Lobbying

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 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."

Merseyside Police and Crime Commissioner, Jane Kennedy said: "Nobody should go to work fearing violence, threats or abuse. Shop workers provide a valuable service to our communities. The impact of criminal attacks on shop premises can be huge and have significant long-term effects on both employees and businesses. This is why I welcome Merseyside Police’s decision to continue their campaign on retail crime and invest significant resources to combat shoplifting and robberies at premises across the region."

 

Humbershire Police and Crime Commissioner, Keith Hunter said: “As Police and Crime Commissioner I am very aware of commercial crime. I have been raising the issue with the Force who are to review and refresh their approach with a commitment to properly engage with the retail community in promoting a true partnership approach to this. I would encourage local retailers to engage fully with their local policing representatives to develop approaches that are mutually acceptable.”

 

South Wales Police and Crime Commissioner, Alun Michael said: "I take shop theft seriously and as an MP for 25 years, I was a member and strongly supported the All Party Parliamentary Group on Retailing so am aware of the challenges faced by shopkeepers. As you will appreciate however, shop theft is an offence amongst many that has to be tackled by South Wales Police and I would underline the fact that the resource provided by the Government through the Police Grant has been cut by a third since 2010.  Despite that, we take a vigorous approach through tackling offending in relation to our communities and intervention to prevent crime, including shop theft"

 

Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens said: "More than 11,000 offences of shoplifting were reported across Avon and Somerset in the past year and I don’t underestimate the significant financial implications of this on the retail industry. Working together we need to make it harder for business crime to be committed through increased security, stronger intelligence-gathering processes and greater partnership working between retailers and locally I’ve set up a Business Crime Forum to support this. To truly tackle shoplifting, working with partners, we also need to better understand why the crime is being committed in the first place.  For example, if an offender is shoplifting due to a substance misuse problem, we need to help them break the cycle of crime."

 

West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner, John Campion said: "As commissioner I pledge that I will provide West Mercia Police with resource continue the fight against business crime in West Mercia and to ensure that the Force always respond promptly to shop theft where violence is involved or where a suspect is detained. I will ensure funding is available to tackle reoffending, particularly prolific reoffenders with drug dependencies and organised criminal gangs. I will both support and financially support partnership working in my force area through local partnership schemes to promote retailer led crime prevention, developing and sharing best practice with retailers, and encouraging them to report shop theft. I will continue to support the retail sector to ensure they are taking all appropriate action to reduce business crime through store design and management."

 

Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner, Anthony Stansfeld said: "I totally support tackling shop theft. This initiative is important and it reinforces the need to prevent shop lifting. It is not a minor crime, for some criminals it is a way of life, and damages small shops to the extent of making some unviable. It is not an easy crime for the police to prevent, but I expect the police to fully support small shop owners."

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.”

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

Contact
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.