The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has shown its support for the Women’s Night Safety Charter.
The move comes as the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has launched the scheme as part of the city’s commitment to the UN Women Safe Cities and Safe Public Spaces global initiative.
The requirements of the Charter include recording and responding to incidents against women when they occur, training staff to believe women when they report on an incident and encouraging reports from victims and bystanders.
Further requirements include giving advice on how to handle harassment during encounters, using social media to engage with women’s safety and designing public and workspaces to make them safer for women at night.
The ACS confirmed that its members will keep stores well-lit in the evenings, engage with their local communities on social media, greet customers in their stores and know the local helpline numbers.
“Local shops operate in the heart of our communities, and we make places safe for everyone through being open long hours,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.
“Around one-third of convenience stores are open after 10pm when it is dark, and the surrounding area is at its quietest which means people may feel more vulnerable.
“Through taking a few simple steps, local shops can contribute to helping women feel safer at night.”
Safer Business Network joint-chief executive Rita King added: “We very much welcome this latest action spearheaded by the Association of Convenience Stores to support the Charter.
“Local shops … are well placed to offer assistance to women who may be feeling vulnerable.
“We hope that many stores all over London will engage positively to help keep women safe at night.”