As part of a new initiative with Police Scotland, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation is urging retailers not to put up with retail crime and to play their part by reporting every crime that happens in and around their store.
With Daniel Johnson MSP’s Protection of Workers Act having now cleared all hurdles before becoming law later this year, the battle against retail crime is set to enter a new era – but for that era to be ushered in as quickly and effectively as possible, the Scottish Grocers’ Federation (SGF) is urging retailers to play their part.
A new statutory offence will be created of assaulting, threatening or abusing a retail worker and will provide further legal protections when the worker is carrying out their statutory duties such as age-restricted sales. For the Act to be effective, however, retailers must report retail crime every time it occurs. All incidents must be reported so that criminals come to realise that their acts will not be tolerated – and will be punished whenever possible.
SGF is now launching a new campaign to help prepare for the new legislation, and to ensure its effectiveness. That campaign has now been unveiled with a £50,000 investment by the Scottish Government and aims to tackle one of the major concerns around retail crime: the fact that there is serious under-reporting of incidents.
The cost and inconvenience to retailers of reporting may have become a deterrent as are concerns about how seriously the authorities take retail crime. But SGF is now asking Scotland’s local retailers to help tackle this challenge by reporting all retail crimes.
Don’t put up with it
The key campaign message is – Don’t Put Up With It’ and the call to action is ‘Report Retail Crime’.
SGF Head of Policy and Public Affairs Dr John Lee said: “No-one should have to put up with thefts or suffer abuse, threats or violence as they go about their work. So, our message to retailers is clear: Don’t Put Up With It. Tell the police. Some of what our shop staff have to put up with can be frightening and disgusting. As an industry, we should not have to sit back and tolerate it.
“This new law must be a watershed. The rights of retailers will never have been stronger. We need to make it clear that there is no room for crime in Scotland’s stores.”
The campaign is fully endorsed and supported by Police Scotland and Crimestoppers.
Daniel Johnson told SLR: “The new law won’t solve all of the industry’s huge problems but it is a huge step forwards for the industry.” Johnson did accept however that the hard work really begins now: “In a sense, the Bill becoming law is only the beginning of a new set of challenges for the retail sector. We have a lot of work to do in order to communicate the new law both to retailers and to consumers.”
A key element in this process, then, is ensuring that Police Scotland are well aware of the frequency and severity of the sorts of crime retailers face every single day. To play your part, it’s important than you report every crime.
Among the local retailers supporting the campaign is former SGF president Abdul Majid. He said: “I have seen what a devastating impact crime can have on retailers, their staff and customers. We should not have to put up with it.
“Police Scotland and the Scottish Government need to know how big the problem is. We all need to report every single incident that happens in our stores.”