Retail Crimewatch is a crime reduction initiative between the Police Service of Northern Ireland, the Department of Justice, the Public Prosecution Service and retailers that actively target prolific offenders, deterring them from entering members’ premises.

Managed jointly by the Police Service of Northern Ireland and Belfast City Centre Management, this crime reduction initiative is a UK-leading example of partnership-working between police and the retail sector.    It is the only scheme in the UK that pursues burglary charges for the most prolific offenders. 

The Police Service and Belfast City Centre Management have agreed to extend the scheme for a further three years through an Information Sharing Agreement which supports a network of retailers across Northern Ireland who share information about retail crime and prolific shoplifters.   

Key successes:-

  • There have been 127 successful burglary convictions for prolific offenders resulting in 62 custodial sentences.  
  • 70% of first-time offenders do not re-offend, which in itself is a significant deterrent to repeat crimes. 

Chief Superintendent Darrin Jones, from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, said: “We recognise the impact on a business when a crime occurs can be quite severe and, as a service, we dedicate considerable effort into working with local businesses to tackle retail related crime and in particular shoplifting.

The Retail Crimewatch sign in-store indicates that the shop is a member and is in possession of shoplifter images. This deters offenders before they even enter the store.

Anyone committing or attempting a theft or fraud within a member store, will be excluded from that store for a period of 12 months. They will also be banned from all retail Crimewatch member premises. If the offender still enters the premises, they will be doing so as a trespasser. This means that if they commit a theft they will be subject to prosecution for burglary instead of theft, facing higher penalties in sentencing.”

Geraldine Duggan, City Centre Manager, added, “We are delighted to continue our partnership with the PSNI to support the business community across NI.  Through the Retail Crimewatch scheme we can do our bit to help reduce loss, increase profit margins and protect staff. 

The retail community plays an important role in our society, by creating employment for thousands of people.  It is, however, under increasing pressure in terms of rising costs and increased aggressive shoplifting behaviour. 

The Retail Crimewatch scheme empowers retailers to identify, challenge and ultimately exclude prolific offenders from their stores. 

Recent investment in the digitalization of the scheme and work with the Public Prosecution Service to bring increased penalties, has helped make Retail Crimewatch recognized as an exemplar of best practice by the PSNI.  50% of those charged with burglary have received a custodial sentence. 

Through an Exclusion Order process and by working alongside your local police, being a member of Retail Crimewatch reduces crime and anti-social behaviour. Helping to increase profitability by reducing stock and financial loss. 

Retail theft is not a victimless crime but working together with businesses, the Police & the Public Prosecution Service; to identify prolific offenders and keep them out of stores and off the street; we can help protect businesses and protect jobs.” 

Chief Superintendent Jones added: “This new Information Sharing Agreement will empower both police and businesses to continue to tackle business crime and importantly demonstrates that we are here to support local business. We want our business owners and retailers to know they have the backing of the Police Service. At a time when so many are facing financial pressure, it’s important everyone in the community works with us. If you’re in a shop or in business premises, and you see something suspicious or staff being abused, report it to us. That piece of information can help us apprehend criminals, bring them before the Court and return stock to retailers where we can.

Working together we can reduce business crime.”