100 percent of convenience retailers in Scotland had experienced shop crime in 2018, a conference organised by the Scottish Grocers’ Federation heard.

Shoplifting was the most prevalent form of crime with almost 65 percent of store experiencing incidents of shoplifting on a daily basis, SGF’s Crime Conference highlighted.

The SGF Retail Crime Report which was launched at the conference also showed that the refusal of sale or requests for identification are still amongst the primary triggers for incidents of physical or verbal abuse. Over 60 percent of stores suffered from these types of incidents on a regular basis.

Pete Cheema, chief executive of the SGF, said: “Our new crime report shows how persistent and serious retail crime is. These problems are simply not going away and retailers are faced with a constant battle with shoplifting, physical abuse, verbal abuse, and in many cases some quite horrific violence.

“Retailers need more protection and that is why are throwing our full weight behind the members Bill on the Protection of Workers which will soon come before the Scottish Parliament.”

Ash Denham, the Scottish Minister for Community Safety who delivered the keynote address at the conference, said the government would look closely at any proposals to give shop staff additional legal protection.

“I am aware how serious shop theft, physical and verbal abuse, robbery and break-ins are. I am committed to tackling these issues and that the Scottish will work with key such as SGF, Police Scotland and Scottish Business Resilience Centre,” she said.

The conference also heard a very powerful story from retailer Amjid Bashir who said: “Retailers are on the front line – I have been experiencing violence and abuse since I started work in retail at 16 years of age. We need to take a zero tolerance approach to all kinds of retail crime, including hate crime, racism and islamophobia.”

SGF announced that it would becoming a key partner in a major Police Scotland campaign on hate crime. Police Scotland and Scottish Business Resilience Centre have also committed to holding retail crime roundtable meetings with SGF members, commencing in spring of 2019.