New figures showing the increasing cost of retail crime and the alarming increase in reported verbal and physical abuse of retail workers are evidence of the need for government, Police and communities to take retail crime seriously, says the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS).

Figures released by the British Retail Consortium showed that the overall cost of retail crime has increased by 31% to £1.4bn. The figures also revealed more than 35,000 incidents of physical and verbal abuse against people working in retail outlets.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “These figures are a powerful illustration of the financial and human cost of retail crime. The government has made some progress in helping retailers to tackle crime, notably through resisting plans to require more regulation of retailers’ CCTV systems, but more can be done. As these latest findings show tackling retail crime is vital for the sake of owners, employees and customers.”

ACS is calling for stronger penalties for shop thieves, recognising that this is a crime with real victims; more use of Victim Impact Statements by retailers and the courts to ensure that sentences are appropriate; better neighbourhood policing at the most local level, starting with beat police officers working with local shops; and anti-social behaviour to be treated and tackled as a crime, and for businesses victimisation through anti-social behaviour to be recognised in government guidance.

ACS’ crime survey on the impact of retail crime on convenience retailers is taking place right now. To contribute visit