Home Office minister backs local shop stand against violent crime

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A new reward fund has been set up to help catch perpetrators of violent crime against local shops.

Launched today at the ACS Crime Prevention Forum and endorsed by Home Office Minister James Brokenshire MP, the fund will allow for rewards of up to £50,000 for information that leads to a conviction in cases of serious violent crime in local shops. The fund will be administered by Crimestoppers and has been underwritten by the members of ACS (the Association of Convenience Stores).

The shop workers trade union, USDAW, reports that their members experience a violent incident at least once every minute.

The reward fund will be deployed in only the most serious cases, but the initiative includes a wider commitment to raise community awareness about the violence experienced by those working in local shops and encourage greater reporting of information about retail crime.

Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State James Brokenshire MP said: “Violence against shopkeepers is unacceptable and should not be tolerated.

“Like the rest of the population, retail staff deserve to work in a safe, secure environment. We recognise the cost and disruption that crime causes business and the communities they serve and we know that retailers are already doing their bit to help reduce crime. That is why I am very pleased to participate in the launch of this initiative which is a great example of an industry pulling together in partnership with the police and the voluntary sector to make a difference.

“The Government takes crimes against business very seriously and we intend to take tough action to ensure that these crimes are dealt with by freeing up the police from bureaucracy and making them more accountable.”

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “Serious violent incidents against retailers must never go unpunished. We are proud to launch this reward scheme. We hope that it will never have to be used, but if it does the industry will stand together and help to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Dave Cording, director of operations for Crimestoppers said: “Rewards are a strong way to drive awareness of a crime and get information that leads to a conviction. For 22 years Crimestoppers has been successful in helping to solve crimes in the UK. We are delighted that ACS has become a Crimestoppers partner and look forward to working with the industry going forward.”