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Business rate reform called for as industry reacts to landslide Labour election win

9 Jul 2024

Following Labour’s general election win, the retail industry has stressed the need for a business rates overhaul to protect high streets across the country.
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Bira calls on new Labour government to prioritise independent retail sector

9 Jul 2024

Following Labour’s landslide Election victory, Bira, the British Independent Retailers Association, has urged the new government to make good on its promise of change by prioritising the... Read more…

Much loved toyshop saved by owner's daughter

9 Jul 2024

A much-loved toy shop in Aberystwyth that was facing closure has been saved after the former shopkeeper's daughter decided to take over the reins.
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Inverness-based retailer wins coveted Drapers Award for Best Independent Footwear Retailer

9 Jul 2024

A family-owner retailer in Inverness, Begg Shoes, has been named Best Independent Footwear Retailer at the 2024 Drapers Footwear Awards, held annually to celebrate the outstanding achievements... Read more…

'Pay-as-you-feel' barber wins hairdressing award

9 Jul 2024

A man who offers "pay-as-you-feel" haircuts has been named the UK's best barber.
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The Times publishes its list of the seven best shopping streets in the UK

24 Jun 2024

The Times has just published its list of the seven best shopping streets in the UK.
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Indie retail village wins Hospitality Hero Velvet Award for 2024

24 Jun 2024

An independent retail village in Ely that celebrates its one-year anniversary this month has won the Hospitality Hero Velvet Award for 2024.
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Bike shop owner slams police’s “abject apathy” after three shops broken into in one night

24 Jun 2024

A cycle shop owner has criticised the police’s “abject apathy” towards bike theft after thieves attempted to break into his store for the second time in a year, on the same... Read more…

A simple comparison of the General Election manifestos

24 Jun 2024

With less than three weeks to go until the General Election, Bira has produced a simple table comparing manifestos for Labour, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Reform UK, and... Read more…

Independents Day message - supporting independent shops boosts local jobs and economies.

24 Jun 2024

With the annual Independents’ Day weekend coming up on July 6th and 7th, independent retailers have been reinforcing the message that supporting independent shops boosts... Read more…

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Trade association welcomes Home Office ‘back-to-basics’ retail crime promise

Posted on in Business News

The recent pledge by police forces across England and Wales to pursue every lead that holds a reasonable chance of apprehending criminals and solving crimes has been welcomed by Bira, which works with over 6,000 independent businesses of all sizes across the UK.

police cars It described this ‘back-to-basics’ approach as marking “a significant milestone in addressing the rising concerns of retail crime, particularly theft and violence, from an independent trader’s perspective.” Bira CEO Andrew Goodacre, said it was important that all crimes be reported for the method to work properly.

He said: “We must stress the need to report these crimes, as it is the most effective way to prompt police prioritisation. Our collaboration with law enforcement is crucial to restoring safety and confidence among retailers.

“Over the past few weeks, Bira has been actively raising concerns about the surge in retail crime and its impact on the independent retail sector. This initiative led to us meeting with the minister for policing, police and crime commissioners, chief constables, and other retail groups, reaffirming the urgent need to address these issues and bolster retailer confidence,” he added.

Bira’s contribution to the British Retail Consortium‘s (BRC) survey further highlights the severity of the situation.

“The survey reveals a staggering 27% increase in reported incidents over the past 12 months, with the total value of theft exceeding £2.8bn. This escalating problem, coupled with escalating violence towards retail employees, necessitates a more proactive approach from relevant authorities.

“Shop theft, while not new, has flourished due to years of low prioritisation by the police, resulting in a low-risk, high-reward environment that now involves highly organised elements. Independent retailers have voiced their concerns, likening the problem to looting incidents, with offenders growing increasingly audacious,” added Goodacre.

To regain control of our high streets, Bira advocates for several critical measures:

  • Simplifying the process of reporting crimes and submitting relevant evidence, addressing the hours-long ordeal faced by some retailers when completing online forms.
  • Targeting regular offenders with prosecutions and banning orders, as a high percentage of crimes are committed by this group.
  • Providing clarity on the use of evidence and images, including CCTV and mobile recordings.
  • Increasing police presence on high streets, leveraging the higher numbers of police officers and PCSOs.
  • Ensuring that convictions lead to custodial sentences for perpetrators.
  • Dismantling the networks employed by organised criminals to traffic stolen goods.

A failure to curb shop theft and anti-social behaviours threatens to transform our high streets into no-go zones, endangering a vital aspect of our society. Figures show that despite the growth of online shopping, more than 70% of retail sales still occur in physical stores. High streets foster community interactions, social gatherings, and meaningful connections.

Bira said it acknowledges that while the retail landscape is evolving, our high streets remain essential for creating welcoming and safe spaces.

Goodacre added: “Isolation is detrimental to people, as we’ve learned from Covid. High streets provide contact, social gatherings, and interaction – they require our support now more than ever to ensure their preservation.”

“The commitment by police forces to pursue leads and solve crimes is a significant step towards achieving this goal. Bira stands ready to work collaboratively with all stakeholders to enhance security and safety on our high streets.”

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