Matthew Barber talking with retailers

Retail Crime

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By working together we can tackle retail crime and build confidence amongst businesses, staff and the public.

A robust new approach to tackling retail crime in the Thames Valley has been unveiled by Matthew Barber (Police and Crime Commissioner for Thames Valley).

Developed jointly with retailers, business groups and Thames Valley Police, the PCC’s Retail Crime Strategy sets out tangible actions to tackle shoplifting, retail crime and violence towards shop workers.

The strategy aims to support businesses and create a hostile environment for those who commit crimes in the local economy by focusing on 6 key pillars – Intelligence, Enforcement, Partnership, Prevention, Justice and Reassurance.

Following the launch event in January 2024, Matthew Barber said: “Many people see retail crime as a victimless crime, but it has a profound impact on retail staff, customers and the wider economy.

“My new Retail Crime Strategy sets out a series of tangible actions to help redress the balance. It includes the creation of a Business Crime Team within Thames Valley Police to improve investigations and identify prolific offenders and, with the rollout of Operation Purchase, the Force’s operational response to retail crime, increasing the visible presence of police officers and PCSOs in retail spaces as well as improving the officer response to reports, particularly incidents involving violence towards staff.

“A core aim of the strategy is to enhance the collaboration between businesses and the police to better tackle retail crime in addition to the policing response. To help facilitate this my office will soon be providing access to Disc – an online information-sharing and reporting platform which allows retailers to report and access information about crime such as shoplifting and anti-social behaviour (ASB). The system, which can be accessed as an app, also makes reporting to the police faster and more efficient as users can submit a crime report directly through the platform, removing the need to call 101.

“Taken together, I hope these measures will deliver a more visible, targeted and robust response to retail crime, increase the security and confidence of local businesses and help make high streets and retail spaces across the Thames Valley safer for us all.”

Matthew has been engaging with local, regional and national retailers and business groups for several months to better understand the challenges they face in relation to retail crime and today also marks the creation of the Thames Valley Strategic Retail Crime Forum which will build upon that engagement and strengthen the partnership between the police and businesses in tackling retail crime.

Retail Crime Strategy

Retail Crime Strategy front cover

Download a full copy of the Retail Crime Strategy document (PDF).