The National Federation of Retail Newsagents (NFRN) has expressed deep concern at reports that the police will be forced to ignore incidents of shop theft if there are further cuts to officer numbers.
As a result, the NFRN is calling on the police to reconsider their treatment of these crimes and wants the Home Office to look beyond crime statistics to see the real picture of criminal activity.
Responding to suggestions from Sussex Police that its officers will not respond to looters targeting shops and business premises, national president Ralph Patel said: “Independent retailers are often seen as an easy target for criminals, as they are open from early in the morning until late at night so this threat is deeply disturbing.
He continued: “Despite official figures showing a decrease in crime year-on-year, the NFRN is warning that this should not be the basis of the decision by the Home Office to cut police numbers.
“Many members already feel that the crime they experience is not a priority for many police forces. The suggestion by Sussex Police that these crimes will be further deprioritised is therefore worrying for many members that suffer persistently targeted, intimidating and sometimes violent incidents of crime.”
A recent survey of NFRN members found that two in three newsagents had experienced shop theft in the preceding three months, yet less than one in ten had reported the crime to the police, with many not bothering to report the crime because the police do not attend.
The NFRN continues to raise awareness of these concerns through its All Party Parliamentary Group on Retail Crime in the Houses of Parliament.