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Indie retailers say policing minister’s citizen’s arrest solution to retail crime is ‘high risk’

9 Oct 2023

Policing minister Chris Philp has encouraged shop workers to make ‘citizen’s arrests’ on shoplifters, a message branded as ‘dangerous and irresponsible’  by... Read more…

Budleigh traders launch campaign to attract more shoppers.

9 Oct 2023

A group of independent traders in Budleigh Salterton have started a campaign to attract more shoppers.
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Tech could drive more business for indie retailers this Christmas

9 Oct 2023

New research from Square and Clearpay indicates consumer confidence is rising, with 72% of consumers planning to spend more or the same this coming holiday season compared to last year,... Read more…

Full line-up announced for 2023 Bookshop Day this Saturday.

9 Oct 2023

Miriam Margolyes, Richard Armitage and Tomi Oyemakinde will be among the authors headlining events at this year’s Bookshop Day taking place this Saturday 14th October.
Read more…

Shop owners demand new offence for attacks on retail workers

4 Oct 2023

Shop owners have called on the Home Secretary to specifically outlaw attacks on retail workers.
Read more…

Are you up to speed with new ban on single-use plastics?

4 Oct 2023

From the start of October, bans and restrictions on single-use plastic cutlery, polystyrene cups and food containers, single-use balloon sticks and certain types of polystyrene cups and... Read more…

Cash still crucial for UK’s independent retailers

27 Sep 2023

A recent survey of retailers across the UK has shown that cash remains a crucial payment method for independent shops.
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Almost 2,000 more independent shops left empty in the first half of this year

27 Sep 2023

Almost 2,000 more British independent shops were left empty in the first half of this year, as small businesses struggled to cope with rising inflation and the cost-of-living crisis.
Read more…

Indie shops in Liverpool create their own security network to combat shoplifters.

27 Sep 2023

An independent shop owner in Liverpool has said that independent shops in the city centre have taken to creating their own security WhatsApp group, warning each other of shoplifters in the... Read more…

Indie shops key to reversing fortunes of struggling high streets – university study finds.

27 Sep 2023

A focus on independent and ‘browse-only’ shops can help to reverse the fortunes of the struggling high street, according to an extensive study by Manchester Metropolitan University.
Read more…

Indie retailers say policing minister’s citizen’s arrest solution to retail crime is ‘high risk’

Posted on in Business News

Policing minister Chris Philp has encouraged shop workers to make ‘citizen’s arrests’ on shoplifters, a message branded as ‘dangerous and irresponsible’  by retail union USDAW.

Chris Philip

At the Conservative party conference in Manchester, Philp said: “I would also just remind everyone that the wider public, including shop staff and security guards, do have the power of citizen’s arrest and where it’s safe to do so I would encourage that to be used. Because if you do just let people walk in and take stuff and walk out without proper challenge, including potentially a physical challenge, then it will just escalate.”

However, national president of the Fed Muntazir Dipoti said this tactic is “high risk” and advised against it.

He said: “When shop staff challenge thieves they are often subject to abuse and sometimes assault. We tell our staff to never try to physically stop a crime. It goes without saying that we would never want our customers to expose themselves to this high risk either.”

USDAW general secretary Paddy Lillis agreed: “This kind of ‘DIY policing’ is dangerous and irresponsible. The minister needs to rethink his strategy, invest in putting more police on the beat and introduce a standalone offence for assaulting a shop worker, like they have in Scotland.

“USDAW’s very clear advice to our members is not to intervene or try to detain a shoplifter, their priority is to keep themselves safe. The retail employers we deal with also give the same advice to their staff. So it demonstrates a complete lack of understanding by the minister to suggest staff should be doing the job of the police.

“We are even more alarmed that he suggests the public should be performing citizen’s arrests in stores. Our members suffered first-hand when the public tried to police each other on Covid rules, with fights breaking out in aisles and shop workers refereeing arguments between customers. We do not want to see a return to that.”

The minister added that he is also planning to tackle crime levels by enabling facial CCTV images to be matched with information on passports and other government databases. However, it will take an estimated two years to create the IT system.

Members of the Fed and British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) are calling for alternative solutions to citizen’s arrests and a new IT system and are asking the government to provide a £1,500 grant to help them cope with rising crime levels.

Dipoti commented that, to tackle shoplifting, increased resources are needed for the police and judiciary, and retailers also need better CCTV and other security equipment to help police with investigations.

Dipoti added: “We want the police to be able to attend more crimes and quickly. But the Fed is urging the UK and Scottish governments to provide a £1,500 grant to small shops which can’t afford the security they need.”

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