Priti Patel, MP for Stanway has highlighted her support for reform to tackle crime and help shopkeepers who become victims of theft, burglaries and violence.
Speaking at the Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group meeting where a report from the Centre of Social Justice was launched, the Essex MP said shopkeepers had lost confidence in the criminal justice system.
The report was compiled with the Association of Convenience Stores, whose members own shops in the Stanway and Witham constituency and across the country.
Priti, who is a previous Chair of the Small Shops APPG, said: “Shopkeepers have lost confidence in the criminal justice system to take their concerns seriously and tackle shop theft.
“For too long retail crime has been treated as low level and this let’s down the victims who are often on the receiving end of violence, abuse and threats. Criminals are getting away with it and this must stop.”
“This report highlights why it is important to support victims and also shows that most offenders are prolific criminals who have addiction problems.
“By tackling retail crime and thefts the criminal justice system can keep our streets safer and ensure that offenders are put into a secure environment where they can get treatment and help. By ignoring these crimes the justice system is letting everyone down.”
It is estimated there could be 38 million shop thefts a year costing over £6 billion, with the numbers reported to police significantly lower than the reality. In Essex around 9,700 shop thefts were reported last year. Around 32 per cent of offenders have drug addiction problems.
The Essex MP added: “In my constituency I have been working with businesses and the police to increase focus on tackling retail crime and this report shows why it is important that police across the country do this and the criminal justice system does more to help victims.”
The report highlights the need for the police, CPS and Government to do more to tackle retail crime, take the impact on shopkeepers and shop staff more seriously and the need to apprehend offenders who can then be dealt with through drug treatment programmes.