Small store owners will be able to apply for funding for new security equipment from later this month.
The Retail Crime Action Plan (RCAP), set up by the Home Office, will provide funding of up to £3,000 per business in 50 priority locations around the UK, which can be used to buy devices such as alarms, UV markers to detect counterfeit notes, security grills and dye packs to mark goods.
RCAP also offers the opportunity for businesses to team up and apply for a £50,000 grant for added security measures. Working with their local Crime and Disorder Reduction Partnership (CDRP), groups of businesses in a certain area, such as a parade of shops, can bid for a bigger grant. This can be used to improve a neighbourhood with landscaping or additional lighting.
Introducing the scheme, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell said: “Retail crime is not petty or victimless and all too often retailers, their staff and their customers experience or witness crime and anti-social behaviour.”
“Businesses have a right to trade safely. In these current hard economic times we need to do all we can to make sure that retailers, particularly those on tight margins, are secure from the fear of crime, as well as actual crime against their business.
"From today we are providing real help to businesses with a £5 million fund to pay for improved security in the places it is most needed."
RCAP also includes an on-line questionnaire, which lets retailers assess how secure their business is. Developed by crime prevention experts, it also provides advice on ways to improve security in a retail business. The survey is available on www.homeoffice.gov.uk/secureyourbusiness.