Aiming to support businesses and clamp down on retail crime, the Police and Crime Commissioner's (PCC) Retail Crime Strategy has been launched.

This scheme has been developed with insight from retailers, business groups, and the Thames Valley Police.

The strategy details concrete actions to combat shoplifting, retail crime, and violence against store employees.

The approach is built on six key pillars – Intelligence, Enforcement, Partnership, Prevention, Justice, and Reassurance.

PCC Matthew said: "Many people see retail crime as a victimless crime, but it has a profound impact on retail staff, customers and the wider economy."

He further elaborated that a series of tangible steps would be taken, including starting a Business Crime Team within Thames Valley Police and improving investigations to identify regular offenders.

Matthew added: "A core aim of the strategy is to enhance the collaboration between businesses and the police to better tackle retail crime in addition to the policing response."

As part of improving this coordination, his office will soon provide access to Disc – an online information-sharing and reporting platform.

This will enable retailers to report crimes like shoplifting and anti-social behaviour more efficiently, eliminating the need to dial 101 to report a crime.

Speaking about the overall impact of these measures, Matthew said: "Taken together, I hope these measures will deliver a more visible, targeted and robust response to retail crime, increase the security and confidence of local businesses and help make high streets and retail spaces across the Thames Valley safer for us all."

Christian Bunt, Assistant Chief Constable for Thames Valley Police, said: "Thames Valley Police is supporting the launch of the Retail Crime Strategy alongside the Police and Crime Commissioner, Matthew Barber."

He shared that they understood the frustrations of the retail sector and believed the new strategy would facilitate collaborative efforts with partners and the wider criminal justice system to bring culprits to justice.

The Chief Executive of the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), James Lowman, expressed pleasure at the prioritising of retail crime by the PCC.

He said: "Partnership working and information sharing are the keys to making this strategy work, and we want all retailers to engage with the police, report all crime and work together to identify and apprehend the prolific repeat offenders who blight communities."

Nicki Juniper, Head of Security and Shrinkage at John Lewis Partnership, expressed her optimism about the new approach.

She said: "Retail crime is not victimless, it has an emotional and financial impact on retail workers and customers.

"We look forward to working collaboratively with Thames Valley Police, and others in the sector, to keep our Partners and customers safe."

Echoing this sentiment, Richard McGuire, Contract Security Manager from Mitie, said: "The new Retail Crime Strategy is a welcome initiative that aims to protect businesses and customers in the Thames Valley from the impact of retail crime."

He expressed confidence that the strategy will have a positive impact on preventing and addressing retail crime for businesses and consumers.