FT - James Lowman, chairman, ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is marking ASB (Anti-Social Behaviour) Awareness Week by highlighting the negative impact it has on the convenience sector and local communities.

ASB (Anti-Social Behaviour) Awareness Week, which runs from 3rd -9th July, aims to raise awareness about the detrimental impact that anti-social behaviour has on people and encourages communities to take a stand against this type of behaviour.

Findings from ACS’ 2023 Crime Report show that 87% of store colleagues have experienced verbal abuse and one third of shoppers feel more anxious when they shop.

Top examples of anti-social behaviour include:

1. Rowdy or inconsiderate behaviour;

2. Begging;

3. Littering;

4. Vandalism;

5. Street Drinking.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Sadly, convenience retailers are already well aware of anti-social behaviour and the impact it has on them, their colleagues and their communities. We have seen a rise in the number of incidents of anti-social behaviour in the communities that we serve and this can range from groups loitering outside of shops to vandalism and abuse of our colleagues.

“Anti-social behaviour must be taken seriously as these incidents have a negative impact on communities and this behaviour can escalate, making shopworkers and customers feel unsafe and threatened. We have called on police forces and the Government to take these incidents more seriously and to tackle them with appropriate action to help make our communities safer.”

ACS has called on police forces and the government to do more to take retail crime seriously and support local businesses. The five-point plan includes:

1. Introduce a ‘Most Wanted’ list of shop thieves in each police force area, where prolific offenders can be banned from retail areas or referred to rehabilitation programmes.

2. Review the impact of new legislation that makes attacking a public facing worker (including shop staff) an aggravated offence.

3. Invest in rehabilitation programmes for offenders to break the cycle of offending and ineffective punishment.

4. Encourage local forces to use the tools available to them to deal with anti-social behaviour, such as the Community Trigger and Community Remedy powers.

5. Incentivise investment in crime prevention measures.