Cleveland Police’s response to retail crime will be the next topic in Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC)Steve Turner’s scrutiny programme, following a recent meeting with the area’s retailers.
Last week, Steve hosted a meeting with retailers from across the Cleveland Police force area – to hear their concerns about policing and safety in their industry.
Theft and burglary were highlighted as the primary issues for the area’s shops.
However, many also reported having issues with assaults against staff and antisocial behaviour outside their stores.
Cleveland has the highest rate of shoplifting in England and Wales, with 32,378 reports made to police in the five-year period to 2023.
Many retailers at the PCC’s event felt that current sentencing options were not acting as a deterrent for offenders.
Some said they would benefit from increased communication from police – both proactively about serial offenders and reactively, with updates on cases.
Cleveland PCC Steve Turner said: “As a former retailer, I understand the challenges stores face with loss, violence and antisocial behaviour.
“We know the scale of the issue in Cleveland and the aim of this event was to hear from retailers themselves about what they think works well and what doesn’t.
“I’m grateful to those who attended for their invaluable insight. Their feedback will be used to inform the questions I set Cleveland Police in my next scrutiny session.”
As part of last week’s meeting, retailers were asked to consider possible solutions. The main options included enhanced communication with police, better options for reporting crime and consistency in providing CCTV evidence.
Also at the event was Cleveland Police’s retail crime lead and a representative from National Business Crime Solution (NBCS.) NBCS collects and shares data on crime affecting businesses.
This week is the National Business Crime Centre’s Safer Business Week. During the week, local police forces will conduct specific operations and crime prevention activity around business and retail crime.