NBCC launches national month of action to tackle soaring retail crime

The National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) is launching a month of action in March in which every police force in the country will be encouraged to hold at least one Safer Business Action Day (SaBA Day) in their area.

Feb 20, 2024
By Paul Jacques
Picture: Brian A Jackson / Shutterstock

It follows the success of last October’s targeted week of action to tackle business crime, which resulted in more than 300 arrests and thousands of positive interactions with local retailers and businesses about the issues they face.

Latest figures from the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) crime survey show violence and abuse against retail workers soared by 50 per cent last year.

The number of incidents rose to 1,300 a day in 2022/23 – up from almost 870 a day the year before.

The BRC said the cost of theft to retailers also increased – up to £1.8 billion from £953 million the previous year.

The Co-op alone recorded more than 300,000 incidents of shoplifting, abuse, violence and anti-social behaviour against its staff last year – equating to almost 1,000 incidents every day across its 2,400 stores.

The SaBA month in March will see police work with retailers and private security in a defined area for a day of targeted activity, which will include joint high-visibility patrols, proactive activity against known offenders and crime prevention campaigns.

National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) business crime lead, Assistant Commissioner Paul Betts of City of London Police, and NPCC retail crime lead Chief Superintendent Alex Goss of North Wales Police, have personally written to all chief constables asking for their support.

Each force is being asked to hold a SaBA Day in March working with their local Business Crime Reduction Partnerships and Business Improvement Districts, highlighting the important role they play in our town and cities in preventing crime.

Several forces have already conducted SaBA Days and they have proven to be an “effective and popular activity” to engage with retailers to tackle offenders, protect businesses, their staff and increase business confidence, says the NBCC.

The initiative is also recognised as best practice by the College of Policing and is included in its Practice Bank.

NBCC lead Superintendent Patrick Holdaway said: “We have been contacted by police and retailers who are keen to keep up the momentum of collaboration in the face of increasing levels of retail crime and violence against shop workers.

“Traditionally we start to see a rise in retail crime in the spring, therefore, that’s why we have proposed a targeted month of action in March.

“It allows forces to better plan resources, gives the retailers and private security opportunities to support in multiple locations, and disrupts and deters prolific offenders.

“We already have over 25 police forces confirmed as taking part and we are confident that with retail crime being such a significant problem for local communities, all forces will get behind the SaBA month and plan some proactive operations.”

The NBCC is in the process of updating the SaBA Day branding to share with forces but the current guidance and branding can be accessed via the website https://nbcc.police.uk/business-support/saba-days

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