Retail Crime — [Mr Laurence Robertson in the Chair]

Part of Backbench Business – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of David Hanson David Hanson Labour, Delyn 1:30 pm, 11th April 2019

There is a pile of good practice, and the key thing is that the Home Office is in a great position, with the Scottish Government and the Northern Ireland Government, to pull these things together and potentially provide seedcorn funding for innovative schemes that could develop into ways of reducing crime and shop theft in particular.

The “Crime Report 2019” from the Association of Convenience Stores gives a whole range of advice and guidance as a sector on reducing crime, involving CCTV; acid and knives; how to deal with ATM thefts; antisocial behaviour, which is key; behaviour outside stores, which often attracts people whose behaviour is antisocial; how to deal with cyber-crime or internal staff theft, which happens occasionally; what to do with age-restricted sales; and how to design a store, looking to design out crime. The Home Office can get a grip, and give advice and support, on such things.

Those six asks can be developed as part of the consultation. My hon. Friends may think of and develop more, but those six can move the situation on. As I said, and we must remember it, this is not a victimless crime: this crime will impact on the store owner, the financial viability of the business, and the health, wealth and wellbeing of the members of staff. It drives up the cost of food and produce that we buy, and it causes tremendous upset and a great deal of antisocial behaviour. It does not happen just in London, other major cities or in banks; it happens on every street on every day of the week.

As Members of Parliament, we have a duty to shine a light on the issue, to offer solutions and to support the Minister in the solutions that she has graciously brought to the table but, in doing so, to keep her feet to the fire to ensure that she delivers on the consultation. We do not want just to talk about such things, and for my words to float to the ceiling of the Chamber; we want them to result in change for the better. The Minister has a chance to grapple with this and to make a success of that. She will have my full support if she does so. If she cannot grapple with it, we will have further debates and discussions until the Government do.