Convenience Crime Report

The cost of crime against convenience stores is at a level that currently equates to 7 pence on every transaction made throughout the UK

Convenience Stores’ chief executive James Lowman called a report on the matter ‘shocking’ during and ACS crime seminar and said

“That’s effectively what’s happening in the convenience sector – a massive impact on our sector from a business point of view,’

Commenting similar to the earlier annual British Retail Consortium (BRC) crime survey, the ACS spoke of shop theft increasingly being linked to aggressive behaviour towards retail staff.

The ACS says that its 2018 Crime Report shows that shop theft can often lead to abusive and violent behaviour, with retailers reporting that challenging shop thieves was the biggest cause of aggressive behaviour in stores. In total, there have been over 13,000 incidents of violence reported over the last 12 months, although it is highly likely that many more incidents have gone unreported. Meaning the figure could be up to double this amount.

Retailers have reported that violence against staff is the number one thing that they are most concerned about when dealing with crime.

There were over 950,000 incidents of theft estimated over the last year, rising from 575,000 in the previous year, over a 60% increase with the top three reasons reported by retailers as to why people steal from their stores being:

opportunism came out on top at 36%
Someone under the influence of alcohol or drug addiction 32%
Organised groups of criminals stood at 22%

James Lowman said: “Retailers and their staff are facing violence and abuse on a regular basis for enforcing the law, whether it be through challenging shop thieves, refusing the sale of age restricted products like tobacco and alcohol, or refusing to serve people that are intoxicated. Retailers need a consistent response from the police to ensure that when a crime is committed against a retailer it is taken seriously by the police and the courts. Shop thefts especially are often being committed by people that are dependent on drugs or alcohol, or part of an organised gang, with many now unafraid to turn to violence when challenged. Allowing shop theft to go unpunished means that these people go on to commit other offences, and where they have addiction problems they are not treated. We need fresh thinking from government and the police, because when shop theft is not tackled properly, it has wider implications for communities.

“The figures in our Crime Report provide an important insight into what retailers face when dealing with crime, but we expect the true impact to be much larger as a lack of faith in the consistency of police response has led to many incidents going unreported.”

Other Statistics conclude that:

The total cost of crimes committed against the convenience sector over the last year was £193m, which equates to that 7p ‘crime tax’ on every transaction in stores.

There were over 2,800 burglaries and over 9,300 robberies (estimated only) in the last year;
The total cost of burglaries to the sector has reached £20m and

Fraud, relating to counterfeit currency, cloned and stolen credit/debit cards over the last year stands at £24m.

The ACS together with the Home Office and retailers have produced a short animation detailing ways to prevent and manage abuse from customers, as well as how to react when incidents occur. To view, the video visit the ACS’ Youtube channel: