A statutory code has come into power this week which recognises businesses as victims of crime, and has provisions for ‘business impact statements’ to allow retailers to report the wider implications of crime on their stores.

Justice minister Chris Grayling said: “Victims deserve the best possible support to cope and recover from the effects of crime. From today they will have more help than ever before to help bring offenders to justice, with the highest level of service at every stage of the system for those who need it most.

“I want to create a fairer criminal justice system where victims have a louder voice and those who break the law are more likely to go to prison for longer. I also want to ask everyone working with victims to help deliver the promises in the new Code and make sure their needs are put first.”

The statutory Victims’ Code will give businesses an opportunity to write an Impact Statement to explain to the court how a crime has affected them.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Retail crime is not victimless: there is always a human and monetary cost. Allowing individuals and businesses to reflect the impact of crime will help give retailers the confidence that sentences will fit the crime.

“This new Victims Code signals a breakthrough for businesses that will now be taken seriously by the criminal justice system when they are victims of crime. ACS played an instrumental role in ensuring that provisions for businesses are included in the Code, and we are pleased that Government has listened to our views on this issue.”