Crimestoppers has renewed its seven-year partnership with the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) in a bid to confront the estimated £232m annual cost of offences to the sector.
The renewal of both organisation’s co-operation comes in the wake of the ACS’s 2017 Crime report that revealed that more than an estimated 9,400 violent incidents had been perpetrated across the sector and 3,000 burglaries.
The ACS’s report also estimated the total cost of annual shop theft at about £2,600 a store.
The partnership seeks to raise awareness of crimes against local stores and offers rewards for “heinous” crimes committed in shops with the aim of helping to make staff and customers feel safer when shopping.
James Lowman, ACS chief executive, said it was important the industry stood together when the most serious incidents occurred which is why the trade association was continuing its work with Crimestoppers to provide support to police forces and raise awareness of crimes against retailers.
“We hope that we will not need to offer any rewards in 2017, but we remain committed to doing so if necessary,” he said.
Roger Holden, Crimestoppers director of development, said the partnership highlighted how important shop safety was to both organisations.
Convenience stores were vital outlets within local communities and help was needed to ensure they were crime-free. Anyone with knowledge of perpetrators could report this “confidently and anonymously”, he said.
Thames Valley Police this week issued clarification about its policy on serious crime after weekend reports suggested it would not send out officers to deal with shoplifters who stole goods worth less than £100.
It said: “The Force would like to reassure communities that all reports of shoplifting are investigated - regardless of the value of goods stolen. In cases in which there is an immediate threat, such as a shoplifter becoming violent, the public can be assured that officers will be there for those who need help.”
John Hannett, general secretary of shopworkers union Usdaw, welcomed the clarification. “Shop theft is a very serious issue that leads to verbal abuse, threats and physical violence against shopworkers.”
He called on ministers to “provide stiffer penalties” in cases of assault.