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Helen Jones MP calls for action after 65% increase in convenience store crime

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29 Mar 2018
Helen Jones H&S Warrington North MP Helen Jones has joined shop workers’ trade union (Usdaw) leader John Hannett in calling for action after yet more evidence of retail crime on the increase. The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has reported 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. There 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.

Helen Jones MP said:

"All the recent surveys show a truly shocking results. It is clear that there is a growing problem which needs to be tackled. Theft from shops often triggers violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers.

"The government need to act to stop this dramatic rise in crime. I know that Usdaw is working with employers to make shops safer for shopworkers and customers alike but the cutting of 20,000 police officers in the name of austerity must surely play a part in these survey results. A properly funded and well-resourced police service is essential."

Usdaw General Secretary John Hannett said:

"Shopworkers are on the front line 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."

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