FWD urges the Government to include wholesale sector in Crime Bill

The FWD has urged the Government to ensure that the wholesale sector is included in the forthcoming Crime Bill.

James Bielby: ‘It is vital for the wholesale industry to be considered and represented in these plans to tackle crime.’

In a letter to the home secretary Suella Braverman, FWD chief executive James Bielby said: “With approximately £10 billion worth of trade passing through cash & carry depots, it has become commonplace for personal belongings and purchases, including bags of tobacco worth up to £5,000, to be stolen from customers in cash & carry car parks and then sold on the unrestricted black market.”

There has also been an increase in thefts of tobacco from wholesale vehicles in transit, with limited police response.

The FWD says that the loss of these high-value items is costing legitimate wholesale business and the Exchequer, and that more support is needed from the police. Wholesalers have played their part by investing in crime prevention measures and, in some cases, criminals have been caught on CCTV, yet cases are often not pursued by the police.

“Many thefts often involve violence and intimidation, endangering our members, their employees and customers,” Bielby added.

As part of its ongoing commitment to support its wholesale members, the FWD’s crime reporting system collates incidents to monitor the rate and severity of these crimes. This follows a recent crime survey by the Federation where 100% of wholesalers surveyed – representing 80% of the wholesale industry – identified crime as one of their foremost concerns, primarily attributed to inadequate police responsiveness. FWD also convenes a Crime Forum for members to discuss the impact of rising cases of wholesale crime.

The FWD says that improved police prioritisation of thefts at cash & carry premises is vital, as is continued funding for law enforcement measures in this area. Proposed age restrictions on the purchase of tobacco could lead to increased crimes against wholesalers, driving black market sales.

“The FWD welcomes the launch of the Retail Crime Action Plan and the Government’s plans to introduce a Crime Bill in the King’s speech,” said Bielby. “However, it is vital for the wholesale industry to be considered and represented in these plans to tackle crime.”


Published Date: October 31, 2023
Category: Wholesale Industry News