Open Letter to Manchester Businesses: Addressing Retail Crime & Anti-Social Behaviour

October 2023

Re: Retail Crime and Anti-Social Behaviour

Dear Manchester business,

You will have seen recent national media coverage on the issue of retail crime. Much of the coverage has focused on an alleged unwillingness on the part of the police to respond to reports of retail crime, or to deal with offenders, and this is likely to have increased insecurity and caused worry to business owners and managers across the country.

What we are particularly concerned about is that businesses may stop reporting issues to the police as a result of such coverage.

CityCo and Manchester City Centre Business Improvement District (BID) want to make clear the position of Greater Manchester Police (GMP) and Manchester’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership (the BCRP, run by CityCo, The City Centre Management Company) on the issue.

GMP and the BCRP have worked in partnership with businesses in the city centre for well over a decade. We have been successful in addressing issues around retail crime and anti-social behaviour through a partnership approach.

While we are never complacent (and there are concerns about anti-social activity in the city centre as there are elsewhere), currently retail theft is at, or around, the level it was pre-Covid.

We want to take this opportunity to assure your business managers that GMP treats retail crime seriously, and wants all reports of retail crime to be reported. This is particularly important if crime takes the form of an assault or other violence – these are a major priority for the force, and maximum reporting is encouraged.

If you are a member of the BCRP, lower-level issues of anti-social behaviour or verbal abuse can be reported through the DISC (a secure reporting system for crime and anti-social behaviour) app your team should be registered for. This provides an opportunity for the BCRP, Manchester City Council’s anti-social behaviour team and GMP to build up cases against individuals which may, at the extreme, result in banning orders from the city centre and other civil action including Community Protection warnings or Injunctions and Criminal Behaviour Orders.

GMP’s provision in the city centre has grown substantially in recent months, with more officers on the beat and the growth of neighbourhood policing teams, accompanied by a major on-going operation around Piccadilly. We would urge you to report any issues you may be facing either directly to GMP or through the BCRP.

Later in the year, the BCRP, Manchester City Centre BID and GMP will be working together on a campaign to address how low-level anti-social behaviour often results in aggression towards service and retail staff. This will reinforce how the business crime partnership in Manchester can help gather intelligence on issues in the public realm and in premises.


  • Superintendent Phil Surgeon, Greater Manchester Police
  • Councillor Luthfur Rahman, Manchester City Council
  • Vaughan Allen, Chief Exec, CityCo & Manchester City Centre BID
  • David Allinson, Chair, CityCo
  • Jane Sharrocks, Chair, Manchester City Centre BID