifting, which it said can have an effect both financially on the business and personally for employees.

According to the organisation, retailers spent 715 million pounds on crime prevention in 2020/21, through staff training, CCTV investment and in-store security.

1,300 incidents a day, according to the BRC

The signees said they welcomed the recent amendment to the new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 requiring stronger sentences for those found guilty of violence and abuse against retail workers.

The letter read on the ruling: “This amendment sends a very strong signal that assaults of this kind are totally unacceptable but will only serve as a deterrent if the powers it provides are properly and widely used.”

Retailers further asked law enforcement to work with businesses to explore ways of making reporting simpler, as well as pushing local authorities to investigate all reports of violence and abuse while monitoring how the new sentencing guidelines are used.

A wide range of leading retailers took part in signing the letter, including the likes of All Saints, John Lewis, Harvey Nichols, Primark, Marks & Spencer, New Look and Ted Baker.

The call follows the publication of the BRC’s most recent Crime Survey, carried out over the period of April 2020 to March 2021, which found there were 1,300 incidents every single day – almost triple the number of the previous year.


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