Nisa calls for tougher action on retail crime as convenience store thefts and robberies spiral

Nisa is calling for greater protection for independent retailers from authorities following a surge in crime.

A new report has revealed how 87 per cent of convenience store employees have experienced verbal abuse, while there have been almost 9,000 robberies in the past 12 months.

The work by the Scunthorpe delivered wholesaler’s parent company, The Co-op Group, revealed that retail crime has surged to record levels with repeat offenders and criminal gangs operating, apparently ‘exempt from consequences’. Co-op has seen crime, shoplifting and anti-social behaviour jump 35 per cent year-on-year, with more than 175,000 incidents recorded in the first six months of 2023 – almost 1,000 incidents every day.

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The Association of Convenience Stores Crime Report 2023 also highlighted that police failed to respond in 71 per cent of serious retail crimes reported. Victoria Lockie, Nisa’s head of retail, said: “Our teams hear on a weekly basis from retailers suffering from the ongoing challenge of shoplifting and the impact that is having both financially and on their own wellbeing. This is particularly tough for independent retailers, many of whom are open longer hours and can’t afford to hire professional security. These horrific incidents have a long-lasting impact on businesses and a negative impact for the community overall.

“The recent Co-op led report on retail crime highlighted some significant challenges, with the appropriate authorities failing to respond in over 70 per cent of serious retail crimes reported. If we are going to tackle this issue seriously, we need that number to be dramatically reduced so independent retailers can feel safe simply doing their job.”

Nisa's head of retail, Victoria Lockie.
Nisa’s head of retail, Victoria Lockie.

Ben Selvaratnam, owner of Freshfields Market in Croydon – a Nisa partnered store, has to deal with between three to 10 thefts or attempts daily. It costs his family business hundreds of pounds a week and with night-time spikes has led to him reducing his trading hours.

He said: “We are a small, family run business and we can’t afford to hire separate security. We don’t make enough money to do that. We are in a very competitive high street town centre. It’s just very tough for us just to survive so this does have a massive impact.

“We now watch the CCTV at all times. We’re trying to manage a situation where we’re almost getting swamped. So many people would just say ‘I don’t need this in my life. Why would I work so hard, take so much risk and try and make a living when someone can just walk in at the end of the day and take all the money I’ve earned and walk out with it and there will be no consequences for them?’

“We have noticed more people that you wouldn’t have expected to shoplift before; good people who have maybe fallen on hard times. “They are older. They normally steal tins of fish or fresh meat items from the fridge, spam or corned beef. They aren’t violent and once they have been confronted they hand it over and leave quietly.

“There are those with drug addictions who steal things like coffee, honey, razor blades and T-bags. They are generally more violent when confronted. Then there are youngsters or teenagers riding around on cycles who generally steal what they need if they are hungry or they want a drink. They will come in and take what they want.

“Once they were challenged by two members of the team. They looked and said: “I’m not giving it back, I’m not going to pay for it. What are you going to do? It can happen anywhere between three to 10 times every day.”

Original artice – https://business-live.co.uk/all-about/yorkshire-humber

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