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Home » Call To Support West Country Businesses Amid Shoplifting Rise

Call To Support West Country Businesses Amid Shoplifting Rise

Small business owners in the West of England need more support to deal with rocketing rates of shoplifting, authorities in the region have been warned.

Labour’s candidate in next year’s Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner [PCC] Election, Clare Moody, has slammed the Conservative incumbent Mark Shelford and the Government on their record for preventing crime.

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Ms Moody said that figures from the Office for National Statistics showed levels of shoplifting in Avon and Somerset had risen by 41% in the last year, compared to the national average increase of 25%.

Ms Moody said: “I’ve been meeting local retail workers in recent weeks and they tell me there’s a real perception amongst criminals that they can get away with shoplifting time and again. This is unsurprising when the Government changed its policy so theft under £200 is considered a minor offence. It’s also having a major impact on the shop workers personally and on their customers.”

Clare Moody, Labour’s candidate in next year’s Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner election (Image: Clare Moody) The politician and trade unionist, who previously served as a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for South West England, said owners of smaller, independent shops “often struggle” to access finance to install security devices, and called on Labour’s West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris for support.

Ms Moody said: “In the absence of any serious action from the Conservatives, I’ve asked Metro Mayor Dan Norris if there is any more his Combined Authority could do to support shopkeepers and help them prevent these crimes, which wreck livelihoods and exemplify the 13 years of decline we’ve seen under this Government.

“We need to take action to protect our retail workers, make our communities safe, and to restore the public’s faith in our police. It’s time for change.”

In response, Police and Crime Commissioner for Avon and Somerset Mark Shelford said: “Since I was elected, I have regularly taken part in both business and retail crime forums across the whole of Avon and Somerset, visiting and listening to shopkeepers and business owners, encouraging them to report these crimes and hearing what the police can do to make it easier for them to report.

“These statistics highlight the scale of the problem, and why it’s important we invest in supporting local retailers. The increase in reporting and prosecution of the most prolific offenders demonstrates the police are seeing the benefits of listening to the concerns of the retail community, and working with them through the Business Crime Forum, to make changes to those reporting processes.

“How the police service is tackling this issue, as well as other concerns business owners have about the anti-social behaviour and violence retail workers sometimes face, is a question I asked the Chief Constable about recently in one of our monthly live broadcasts of the Performance and Accountability Board.”

Mr Norris commented: “Clare Moody is absolutely right to raise this important issue, that’s why she would make an excellent Police and Crime Commissioner. I too have been shocked at the crime wave spreading across the region with shop lifters feeling like they can just get away with it. It’s leaving shop workers afraid and all of us worse off. In the absence of any leadership from the Tories, I will certainly look at how I as Mayor can assist.”

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