The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has urged a more stringent approach from the Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) to combat the rising tide of retail crime.  

The move comes ahead of the PCC elections on 2 May 2024. 

In line with its campaign called #GetToughOnRetailCrime, the trade association seeks commitment from candidates to prioritise retail crime in their policing plans. 

The BRC is also calling for a standalone offence of assault on a retail worker, and tracking the data on its use.  

It urged PCC candidates to allocate appropriate resources to address retail crime in their region. 

The call from the BRC comes with its latest crime survey indicating that incidents of violence and abuse against retail staff surged to more than 1,300 per day in the fiscal year 2022 to 2023.  

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This marks a stark rise from 870 incidents per day in the previous year.  

The nature of these crimes includes threats, physical assaults and racial abuse. 

Theft has also become a pressing concern, with reported losses doubling to £1.8bn in 2024, equating to 45,000 incidents daily. 

In 2023, retailers invested a record £1.2bn in crime prevention measures.  

British Retail Consortium chief executive Helen Dickinson said: “Inadequate police action has given criminals free rein to steal goods and assault retail colleagues. Newly elected PCCs have a fantastic opportunity to get tough on retail crime through the new standalone offence, and I hope the next wave of PCCs delivers the protections that those working in retail and our communities up and down the country deserve.” 

In April 2024 Opal, the UK National Police Chiefs’ Council intelligence unit on serious organised acquisitive retail crime, launched training to combat retail crime.