The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling on convenience retailers to engage with their newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners and work with them on raising the profile and importance of crime against their businesses, especially on the issue of penalties for shop theft offences.

Ahead of the elections on May 5, ACS contacted a number of candidates across England and Wales, asking them to commit to a series of measures that would help local shops deal with crime in their area.

The commitments were:

• to recognise business crime as a problem and increase its priority on the Police and Crime Plan;

• to ensure that businesses and the police know what to expect from each other, including how to best report crime (especially for high volume, low value offences like shop theft);

• to support neighbourhood policing;

• to ensure that fixed penalty notices are being used appropriately and to suspend their use for shop theft offences if they are not; and

• to enhance intelligence sharing between businesses, neighbouring police forces and national business crime networks.

Of those who were elected, almost all committed to every measure with one exception. Only a third of respondents committed to suspending the use of fixed penalty notices for shop theft offences where they are not being used appropriately.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are pleased that Police and Crime Commissioners intend to raise the profile of business crime internally and foster relationships between businesses and local police forces, but we remain concerned that shop theft, which costs the convenience sector in excess of £43m a year, is not being dealt with effectively by the police at local level.

“We are urging retailers to contact their Police and Crime Commissioners and explain to them the damage that shop theft does to their business, and to make sure that fixed penalty notices are only used appropriately and effectively.”