The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has highlighted the serious impact that crime has on staff working in the convenience sector at a fringe event during Conservative Party conference.

The event, Violence against Shopworkers: Breaking the Cycle, was hosted by the Co-operative Group and looked at how the industry, police and justice system can come together to stop the tide of violence against people working in shops.

The 2019 ACS Crime Report estimates that there were almost 10,000 incidents of violence in the sector last year, with 83% of staff working in convenience stores having experienced some form of verbal abuse.

A recent report from City University authored by Dr Emmeline Taylor suggested that the rise in violent crime against colleagues in stores was causing “long lasting anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder”.

Speaking at the event, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The abuse, threats and violent behaviour experienced by colleagues in the convenience sector is unacceptable and has serious long-term consequences. For many, being threatened or assaulted is a life changing event – this is something that nobody should ever have to face just for doing their job.”

The fringe event also featured:

• Jo Whitfield, Chief Executive for Food at the Co-op Group;

• Dr Emmeline Taylor, City University academic;

• Paul Stone, award winning independent retailer from Manchester; and

• Katy Bourne OBE, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner.