The Home Office has reported that the number of assaults and threats committed against the wholesale and retail sector has risen significantly over the last year.

The latest figures published in its 2017 Commercial Victimisation Survey showed that the number of incidents rose from 524 incidents per 1,000 premises in 2016 to 1,433 incidents per 1,000 premises in 2017.

Commenting on the figures, Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive 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 under-age sales and challenging shop thieves.

“These are attacks on people doing their jobs providing a vital service in the local community, and these offences must be taken seriously police forces, Police and Crime Commissioners, the justice system and central government. We encourage retailers to ensure that they continue to report incidents when they occur.”

The 2017 survey also found that 50% of businesses polled did not report all incidents of shop theft to the police. Around 14% of retailers said they were either less likely or much less likely to report shop theft to police when compared to the previous year.

The most common crime prevention measures installed in wholesale and retail premises included the protection of windows and doors, protection of stock, and burglar alarms.