Regular readers of this column will know that tackling retail crime is a key agenda item for The Fed. Not surprisingly, then, the safety of retail workers and customers was very much in the spotlight at our recent trade and business conference in Scotland.
This was attended by top politicians, Tom Arthur MSP, the Scottish minister for public finance, planning and community wealth, and the leader of the Scottish Labour Party Anas Sarwar. Scottish Police Federation chair David Hamilton and police constable Carole Wyllie represented the police.
Both Sarwar and Hamilton praised MSP Daniel Johnson for getting his Protection of Workers Act passed by Scottish Parliament. However, delegates heard that since this came into force, there have been 1,000 crimes reported in the first three months, of which 400 were assaults, three of which were serious.
The overwhelming message was for retailers to report all crimes and not to underplay them.
OPINION: Get tough on retail crime and shop assaults – Narinder Randhawa, national president, NFRN
To thank Johnson for his unwavering support for independent retailers and for his determination to initiate the new shop workers’ law, The Fed has presented the MSP with a quaich – Scotland’s cup of friendship.
Just one day after our Scottish conference, the Home Office published its 2021 Commercial Victimisation Survey, revealing that 151,000 retail and wholesale premises in England and Wales had experienced crime between April 2020 and March 2021, with assaults and threats the second-most-common type of crime.
To continue to raise awareness of the issue, retail crime will be on the agenda at our Annual Conference in Birmingham in June. Already, police chief Patrick Holdaway and Sussex police and crime commissioner Katy Bourne have been confirmed as guest speakers.
Read more of our expert opinion on the independent retail sector