Ministers have urged retailers to do more to report crime and lobby their Police and Crime Commissioners ahead of the PCC elections on 5 May, as new figures reveal that crime against local shops is costing an estimated £122m.

Speaking at an Association of Convenience Stores’ crime seminar last week, crime prevention minister Karen Bradley MP admitted that the police’s response to retail crime needed more consistency, but urged retailers to report crime.

“My constituents say there’s no point in reporting shoplifting as police don’t do anything, then the police say it’s not reported so they can’t do anything,” she said.

However, she said she would intervene in cases where reports of retail crime were ignored by police.

“If the police officer says you’re reporting too much, let me know. Get in touch with me and I’ll let the police constable know,” she told a delegate from the East of England Co-operative, who revealed the police told them they were reporting incidents too much.

Guto Bebb MP, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Retail Crime (now minister for Wales) said it was “imperative to lobby PCCs”.

“When you do engage with PCCs you make a difference. We’ll see a better turnout at the PCC election this year, and I wouldn’t under-estimate the ability to make a difference when you lobby them,” he added.

The 2016 ACS Crime Report has revealed that the average store is investing £1,370 in crime prevention, and the total cost of crime and crime prevention equates to the cost of employing more than 12,000 additional full time staff.

However, the costs of crime were not just financial, with 10,000 shopworkers injured in attacks last year, and more than half of convenience store staff suffering verbal abuse.

“Our Modern Crime Prevention Strategy, which is due to be published soon, will set out further plans for joint working with industry to prevent crime,” Bradley said.