Westminster Legal Policy Forum

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Next steps for tackling shoplifting and retail crime in England and Wales

Morning, Monday, 10th June 2024

This conference focuses on next steps for tackling shoplifting and retail crime in England and Wales.

It will bring together stakeholders and policymakers to examine the launch of the NPCC’s new Retail Crime Action Plan, committing to urgently attend scenes of violent shoplifting, alongside the Pegasus initiative, a business-police partnership, which aims to improve intelligence sharing to better identify offenders.

Looking at implementation plans for the strategy, discussion will consider implications for a range of stakeholders, including proposals for increasing police presence at the scene, hotspot patrolling in high-crime areas, and development and implementation of problem-solving plans using the SARA model for high-risk areas.

Delegates will assess whether plans go far enough, looking at adequately protecting and training retail staff, and with concern over possible displacement of retail crime.

Discussion will consider priorities for effective cross-sector collaboration through data sharing and the formation of the new OPAL national team, as well as best practice for retailers in providing best possible evidence for police to pursue cases.

The conference will also be an opportunity to explore the use and suitability of using AI technologies such as facial recognition to identify repeat offenders amidst concerns over biases in the use of such technologies.

In light of the Government’s move away from short-term prison sentences, delegates will also discuss how this may affect rates of retail crime in the future, the impact on retail workers, and priorities for effective deterrent strategies moving forward.

At this early stage, we are pleased to include keynote sessions with: Katy Bourne OBE, Police and Crime Commissioner, Sussex; and James Lowman, Chief Executive, Association of Convenience Stores.

Overall, areas for discussion include:

  • current retail crime landscape: addressing key issues for small retailers - priorities moving forward in light of rising offending figures
  • Retail Crime Action Plan: assessing the scope - parameters of the Pegasus partnership - impact on stakeholders, including retailers, local authorities, police and society more broadly
  • implementation: increased hotspot policing - training priorities - protecting staff - cross-sector collaboration models - data sharing - funding and resources
  • sanctions: exploring current regulation - how the justice system can respond effectively to retail crime - priorities for reducing reoffending moving forward - addressing possible societal factors
  • alternative approaches: assessing positions of opposition parties and their strategies for tackling shoplifting and retail crime
  • innovation: the future of self-service check outs and priorities for managing retail crime with their increased use - implementing CCTV, facial recognition and new technology, including AI
  • surveillance: addressing concerns around biases, disproportionality, and increased powers for government and police - considering the use of facial recognition to tackle repeat offenders
  • policy: priorities for tackling retail crime and shoplifting moving forward

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders to consider the issues alongside key policy officials who are due to attend from DBT; the Home Office; MOJ; and the Welsh Government.

Keynote Speakers

Katy Bourne OBE

Police and Crime Commissioner, Sussex

James Lowman

Chief Executive, Association of Convenience Stores


Benedict Selvaratnam

Store Owner, Freshfields Market

Paddy Lillis

General Secretary, Usdaw

Amanda Blakeman

Chief Constable, North Wales Police; and Lead for Acquisitive Crime, NPCC

Paul Gerrard

Campaigns and Public Affairs Director, Co-op