Repairing the harm caused by retail crime

Published: Friday, April 14th, 2023

This is a blog by our Communications and Events Officer Keeva Baxter.


Why me? have recently reached the end of phase one of our project Putting Victims of Retail Crime First through Restorative Justice. Over the course of the last six months we have been working in Torquay to increase awareness of Restorative Justice and establish referral pathways so that more people affected by retail crime can access the healing that they need. This first stage was funded by the Home Office and the project continues to be supported by Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner. 

What did we learn?

Through speaking to retailers themselves, it became clear just how harmful and wide-reaching the impact of retail crime could be. We heard of measures being put in place to try and protect staff and customers from organised crime and repeat offending. In the video below, the General Manager of Hoopers Department store Trudi Knapman explains the effect that retail crime is having on her and her staff. 

The project revealed that retail staff feel anger, frustration, stress and fear in relation to the harm they experience at work. This in turn leads to staff absences, illness and financial loss. On top of the harm caused by the crimes themselves, many did not feel confident in the police, feeling that the reporting process was too complex, slow and not fit for purpose. 

What did we do?

Retail crime and Restorative Justice

The project aimed to build relationships between retailers, the police and the local authority whilst increasing their understanding of how restorative practices can be used to repair some of the harm caused by retail crime. 

In order to improve awareness of Restorative Justice amongst retailers in Torquay we created a poster to be displayed in retail shops with key details about the process. We also created a leaflet of key information to be distributed throughout Torquay and available nationally online. Both of these resources included contact details of the newly appointed Restorative Justice Champion.

See the leaflet


Throughout the process we had fantastic engagement from the local Restorative Justice service, Make Amends, who will be monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the work going forward. Make Amends will also be receiving referrals through the new Restorative Justice referral pathways set up in this project. 

Why me? are also on the National Retail Crime Steering Group and we aim to disseminate the learnings of this work nationally, ensuring that retailers and customers across the country can benefit from the power of Restorative Justice. Progress has already been made with the National Business Crime Centre agreeing to include information regarding Restorative Justice on their website (see image below).

Next steps?

Having completed phase one of this project, we hope to see the impact of this work through increased understanding of Restorative Justice amongst retailers and the police. This, in turn, should lead to increased referrals and more people affected by crime getting the answers and healing they need through restorative processes. Over the next 12 months we aim to monitor the impact that we have had in Torquay, identifying best practice that we can share nationally to help more retailers across the country to realise these benefits. 

Read the report


National Business Crime Centre content on Restorative Justice


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