Police should have a zero tolerance approach to shoplifting, and investigate even if the stolen goods are worth less than £200, the policing minister said.
Chris Philp told The Daily Telegraph forces must look into every crime where there is CCTV footage.
Mr Philp said, of thefts worth under £200: “The law says that this is still a criminal offence and police should be enforcing it comprehensively.”
He described shoplifting as affecting large and small businesses up and down the country, and often entailing violence or threats to retail workers.
He added: “It should not be tolerated at any level – I expect a zero tolerance approach to this criminality.”
His remarks comes after Tesco chief executive Ken Murphy called for a change in the law to make abuse or violence towards retail workers an offence across the UK.
Writing in the Mail on Sunday, Mr Murphy revealed the supermarket chain has offered body-worn cameras to members of staff who need them after seeing physical assaults rise by a third in a year.
Mr Philp also said he would encourage security staff to intervene if they spot shoplifters, and warned that British cities could end like San Francisco which has faced a surge in shoplifting, forcing businesses to close or lock sections of their stores with chains.
Last week, Home Secretary Suella Braverman insisted police have the resources necessary to meet a pledge to follow all “reasonable lines of inquiry” in a renewed effort to crack down on crime.
Ms Braverman implored officers to act on leads for phone or car theft, shoplifting and criminal damage.
She suggested that no crime is “minor”, hailed the announcement as a “landmark”, and said it was “unacceptable” some incidents have been treated as “less important”.