Members voice concerns over retail crime rise

Delegates were told UK retail crime has risen by 30% year on year.

West Yorkshire Police crime commissioner representative David Smith told members the force is prioritising tackling anti-social behaviour and concentrating on stopping robberies involving violence and hate crime – but delegates said most of them choose not to report crime because of a perceived lack of action.

National councillor Stuart Reddish said retailers who called 999 were not being treated as emergencies by police officers.

He added staff in stores were having to “ramp up” a telephone call to police and pretend lives were more in danger than they were just to get a response.

“When we have an incident, even something small such as trouble causers, verbal abuse or a shoplifter, it is an absolute nightmare,” he said.

“Nine times out of 10 staff are on their own in stores. Unfortunately, the police just say they will send somebody out.”

Mr Reddish said sometimes he is told a police officer will visit in the next few hours or days, but then nothing happens.

Sheffield members also raised concerns that reporting crimes in their area could prevent them from getting an alcohol licence in future.

Mr Smith replied to the comments, saying: “We want people to report crimes so people can be prosecuted for them and go to local licensing authorities if they are behaving in that way.”

Yorkshire president Jay Banning spoke out about violence against shopkeepers.

“We need to be extra vigilant. We’ve heard about acid attacks in the south but thankfully, not in Yorkshire. Please look after yourselves,” he said.

Bradford member Stephen Hunter said retailers would like to have “more protection” and perhaps even be armed with pepper spray to make them feel safer.

He said more needed to be done to give shop workers better security, adding: “I am not saying let’s have a taser, but something that would warn criminals off.”

Mr Smith said he would put all the comments from the meeting to West Yorkshire Crime Commissioner Mark Burns-Williamson.


How will you take advantage of the summer holiday period
in your store?

We have just got Zapper so we’re hoping that will provide smooth transactions over the summer months. We’ve also teamed up with Müller for a promotion and that will run throughout summer, and we will also put on Walkers Crisps promotions.

Jay Banning

Paran’s Mini Market, Rothwell, Leeds

We are looking at more summer specials, mainly targeting adults with wine and beer offers. A lot of people go on holiday in the school holidays and we are situated outside a school – so trade naturally goes down in the holidays.

Tas Sangha

Eldwick Food and Wine, Bingley

We like to run promotions on energy drinks, but we don’t sell them to under-16s and we have also had deals on crisps. We try and push energy drinks, Lucozade Energy and Monster energy promotions in the summer months.

Ian Smith

Caroline Street News, Hull

Communication is key to fix issues with Johnston

Delegates agreed communication needs to be opened up with Johnston Press to discuss margin cuts.

Stuart Reddish said: “We need to talk with them regularly so we can tell them what we are doing.

“We need regional meetings because people have changed jobs there [at Johnston Press], there are so many new faces and they won’t even know about us.”

However, he added: “They are confident the majority of our members will continue to sell their products – whatever they do.

“But, if somebody makes £6,000 revenue, for example, and then loses £3,000 because of a change the publisher makes, do they choose to keep the other £3,000 or do they just say ‘no’ and lose the entire amount.”

Five Towns member Peter Stead added: “It is important to have these meetings and tell them we are not satisfied.”

Meanwhile, Hull member Roy Turnbull said: “It is a disgrace that Johnston Press think they are so far above us – they treat newsagents like dirt.”


Possible branch restructure up for discussion

Delegates discussed a potential restructure with the possibility of moving all Northern boundaries under the YO [York] postcode into the Yorkshire district and all of the DE [Derby] postcodes in South Yorkshire to join the East Midlands branch.

Yorkshire would lose three branches under the new proposals. Yorkshire delegates proposed if a branch wanted to move, it could, but if it wanted to stay it would be supported by the delegates in its decision.

National councillor James Wilkinson asked for a list of people affected by September.

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