After all the euphoria recently of seeing Daniel Johnson’s Shopworkers Protection Bill clear the final hurdle before becoming law later this year, the reality is beginning to set in.
As Johnson himself pointed out in his exclusive interview with SLR at the time, the Act becoming law is only “the start of a new set of challenges”. Yes, the law will make it a specific crime to assault, threaten or abuse a shopworker while they carrying out their job, but there is a whole world of change that must take place for that law to become effective in helping to actually curb retail crime rates.
One of the most effective tools available to retailers to help drive that agenda forward is very simple: report every crime, every time. It’s heartening to see SGF, Police Scotland and the Scottish Government working together to launch a campaign to encourage retailers to do exactly that.
If you’ve been in the retail game a while, you may recall that, a very long time ago, SLR ran a very similar campaign entitled ‘Every Crime, Every Time’. The principle was very simple. Only when Police Scotland begins to appreciate just how much retail crime goes un-reported can they begin to grasp the scale and severity of this problem.
We all know why retailers don’t bother reporting most in-store crime, but Johnson’s new law offers a tantalising escape route out of the eternal and self-perpetuating loop of neglect that we find ourselves in.
Only by working together as a sector can we ensure that Johnson’s work can be transformed into what we all want: an industry where staff don’t need to fear for their safety and wellbeing for simply doing their job.
So I would ask you to put your past experiences to one side, park your scepticism, and simply focus on making a point of reporting every crime that happens in your store. If the entire sector does their bit, the numbers will speak for themselves – and the enormity of the problem will become crystal clear to all.
Retailers have been accepting the unacceptable for far too long now. As the SGF campaign says: don’t put up with it. Report retail crime. And start now.
Antony Begley, Publishing Director