The Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has asked the government to ensure police response to crime against convenience retailers and their staff is consistent. The organisation was responding to the publication of the Public Accounts Committee’s report on the sustainability of policing.
The report, ‘Financial Sustainability of Police Forces in England and Wales’,looks at the funding into police forces and the priorities for policing, stating: “Forces cannot do everything and are prioritising their work by cutting back in some areas, such as neighbourhood policing meaning fewer officers on the street. Public confidence in the police is declining and officers’ personal resilience is under pressure with this reduction in visibility.”
The report noted that funding for police forces is down by nearly a fifth since 2010-11 and there are nearly a fifth fewer officers and staff.
“Retailers and staff are facing violence, theft and abuse on a regular basis and it is important that they receive a consistent response from the police when these incidents occur,” said James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS.
“The ACS Crime Report 2018 shows that the total cost of crimes committed against the convenience sector over the last year was £193 million, which equates to a 7p ‘crime tax’ on every transaction in stores,” he added.
ACS figures showed that over three quarters of retailers are concerned about the response from police when crimes are committed against their business.
Last month, a report by the Home Affairs Committee has also noted the need for more funding, warning that without additional funding for policing, there will be dire consequences for public safety and criminal justice.
The report, ‘Policing for the Future’, found that forces are struggling to cope in the face of changing and rising crimes, as a result of falling staff numbers, outdated technology, capabilities, structures, fragmentation and a failure of Home Office leadership.