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Call for action to tackle violence against shopworkers

John Wood ·
police officer

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) is calling on the Government to tackle violence against shopworkers as new police recorded crime figures show a rise in violence.

The ONS Crime Survey for England and Wales has found an increase in violence resulting in injury by 7% compared with March 2018. The figures reinforce the main findings of the ACS Crime Report 2019, which were:

• there were almost 10,000 incidents of violence in the convenience sector last year;

• 41% of violent incidents resulted in injury of staff; and

• 83% of staff in the convenience stores have experience verbal abuse.

The police recorded crime data also showed a 2% decrease in shop theft, but this could reflect under-reporting and forces screening out theft offences.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Today’s figures will ring true with retailers’ and shopworkers’ experience of violence and abuse and reinforces the need for the government to act quickly and decisively to tackle violence against shopworkers through tougher penalties for offenders and tackling the root cause of offending, such as drug addiction, by a reviewing the use of fines and cautions issued by police.

“The decline in shop theft is welcome news, but is more likely attributed to under-reporting of shop theft offences as retailers have little confidence that police forces will respond. Our research clearly shows that shop theft is the number one trigger for violence in stores, failure to address shop theft therefore risk elevation to violent offences.”

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