Retailers welcomed new proposals aimed at reducing shoplifting in Gloucestershire today and said it was not before time.
Around fifty of the county’s most prominent businesses were represented at the launch of a report into retail crime produced by the Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC).
Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner Chris Brierley opening today’s Retail Crime Review launch in Gloucester
The 33-page review painted a picture of retail crime up nationally by 25% since the turn of the century – and many of the reasons for it. It also mapped out a new approach advocated by the PCC to:
- Investigate every retail theft
- Simplify the way retailers are able to report crime
- Establish Crime Prevention Advisors to improve links with businesses
- Improve information sharing, and
- Improve partnership working.
PCC Martin Surl said “Shop theft is considered attractive because of its accessibility and low detection rate. But it is not the victimless crime it is often perceived to be.
“Unfortunately, this is compounded by a police response which can only be described as ‘patchy’ due to an approach which has given priority to crimes considered to be more serious.
“This is a flawed approach. Every crime matters and what might seem trivial today can often lead to something much more serious tomorrow “.
The manager of Gloucester retailers’ organisation ‘City Safe’ Steve Lindsay said, “The PCC’s report is fantastic. It’s honest; it’s factual. It’s what we’ve waiting for for years”.
Det Supt Steve Bean, Glos Constabulary’s Head of Investigations answered questions from retailers and promised to look into their complaints. He told them, “The OPCC has conducted research both locally and nationally and you can’t disagree with any of the recommendations.
“The PCC is right; every crime does matter and it’s clear to me the quality of investigation is nowhere near to where it should be.
“We’ve become oblivious to how bad the police response has been and be under no illusion we intend to address it”.
Cheltenham BID Director Kevin Blackadder said, “It was a really good idea to bring together a number of businesses quite clearly concerned about the levels of retail crime.
“It gave them the opportunity to make it clear how they’re suffering from crime that’s not just a business problem but a society problem.
“I’m pleased the police recognise shoplifting can lead to more serious crime and their commitment to report back in six months”.
You can read the retail crime review in full on the OPCC website, Safer Days and Nights priority pages – https://www.gloucestershire-pcc.gov.uk/priorities/safer-days-and-nights-for-all/