Paul Cheema's Channel 4 slot prompts outpouring of support

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High-profile Nisa retailer Paul Cheema, co-owner of Malcolm’s Stores in Coventry, has received messages of support from shoppers and fellow retailers after taking part in Channel 4’s Dispatches programme.

Paul featured prominently in the Lawless Britain: Where are the Police? episode of the show, which aired on October 8. The programme set out to uncover the number of reported crimes that are dropped with little or no police investigation.

Since appearing on the show, Paul’s customers have rallied round the store, although he has heard nothing from the police.

“We’ve had lots of kind words from customers and many of them have been shocked and annoyed by the police’s response to the incidents of crime that we’ve had in the stores,” he said.

“Some of them blame the local police but I can guarantee if it’s happening in my stores then the same thing is happening to other retailers too.”

Paul has been left frustrated by the lack of response and communication from police to retail crime taking place in his stores, which includes a number of armed robberies.

He added: “Me and [Nisa retailer] Rav Garcha met with the West Midland Police Crime Commissioner (PCC) earlier this year and he promised us that he would do something but now I’ve found out he doesn’t even take public phone calls!

“If he is elected to his role then he should be taking calls from the public and he should be taking action. I haven’t heard anything at all from the police since the programme was shown.”

The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) helped put Paul in touch with his local PCC, and ACS chief executive James Lowman has worked closely with Paul on a number of retail crime reports and projects.

Paul said his work with the ACS led to his involvement in the Dispatches programme and he hoped something good would come from his appearance on the show.

“Something needs to change be done and something needs to change,” Paul said. “The problem is that the products being stolen in raids on our stores on not being sold on the street, they are going back into the system and being sold by other retailers.

“These stores need to know that they should stop what they are doing, especially with all the track and trace laws coming out next year. If they don’t, they could be putting their business at serious risk.”

Readers' comments (5)

  • Coming to brass tacks , the problem is our police just do not have sufficient manpower , hence their concentration on serious crimes and minor crimes are on back burner . We had few incidences where police give you crimes number, and you wait upto 3 weeks for them to turn up to take a statement and never to be heard again . One incident we gave police , cctv , guy’s credit card number and name and still no result .
    Now we don’t even bother reporting as I see it as waste of time .

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  • Mr Cheema is just stating what every independent retailer has been suffering with for years. Perhaps he sees himself as the people’s champion? He does seem to enjoy the fame and limelight!
    The route cause is the legal system, from sentencing guidelines, policing guidelines and the lack of funding. Every criminal will look at the percentages.
    What are the chances of me being caught?
    What are the chances of me being charged?
    What are the chances of me being prosecuted?
    What are the chances of me being found guilty?
    What are the chances of me facing anything more than a slap on the wrist and a telling off?
    Until all these issues are dealt with and there actually being some sort of deterrent being put in place, nothing will change.
    All the TV and press appearances by Mr Cheema and his cronies will not make any difference.
    What we need is a representation from every trade body to tackle this issue.
    What are the likes of Nisa or Spar or Booker doing to protect their customer’s businesses and futures?
    I don’t hear anything.
    Time for these organisations to stand up and be counted.

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  • shocking to think that control is being passed to scums who can get away with their actions.

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  • I fear Paul Cheema's efforts will be in vain.
    It is ironic that alongside this story is one about a Bill to protect shop workers from assault.
    All legislation is pointless if it is not enforced.
    Meanwhile, Track and Trace rules will add to shopkeepers' burdens, and those of our supply chain, again without effect.
    Retailers are sitting ducks for criminals and for box-ticking regulators.

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  • Can I first of all thank Paul in highlighting a problem that is not going to go away. We all know that prostitution and shop lifting has been around since time began but we now have a cancer in our midst that is having a catastrophic impact on businesses because of governments’ inaction. Lately the police have been quite clumsy in its communications to all, that they don’t have the resources and will not investigate incidences under a certain value. This has created a free for all as has been said by many. I do understand the police’s dilemma as they are also “firefighting” with often scant resources but they also have a duty to use those scant resources wisely. This may be an obvious statement to make but by not tackling persistent offenders who are often known to the police for drug abuse, alcohol problem and other social issues that go with it but ironically we will be putting even more demand on the police manpower and money in years to come.
    It’s here that the government should support a targeted approach by offering ring fenced resources which can have a joint approach from all the services at the government’s disposal i.e. The police, social services, medical profession and social workers etc. etc. We need to have a preventive approach to the problem and not just sit there, brush it all under the carpet in the name of not having resources and just helplessly hope that it will go away. Like cancer it will not go away unless the government takes a broader approach to this problem. Now I can almost hear politicians mumbling about resources and making patronising statements at platforms when offered to speak. Perhaps for once the government should put money where their mouth is and make a difference to communities that are blighted by this menace. Sadly for us tomorrow is just another day in the life of a retailer coping with useless legislation coming out of Westminster which has little or no value and of course I forget “shoplifting”.

    Arjan Mehr Londis Bracknell

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