Waitrose and John Lewis are to offer police officers free hot drinks and discounted food to on-duty police in a bid to tackle shoplifting.
The upmarket shops hope uniformed police and patrol cars being on site will deter thieves in the same way motorists slow down on the roads when they see officers.
John Lewis Partnership, which owns the brands, has written to the Police Federation to say officers can get free coffee if they bring a reusable cup.
Community support officers will also be able to take advantage of the initiative, which John Lewis has named “thanks a latte”.
It comes as shops report soaring levels of crime – including theft – amid the cost of living squeeze.
Co-op said crime in its branches had hit record levels and cited figures that police did not attend most retail offences.
About 1,000 cases of crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour had taken place in its shops each day in the six months to June, the chain said.
John Lewis, meanwhile, said it has had to increase spending on security staff and guards to tackle shoplifting.
Nicki Juniper, head of security for the John Lewis Partnership, said: “Retail crime is a national problem and requires a national solution.
“Just having a police car parked outside can make people think twice about shoplifting from our branches, or becoming aggressive towards our partners [staff].”
Dame Sharon White, John Lewis chair, has also written to Suella Braverman, the home secretary, calling for tougher action on repeat offenders.
Overall retail theft in England and Wales increased by 26 per cent last year, according to figures from the British Retail Consortium, which represents businesses in the sector.
Some 850 incidents were taking place on a daily basis, with staff also being threatened – with weapons on some occasions – and facing physical assault.
The Police Federation of England and Wales has been contacted for comment.