The number of assaults and threats committed against the wholesale and retail sector has risen significantly over the last year, according to The Home Office 2017 Commercial Victimisation Survey (CVS).

It reported they increased from 524 incidents per 1,000 premises to 1,433 incidents per 1,000 premises.

The CVS also reported that wholesale and retail premises experienced around 8.1 million crimes over the last year, rising from 5.2 million in 2016. Almost two thirds of these incidents (61%) were attributed to theft by customers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “The massive increase in assaults and threats reported in the Commercial Victimisation Survey is concerning but unfortunately not surprising. Retailers face the threat of verbal and physical abuse on a regular basis, often as a result of enforcing the law through preventing underage sales and challenging shop thieves.

“These are attacks on people doing their jobs providing a vital service in the local community, and these offences must be taken seriously police forces, Police and crime commissioners, the justice system and central government. We encourage retailers to ensure that they continue to report incidents when they occur.”

Other findings from the CVS include:

• Only 50% of the businesses polled said that all incidents of shop theft were reported to police;

• The most common crime prevention measures installed in premises were the protection of windows and doors, protection of stock, and burglar alarms; and

• 14% of retailers said they were either less likely or much less likely to report shop theft incidents to police than in the previous year.