20,000 fewer police; 10% rise in shoplifting – coincidence? Not so, says Usdaw

Usdaw has linked police cuts with a 10% rise in reported incidences of shoplifting reported yesterday.

Usdaw general secretary said John Hannett: “Theft from shops can often be a trigger for violence, threats and abuse against shopworkers, so the rising trend in shoplifting is extremely worrying for our members. Is this a consequence of the Conservative seven-year record on retail crime? Since 2010 there are 20,000 fewer police, shoplifting is rising, but fewer shop thieves going to court.

“We have long been concerned that theft from shops is not taken seriously and sometimes regarded as a victimless crime against large companies, but the reality is very different. A number of police forces have said that funding cuts mean they’re less likely to investigate theft from shops and there is evidence that overuse of fixed penalty notices is letting thieves get away with it.

“Is the government giving a green light to theft from shops? Leaving our members further exposed verbal abuse, threats and physical violence against shopworkers.

“Life on the frontline of retail can be pretty tough for many shopworkers, there needs to be government action to protect them. The police must have the resources from government to respond to incidents and investigate shop thefts. We want the Government to legislate for stiffer sentences for the thugs that attack shopworkers.

“Around 265 shopworkers are assaulted every day and it is time to say enough is enough. We want to see retailers, police and the courts working in partnership to ensure better protection for shopworkers. Retail staff are an important part of our communities; their role must be valued, respected and protected.”

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