Independent retailers are so disillusioned with how the police handle reported shop crime that they are taking the law into their own hands, according to The Grocer’s latest reader panel survey.
Some shop owners even claim that police condone the shock course of action as a more effective deterrent than the courts. “Half the time the coppers aren’t bothered, so I just deal with it myself,” said one retailer. “A good thumping usually sorts them out.”
One retailer who resorted to this tactic, however, was reported to the police by the burglar.
Although most retailers questioned did not resort to these drastic measures, the vast majority - nine out of 10 - were unhappy with the way police handled reported crimes.
Sometimes there was no response; when there was it was thought to be too slow; and, even if they did turn up, nothing seemed to happen as a result, as there was very little feedback. “In all the 20 years of being a shop owner I have had only one instance of the police ringing me to say the person had been caught,” said one retailer.
Even shop owners providing CCTV footage did not seem to have made much difference to catching the criminals involved.
The exclusive findings come
as the British Retail Consortium prepares to release its annual crime survey next Wednesday, October 19. Last year’s BRC figures showed violent crimes against retailers were rising, while the cost of crime fell because of spending on crime prevention.
In The Grocer’s survey, 30% had suffered violence or abuse in the past month. However, the vast majority of these had suffered abuse rather than violence. Independents contacted by The Grocer said that a lot of this abuse involved kids who had been refused either alcohol or cigarettes.
Nevertheless, crime is still a major issue for independent retailers as 20% of stores had been a target for crime in the past month alone and they still continue to invest in extra security measures. Four out of 10 were planning to spend more on security in the coming year, while the majority had already installed many devices.
>>p19 No smoke without crime
Gail Hunt
Reader Panel: Independent Retailers