FT - James Lowman, chairman, ACS

ACS chief executive James Lowman

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has launched a new Business Crime Pledge Tracker, detailing what every Police and Crime Commissioner in the UK is doing to tackle business crime in their area.

In 2021, only 18 out of 42 Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) made any reference to business crime in their Police and Crime Plans. This has since risen to almost all of the plans referencing business or retail crime in 2023. The new Business Crime Pledge Tracker includes an interactive map where anyone can click on their local area and see what their Police and Crime Commissioner says about tackling business crime.

Figures from the 2023 ACS Crime Report show that only 16% of crimes are reported by retailers, citing a lack of interest from the police and a lack of confidence in follow up action as the biggest reasons why they don’t report more. Of the retailers surveyed in the 2023 Crime Report 80% were very dissatisfied with the visible presence of police in the community.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Police and Crime Commissioners play a crucial role in setting the priorities for local forces. We need all PCCs to make it clear that they take business crime seriously and that retailers can have faith that when they report incidents of theft and abuse taking place in their stores, those incidents will be followed up on properly.”

As part of the launch of the new Business Crime Pledge Tracker, ACS is calling on retailers to contact their PCCs, asking them to provide more detail about what they’re doing locally to support businesses like theirs.

Lowman continued: “Retailers are dealing with addicts and gangs, stealing to order on a regular basis with no fear of intervention. We’re calling on all retailers struggling with the impact of crime to contact their PCC directly and challenge them on what they’re doing to help.”

Some of the existing business crime pledges made in Police and Crime Plans across the UK include:

  • “To work with businesses and partners to generate better intelligence leading to positive outcomes and increased business confidence in police” - Katy Bourne, Sussex (Conservative)
  • “To work closely with local businesses to understand violence and abuse towards shop staff and ensure a suitable police response is provided” - Dafydd Llywelyn, Dyfed-Powys (Plaid Cymru)
  • “To strengthen engagement with local businesses to prevent crime and protect themselves and retail workers” – Joy Allen, Durham (Labour).