The Government is encouraging retailers to form partnerships with police and local authorities in a bid to reduce business crime.

A new guide, Crime Against Business - What Businesses Need to Know, has been produced by the Department for Business, Enterprise & Regulatory Reform and the Home Office, with input from the Association of Convenience Stores.

It encourages businesses to work together in fighting crime, either by setting up neighbourhood watch-style schemes with other retailers, or by forming Local Strategic Partnerships which bring together public bodies and private businesses, as well as the community and voluntary sectors, to ensure crime-fighting initiatives work efficiently.

The publication urges retailers to report even the smallest crime against their business. According to the Federation of Small Businesses, 40% of firms do not report crime because of a lack of faith in the criminal justice system, or because they believe the incident is too trivial. Without accurate figures, the guide says, authorities do not have a true picture of crime, its nature, and the response required.

Parliamentary under-secretary of state responsible for crime Alan Campbell said: "Some businesses are not aware of partnerships that could assist them. This document draws on real-life examples to give practical advice."

Shopworkers' union Usdaw encouraged retailers to follow the advice. "Shop theft isn't victimless," said Usdaw general secretary John Hannett. "The police realise this and are looking at ways to address it. But they need employers to work with them, which is why we are urging store owners to look at this guidance."