Grocer retail crime lead image

The toll of crime and violence continues to be felt by grocery retail employees across the UK, with rates rising along with the appalling impact on workers on the ground. What’s the solution?

The Grocer’s ‘Breaking the Back of Rising Retail Crime’ webinar, organised in conjunction with sister titles convenience Store and Forecourt Trader, brings together leading sector experts in a bid to answer how the issue can be better resolved, as well as offering additional guidance and insight.

Despite mass attention from mainstream media, bolder efforts between business and police to work better together and government agreeing to make shopworker assault a standalone offence, the issue hasn’t abated.

To help generate discussion on how best to make further progress in resolving the dire problem, The Grocer is leaning into its leading market position and tapping into the knowledge and experience of the webinar’s expert panel, airing at 11am on Wednesday 22 May.

Alex Eveleigh, SVP and MD Strongpoint ALS UK & Ireland

Alex Eveleigh formal

Alex Eveleigh has over 15 years of experience working in the grocery retail industry, holding senior positions at Asda, Aldi and Ocado.

In these roles he led teams across various domains, including in-store operations, online grocery fulfilment, automation and robotics.

Most recently, he served as the VP of business development & strategy and as the director of growth at Takeoff Technologies, a grocery e-commerce automation company, where he oversaw sales, strategy development, implementation, and operations.


Paul Gerrard, public affairs director, Co-op

Paul Gerrard Head Shot (1)

In a 20-year career in the Civil Service, Paul worked in senior roles that included responsibility for the operational delivery of the £40bn tax credits and child benefit system and the strategy to tackle multi-billion organised criminal attacks on the UK’s indirect tax and excise duty systems.

Paul joined The Co-op Group in 2016 and as campaigns, public affairs and board secretariat director, he leads the Co-op’s engagement with government on a range of public policy issues and manages the internal board governance of the Co-op.

Paul leads the Co-op’s campaigning activity through its multi-award winning campaigns on slavery, loneliness, shopworker violence and retail crime, climate justice and social mobility.

He regularly gives evidence to parliamentary committees and appears on national media on these campaigns. He is a trustee of The Co-operative Heritage Trust and a board member of Co-operatives UK.


Chris Noice, communications director, ACS

Chris Noice ACS (1)

Chris joined ACS in October 2009, having graduated from the University of York with a degree in English and Linguistics.

As communications director, Chris is responsible for all ACS external and internal communications, media relations and a growing research portfolio that includes the industry-leading Local Shop Report. 

As an official spokesperson for ACS, Chris has appeared frequently on national and regional radio and television including BBC News, Sky News, BBC breakfast and the Daily Politics show.

Chris completed the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Diploma in 2013, the CIM Strategic marketing Masterclass in 2017 and the University of Oxford Said Business School Executive Leadership Programme in 2022.


Emmeline Taylor, professor of criminology, City, University of London

Emmeline Taylor (1)

Emmeline Taylor is professor of criminology at City, University of London. She specialises in understanding business crime, particularly focusing on the retail sector.

Professor Taylor’s career spans over 20 years, during which time she has worked in the public, private and academic sectors, and on three continents. Professor Taylor has published extensively on crime-related topics, including six books, the most recent of which, Armed Robbers (Oxford University Press, 2022), is based on interviews with incarcerated offenders.

Emmeline has published several reports on retail crime and criminal justice, including It’s Not Part of the Job: Violence and Verbal Abuse Towards Shop Workers (2019), Fortress Stores (2022) and Stealing with Impunity (2024).

Emmeline hosts the podcast Retail Crime Uncovered, which focuses on how to identify and tackle retail crime in all its forms.


Jo Causon, CEO, Institute of Customer Service

Jo Causon Headshot (1)

Working across the public, private and voluntary sectors, Jo provides strategic advice to boardrooms to raise the standards of service across the UK, providing evidence of the connection between customer satisfaction and operational efficiency and profitability.

A regular media commentator and prominent keynote speaker, Jo is frequently asked to provide commentary for national and broadcast media, in addition to numerous podcasts and member board sessions. Working with politicians, regulators, and senior officials, Jo focuses on the impact that service has on the UK economy and productivity, helping shape policy.

Through her work establishing and overseeing the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Customer Service, she raises awareness and understanding of customer service among parliamentarians, establishing a dialogue between government and business.

She brings a wealth of experience from the commercial sector, holding director roles in financial services, brand, and business consulting, as well as policy development and research for City & Guilds and the Chartered Management Institute.


Amanda Blakeman, national lead, the National Police Chiefs’ Council

CC Blakeman NWP (1)

Amanda joined West Mercia Police in 1992 and throughout her career has held various posts. She spent the first 11 years of her service gaining an invaluable amount of experience and knowledge across a variety of roles as a police constable. In 2003 she was promoted to sergeant and, since then, across several ranks, has led teams in delivering critical services to communities.

She has held the responsibility for intelligence and proactive functions and has been a senior investigating officer as part of the Force Serious and Organised Crime Unit. In 2008, seconded to the West Midlands Regional Intelligence Unit, she led the development of the critical processes around identifying and disrupting organised crime groups.

In addition, she has led the delivery of policing operations on a local level as a Local Policing Area Commander. She has also held the roles of head of public protection and head of operational support for West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police. She has been a Tactical Firearms Commander and is now a Specialist Strategic Firearms Commander.

Amanda has a Bachelor’s in science with Honours in Crime and Criminology. Amanda was appointed as deputy chief constable for West Mercia Police in February 2017 having previously been Assistant Chief Constable for Local Policing, since October 2014, for Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police.

She joined Gwent Police in October 2019 as deputy chief constable. Appointed as chief constable for North Wales in October 2022. She is the chair of British Association of Women in Policing.


Tony Whelan, health and safety officer, Usdaw

Tony Whelan

Tony is the health and safety officer for the union of Shop Distributive and Allied Workers (Usdaw).

Usdaw has 360,000 members, most of which are shopworkers in retail. He believes all workers should not be harmed by their work, and they should go home healthy.

Tony has completed his Diploma in Health and Safety and is a Certified member of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.



Nicholas Robinson, editor

MicrosoftTeams-image (2) editor Nicholas Robinson has an extensive background in food & drink journalism, covering the industry for a range of leading titles over the years prior to a brief stint in the luxury lifestyle sector where he headed a superyacht media title.