With the election of local Police and Crime Commissioners (PCC) looming, most convenience store retailers are still in the dark about who their candidates are.
A Convenience Store poll revealed that only 21% of retailers knew the identity of their local front runners.
The PCC elections will take place in 43 constituencies across England and Wales on November 15. Once elected, commissioners will be responsible for tackling crime in their area, including crime that affects local shops such as shoplifting, verbal abuse and the sale of age-restricted products.
“We haven’t seen any information about the candidates so we’re not sure who they are and what their policies are,” said Romani Latif of Brunswick Food and Wine in Hove, East Sussex.
The elections have already been criticised by former Metropolitan Police chief Lord Ian Blair, who said that the constituencies were too large for one person to manage and advised the public not to vote in the elections.
Turnout for the PCC elections is expected to be poor, with the Electoral Reform Society predicting an 18.5% participation rate. The society believes that holding an election during the winter, and not providing enough information on the candidates, will cause a low turnout.
The Association of Convenience Stores urged retailers to get in touch with their local candidates and raise the issue of business crime. Norfolk retailer Jonathan James recently met Conservative candidate Sir Graham Bright to discuss how retail crime would be tackled in his area. Bright described the meeting as “useful” and pledged to work with independent retailers in his area to tackle retail crime.