Government’s ‘Beating Crime’ plan must bring real change, warns ACS

The government’s latest plan to tackle abuse against retail workers must translate in “real action”, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) said. 

In the government’s ‘Beating Crime Plan’, which was published this week, it said “shops are critical to areas, and often have become as much part of the community as the church or pub 

“There has been too much violence targeted at retail workers and too much acquisitive crime on these premises.” 

The new plan features guaranteed access to the police via a national online platform, improving the responsiveness of local police to 101 and 999 calls and expanding the use of electronic monitoring for serious offenders to a further 13 police areas.  

READ MORE: Usdaw urges MPS to support retail violence legislation

It also includes plans to encourage prison leavers to turn their backs on crime by securing employment. 

However, ACS chief executive James Lowman said despite the union welcoming the launch of the new plan, it wants to see the plan translate into real action for the National Retail Crime Steering Group (NRCSG) to take forward, “creating meaningful changes for retailers and shop workers.”  

The move comes in response to 40,000 violent attacks reported against people working in convenience stores and 1.1 million incidents of theft over the last year.  

According to the 2021 ACS Crime Report, many of these attacks were committed by repeat offenders with a drug or alcohol addiction.  

“Local shops have no confidence that police forces have the resource to respond to crime in their shops including violent incidents”, Lowman added 

“We have long advocated for action to tackle the root cause of violence through diversionary programmes and ‘second-chance’ programmes for prolific offenders with addiction problems – now it is time for the government to deliver.” 

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