The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is urging the Government and police and crime commissioners to ensure that retail crime is on the agenda for local forces, following the publication of new figures on the levels of police funding between 2015 and 2020.
The Home Office document shows that overall police funding, including counter-terrorism police funding, has increased by £1bn between 2018-19 and 2019-20. This includes an increase in funding to police and crime commissioners of £815m, as well as funding for national priorities, counter-terrorism policing and the £100m serious violence fund.
ACS has previously called on all police and crime commissioners to ensure that retail crime is taken seriously, and is part of their local plans. Only one in four police and crime commissioners in England and Wales make any reference to retail crime as a priority area.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the year-on-year increase in police funding, but the experience of retailers when it comes to reporting crime is still inconsistent and in many cases, extremely frustrating. We need the whole justice system to treat retail crimes like shop theft, violence and abuse seriously, which may not be intervention from the police in every case, but rehabilitation for offenders that are dealing with addiction and other issues. Police and crime commissioners also need to make retail crime a priority to help not just the businesses that are affected, but the wider communities in which they trade.”
Figures from the 2019 ACS Crime Report show that crime cost the convenience sector an estimated £246m over the last year. There were also around 10,000 incidents of violence and abuse committed against retailers and people working in convenience stores.