Steve McCabe MP (Birmingham Selly Oak), Chair of the All-Party Group on Retail Crime has called for a new retail crime prevention strategy.
Last week, Steve spoke during the Backbench Business debate on retail crime. Members acknowledged the need for urgent action against the growing threat. The British Retail Crime Consortium’s survey found there had been 42,000 incidents of violence against shop staff in the United Kingdom in the last 12 months.
Retail crime hurts shop workers, business owners and consumers. In Selly Oak constituency alone, shops lost more than £214,000 last year because of shoplifting and other criminal acts. Each criminal act is estimated to be adding an extra 7p to every individual customer transaction. Our drastically underfunded and overstretched police mean there simply are not enough officers to tackle the problem leading to most shops being left to fend for themselves. The scale of violence thefts and fraud demonstrates the need for a new approach from Government.
Steve argued that it was essential that those who threaten, intimidate and are violent towards shop workers are charged with an aggravated offence leading to an additional penalty. He also said he wanted to see more use of banning orders for persistent offenders and an end to shoplifters being fined by post like those who commit parking misdemeanors. The debate also highlighted the need for extra support and rehabilitation for those suffering addiction problems as many who suffer addictions are more likely to reoffend if they are not given proper treatment orders and the necessary support and help.
It was also acknowledged that 25 Police and Crime Commissioners have not signed a pledge created by the Association of Convenience Stores to tackle retail crime and that currently only 9 out of 40 police and crime plans explicitly refer to retail or business crime. The pledge on retail crime is one that Police and Crime commissioners should be actively encouraged to adopt to show a real commitment to preventing retail crime and safeguarding victims and businesses. It was also confirmed that the Government plans a new consultation on violence and age restricted sales.
Steve McCabe said:
“We need a new strategy to tackle retail crime. I will certainly demand such a pledge from all PCC candidates in the West Midlands election next year and will encourage all shop owners in my constituency to do the same. We want a clear and unequivocal commitment to prioritising and tackling retail crime and violence against shop workers.”
“I would also like to see a process whereby MPs get a monthly or bi-monthly constituency-level report that shows the hotspots and trends, so that there is a constant focus on taking action and utilising the measures that prove successful.”