Retailers urged to report all retail crime as Nisa head writes open letter on issue
The head of Nisa has called for more support from the industry in helping independent retailers who have been impacted by retail crime.
In an open letter, Peter Batt, Managing Director of Nisa, along with Head of Retail, Victoria Lockie, has written an open letter highlighting that authorities have not responded in over 70% of serious retail crimes reported.
The crimes vary from shoplifting and attempted thefts to criminal damage to stores and property.
The letter coincides with Respect for Shopworkers Week, which runs from 13th to 19th November.
The Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw) has been running its Freedom from Fear ‘Respect for Shopworkers Week’ since 2002, during which time the targeted campaign has worked with the public, retail employers, the police and the government to protect retail workers from violence and abuse.
Across England, Scotland and Wales, Usdaw has successfully delivered increased legal protections for retail workers. With retail workers in Northern Ireland facing abuse, threats and violence in much the same way as other Usdaw members, they are calling on politicians in Northern Ireland to be aware of the need to protect retail workers.
“Key to that is ensuring that all incidents are reported, so the theme of this year’s Respect Week is ‘Report it. Sort it’.,” states Usdaw.
“Ensuring that all cases are reported will help send a clear message to colleagues, employers, politicians and the police of the scale of the issue and the need for further action to protect retail workers,” they added.
Read the open letter in full below.
How can we support independent retailers with the impact of retail crime?
“The plight of retail crime has been rightly pushed to the top of the news agenda in recent months, led brilliantly by the Co-op and Nisa. And as the government’s Crime and Justice bill is debated, and Usdaw’s Respect for Shopworkers Week approaches, the issue of how we help retailers feel safe is once again in the spotlight – especially pertinent to the 33,500 independent retailers up and down the country.
“The Co-op’s recent report on retail crime highlighted some significant challenges, with the appropriate authorities failing to respond in over 70% of serious retail crimes reported.
“Our teams hear on a weekly basis from retailers dealing with the ongoing challenge of shoplifting, and the impact that is having both financially and on their own well-being. Nisa retailer Ben Selvaratnam, owner of Freshfields Market in Croydon, a family-run store, told us that shoplifting has become such an issue that they are targeted by three to 10 thefts or attempted thefts a day, costing him hundreds of pounds a week.
“Stories like Ben’s are sadly not isolated; and the impact of retail crime is particularly tough for independent retailers, many of whom are open longer hours and can’t afford to hire professional security. These horrific incidents have a long-lasting impact on businesses and a negative impact for the community overall.
“It was positive, therefore, to see Policing Minister Chris Philp respond to these challenges by announcing a Retail Crime Action Plan, committing to tackle shoplifting, catch more offenders and keep retail workers safe.
“And while the national action plan is a welcome step – not least the commitments to prioritise urgent attendance at the scene of shoplifting involving violence against a shop worker – we hope the plight of independent retailers is given as much consideration as the larger organisations.
“If we are going to tackle this issue seriously, we need to all retailers, including independent retailers running their own stores, can feel safe simply doing their job.
“So, as we support USDAW’s efforts this week to continue the conversation around respect for shopworkers, big and small, I’d urge independent retailers to ensure they are reporting crime, to give themselves the best chance of police action – and I’d urge the police to ensure independent retailers are not left behind in the race to tackle retail crime.
“Independent retailers are the beating hearts of high streets across the country, and if we want to ensure they are still there for the communities they serve, then action needs to be taken now.”
Peter Batt, Nisa’s Managing Director
Victoria Lockie, Nisa’s Head of Retail
For more information, visit https://www.usdaw.org.uk/Campaigns/Freedom-From-Fear/Reps-Respect-Week-Briefing-2023-NI