Three-quarters of retailers “concerned” over police service response to crime

The Association of Convenience Stores has responded to the publication of the Home Affairs Committee’s report into policing, urging the Government to take action to ensure that police forces are adequately resourced to deal with crime. The Association’s figures show that over three-quarters of retailers are “concerned” about the response from the police when crimes are committed against their businesses.

The Home Affairs Committee’s report, entitled ‘Policing for the Future’, outlines evidence on the changing demands of policing. It states: ‘Policing is struggling to cope in the face of changing and rising crimes as a result of falling staff numbers, outdated technology, capabilities and structures and fragmented leadership and direction. Without significant reform and investment, communities will be increasingly let down.’

The document observes that crimes (including robbery, theft and vehicle-related theft) have been increasing sharply after a long period of crime. Recorded crimes have risen by 32% in the last three years, while the number of charges/summons has decreased by 26%. Neighbourhood policing has been cut by over 20% since 2010.

Research conducted by the Association of Convenience Stores earlier this year shows that 82% of retailers are concerned about the consistency of the response from police, with 73% dissatisfied with the time taken for the police to respond to incidents. The 2018 Association of Convenience Stores Crime Report shows that the number of incidents of theft in the convenience sector rose from 575,000 in 2017 to 950,000 in 2018.

Police under “significant pressures”

Association of Convenience Stores CEO James Lowman said: “The Home Affairs Committee’s report highlights the significant pressures that police forces are under to deal with the rising levels of crime. Convenience stores are an all-too-frequent target for robberies, theft, verbal abuse, ram-raids and attacks on retailers and staff. If a crime is committed, the police must respond and investigate, while the courts must pass an effective sentence.”

Lowman added: “We need a collaborative approach to ensure that crimes are being dealt with properly rather than being ‘screened out’ or ignored. This means beat police officers, neighbourhood policing teams, Police and Crime Commissioners, the courts and rehabilitation programmes all playing their part. Retailers are investing record amounts in crime prevention measures, but they must be supported by the police and the justice system.”

Labour MP Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, stated: “Police officers across the country are performing a remarkable public service in increasingly difficult circumstances, but forces are badly overstretched. Crime is up, charges and arrests are down and the police service is struggling to respond effectively to emerging and growing challenges, such as online fraud. Policing urgently needs more money. The Government must make sure policing is a priority in the Budget and the Comprehensive Spending Review or public safety and communities will pay the price.”

*The full Home Affairs Committee report is available here: https://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/home-affairs-committee/inquiries/parliament-2017/policing-for-the-future-inquiry-17-19/

**The Association of Convenience Stores has previously responded to the Home Affairs Committee’s call for evidence on the future of policing. The full submission is available here: https://www.acs.org.uk/lobbying/crime/home-affairs-committee-policing-future

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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