Following her calls for more action to help small shopkeepers in light of soaring shoplifting in Avon & Somerset, Labour’s PCC candidate, Clare Moody, has welcomed the Metro Mayor’s new fund to help owners of independent shops install security equipment to deter criminals. The Safer Shops West fund will provide up to £2,000 for each retailer to get equipment such as CCTV, hand held radios and body cams to protect their premises and, where necessary, help them to collect evidence. Office for National Statistics (ONS) data has revealed that reported cases of shoplifting in Avon & Somerset have rocketed by 41% in the last year, well above the national average increase of 25%. Ms Moody said: “Mayor Dan Norris’ new fund will be warmly welcomed by our local shopkeepers and retail workers in the absence of any concrete action from local and national Conservatives. “They have merely presided over 13 years of rising crime, with communities feeling more unsafe and public confidence in the police plummeting. “This shows it’s only Labour who prioritises the safety and livelihoods of our shopkeepers, and only by voting Labour will we get the change our communities and our country desperately needs.”