james lowman

ACS chief executive James Lowman said the survey would help prove to government ministers that shopworkers need “urgent action” on crime

Next year’s crime survey from the Association of Convenience Stores will seek to look in detail at in-store scams for the first time, chief executive James Lowman has revealed.

“Retailers have raised concerns about the extent of fraud and scams being attempted in stores, which is why we’re looking closely at ways to help retailers and their staff prevent and avoid common scams ahead of the publication of the 2019 Crime Report,” Lowman said.

In-store scams could include cash changing, telephone ruses and credit card fraud, the ACS said.

Lowman urged retailers to participate in the survey to strengthen its case to ministers that shopworkers need “urgent action”.

The annual ACS Crime Survey 2019 aims to examine the impact crime is having on convenience retailers, including the number of incidents each has experienced and how much it has cost them.

The ACS wants to speak to retailers in more detail about specific incidents of crime in the past year and what impact those incidents have had on their businesses so it can gain a deeper understanding.

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The online survey asks questions about theft by customers or staff, robbery, burglary, criminal damage, violence and verbal abuse, fraud, cyber-crime and ATM ram raids.

It also considers the causes of these crimes and the measures retailers have in place to prevent crime.

“Crime remains one of the biggest operational problems for local shops and it’s important that we collect and communicate information on the impact that crime has on our store colleagues and local communities,” said Lowman.

“I urge all retailers to take five minutes of their time to respond to the crime survey.”

Lowman said the replies would inform the ACS Crime Report and help the trade body build a case to government ministers, MPs and police and crime commissioners “that we need urgent action to tackle violence, verbal abuse and shop theft”.

The 2018 report estimated there were more than 13,000 incidents of violence committed against retailers and staff over the past year - with more than a third resulting in injury.

The deadline for responses is this Friday (14 December). The ACS Crime Report will be launched next March.