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    C-store body welcomes Labour plans to get tougher on shop theft

    Yvette Cooper MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Home Department, delivers her speech at the Labour Party conferenceon October 10, 2023 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

    Retailer body Association of Convenience Stores has welcomed a commitment from Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper MP to get tougher on the “epidemic” of shoplifting gangs through the introduction of new laws for attacking a shopworker.

    In her speech to the Labour Party Conference this morning, the Shadow Home Secretary highlighted the issues being faced by retailers and shopworkers across the UK with theft and abuse, and the challenges that they’re dealing with when it comes to getting meaningful intervention from the police.

    The Shadow Home Secretary committed in the speech to putting a stop to the idea that there is a £200 threshold for investigating incidents of theft, to bringing in respect orders that would ban repeat offenders from town centres and high streets, and to introducing 13,000 more neighbourhood police officers and PCSOs to patrol the streets and make people feel safer.

    Speaking during her address, Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper said: “We will stand with Usdaw, with the Co-op, with Tesco, with our convenience stores, with retailers and shopworkers across the country with a new law and tougher sentences for attacks on shopworkers because everyone has the right to feel safe at work.”

    ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Effective penalties are a vital part of tackling retail crime, and something we have long campaigned for. To get to the point where courts are actually in a position to use these penalties, we need the police to investigate every incident and pursue those who abuse and intimidate shopworkers and retailers.”

    ACS has been campaigning on shop theft for a number of years, calling for tougher interventions to stop repeat offending, and urging elected Police and Crime Commissioners to make tackling theft a priority in their local plans. ACS also works with the Home Office and leading high street retailers on the ShopKind campaign, reminding customers of the importance of being civil to the people working in our convenience stores and other retail businesses.

    Figures from the ACS Crime Report show that there were over 1.1m incidents of theft recorded over the last year, with 2/3 of those committing theft being repeat offenders. 87% of convenience store colleagues reported that they faced verbal abuse over the last year.

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