ACS: advises independent retailers to protect themselves in riots

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The ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores) is urging retailers to take simple steps to protect themselves, their staff and their businesses in the wake of recent rioting.

Reacting to horrific scenes of shops, including local convenience stores, being attacked and looted in the rioting in various parts of London and Birmingham in the past 72 hours, the ACS is advising retailers throughout the country and particularly in urban areas to:

  1. Consult the Metropolitan Police’s guidance to businesses (http://t.co/okd87Br) to prepare for any incidents.
  2. Keep in close contact with other retailers and local people to see if there is a likelihood of problems arising in the local area.
  3. If violence is occurring in the locality, and if in doubt, close their stores and use shutters where possible to protect the business.
  4. Consider where they and their staff will be safest, and go there swiftly.
  5. Report information on criminal behaviour in confidence to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  6. Use the Caravan helpline: 08088 02 11 22 as a first port of call for anyone who has been affected by these incidents and wants support and advice.
  7. Let ACS know of any information on the disorder relating to your store so that this can be fed into COBRA discussions.
  8. Keep an eye on @riotcleanup on Twitter to find out if you can help your community tackle the aftermath of the disorder.

ACS Chief Executive James Lowman said: “The images of local community stores being looted and destroyed by violent criminals are sickening. Most urban areas in London and elsewhere are safe and will remain so, but retailers need to keep in contact with each other and local people to get the earliest warning of any impending problems. People are more important than property. Retailers’ first concern must be to protect themselves and their staff.

“We are proud to work with Crimestoppers and it is with incidents like these that the 0800 555 111 number can be invaluable. By giving information in confidence, local people including retailers can ultimately win back communities for the law abiding majority.

“ACS is feeding information through Government contacts to COBRA discussions on continuing emergency planning. If retailers have any intelligence that will help the Police in preventing further disturbances or on the impact of the riots in your area please contact us.”

The ACS said it is aware of the following facts regarding the rioting:

  • 93 stores have been affected, either directly or in that newspaper wholesalers cannot get deliveries to them
  • Retailers who have been the victims of looting, arson or other attacks will be able to claim against their insurance with an excess payment, typically around £250
  • Insurance companies will be seeking to claim costs back from local police budgets under the provisions of the Riot Damages Act (1886). In order to do this, claims must be registered within 14 days, and insurance companies are likely to require the claim and supporting evidence within seven days. ACS is advising retailers making claims to do so as quickly as possible and to contact their insurance providers immediately
  • These claims also rely on the Home Secretary or police declaring the incident a riot, defined in the Public Order Act 1986 as twelve or more people threatening violence for a common purpose, causing people to fear for their safety
  • There are unconfirmed reports of retailers being uninsured. A significant minority of retailers only insure against fire or business-threatening incidents, so it is possible that some retailers will be uninsured for damage and looting
  • Insurance premiums have on average increased by over 10% in the past year, with some retailers reporting increases of up to 20%
  • Stores in affected areas are generally planning to close early today. Given that the Hackney riots began yesterday afternoon, it is likely that stores in areas that have been affected, or that may be affected, will close during the afternoon
  • During opening hours, trade is extremely slow in the affected areas as people stay inside
  • Experience from Northern Ireland suggests that retail areas can take a long time to recover from rioting. In some cases retailers decide not to re-open

ACS said it has pledged to assist any retailers affected by the riots, and is available on 01252 515001.