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Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation Survey figures show significant rise in abuse against businesses

The Home Office has published the latest figures from its 2017 Commercial Victimisation Survey, reporting that the number of assaults and threats committed against the wholesale and retail sector has risen significantly over the last year, from 524 incidents per 1,000 premises to 1,433 incidents per 1,000 premises.

The Commercial Victimisation Survey also highlights the fact that wholesale and retail premises experienced around 8.1 million crimes over the last year. The corresponding total in 2016 was 5.2 million. Almost two thirds of these incidents (61% of them, in fact) are attributed to theft by customers.

Figures from the Association of Convenience Stores Crime Report 2018 show that, over the last year, there have been over 950,000 incidents of shop theft committed against the convenience sector alone. Shop theft costs each convenience store in the sector over £1,700 a year on average.

The Association of Convenience Stores Crime Report also shows that the foremost concern for convenience retailers is violence against staff, with over 13,000 incidents estimated in the sector over the last year.

Association of Convenience Stores CEO James Lowman said: “The massive increase in assaults and threats reported in the Commercial Victimisation Survey is concerning, but unfortunately not surprising. Retailers face the threat of verbal and physical abuse on a regular basis, often as a result of enforcing the law through preventing underage sales and challenging shop thieves. These are attacks on people doing their jobs providing a vital service in the local community. Such offences must be taken seriously by police forces, Police and Crime Commissioners, the justice system and central Government. We strongly encourage retailers to ensure that they continue to report incidents when they occur.”

Other findings from the Commercial Victimisation Survey include the following:

*only 50% of those businesses polled said that all incidents of shop theft were reported to the police

*the most common crime prevention measures installed in premises have been for the protection of windows and doors, the protection of stock and burglar alarms

*14% of retailers said that they were either less likely or much less likely to report shop theft incidents to the police than in the previous year

The Association of Convenience Stores has produced a short video for retailers and their staff detailing ways in which stores can manage and anticipate incidents of violence and abuse. The video is available to view here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYZ3d9Xal2Q

The full Commercial Victimisation Survey is available to read online at: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/704366/crime-against-businesses-2017-hosb0718.pdf

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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