The Association of Convenience store (ACS) is urging retailers to report incidents of shop theft after latest crime statistics showed a decline.
The Office for National Statistics Annual Crime Survey for England and Wales reported the number of police recorded shop theft incidents for the year ending September 2018 decreased by 1% to 378,656 offences.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The official statistics may show a slight decrease in the overall number of shop thefts being recorded by the police, but we know in our sector shop theft remains a huge problem for retailers. We are concerned that a fall in the number of recorded incidents could be as a result of retailers not reporting crimes in frustration at the lack of response from police, not necessarily as a result of the number of offences falling.
"We urge retailers to report all incidents of shop theft when they occur. Shop theft is a crime, and must be taken seriously by forces because theft often leads to abuse and aggressive behaviour against retailers and their staff who are just doing their job and enforcing the law.”
The 2018 ACS Crime Report shows that the issue retailers are most concerned about in their stores is violence against their staff. There is also a clear link between theft and abuse, with challenging shop thieves being the number one cause of aggressive behaviour in stores.
Figures from ACS’ Voice of Local Shops survey show that over the last year, 17% of convenience retailers have seen an increase in shop theft while just 7% have seen a decrease.
ACS has reiterated its calls for all Police and Crime Commissioners to pledge to ensure that police forces take shop theft and abuse of staff seriously, and respond to incidents where they’re reported.