North West official Kalindi Patel laid bare the impact that shoplifting has on independent retailers in an interview with Radio 4’s Today programme on Monday October 23.
Mrs Patel, who is the North West district’s vice president, said shoplifting was an almost daily occurrence in her store and, when alone, it was ‘frightening’.
She added that although she would confront them, “you don’t know how they will react.”
Mrs Patel, who runs a store in Ashton-Under-Lyne, said: ”Many a time you will get abuse. I have had my hand grabbed really tightly and it was bruised for days. I have been pinned against my van. I have had racial abuse and threatened with having my windows smashed in or burning the shop down.”
While she used to report instances to the police, Mrs Patel said she was disappointed at the poor response.
“The response time was too slow. The police would come to take a statement days after the incident took place and, if caught, the thieves would just get a slap on the wrist. Sometimes the police would look at our CCTV. Sometimes they wouldn’t bother.”
Also interviewed on the programme was Katy Bourne, police and crime commissioner for Sussex and the lead of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners (APCC) portfolio on business crime and road safety.
Mrs Bourne said while police forces were stretched, she would like to see a more consistent approach towards shoplifting. Prolific shoplifters should be targeted and brought to justice, she added.