Coming as it does so soon after the brutal slaying of Gurmail Singh in his c-store in Huddersfield, it is now clear to everyone in the neighbourhood retail industry that the government and the law enforcement authorities need to give a higher priority to protecting those serving communities in local stores.
To give the industry a voice to express the strength of feeling, Convenience Store has set up a petition on the Number 10 Downing Street website calling for greater protection, improved police response to incidents and stiffer sentences for those found guilty of violent attacks on shopworkers.
The petition is available now for anyone to sign at this URL: http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/protectshopstaff
The text on the website reads: "We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to protect local stores and their staff against violent crime.
"In the light of the murders of six convenience store workers in the past 15 months, we urge the government and the UK's police forces to give a higher priority to protecting local neighbourhood grocery stores, and the people that work within them, from violent crime. Offences such as shoplifting and robbery can easily escalate into assault and murder in vulnerable premises, and we urge greater protection for local stores, especially independent outlets serving vital community needs; quicker police response for every reported offence; and stiffer penalties for those found guilty of attacks on store workers."
The petition will be online for nine months which with a General Election looming will take us into the next government so it will potentially be seen by two prime ministers. As well as signing the petition you can also make your views known to politicians in your area as they campaign for your vote.
We believe also it is crucial that retailers work together with the police so we urge you to report all offences however minor to the authorities.
Add your name to our petition at http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/protectshopstaff If you are a Bestway or Batleys customer, you can also sign a petition set up in memory of Gurmail Singh in support of greater protection for retailers and tougher sentences for violent criminals Ask all candidates standing in your constituency at the General Election how they are going to provide more protection for independent retailers if they are elected.