An action plan to tackle retail crime has been launched by the Government this week.
Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp chaired a meeting with senior police leaders and 13 of the UK’s biggest retailers to launch the Retail Crime Action Plan.
The plan sets out to tackle the rise in shoplifting, catch more offenders and keep retail workers safe.
Crime and Policing Minister Chris Philp said: “I want a new zero-tolerance approach to tackling shoplifting. It is a blight on our highstreets and communities and puts the livelihoods of traders at risk. I am determined to drive forward change.
“While it is encouraging to see a 29% increase in charges for shoplifting in the past year, the rise in offending is unacceptable and there is much more to do to stop it happening in the first place.
“That’s why we’re taking action and bringing together government, policing and business to commit to smarter, more joined up working when it comes to retail crime, which will help to drive down criminal behaviour and rebuild public confidence in the police response when it does occur.”
The plan includes a police commitment to prioritise urgently attending the scene of shoplifting instances involving violence against a shop worker, where security guards have detained an offender or where attendance is needed to secure evidence.
Police attendance will be assessed based on risk, and prolific or juvenile offenders will be treated with elevated priority.
Forces will also step-up targeted hotspot patrols in badly affected areas and the plan sets out advice on how retailers can provide the best possible evidence to pursue a case.
A specialist new police team is being created to build a comprehensive intelligence picture of the organised crime gangs that fuel many shoplifting incidents across the country, to help target and dismantle them.
The initiative, called Pegasus, is a business and policing partnership that will improve the way retailers are able to share intelligence with policing, to better understand the tactics used by organised retail crime gangs and identify more offenders.
Pegasus is the first national partnership of its kind and is backed by the Home Office, John Lewis, the Co-op, M&S, Boots, Primark and several more, who have collectively pledged to provide over £840,000 to get the initiative off the ground.
It will be spearheaded by Katy Bourne, the Business Crime lead for the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC), who said: “Pegasus will be a game changer in the fight against retail crime providing for the first time an accurate national picture of the organised groups from local families to cross border criminals driving organised shop theft.
“Retailers will agree ways to capture information that can be shared and analysed to create intelligence packages for police forces to target and track perpetrators. I am very grateful to all the contributors to Pegasus and to Mitie in particular for helping to get Pegasus airborne.”
Click here for the action plan.