A COMPANY is urging communities in North Wales blighted by retail crime to call on Police and Crime Commissioner candidates to crack down on criminals.

The retail industry has seen an unprecedented rise in retail crime driven by repeat and prolific offenders.

And ahead of the PCC elections on May 2, Co-op is urging shop workers and communities to write to PCC candidates in the region and call on them to commit to fully implementing commitments in the National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Retail Crime Action Plan, as well as ensuring the new stand-alone offence of assault against a shopworker is enforced.

Co-op workers and member-owners have campaigned for six years to call for change following unprecedented levels of retail crime, attacks and assaults, as criminals "acted with impunity and seemingly free from fear of any consequences."

Last October saw the launch of NPCC’s Retail Crime Action plan, which outlined an intention to ensure police attendance at serious incidents and that all evidence is collected so that every reasonable line of enquiry is followed. 

Then on April 10, the Government announced plans to make assaulting a retail worker a standalone criminal offence in England and Wales – providing shop workers with the protection they deserve and sending a clear message that there will be tough consequences for this unacceptable behaviour.

Paul Gerrard, Co-op Director of Campaign and Public Affairs, said: ”Retail crime impacts shopworkers both physically and mentally, with many communities blighted by the unacceptable levels of persistent and prolific offending. 

The Leader: Paul Gerrard, Co-op Director of Campaign and Public AffairsPaul Gerrard, Co-op Director of Campaign and Public Affairs (Image: Co-op)Newly elected PCCs have the opportunity to crack-down on this crime through the implementation of the Retail Crime Action Plan and by enforcing the new standalone offence of assaulting a shopworker - we are calling on the next PCCs to deliver the protection that those working in retail and, serving communities in towns, villages and cities across the region deserve.”

Earlier this year, Co-op revealed that retail crime had hit record levels. 

This coincided with the launch of a hard-hitting new report commissioned by Co-op, and written by Professor of Criminology at City, University of London, Emmeline Taylor, which set out a ten point plan focused on turning the tide on those prolific offenders who relentlessly blight communities and wreak physical and mental harm on store workers. 

Central to the report’s recommendations was making an attack on shopworkers a stand-alone offence - something the Co-op has campaigned for since 2018, and which was passed into law in Scotland in 2021.

Have you been affected by retail crime at work? We'd like to hear about your experiences - you can get in touch by emailling: steve.craddock@nwn.co.uk