POLICE are working with businesses to tackle crime in shops, with new figures showing retail crime costs the industry £1.9 billion per year.

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium’s Retail Crime Survey showed that the cost of policing and dealing with knife crime in shops was up 12 per cent in 2018 from the previous year.

Spending on dealing with losses caused by customer theft alone rose to over £700 million.

The figures also show that on average, 115 shop employees across the country were attacked with knives every day in 2018.

Approximately 70 per cent of respondents nationwide described the police response to retail crime as poor or very poor.

And while opinions showed the police response was generally better for violent incidents, as compared to customer theft or fraud, only 20 per cent of respondents considered the response good or excellent.

Chief Inspector James Baker from West Mercia Police said the force is working with businesses to tackle the issues raised by the report in the local area, saying: "Most people will be very aware of the national concern around knife crime and while it is a relatively rare crime in our area, we will continue to be proactive in ensuring that this remains the case.

"We take all reports of knife crime extremely seriously, including those affecting local businesses.

"We will continue to work closely with those businesses to raise awareness in order to prevent these sorts of crimes from happening in the first place."

Helen Dickinson OBE, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium, said: “Retail crime should be explicitly addressed by Police and Crime Plans.

"Furthermore, Parliament must play its part in stemming this tide of crime by creating a specific criminal offence to protect retail employees from assault at work, as has been done for emergency workers.”