Local shops forced to invest £71m more in prevention measures to battle rising crime threat

The ACS' 2022 Crime Report revealed each store has spent £5,239 on average to better protect themselves

Convenience stores across the UK have invested £71m more in crime prevention measures over the last year, when compared to the previous.

The ACS’ 2022 Crime Report, published earlier this week revealed the sector has spent £246m to protect themselves from violent incidents, with each store spending £5,239 on average. This is an additional £1,515 per year, compared to the 2021 report.

The top areas of investment included security staff, CCTV and intruder alarms. During the year, there were 35,216 incidents of violence estimated, 9% of which resulted in violent injury. In addition, over 800,000 incidents of verbal abuse took place.

The top triggers for violence involve customers not following Covid-secure guidelines, enforcing an age-restriction policy and refusing to serve intoxicated customers.

ACS chief executive James Lowman stressed the pandemic put a huge strain on stores, and was largely to blame for the record figures.

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“During the pandemic, convenience stores were repeatedly targeted by criminals as they were often some of the only businesses trading, but now retailers have sent a clear message that they will not sit back and take this, investing a record amount to keep their businesses, colleagues, and themselves safer whilst ensuring that they have usable evidence to provide to the police in the event of an incident taking place,” he said.

“The cost of this investment, almost a quarter of a billion pounds, primarily comes from retailers’ own reserves. At a time when all costs are rising in the business, these figures demonstrate just how much of a priority tackling crime for every local shop trading across the UK.”

Over the last year, there has been significant progress made on raising the profile of crimes committed against local shops. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill is set to introduce a new aggravated offence for attacks on people serving the public, 27 out of the 42 police and crime commissioners in post now reference business crime as part of their local plans, and the Home Office funded Shopkind campaign has reached thousands of businesses in the retail sector.

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