The Safer Business Action Week, from 16 to 22 October, is a national initiative coordinated by the National Business Crime Centre.

The week focuses on activities to tackle business crime through prevention, intelligence sharing, targeted enforcement and community engagement.

BIRA, which works with more than 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK, said with rising crime posing a severe threat to retailers, the week encourages police forces, businesses and the public to work together on solutions.

The Safer Business Action Week activities will include high visibility patrols, crime prevention training, information sharing and arrests of prolific offenders. The ShopKind campaign against retail violence will also be in focus.

What is the outlook for retail crime in the UK?

Recent research by the trade association British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed that incidents of theft have increased by 27% across ten of the largest cities in the UK.

Additionally, rising violence against retail workers has led major retailers such as Tesco to equip its staff with body cameras and fellow supermarket Co-op to warn about the potential emergence of “no-go” areas for shops in certain communities.

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BIRA’s view on current retail crime levels

According to BIRA, many of its members report declining foot traffic and lost sales due to safety fears.

BIRA CEO Andrew Goodacre commented: “Independent retailers have been hit hard by theft, fraud and violence. Urgent action is needed to protect employees and sustain vibrant high streets.

“Rising crime threatens the viability of independent shops and damages perceptions of local high streets. We hope this national week of action can raise awareness whilst delivering tangible improvements in safety and security.”

During the week, BIRA urges independent retailers to connect with local police to share intelligence, request crime prevention guidance and help bring habitual offenders to justice.

Goodacre concluded: “Collaboration between police, businesses and the public is essential to turn the tide. By working together, we can ensure shopping locally is safe and welcoming for all.”