The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has called for more to be done to tackle the root causes of retail crime at a fringe event at the Labour Party Conference in Brighton.

The event, Safer Communities, Safer Shopworkers, was hosted by the Co-operative Party and aimed to find ways to tackle the violence and abuse suffered by shopworkers.

The 2019 ACS Crime Report shows that challenging shop thieves, enforcing an age-restricted sales policy and refusing to serve drunks were the top three triggers for aggressive and abusive behaviour in stores. The 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.

Speaking at the event, ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Violence and abuse in convenience stores is a serious issue that takes a huge toll on the people that are affected by these crimes. In many cases, the people committing offences are motivated by a drug or alcohol addiction, so fines and summons aren’t always the best way to deal with them. They need proper intervention to help them break the cycle of addiction and reoffending.

“The people running and working in convenience stores are upholding the law, and shouldn’t have to face violence and abuse just for doing their job.”