One of the few positives that emerged from the recent rioting has been a renewed expression of community and government support for local shops and the role they play in society.

I am sure that many retailers have been reassured by the strong line being taken by the courts against those who committed acts of violence and theft.

Convenience Store has added its voice to this by launching its petition on the need for tougher sentencing not just for those involved in rioting and it's a sentiment we wholly support and which we have been working on for a number of years.

When Parliament returns we will be urging ministers in the Department for Justice to reassure retailers and communities that the criminal justice system recognises the role retailers play in serving the community. That means that under existing guidance, those committing attacks on retailers and their staff should expect premium sentences.

Over the past three years I have sat with Ministers on the National Retail Crime Steering Group, urging them to ensure that tackling retail crime is taken seriously across central government and awareness is raised in police forces and the criminal justice system across the country.

Actions of that group include a new web portal showcasing best practice for communities and retailers on measures that bear down on retail crime, and ensuring that prevention of violence against retailers is a priority.

The Chair of this group has been taken over by Home Office minister Baroness Angela Browning. I have no doubt that she will continue the momentum. However, you can judge for yourself as she will be speaking to ACS members at the Crime Prevention Forum on October 12. Visit www.acs.org.uk, or tweet your question to @ACS_local_shops.