The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for a more targeted approach to dealing with repeat offenders, after official figures from the Home Office show that retailers who experience crime are being targeted more often than in previous years.

The 2018 Commercial Victimisation Survey shows that overall, crimes against retailers and wholesalers continue to rise year on year, driven mostly by increases in theft by customers.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 40% of premises in the wholesale and retail sector experienced a crime in the most recent survey compared with 53% in the 2012 survey;
  • of those premises that have experienced crime, the rate of repeat victimisation has risen from 32 incidents per premises in 2012 to 69 per premises in the most recent survey; and
  • there is a continuing rise in the number of assaults and threats experienced by those in the wholesale and retail sector.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “These findings show that businesses are being repeatedly targeted by criminals that are not only committing thefts, but are also being abusive and violent towards retailers and their staff. We need targeted action to deal with repeat offenders who are currently being all but ignored by the justice system.

“The increase in the number of assaults and threats is especially concerning, as no one should have to face violence or abuse in their work, but it is being seen as just part of the job for many in the sector. We continue to urge retailers and their staff to report every incident when it occurs to ensure that the police are aware of the full extent of the problem.”

Figures from the 2019 ACS Crime Report show that retailers believe 79% of crimes are committed by repeat offenders, with around half of those offenders being motivated by a drug or alcohol addiction.

The ACS Crime Report also shows 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.

ACS has been working with the Home Office on a communications campaign to ensure that all retailers and colleagues in store report incidents of violence and abuse when they occur.