OFFICERS from Devon & Cornwall Police are supporting a national week of action to strengthen relationships between retail, security staff and police in an effort to tackle business crime.

The initiative begins today, Monday, October 16, co-ordinated by the National Business Crime Centre (NBCC) that aims to equip business owners and security staff with the tools to tackle business crime and raise awareness of the support available to help protect them and their organisations.

During the week of action local policing teams across Devon & Cornwall will carry out various crime prevention activities and initiatives to increase engagement with local businesses and retail outlets.

They will also aim to improve relationships and offer signposting advice to help prevent crimes from occurring in the first place.

Businesses can be affected by a wide variety of crimes from theft, burglary and cyber crime to abusive or violent behaviour directed at staff.

A Safer Business Action event is all about partnership working, with the police, business, private security, Business Crime Reduction Partnerships and Business Improvement Districts, working together to reduce crime.

Crime Prevention and Business Crime Lead for Devon & Cornwall Police, Joe Champness, said: 'In recent years, the business community has experienced a range of new threats that have been further compounded by the rising cost of living.

'Businesses have become more vulnerable to crime and, through a partnership approach, we are looking to tackle the issues being faced.

'This week of action will enable us to undertake targeted responses to issues being faced in the business community. It also allows us to engage with businesses throughout the force to better understand their issues, and work in collaboration to develop long term solutions.

'The week of action will see officers and staff carry out targeted operations and store visits, offer crime prevention advice and take part in high visibility reassurance patrols.'

Some of the events taking place during the week of action include:

► Pop up crime prevention advice stands in busy shopping areas such as Honiton, Exmouth, Exeter, Barnstaple, Torquay, Plymouth and Newquay. The Exeter event takes place on Monday, October 16, between 12-2pm at Tesco store in Rydon Lane.

► Plain clothed officers taking part in anti shoplifting operations

► Linking in with local Business Improvement District (BID) managers and other business community partners to discuss concerns and find solutions

► Visits to licensed premises to offer advice around anti-social behaviour

► Patrols with local Councillors to better understand the local concerns in places such as North Devon

Devon and Cornwall Police and Crime Commissioner Alison Hernandez said: 'I speak to too many hard-working retailers whose livelihoods and welfare is threatened by shoplifting and too many people who run their own businesses who are sick of having vital tools and equipment stolen from their premises and vehicles.

'I am pleased Devon and Cornwall Police is sending the message that this will not be tolerated and would urge businesses to work with the force by ensuring all crime is reported. It is only when we have a true and accurate picture of an issue we can put in place the necessary resources to counter it.'

► For further help and advice on business safety, click here.

► Businesses can also sign up to Devon & Cornwall Alert two way messaging system to receive emails or text messages relevant to your local area by clicking here.