By Daniel Hunter

Retailers are offering to work with candidates standing for election as Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to help them reduce overall crime. In return, the retail sector is looking for support with reducing the escalating cost of retail crime - up 31 per cent last year to £1.4 billion.

Exactly six months before the new PCCs are due to take up their posts across the country, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) is providing guidance for everyone standing on the importance of working with the retail sector to create safer communities.

Retailers are asking for:
- Business crime to be included in police force strategic plans.
- Inclusion in local Community Safety Partnerships.
- A clear strategy to tackle violence and anti-social behaviour affecting retail employees.
- Better co-ordination of policing against offences that cross force area boundaries.

The British Retail Consortium's (BRC's) latest annual crime survey showed the bill has risen because businesses are increasingly being targeted by more serious and organised criminals. Retailers are also investing more and more of their own money in crime prevention measures.

"Retail is at the heart of all our communities. It can be vulnerable, as last summer's riots showed, but it's also a valuable resource in the fight against crime. In six months' time, when the newly elected Police and Crime Commissioners officially take up their posts, we want to make sure they know how a good relationship with the retail sector will benefit them and local people," British Retail Consortium Director General, Stephen Robertson, said.

"Retailers want to be part of safe neighbourhoods. More than two thirds of retailers are already involved in local initiatives to cut crime. Let's make sure that number grows. In return, retailers deserve to benefit from reliable policing which recognises the important role they play in providing jobs and services; contributing to vibrant communities."

The BRC's guidance says; retailers are excellently placed to support local policing efforts and to help with resources, such as office space and access to CCTV. People committing crime against retailers are often involved in other illegal activity so dealing with them effectively will help PCCs meet their main objective of reducing overall crime. People's perception of crime levels will also be shaped by what they see in their stores and hear from others in the local community, including the one in nine of the working population who are employed in retailing.

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