Johnson calls on all departments to focus on tackling crime

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged all Whitehall departments to focus on tackling crime.

In a Cabinet meeting on 14 January, Johnson said “every department should consider itself a criminal justice department” as part of the focus to tackle the “complex causes of crime.”

Responding to the statement, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) has reiterated calls to the government to take urgent action to tackle violence toward and abuse shop workers.

“We welcome the government’s renewed focus on crime and violence and would like to see a swift and decisive response from the Home Office on violence and abuse toward shop workers,” said James Lowman, chief executive of the ACS.

The Home Office call for evidence on violence and abuse toward shop workers closed in June 2019 and received over 800 responses from individual shop workers, small shopkeepers, unions and business organisations.

The government is yet to respond to the evidence. The full response was expected to be published in Autumn, but pushed back due to the December General Election.

Lowman demanded more effective penalties for attacks on shop workers. He said Police Crime and Commissioners need to recognise the “impact that crimes committed against local shops have on the local community.”

Figures from the ACS Crime Report 2019 show that 83 percent of staff working in local shops have been subjected to verbal abuse within the past 12 months, while USDAW’s 2018 survey of shop workers shows that 12 percent of shop workers have been physically assaulted in their career.

ACS has been working with the Home Office, USDAW and the Co-op on the #AlwaysReportAbuse campaign to encourage colleagues to report incidents when they occur.

Retailers and their staff are being encouraged to report incidents of violence and abuse, either to 999 in an emergency, to 101 for other incidents, or to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if they want to report incidents anonymously.