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Policing Minister declines meeting Portsmouth retailers and city MP to take action on rising shoplifting

By 4 January 2024No Comments

The Minister for Policing, Chris Philp, has declined a request to meet with our city’s small businesses, retailers, and Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan to discuss rising levels of shoplifting in Portsmouth and actions the Government could take.

Mr Morgan wrote to the Policing Minister last month after listening to concerns of local retailers in Southsea and across Portsmouth and visiting a number of local stores to hear the impact on shopworkers and customers.

Shoplifting has reached a record high under the Conservatives, as the number of incidents reportedly top 1,000 per day across the country.

Data provided by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary has also shown that reported incidents between April and September nearly doubled since last year.

The city MP requested that the Minister visit the city to see the issues first-hand or meet with Mr Morgan and representatives of local businesses to discuss what actions can be taken to tackle the crisis. However, the Minister declined both of these offers.

Commenting, Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan said:  

“Local businesses and our city’s retailers have raised serious concerns with me about the rising rate of shoplifting which now increasingly seems to be going unpunished, and the impact this is having on their staff and customers.

“The government is not doing nearly enough to tackle this problem which is why I have been lobbying government and wrote to the Minister for Policing asking him to come to Portsmouth to see the issues local retailers are dealing with and discuss solutions with them. But unfortunately, the Minister has declined this offer.

“Ministers can’t keep burying their heads in the sand on this issue of concern. I will therefore continue to work with local retailers and lobby the government to start listening to Portsmouth businesses and treat this issue with the urgency is requires”.

Mr Morgan has provided strong backing to USDAW throughout their campaign to protect shop workers from abuse, making several parliamentary interventions to hold the Government to account. He has been listening to concerns locally, meeting with local police and retailers and meeting with shop workers to hear concerns.

Labour has put forward a package of measures to address this issue, including adding 13,000 more neighbourhood police officers with guaranteed patrols in town centres, implementing Respect Orders to ban repeat offenders from town centres, and creating a standalone offence for assaulting workers serving the public.

Additionally, Labour plans to eliminate the £200 threshold for investigating and prosecuting shop theft.