Police Commissioner, Matthew Barber has unveiled a new robust approach to tackle retail crime.
Developed jointly with retailers, business groups and Thames Valley Police, the PCC’s Retail Crime Strategy sets out tangible actions to tackle shoplifting, retail crime and violence towards shop workers.
The strategy aims to support businesses and create a hostile environment for those who commit crimes in the local economy by focusing on 6 key pillars – intelligence, enforcement, partnership, prevention, justice and reassurance.
Matthew said: “Many people see retail crime as a victimless crime, but it has a profound impact on retail staff, customers and the wider economy.
“My new Retail Crime Strategy sets out a series of tangible actions to help redress the balance. It includes the creation of a Business Crime Team within Thames Valley Police to improve investigations and identify prolific offenders and, with the rollout of Operation Purchase, the Force’s operational response to retail crime, increasing the visible presence of police officers and PCSOs in retail spaces as well as improving the officer response to reports, particularly incidents involving violence towards staff.
“A core aim of the strategy is to enhance the collaboration between businesses and the police to better tackle retail crime in addition to the policing response. To help facilitate this my office will soon be providing access to Disc – an online information-sharing and reporting platform which allows retailers to report and access information about crime such as shoplifting and anti-social behaviour (ASB). The system, which can be accessed as an app, also makes reporting to the police faster and more efficient as users can submit a crime report directly through the platform, removing the need to call 101.
“Taken together, I hope these measures will deliver a more visible, targeted and robust response to retail crime, increase the security and confidence of local businesses and help make high streets and retail spaces across the Thames Valley safer for us all.”
Matthew has been engaging with local, regional and national retailers and business groups for several months to better understand the challenges they face in relation to retail crime and today also marks the creation of the Thames Valley Strategic Retail Crime Forum which will build upon that engagement and strengthen the partnership between the police and businesses in tackling retail crime.
Christian Bunt, Assistant Chief Constable for Thames Valley Police, said: “Thames Valley Police is supporting the launch of the Retail Crime Strategy alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber. Over the last few months TVP has developed operational plans which will be led by our neighbourhood policing teams and our new Business Crime Team who will specialise in retail crime investigations.
“We understand the frustrations of the retail sector and hope that by introducing this new strategy, we can continue to work collaboratively with our partners and wider criminal justice system to bring offenders to justice.”
James Lowman, Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), said: “We are delighted to see the Police & Crime Commissioner prioritising retail crime and making it clear that shop theft and violence against shop workers will not be tolerated.
“Partnership working and information sharing are the keys to making this strategy work, and we want all retailers to engage with the police, report all crime and work together to identify and apprehend the prolific repeat offenders who blight communities.”
Nicki Juniper, Head of Security and Shrinkage at John Lewis Partnership, said: “We’re really pleased to see this important progress. Retail crime is not victimless, it has an emotional and financial impact on retail workers and customers. Whilst there is no single solution for tackling retail crime, we look forward to working collaboratively with Thames Valley Police, and others in the sector, to keep our Partners and customers safe.”