The NFRN has renewed calls for police and government to do more to protect independent retailers after a new crime report revealed that violence and abuse against staff has risen by a whopping 40 per cent in a year.

According to the 2016 Retail Crime Survey, and equally worryingly, is the fact that 56 per cent of retailers said that police responses to retail crime incidents were ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’.

Commenting, NFRN Chief Executive Paul Baxter said: “The safety of our members is of paramount concern to the NFRN.  Sadly, these new figures released by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) show that for many retailers crime is an almost daily and very threatening menace which has long term impacts for both shop owners and their staff.

“As if the rising incidents of violence and abuse were not shocking enough, it’s frightening that many incidents will go unreported because more than half of the respondents do not believe the police will respond.  This figure could actually be much higher than any of us realise.

“As independent retail shops are open for long and unsocial hours, those behind the counter are easy crime targets.  Often they will face verbal abuse and even violence simply for refusing to make a sale to a customer that they believe to be underage.

“With retail crime incidents soaring, more has to be done by the police and government before even more retailers are driven out of business.

“At our Westminster reception on February 21 we will making MPs and ministers aware of the need for more proactive action from all parties, including  better response times from police and stiffer penalties for anyone who commits a crime against a retailer.

“Through the All Party Parliamentary Group on Retail Crime we will also be raising awareness of the devastating impact that retail crime has on its local communities.

“And we will continue to lobby police and crime commissioners to act so that retail crime victims have confidence to come forward and report incidents to their local police in the knowledge that action will be taken.”

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