Local stores invest almost £250m into crime prevention measures

Convenience stores have invested a record-breaking £246 million into crime prevention measures over the last year as shops continue to fight back against the torrent of retail crime.

According to the 2022 crime report, published today (8 March) by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), each store in the convenience sector spent over £5,000 on crime prevention measures including security staff, CCTV and intruder alarms.

The investment was targeted at tackling the 970,000 incidents of theft, 800,000 incidents of verbal abuse and over 9,000 robberies that occurred over the last year, as well as other threats like fraud cybercrime.

However, the crime report highlighted that together, the cost of crime and investing in tackling crime results in a 9p “crime tax” on every transaction made in convenience stores.

“During the pandemic, convenience stores were repeatedly targeted by criminals as they were often some of the only businesses trading, but now retailers have sent a clear message that they will not sit back and take this,” ACS chief executive James Lowman said.

“Investing a record amount to keep their businesses, colleagues, and themselves safer whilst ensuring that they have usable evidence to provide to the police in the event of an incident taking place.

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“The cost of this investment, almost a quarter of a billion pounds, primarily comes from retailers’ reserves.

“At a time when all costs are rising in the business, these figures demonstrate just how much of a priority tackling crime is for every local shop trading across the UK.”

The trade body showed that there has been progress made on raising the profile of crimes committed against local shops.

The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill will introduce new aggravated offences for attacks on people serving the public and 37 of 42 Police and Crime Commissioners in post now reference business crime as part of their local plans. The Shopkind campaign – funded by the Home Office – has also reached thousands of businesses in the retail sector.

“Twice as many Police and Crime Commissioners make explicit reference to business crime in their plans this year compared to 2020, new legislation is on the way to make attacking a shopworker a more serious offence, the new drugs strategy offers new approaches to tackle repeat offenders, and there has been UK-wide support for the Home Office backed ShopKind campaign,” Lowman added.

“We urge retailers to ensure that all crimes are reported to the police to demonstrate the true scale of the problem, and for the actions of the police and justice system to be targeted to stop reoffending.”

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