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ACS reports a 65% increase in convenience store crime – Usdaw calls for action

Date: 20 March 2018 Shopworkers’ trade union leader John Hannett has called for action after yet more evidence of retail crime on the increase. The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) today reports nearly a million thefts from UK convenience stores in 2017, which is a 65% increase on the previous year.

ACS also identifies the physical and emotional cost of retail crime. This year’s report shows that challenging shop thieves is the most common trigger for violence and verbal abuse. The number of incidents of violence faced by staff working in the sector was 13,437. 3,690 incidents involved a weapon.

Usdaw’s survey of shopworkers shows a 25% increase in violence, suggesting there are around 265 assaulted every day. The survey also revealed that 1 in 5 shopworkers who have been assaulted don’t report it and 80% of shopworkers think a new law to stiffen penalties for those who assault them is needed.

The British Retail Consortium earlier this month reported a doubling of violence against shop staff in their annual Retail Crime Survey.

In January the Office for National Statistics reported a 10% increase in police recorded incidents of shoplifting during the year to September 2017, continuing the trend of a 30% increase over the last decade.

John Hannett – Usdaw General Secretary says: “With four recent surveys all returning truly shocking results, it is absolutely clear that there is a growing problem which needs to be tackled. Theft from shops can often be a trigger for violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers, so the rising trend is extremely worrying for our members.

“The clear message for Government is they need to act to turn around this dramatic rise in crime. Usdaw is working with employers to make shops safer for staff and customers alike, but we have to question whether the cutting of 20,000 police officers in the name of austerity is behind these survey results. A properly funded and well-resourced police service is essential.

“Shopworkers are on the frontline of policing the law on the sale of alcohol, knives, glue and acid. Parliament has given them the responsibility to police those laws, so parliament should provide shopworkers with the necessary protection. It is entirely reasonable that shopworkers continue to ask the Government for legislation to provide stiffer sentences for the thugs that assault them.

“It is time to say enough is enough. Retail staff have a crucial role in our communities and that role must be valued and respected.”

Notes for editors:

Usdaw (Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers) is the UK's fifth biggest and the fastest growing trade union with over 430,000 members. Membership has increased by more than 28% over the decade. Most Usdaw members work in the retail sector, but the union also has many members in transport, distribution, food manufacturing, chemicals and other trades.

For Usdaw press releases visit: http://www.usdaw.org.uk/news and you can follow us on Twitter @UsdawUnion

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