An Early Day Motion (EDM) tabled by All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group chair Ruth George MP on the importance of dealing with shop theft has received cross party support.

MPs from the Labour Party, Conservative Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrats and the DUP have all signed the motion.

The EDM highlights the impact of crime on staff and businesses and cites latest research showing there were 38 million incidents of shop theft in 2017 costing £6.3bn. It calls for fresh thinking on ways to tackle the root causes of shop theft and recognises the need for businesses, communities and police forces to collaborate more closely to encourage better reporting and response to shop theft.

Figures from the 2018 ACS Crime Report show that theft costs each convenience store in the UK an average of more than £1,700 a year, with retailers fearing that incidents of theft are the main trigger for abuse of staff in stores. There were almost a million incidents of shop theft estimated in the convenience sector last year.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the support from MPs across the house in recognising the serious nature of shop theft and the impact that it has on retailers, their staff and the wider community. Shop theft needs to be taken seriously throughout the justice system, from the initial response to incidents when they occur to effective penalties and deterrents against reoffending.

“Police and Crime Commissioners are a key part of this system, so it’s essential that they all have shop theft and business crime on their agenda. We encourage all retailers to write to their PCCs and urge them to sign our pledge.”

The Police and Crime Commissioner Pledge includes the following commitments:

• confronting reoffending, particularly prolific reoffenders with drug dependencies and organised criminal gangs;

• working to standards on what a ‘good response’ to shop theft looks like, supporting retailer led crime prevention, developing and sharing best practice with retailers, and encouraging them to report shop theft in line with these standards; and

• always responding promptly to shop theft where violence is involved or where a suspect is detained

Currently, only nine out of 40 Police and Crime Commissioners include an explicit reference to business crime in their plans. More details about the pledge and a template letter for retailers are available on the ACS website.