The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed an announcement by the Home Office’s that charges for calls to the 101 police non-emergency number will be dropped.

Currently, callers to the 101 number are connected to their local police force or a force of their choice at a cost of 15p a time. The number will be free of charge to call for all members of the public from April 2020.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We are pleased with this move from the Home Office to scrap the charge for calling the police non-emergency number, dropping this charge removes a potential barrier for reporting incidents to the police.

“It is important that any and all incidents of crime are reported and we are supportive of measures which make it easier for members of the public, including retailers who experience crime, to report incidents.”

Figures from the ACS 2019 Crime Report show that 83% of staff working in local shops have been subjected to verbal abuse within the past 12 months.