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Source: West Yorkshire Police

West Yorkshire’s Violence Reduction Partnership has reduced the number of calls related to shoplifting by 44% in three months

Progress on tackling the blight of retail crime, including by changing the way police officers respond to shop theft and violent incidents in stores, has been welcomed by ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores).

A report by the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners, published on March 13, highlights the ways forces across England and Wales are responding to 2023’s Retail Crime Action Plan, which all constabularies have signed up to.

PCCs are responsible for setting the priorities of their local police forces and holding them to account over their performance in areas such as response to shop theft and abuse.

The report singles out initiatives such as West Yorkshire’s Violence Reduction Partnership, which introduced forensic marking technology to tag individuals and objects with unique forensic codes to help identify items or subjects involved in criminality. This has already reduced the number of calls related to shoplifting by 44% in three months following its introduction in Wakefield city centre, and the report notes there is potential for it to improve these rates further.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We strongly welcome the focus on retail crime in this report, highlighting the work that PCCs are doing across England and Wales to make a difference. We’ve been pushing for action to support retailers in reporting and tackling crime for several years, so it is encouraging to see progress being made in this area.

“Implementing the Retail Crime Action Plan is a strong start, but we need to ensure that barriers to reporting are removed and prolific offenders are identified quickly so they can be apprehended by the police and the full extent of their crimes accounted for.”

In the months leading up to the Police and Crime Commissioner elections in May 2024, the ACS Stop Shop Theft campaign calls on all PCCs to provide essential information about what they are doing to reduce retail crime in their area, to establish a single point of contact on business crime for retailers when reporting incidents, and to provide clarity on how retailers can submit evidence of crimes happening in their stores.