Retail Trade: Crimes of Violence

Home Office written question – answered at on 6 March 2024.

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Photo of Gavin Williamson Gavin Williamson Conservative, South Staffordshire

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to support shop workers who are victims of retail crime.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Minister of State, Home Department

The Government recognises the significant impact crime can have, not only on businesses but also the wider community and consumers. I have been clear I expect a zero-tolerance approach to retail crime and shoplifting and have recently taken significant steps to improve the police response.

In October 2023, the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) published the Retail Crime Action Plan. Through this Plan, all forces across England and Wales have committed to prioritise police attendance at the scene where violence has been used towards shop staff, where an offender has been detained by store security, and where evidence needs to be secured and can only be done by police personnel. Additionally, where CCTV or other digital images are secured, the police will run this through the Police National Database to aid efforts to identify prolific offenders or potentially dangerous individuals.

This builds on the NPCC commitment that police forces across England and Wales will follow up all crimes where there is actionable evidence and the chance of identifying an offender.

In 2022, we introduced a statutory aggravating factor for assault against those who are serving the public. Section 156 of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act 2022 means the public facing nature of a victim’s role will be considered an aggravating factor when it comes to sentencing for assault offences, allowing the court to give a longer sentence within the statutory maximum for the offence.

These legislative and operational changes will go a long way to provide a better response to victims. We are continuing to work closely with retail businesses, security representatives, trade associations and policing through the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to ensure the response to retail crime is as robust as it can be for the victims of this crime.

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