ACS welcomes new ideas for tackling shop theft outlined by Centre for Social Justice

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has welcomed a new report published by the Centre for Social Justice, entitled ‘Desperate for a Fix’, which highlights the close link between drug addiction and theft and calls for new policies to tackle the staggering £6.3 billion annual cost of shop theft.

Drug addiction drives up to 70% of shop theft and is often associated with threats and violence in stores. To confront this issue, the Centre for Social Justice recommends the creation of a ‘Second Chance Programme’ for offenders, targeting up to 10,000 offenders through a £250 million fund invested over five years. Shop thieves would enter the programme, rather than being issued with fixed penalty notices or other measures that have proven to be ineffective, and receive education and rehabilitation before they could have progressed to other crimes such as robberies, burglaries and violent offences.

The comprehensive and thought-provoking report also makes a series of recommendations to the Home Office, the Ministry of Justice, Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) and local police forces alike, calling on them to tackle the root causes of shop theft and improve the criminal justice system’s response when thefts do occur.

Other recommendations made in the report include the following:

*Police forces and PCCs should be clear on what a ‘good response’ looks like and what constitutes ‘good reporting’ from businesses and victims more generally

*Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire and Rescue Services (HMICFRS) should conduct a thematic review of the response to business and retail crime by police forces in England and Wales

*The National Business Crime Centre should support chief constables in appointing a national network of dedicated full-time police force leads for business crime

Significant harm to businesses

ACS CEO James Lowman said: “Theft is an all-too-common occurrence in the convenience sector causing significant harm to businesses and the people running and working in these stores. This report shows just how serious a problem shop theft is, and we welcome the recommendations aimed at making retail crime more of a priority.”

Lowman added: “We’re actively promoting the report’s call for better working between retailers and Police and Crime Commissioners by calling on all Police and Crime Commissioners to sign up to a series of pledges to take shop theft seriously and deal more effectively with repeat offenders.”

The 2018 ACS Crime Report shows that shop theft costs every convenience store in the sector an average of over £1,700 per annum. Convenience store retailers are also most concerned about violence and abuse against staff, as challenging shop thieves is reported as the foremost cause of violence and aggression in stores.

*The Centre for Social Justice’s report is available here

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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