National President Linda Sood says the NFRN will be making a renewed push to bring retail crime further up the agenda of the various parliaments.
Lancashire police and crime commissioner Clive Grunshaw recently admitted that more action was needed to tackle retail crime. Speaking at the NFRN’s North West dinner and dance in November he also urged members to report all incidents of shop theft, no matter the value of the product taken.
So how disappointing just one month later to hear one of his PPC colleagues warn that Nottingham police would “probably not” investigate shoplifting cases as it sought to make savings of more than £16 million over the next two years.
Not surprisingly, the comments from Paddy Tipping, Nottinghamshire’s PCC, that the force would stop sending officers to reports of thefts from shops to focus on more serious crimes sparked fury.
Shop theft is a significant and growing cost to independent retailers. Because of this it is also one of the biggest threats to NFRN members’ businesses and their livelihoods.
What’s more, no crime is ever too small and police cannot ignore incidents of shop theft because of the cost.
Indeed, at the beginning of the year statistics from the Office of National Statistics revealed that cases of shoplifting in England and Wales had jumped by 5 per cent to 349,670. These figures are shocking enough, but when you consider that many incidents go unreported – and the NFRN knows from our own surveys that there are retailers who do not advise the police of instances of shop theft because they do not believe they will get a response or they do not have confidence in the justice system – the problem could potentially be far higher than any of us realise.
In the New Year the NFRN will be making a renewed push to bring retail crime further up the agenda of the various parliaments. We will also be urging all police and crime commissioners to send a clear message to their police forces that shop theft cannot be downgraded.
As Nottingham newsagent John Barlow so rightly told the press after Mr Tipping’s comments “It’s a disgrace the police won’t investigate shoplifting. They are basically telling thieves, ‘Help yourselves!’ Of course there are more serious crimes police need to solve but you can’t just give thieves a licence to steal.”
With Christmas and the end of another year in sight may I wish you a good trading over the festive period and a happy, healthy and crime free 2018.
NFRN National President