Repeat retail offending focus of new police unit
A new police unit is being established to focus on repeat retail offending in New Zealand.
The National Retail Investigation Support Unit is being set up to address patterns of high priority repeat retail offending across the country.
Police commissioner Andrew Coster made the announcement at the Retail NZ Summit in Wellington on Monday.
“We have heard Retail NZ’s concerns and see this as a real opportunity to work in partnership to address them,” says Coster.
The Unit will partner with the retail sector and crime prevention organisations to draw on current data, identify patterns and work with local staff to better address repeat offending.
“Working together allows us to make the most of our resources: the sector understands the changing crime environment and Police can provide strategic support, core policing and prevention activity and advice.
“There are also other opportunities to share information to address the offending.”
Retail NZ reports $1 billion a year in losses from retail offending.
“The financial impact of this offending is significant however we’re also seeing an impact on the safety, wellbeing and health of people working in retail in New Zealand,” says Coster.
“No retail worker or customer should experience fear or trauma when going about their day-to-day activities and the establishment of this Unit signals our continued commitment to ensuring everyone can be safe and feel safe.”
The Unit will primarily be made up of police with specialist staff seconded from within the retail sector and other crime prevention organisations.
Retail NZ, the lead representative body for the retail sector, says the establishment of the new Unit is a hugely positive step.
“Retail NZ has been calling for the establishment of a dedicated Retail Crime Taskforce for some time, and the increasing levels of violence, aggression and anti-social behaviour makes this more important than ever,” says Retail NZ Chief Executive Greg Harford.
“Sharing information and ensuring focus on repeat offenders is a key way retailers and Police can help keep everyone safe in the retail environment.
“Retail NZ looks forward to working with Police on this initiative and other ways to support the retail sector over the coming months.”
The Unit is expected to be up and running in the first quarter of 2022.