The UK Government has joined forces with police and major retailers to launch a Retail Crime Action Plan to combat shoplifting.

The action plan was launched during a meeting chaired by Policing Minister Chris Philp with senior police leaders and 13 biggest retailers in the UK.

As part of the plan, a new initiative called Pegasus will be created in partnership with businesses and policing to deter shoplifting.

Under this initiative, the police committed to urgently attend the scene of shoplifting instances that involve violence against a shop worker. They will also investigate any evidence that could lead to arresting perpetrators.

The plan, commissioned by Chris Philp, also advises retailers to provide the best possible evidence for police to pursue in any case.

Retailers are advised to send CCTV footage of the whole incident and an image of the shoplifter through the digital evidence management system at the earliest.

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In addition, a specialist new police team has been formed to provide the full intelligence picture of the organised crime gangs behind several shoplifting cases across the country.

Retailers, including John Lewis, the Co-op, M&S, Boots and others, have agreed to inject more than £600,000 ($734,439) towards Pegasus.

National Police Chiefs Council lead for acquisitive crime chief Constable Amanda Blakeman said: “Dealing with retail crime requires a multi-faceted approach and through the launch of Pegasus, plus the Retail Crime Action Plan, we have bolstered the policing response to tackling offenders and supporting retailers in reducing shoplifting and attacks on retail staff.

“We welcome the collaboration between retailers, police and crime commissioners and policing through Project Pegasus, which centralises intelligence and enhances our ability to identify and tackle the groups involved.

“We continue to target those prolific and habitual offenders whose behaviour causes misery and takes profit from our communities and retailers. Local police forces assess each report through a threat, harm and risk model to determine their police response and will deploy resources where they can be most effective in catching offenders and keeping people safe.”