Association of Convenience Stores launches new guidance to tackle retail crime

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Two new guidance documents have been launched today by the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) to support retailers and police.

Launched as part of the Home Office’s Crime Prevention Panel, the guidance is aimed at the prevention of fuel theft and issues surrounding the operation of self-scan tills.

‘Drive offs’ or ‘bilking’ where offenders fill up their vehicles and drive away without paying, and ‘no means of payment’ issues where individuals repeatedly claim not to have the means to pay for fuel, are addressed in the guidance. ACS found that fuel retailers were victims of fuel theft to the tune of £31m per year.

ACS chief executive, James Lowman, said: “Fuel retailers make every effort to prevent fuel theft from their sites by investing in CCTV, automatic number plate recognition and staff training. We hope the guidance we have produced will support retailers to prevent fuel theft and help them build closer relationships with the police to catch offenders and deter others from trying.”

Crime prevention Minister, Lynne Featherstone, said: “Crime is down by more than 20% under the coalition government according to the independent Crime Survey for England and Wales.

“However, we are not complacent. That is why the Home Office created a Crime Prevention Panel of industry leaders, police, charities and academics who are spearheading our understanding of today’s emerging crime trends. The Association of Convenience Stores is a member of this panel.

“Today’s guidance has an important part to play in cracking down on fuel theft, protecting retailers’ revenues and supporting police work to catch the perpetrators.”

Best practice has also been issued on the management of self-scan tills. This includes how to support customers in processing variable weight items such as fruit and vegetables correctly, and preventing fraudulent activities such as swapping barcodes.

The Preventing Fuel Theft Guide and the ACS Managing Crime Guide are available on the ACS website.

The guidance was developed as part of the Home Office Crime Prevention Panel which brings together representatives from academia, business and industry, policing and law enforcement and the voluntary sector to bring new thinking and fresh perspectives to issues around crime prevention.