Written evidence submitted by Anonymous (VTR0008)
The Committee is looking to receive written evidence on the following points:
- The police response to incidents of abuse and violence towards retail workers;
- At best inconsistent, Officers are closing cases down without speaking to the individual or obtaining CCTV footage of the incident and saying that there is not enough evidence.
- Officers are not taking abuse and threats of violence serious, I think at times they believe it comes as part of the job.
- There is a lack of understanding on what a retail environment is, we are told to lock the doors? , Remove product from display, we are retailers we can’t lock our doors to customers.
- Even when colleagues report persistent offenders, where they are known, CCTV and witness evidence is available there is a reluctance in taking any action and it is as if the officers don’t know what action to take and is this a criminal justice issue not a specific police issue.
- In some cases, there is a lack of response if a guard is not put into store, this is not a viable option for many sites and also does not address the root causes of the issues.
- Barriers to justice for victims of retail abuse and violence;
- No clear path in dealing with persistent offenders so it appears that nothing is done and the issues continue and increase
- Some offences, shoplifting, robberies are still seen by the police as victimless. Police are wanting impact statements focusing on the financial loss and not the impact on the individual, their colleagues and family. One robbery in our store impact both colleagues, the rest of the team, their families, this could be 10, 20 people who are affected , sometimes for weeks , yet the police focus is on how much was stolen.
- There is an apathy regarding abuse and threats of violence that means there is a vicious circle, colleagues don’t want to report as , what is the point the police don’t take any action, so the true scale of the problem is lost. As a retailer we encourage colleagues to report all incidents yet at times we have heard of incidents where officers have hinted that if reports continue it may impact the store licence
- Stop looking at retail crime as being victimless.
- Sentences are often very short or suspended and links to the “victimless crime” as they are deemed to be minor crime that doesn’t require significant sentencing when it doesn’t address the impact on the victims
- Colleagues often live and work in the same locality so the fear of no action can stop the reporting
Whether a new aggravated offence is required;
- Only if this will lead to improved level of conviction and support to colleagues and not be another piece of legislation that sits and is not used as so much is currently.
- An aggravated offence will help to elevate the type of crime in the public’s eye and will also make colleagues feel like they matter.
- The adequacy of the Government’s response to its call for evidence.
Appalling, shows how little is understood of the retail environment especially at this time of a pandemic. To ask colleagues to complete a survey during their busiest trading period, suggests that they are hoping for a low response and how committed they are to make any changes.