Retail New Zealand is calling on the Government to set up a police taskforce to combat retail crime and introduce spot-fines for petty offences.
Retail crime costs the country about $1 billion a year in losses.
“Retail crime is a serious problem for retailers, consumers and the economy as a whole,” said Retail NZ’s general manager for public affairs Greg Harford.
“Retailers are already working to prevent and deter crime, but retail crime is growing, becoming more menacing and more violent. Criminal gangs are increasingly active in retail crime, and urgent steps are needed.”
The organisation called for a “three-point action plan”, which included a national Retail Crime Taskforce within the police, a social-change programme, and an infringement notice penalty regime for petty offences.
Harford said the infringements for less serious crime wouldn’t tie up resources.
“Theft as part of an organised crime group needs to be treated extremely seriously and robust prison terms should apply to those committing crimes for a gang or syndicate.