Retail staff demand banning schemes as violent crime increases
While the Association of Convenience Stores reports increases in violent crime on its members, shop workers demand more banning schemes to protect themselves.
Every year the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) researches its members’ experiences of crime in and around their premises. Its 2023 report makes for grim reading. After a dip during the Covid pandemic, the cost-of-living crisis has seen incidents rise to unprecedented levels with its members suffering over 41,000 cases in the 12 months to March 2023, of which 13% resulted in physical injury. Incidents of verbal abuse rose, says ACS, to an estimated 750,000 in the same period.
Meanwhile, the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) survey of its members conducted in 2022 asked them what more their employers should do to protect them from violent crime. Top of the list was ‘More management support’. The next priority, in their view, was the use of banning schemes – even more important to them than deploying more security staff.
The ACS research also shows – as it has done year after year – widespread dissatisfaction with police and their response to low-level business crime such as shoplifting and anti-social behaviour. More than four-out-of-five of its members were ‘dissatisfied’ with their performance across a number of metrics. In the case of consistency of police response, investigation of incidents, presence of police in the community and the ease of reporting crime to the police, less than one-in-ten expressed satisfaction. Not surprisingly, ACS estimates that only 16% of such incidents are actually reported to them (our experience at Disc strongly suggests a substantially lower proportion).
All this is in spite of 39 out of 42 Police & Crime Commissioners referencing business crime as a priority in their annual Police & Crime Reports.
None of this comes as a surprise. What it clearly shows is the need for a clearer understanding of the importance of banning and exclusion schemes, and a commitment from police to work more closely with those that already exist, and to help local business communities to create them. As research has shown – you can read it here – such schemes have a clear and substantial impact on reducing low-level crime and ASB in our towns and city-centres, at virtually no cost to policing.