Putting victims first: Restorative Justice for Retail Crime

Shopping trolleysThis is a ground-breaking, victim-centred restorative retail project, supported by the Home Office and Devon & Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC). It is taking place within Torquay town centre with a view to rolling out good practice and learning nationally through the National Retail Crime Steering Group. The project is a three phase, 18 month project running from the 1st October 2022 to 31st March 2024. The first phase, covering six months between October 2022 and March 2023, is funded by the Home Office and supported by the Devon & Cornwall PCC and retailers throughout its lifespan.

Work so far has included retail and stakeholder workshops, distribution of posters and leaflets to retailers, collecting victim testimonies, establishing referral routes and appointing a dedicated Restorative Justice champion from the local Neighbourhood Policing team. 


  • Retail staff feel safer and more confident to talk about the impact of crime on their working lives. 
  • Greater confidence of staff, police and retailers to use Restorative Justice to deter offenders and improve victim satisfaction.
  • Reduction in local assaults on retail staff.
  • Reduced absences of retail staff.
  • New evidence base and gaps highlighted to improve strategic understanding of the impact of Restorative Justice and its value for money.
  • Higher reporting levels and prosecutions gained from increased confidence in the police.

What are we doing?

We are delivering an 18 month, Home Office supported project based in Torquay where we are supporting the victims of retail crime through the use of restorative approaches. 

  • Conducting workshops and surveys to establish the current reality for retailers.
  • Working closely with 5 shops to develop best practice.
  • Identifying a dedicated Police Officer as a local Restorative Justice champion.
  • Delivering a training workshop for retail staff.
  • Delivering a communications workshop for stakeholders.
  • Distributing leaflets to retailers promoting victims’ rights and access to Restorative Justice. 
  • Distributing posters to retailers to widen awareness of Restorative Justice.
  • Improving access to restorative services.
  • Enabling direct and indirect Restorative Justice for suitable cases.

Why are we doing it?

The most recent Retail Crime Survey, published in May 2022, identifies concerning data indicating the reality for victims of retail crime, in particular violence and abuse towards retail workers.

  • Incidents of violence and abuse soared to 1301 incidents a day in 2020-21 (up from 455 the previous year). 
  • There were 21 incidents a day of violence with injury; 104 a day of violence without injury; and 1176 abusive incidents a day.
  • Only 4% of incidents of violence and abuse resulted in a prosecution. 
  • Only 3% were dealt with as aggravated offences. 
  • 96 out of every 100 victims were potentially failed by the justice and police system or from failure to report the incident.

A local survey also found that 75% of survey respondents rated police response to retail crime as ‘Very poor’ or ‘Poor’.

Why me?'s retail crime leaflet

Download the leaflet

To find out more about this work, please contact us at info@why-me.org.

© 2023 Why me? Charity no. 1137123. Company no. 6992709.