Big 4 grocer‘s Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury’s are among 106 leading retailer’s that have written a joint letter urging Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) in England and Wales to make retail crime a priority in local policing strategies.
The letter raises retailers concerns over increasing abuse, violence and anti-social behaviour in stores towards retail workers, as it notes this has caused, “an emotional toll on them, their families, and their colleagues.”
It comes as a survey by trade association, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) found that abuse against retail workers almost tripled in one year with 1,300 incidents per day in 2020 to 2021.
Despite BRC’s latest crime survey revealing that retailers spent £715 million on crime prevention between 2020 and 2021, investing in hiring in-store security, training teams on de-escalation, CCTV and body worn cameras for staff, retailers say local police support is still vital.
The letter, also signed by grocers including Waitrose, Ocado, M&S, Lidl and Aldi has called on the PCC to commit to making retail crime a priority, to work with local businesses to make reporting simpler, to push local force to investigate all reports of violence and abuse against retail workers and to monitor how the new sentencing guidelines are used.
Earlier this year, an amendment to the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act created tougher sentencing for assaults committed against public service workers.
“I am proud of the incredible work done by our retail colleagues. They were among the ‘hidden heroes’ of the pandemic; working tirelessly to keep the nation fed, clothed and with access to the goods we wanted,” BRC chief executive, Helen Dickinson OBE said.
“But every incident against a retail worker is one too many. Retailers are going above and beyond to keep their colleagues and customers safe, hiring in-store security teams, training staff on de-escalation, and investing in CCTV and body worn cameras.”