The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has launched a campaign to support the fight against spiralling retail crime, ahead of the Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) elections on 2 May 2024.

As part of its ’GetToughOnRetailCrime’ campaign, the BRC has urged PCC candidates to commit to the following:

  • Make retail crime a priority in Police and Crime Plans
  • Work with other policing stakeholders to ensure the standalone offence for assaulting a retail worker is used (once introduced) and data on its use is tracked
  • Allocate necessary resources for tackling retail crime in their region

It comes after the government announced a standalone offence for assaulting a retail worker last week. 

This new legislation should help improve the police response, as police will now have the necessary data to understand the scale of the problem and allocate sufficient resource to improve their response to incidents.

The BRC’s latest crime survey revealed a sharp increase in violence and abuse towards retail workers, with over 1,300 incidents per day in 2022/23 compared to 870 the previous year. 

It found that not only has the number of thefts increased, but thieves are becoming bolder, more aggressive, and more frequently armed with weapons.

With the government now signalling their support, police forces in all corners of the country can now step up and help protect the three million hardworking people in retail.

Helen Dickinson OBE chief executive of the BRC explained that inadequate police action has given criminals free rein to steal goods and assault retail colleagues: “Newly elected PCCs have a fantastic opportunity to get tough on retail crime through the new standalone offence, and I hope the next wave of PCCs deliver the protections that those working in retail and our communities up and down the country deserve.”