The British Independent Retailers Association (Bira) has welcomed government plans to take a tougher stance on shoplifting.
Home Secretary Priti Patel recently announced the Government would be writing to police chiefs to advise that shoplifters stealing items to the value of £200 should be prosecuted.
The decision follows a major consultation with nearly 3,500 retailers, trade associations and unions which suggested abuse towards shop staff had increased, with a ‘significant number’ saying they did not report incidents to the police.
According to the report, many retailers felt the police ignored reports of theft and abuse – with some resorting to private prosecutions instead.
Bira’s CEO Andrew Goodacre said: “For too long retailers have been saying that there has been an increase of abuse to retail staff and that shoplifting has been increasing due to a ‘relaxed’ approach by the police.
“We therefore welcome the suggestion that there will be more support to effectively deal with shoplifting, as well as the Government’s response to addressing abuse to employees (and shop owners).”
He added: “With regards the issue of abuse, and given the issues raised by the Black Lives Matter cause, we would also hope that we can eradicate racial abuse.”