New commitments on tackling retail crime, announced by Home Office minister Victoria Atkins, have been welcomed by The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

However, ACS has also urged the Government to ensure that tackling shop theft is included in its work to deal with violent crime.

In a letter to MPs and organisations (including ACS) who attended a ministerial roundtable meeting on retail crime on December 11, Atkins set out a number of commitments to address the issue of violence and abuse against retailers.

They are:

• a call for evidence on violence and abuse towards shop workers to help ensure the Government fully understands this issue and considers all options for addressing it;

• funding for the sector to run targeted communications activity to raise awareness of the existing legislation in place to protect shop workers; and

• refreshing the work of the National Retail Crime Steering Group on violent crime, and holding an extraordinary meeting of the group on 7 February that will focus exclusively on violence and abuse toward shop workers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “We welcome the minister’s recognition of violence against shopworkers as a serious issue that affects thousands of people on a regular basis.

“Tackling violence against shopworkers on the front line enforcing the law must be a key priority for all authorities, all the way from central Government through to Police and Crime Commissioners and local beat police, and this must include targeted action to deal with shop theft, which is one of the most common triggers of abuse along with challenging attempted underage sales.”