Within a week of moving to Wiltshire in January I read a local newspaper story about an armed robbery at a small newsagent at Chiseldon near Swindon on 16th January. It was a shocking crime perpetrated by two young men and one of them violently threatened a member of staff with a gun.

The two men were arrested a few days after the incident and were convicted at Swindon Crown Court last week and both received significant prison sentences for the crime spree they undertook.

For the state conviction is the closure of the case, but for the victim (my wife and I were the victims of a midnight robbery) its only a small part of recovery. I have sympathy for the victims of this crime and can only guess at the anxiety that they must be having. From my experience personal recovery takes time and comes from the support of family, friends and the community that can build the knowledge that today will feel better than yesterday.

With Chris Gamm, Editor of Retail Newsagent meeting Lord Henley recently to present the Calling Time on Crime dossier there is an opportunity to make the Government aware of how serious crime disrupts retailers life’s well after the legal process. From my experience recovery is a long process and I am sure Chris will be interested in how crime continues to effect retail victims months after the event.

Here are some things that help my wife and I in our recovery:

Have people around you who you have confidence in and will be willing to listen to you. Our family doctor was one of our customers and he came and saw us everyday for the fortnight  after the robbery.

Have a good relationship with your supply chain, the robbery at our shop closed us down for three days disrupting deliveries, cash flow and much else. Keeping our suppliers informed helped to manage the unexpected challenges. I built our strong relationship by regularly talking to their key people to find solutions to the challenges and make the most of the opportunities that were presented to us.

Have an understanding insurance company, this starts by having a policy that will cover all the things that can go wrong. As we had a Post Office we used the Post Watch policy negotiated by the National Federation of Sub Postmasters as it was designed for my needs. Prior to taking on a Post Office I found the NFRN Mutual gave me the cover I was looking for.

Talk to your local councillor, we talked through strengthening our security with him, planning issues etc. We already knew our local councillor, but you can find the contact details for your’s on the local authority website.

Contact your MP, I phoned our MP’s Westminster office and he offered to visit us the next day. It makes the crime personal to them. I had been in regular contact with our MP since he was elected, he visited our shop during his 2007 election campaign, but you can find your MP’s contact details at http://www.theyworkforyou.com

Take a holiday as soon as you can, we managed to get away within six weeks of the crime.

Ask the local Crime Prevention Officer to visit, they will be able to help you make sensible decisions to improve your security.