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The Federation of Independent Retailers (NFRN) is calling for immediate action over new statistics which highlight a significant rise in shop thefts and a fall in police action.

NFRN National President Stuart Reddish is urging the government to take further action as, although incidents of retail crime have increased, there has been a considerable decrease in the total number of relating prosecutions and cautions.

The statistics were revealed following a Written Parliamentary Question by Laurence Robertson MP asking the Ministry of Justice to disclose the number of people who have been imprisoned for shop theft in each year since 2010.

Though Home Office figures show that incidents of retail theft have increased from 305,896 in 2010 to 382,100 in 2018, there has been a reduction of individuals which have been “proceeded against” from 72,608 to 44,795 and a reduction of cautions from 38,930 to 5,514.

The statistics also show that the percentage of shop thefts that are being dealt with by the justice system stands at 13 per cent, down from 36 per cent. This is at the same time that there has been an increase in incidents of 19.9 per cent.

Mr Reddish said: “The answers the Ministry of Justice has given to Mr Robertson’s question shows that the Home Office does not have a grip on this issue. Even using their figures on the number of shoplifting offences that are taking place, this is a worryingly small number of perpetrators that are being punished.

“If it’s a reality that the number of incidents reported only stands at 15 per cent of the true value, this is completely shocking. Our members are working on a 3 or 4 per cent margin and to have an incident of shop theft can mean a business can no longer afford to function. The government needs to recognise that retail theft needs to be seen as a priority.”

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