I had the privilege of visiting Central Co-op, where I learnt more about the alarming extent of retail crime and the concerns for staff safety due to the lack of police response. As a proud Labour and Co-operative Police and Crime Commissioner candidate for Derbyshire, this visit was an eye-opener. I was taken around the stores, gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by retail workers and witnessing the measures in place to ensure safety. I also took the time to listen to colleagues who shared their experiences, shedding light on the impact of retail crime and anti-social behavior on their lives and our customers.

The British Retail Consortium released its annual Crime Survey, which covered a wide range of crimes against shop workers and businesses. The survey also assessed the response from both the police and political authorities. Shockingly, the survey revealed high levels of retail violence and abuse, with over 850 incidents reported per day and nearly a billion pounds lost to customer theft. In 2021/22 alone, there were eight million reported incidents. These numbers continue to rise, leaving retail staff feeling weary, defeated, and apprehensive about the future. (BRC survey read more –https://brc.org.uk/news/operations/brc-crime-survey-2023/)

Despite these challenges, the store managers and staff members’ enduring dedication, genuine love for their jobs and compassion for others continues to shine through. The Co-operative has invested in safety measures at all levels of the business to protect colleagues and customers, and provide a safe store environment. However, they cannot tackle this issue alone. We need to work together to find solutions to the pressing issues that are affecting colleagues everyday. As the PPC candidate, I want to reassure both staff and residents that this issue will be a top priority. Feeling safe in our homes, workplaces, and communities is a fundamental right, and ensuring that safety is paramount across Derby and Derbyshire is my commitment and that of the entire labour and co-operative movement.

My background in Criminology and International Relations, coupled with my experience in both the public and private sectors, as well as my previous role as a District Councillor and Community Safety and Engagement Cabinet Member, equip me to bring fresh ideas and a unique perspective to the position. Our community is still one that looks out for each other, and our Labour and Co-operative Police and Crime plan will leave no one behind, elevate our communities, and protect and prosper us all.

The current national situation is deeply concerning, with our public services under significant strain. Whether it’s healthcare, education, policing, or any emergency service we rely on, it’s crucial to protect and preserve our public services. I believe that through targeted investment and an effective strategic plan that addresses the issues we face, we can make a meaningful impact and achieve our shared goals. Collaboration and innovative approaches will be key to our success moving forward.

I am committed to working closely with the Co-op, the police force, partner organisations, businesses, community leaders, and the wider criminal justice system to translate our ambitions into concrete actions. By standing united in our efforts to strive for a better future, we will deliver for our staff and residents in Derbyshire.