Reports that police forces are to pledge to investigate every crime have been welcomed.
ITV News reported that more resources and time are to be dedicated to tackle reported offences, including shoplifting, where there is a “reasonable lead”, such as CCTV footage or eyewitness accounts.
The pledges are expected to be announced in the coming months, following on the heels of Office of National Statistics data that showed that incidents of shoplifting increased by 24% in England and Wales in the year to March 2023.
Commenting on the planned pledges, the National President of the Federation of Independent Retailers (the Fed) Muntazir Dipoti said: “Shop theft is not victimless. It blights the lives of independent retailers on a daily basis and has significant implications for a store’s viability. I am sure that every member has been affected by shop theft at some point and, sadly, many incidents of shoplifting are becoming increasingly violent.
“After so many years of police forces appearing to turn a blind eye to shoplifting offences, the Fed is pleased to hear that these crimes will be investigated, provided there is evidence available to help lead to a conviction.
“However, we are interested in action and not just words, so the Fed will be writing to chief constables and police and crime commissioners to ensure that officers do act when cases of shop theft are reported.”
Muntazir added that because many retailers fail to report shop theft due to poor police responses, the scale of the problem could be much worse.
“Retailers are disillusioned by the lack of police action when crimes are committed so they do not report them. It is, therefore, possible that the number of cases of shop theft over this period could be even higher.”