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

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

by Brian Sims

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

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