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On Monday 18 October, The NFRN met with representatives of West Mercia’s Police and Crime Commissioner to discuss the force’s future and current plans to tackle retail crime within the area.

Whilst Commissioner John Campion was unable to attend the meeting, the representatives understood the need to tackle the rising incidences and have already began a plan to distribute officers to certain area. The Commissioner already supports both #SHOPKIND campaign and the We Don’t Buy Crime scheme, the force’s response to acquisitive crime such as burglary and theft, and any other associated harms. The We Don’t Buy Crime initiative was launched to combat the rise of burglaries in Cleobury Mortimer, a small town within the West Mercia district, and saw the Commissioner and the local parish council provide each resident with a SmartWater Forensic Property Marking Kit. The initiative was so successful it was implemented in other towns and villages across the counties covered by West Mercia Police and now hundreds of towns and villages in Herefordshire, Shropshire and Worcestershire are signed up to the initiative. We Don’t Buy Crime currently has five key strands along with West Mercia towns and villages. West Mercia police now has a team dedicated for business crime.

More recently, the Commissioner has launched the Safer West Mercia plan, which allows communities the chance to shape the final vision. The plan promises to put the victims of crime first, at the heart of the criminal justice system and ensuring an appropriate range of support services for everyone affected by crime. The Commissioner also promises to build a more secure West Mercia, focusing on reducing crime and reoffending, alongside reassuring the communities of West Mercia, empowering communities, and ensuring all communities can access their police service. This plan centralises on the hopes to ensure all individuals are dealt with fairly, equally, and respectfully.

However, the representatives understood more work needs to be done and will work alongside the NFRN to help tackle the rising number of retail incidences. Speaking to the NFRN, Commissioner John Campion said: “I am proud to support an organisation that offers to support our local communities by providing essential services as well as giving independent retailers a voice”

The commissioners 2021 Crime Plans will be published in December, but West Mercia members can discover more and learn about the proposed initiatives here: https://www.westmercia-pcc.gov.uk/pcc-launches-new-plan-to-deliver-a-safer-west-mercia/

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