Over the last year, we have been working with the Home Office to shape policies on crime to support retailers, whether it be through new measures in the Anti-Social Behaviour Bill, facilitating engagement with Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) or refining the Victims Code to ensure that convenience stores are taken seriously by police and local authorities.

The upcoming Anti-Social Behaviour Bill will take important steps toward giving businesses more say when dealing with responses to criminal activity and the punishment of offenders. There are two main policies that will be welcome news for local shops; these are the ‘community trigger’ and ‘community remedy’. The first of these will guarantee retailers and citizens a consistent, joined up approach from their local police, local authority and community safety partnership. 

The community remedy will give victims of crime more say in the type of punishment given to an offender where the crime would otherwise be dealt with by an out of court penalty.  There will be a menu of sanctions discussed through consultation led by PCC. For retailers who see repeat offenders in their store time and time again, this will be a welcome measure as they will have a good idea about which punishments will have the most impact and deter the offender from coming back or request direct compensation to repair damage or lost stock.

The aforementioned PCCs who took office in 41 different constituencies on November 22 have been put in place to provide a link between police forces and communities. Despite apathy of voters and the media toward PCCs, it is essential that retailers take the time to get involved with the process to find out not only who their PCCs are, but also how they can best represent the interests of local shops.  Police and Crime Plans are currently under development in your area setting priority issues for the police, don’t miss out on getting your concerns raised.  We have guidance to help you to do this on our web site - www.acs.org.uk.

The government has made its agenda clear – local businesses and the public are to be an essential part of local decision making in 2013. Retailers and other communities stakeholders have to step up and make themselves heard on crime and other issues like neighbourhood planning, there is no alternative – engage now or get left behind.