ACS is an established, credible and influential voice for the local shop sector in Government. ACS ensures that local shops are heard at national, local and European level. This is achieved by remaining plugged into key decision makers within Government and Parliament.

Police and Crime Commissioner Pledge

ACS is calling on all Police and Crime Commissioners to pledge to ensure that police forces take shop theft and abuse of staff seriously, and that they respond to incidents where they’re reported. 

Figures from the 2018 ACS Crime Report show that theft alone costs each convenience store in the UK an average of over £1,700 a year, with retailers fearing that incidents of theft are the main trigger for abuse of staff in stores. There were almost a million incidents of shop theft estimated in the convenience sector last year. A recent report from the Centre for Social Justice also highlighted the wider social problems linked to shop theft, reporting that up to 70% of incidents are motivated by substance addiction.

A template letter for retailers concerned about the impact of theft and abuse on their business to send to their local PCC, asking them to sign up to the pledge, is available here:

Download the Template Letter for PCCs


ACS has already received cross party support from PCCs: 

Staffordshire Police and Crime Commissioner Matthew Ellis said: "I started a retail business aged 18 and built it into a successful enterprise which I sold 15 years ago. Criminality including theft, 'hold ups' and shoplifting almost sunk my business in the first few years. First hand experience at a young age of the challenges retail has around criminality is the prime reason why, as PCC for Staffordshire, I introduced the first comprehensive policy to tackle business crime here. It is also why a specialist service to support all businesses as victims was established.

I strongly support the principles, the ethos and the work of ACS in tackling crime against retailers big and small which is why retail as well as wider crime against businesses continues to feature strongly in the strategy I set out in 2014."    

Commenting on business crime and shop theft, Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said: “Business crime matters and it is not victimless. It is vital that a stronger partnership between businesses and the police is forged to tackle crime. I have been pleased to support local Business Crime Reduction Partnerships and introduce innovative schemes such as Business Wardens which have helped to deter and disrupt criminals targeting businesses in Sussex.”

Commenting on the Centre for Social Justice report, Desperate for a Fix, Nottinghamshire Police and Crime Commissioner Paddy Tipping said: "We all recognise that the police are stretched. That's why it's vital that we work together to tackle shoplifting. I fully support this report and its' recommendations."


Gwent Police and Crime Commissioner, Jeff Cuthbert.

Commenting on shop theft, Jeff Cuthbert said: "Theft from retail premises is not something that any Commissioner can accept and those that consider doing this should think again because action will be taken."

Early Day Motion 1415

An Early Day Motion tabled by All Party Parliamentary Small Shops Group chair Ruth George MP on the importance of dealing with shop theft has received cross party support from MPs. Early Day Motion 1415 has received signatures from members of the Labour Party, Conservative Party, SNP, Plaid Cymru, Liberal Democrats and the DUP.

We're calling on retailers to write to their MPs, asking them to sign up to the EDM and to write to the PCC in their constituency. A template letter for retailers to send to their MP is available here:

Download the Template Letter for MPs

The Early Day Motion states:

“That this House notes with concern new research from the report of the Centre for Social Justice, entitled Desperate for a Fix, which estimates that there were 38 million incidents of shop theft in 2017 costing £6.3 billion which has considerable impact on retailers and their staff; further notes the latest data from the Office for National Statistics, the Home Office’s Commercial Victimisation survey, the Association of Convenience Stores and the British Retail Consortium shows that the volume of shop theft is increasing; understands that businesses and the people that work in shops are victims of shop theft and are increasingly at risk of violence and verbal abuse when dealing with shop thieves; believes that fresh thinking is needed on ways to tackle the root causes of shop theft with a particular focus on the most prolific drug-addicted shop thieves; seeks greater involvement from police and crime commissioners and the Government to tackle shop theft; calls on the Government to publish its review of the use of out of court disposals started in 2014; and recognises the need for businesses, communities and police forces to collaborate more closely to encourage better reporting and response to shop theft.”

Paliamentary Questions

In response to a Parliamentary Question from Sir Henry Bellingham MP about the merits of the recommendations of the June 2018 report from Centre for Social Justice, Edward Argar MP said: “The MoJ is committed to ensuring the most vulnerable offenders, including those with prolific drug addictions, are able to access appropriate support at the right time. We are currently reviewing the recommendations of the Centre for Social Justice report. There is ongoing work to help address the underlying needs of offenders which can contribute to offending behaviour.”

In response to a Parliamentary Question from Sir Henry Bellingham MP on shop theft and its link to drug dependency, Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins said: “Drugs can devastate lives, ruin families and damage communities. This Government’s approach to them remains clear - we must prevent drug use in our communities and support people through treatment and recovery. We will consider the recommendations contained in the report, Desperate for a Fix, as part of our ongoing work programme.”

In response to a Parliamentary Question from Sir Henry Bellingham MP about the level of shop theft in England and Wales in the last three years, Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins said: “The Home Office Commercial Victimisation Survey 2016 provides an analysis of crimes against businesses and shows that crimes against the wholesale and retail sector fell between 2012 and 2014, followed by a small increase between 2014 and 2016. According to the Survey, 67 per cent of the crimes against the sector in 2016 were shoplifting incidents. As part of the response to these crimes, we encourage all retailers to report shoplifting to the police whenever it occurs, so that these crimes can be investigated and, where appropriate, the offenders brought to justice.”

In response to a Parliamentary Question from Sir Mark Hendrick MP on shop theft in Lancashire, Home Office Minister Victoria Atkins said: “In the Modern Crime Prevention Strategy, published in March 2016, we set out the six key drivers of crime – opportunity, character, the effectiveness of the Criminal Justice System, profit, drugs and alcohol. These factors are likely to be relevant to the incidence of shoplifting as they are to other crime types.”

In response to a Parliamentary Question from Nick Thomas-Symonds MP on the level of shop theft in his constituency, Home Office Minister Nick Hurd said: “The Home Office collects recorded crime data for shoplifting from all police forces in England and Wales. These data are published at country, police force area (PFA), and community service partnership (CSP) level. For the latest year to December 2017, police recorded crime for shoplifting in the most relevant areas were:” Wales: 20,352 Gwent PFA: 3,994 Torfaen CSP: 692


Enter your store postcode here to arrange a visit with your local MP

your MP

Use our postcode tool to send your MP an email asking for a store visit in your constituency. Engaging with an MP in your store is one of the best ways to voice your concerns about the issues that affect your business, whether they are local issues like parking or planning or national issues like business rates and rising employment costs.

Constituency Cards

If you would like a constituency card to send to your MP, please contact Chris Noice at chris.noice@acs.org.uk.

Constituency cards contain specific information about the number of convenience stores in your constituency, as well as the number of jobs that those stores provide; a breakdown of the profiles of staff, and key information about store owners in the area.