We recently published our annual Crime Report, looking at the overall scale and impact of crimes committed against the convenience sector, covering everything from staff theft and fraud, to robberies and ram raids. The headline figures paint a stark picture with almost a million incidents of shop theft reported by retailers over the last year and the total cost of crime amounting to almost £200m, equating to a 7p crime tax on every transaction in the sector.
Measuring the national picture in our Crime Report is an important way of demonstrating to the government and the police why crimes like shop theft need to be taken seriously. It is clear that in many areas around the UK, the current response to what is considered ’low-level crime’ is neither consistent nor effective enough. We use the data to raise concerns with Ministers, MPs, PCCs and the police and have written to all of them calling for more to be done to support retailers and their staff.
But beyond the statistics, it’s important for us to highlight the very personal impact that crimes have on the people working in stores. Retailers and their staff are on the front line, enforcing the law by refusing underage sales, stopping the sale of alcohol to people that are drunk and looking out for thieves on a daily basis. We know that these are the things that most often lead to violence in stores, and that dealing with that abuse regularly can take its toll.
Alongside the main Crime Report, we provide guidance which helps people working in stores prevent incidents happening altogether where possible, but when the worst does happen and serious crimes occur, also help to mitigate the human and business impact and ensure that the police have all the information they need for their investigation. As part of this work, we’ve launched a new animation for retailers to share with staff which details what to look out for and how to manage situations.
While there is no easy answer to the question of how to stop incidents happening, we can make sure that everyone in the system appreciates the seriousness of retail crime and work together to think of new ways to tackle the problem.