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Crime Prevention: Retail Trade

Volume 507: debated on Monday 15 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with shopkeepers and representatives of small businesses to identify methods of enhancing the security and safety of their properties and staff. (321469)

I chair the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) which was set up by the Home Office in partnership with the British Retail Consortium in 2007. The NRCSG provides a forum for representatives from Government, law enforcement agencies, the larger retailers and business and trade organisations such the Association of Convenience Stores and Federation of Small Businesses to discuss and devise strategies for tackling crimes of concern to retailers and includes addressing the security and safety of staff and premises.

The NRCSG published a joint Retail Crime Action Plan which details a range of work to tackle crime. For details of the plan see:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/retail-crime-action-plan.html

Both the Home Office and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) fully support USDAW 's Freedom from Fear campaign to promote the safety and well-being of shop workers. We are working with the HSE to help reduce the incidence of work-related violence in the retail sector. In October 2008, the HSE published a toolkit to help employers cut the risk of violence against shop workers. The toolkit provides practical advice on how to conduct a risk assessment and how to take action to prevent or control work-related violence. It contains information on a wide range of possible control measures and good practice that other businesses have found effective.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions he has had with representatives of the security industry on the provision of cheaper and more up-to-date security systems for shops and small business premises. (321470)

I chair the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG), which provides a forum for representatives from Government, law enforcement agencies, the larger retailers and business and trade organisations such the Association of Convenience Stores and Federation of Small Businesses to discuss and devise strategies for tackling crimes of concern to retailers.

My advice on security systems and equipment is provided by the Home Office Scientific Development Branch which is a key member of the NRCSG. They are preparing a CCTV standards leaflet for small shops and for licensed premises to contain all the basic information on what to expect from a CCTV system, and provides a list of key requirements such as minimum image quality, recording, camera placement.

We are currently distributing the Small Retailers Capital Grants Fund which is designed to help fight crime and is being allocated to around 1,000 small retailers in 50 priority areas across England and Wales. The grants are being used for a variety of purposes including purchasing security equipment for individual retailers such as CCTV; infrared security cameras; security shutters and rollers; safes; alarms; anti-fraud equipment such as UV markers to detect counterfeit notes, and anti-graffiti paint.