Three quarters of retailers are said to have expressed concern over the response to incidents, as it’s claimed that police forces are under significant pressure to deal with rising crime levels.
A report by The Home Affairs Committee, entitled ‘Policing for the Future’ outlined the demands on modern police forces, suggested that falling staff numbers coupled with an increased level of crime is making it harder to offer communities the protection they need.
It stated that recorded crimes, including robbery and theft have climbed 32% in the last three years – a sharp increase, whilst charges fell by over a quarter as neighbourhood policing has been cut.
Retailers are feeling the impact of rising crime, as The Association of Convenience Stores Crime Report shows that incidents in the sector have almost doubled in the past year to 950,000.
At the same time around 82% of retail employers are also concerned about the consistency of the response from police, with 73% dissatisfied by the time taken to respond to incidents.
Violent crime is a particular worry as a survey of retailers conducted by The Suzy Lamplugh Trust as part of it’s National Personal Safety Day campaign, found that two thirds of retail staff have experienced violence or aggression in the workplace first hand.
James Lowman, CEO of The Association of Convenience Stores urged police to take action, warning that smaller stores are regularly targeted by criminals. He said: “The Home Affairs Committee’s report highlights the significant pressures that police forces are under to deal with the rising levels of crime. Convenience stores are an all-too-frequent target for robberies, theft, verbal abuse, ram-raids and attacks on retailers and staff. We need a collaborative approach to ensure that crimes are being dealt with properly.”
As the public purse strings remain tied with Brexit looming on the horizon, reducing the number of costly false alarms is one way that could help improve police response. In part, this is being aided by a growing number of organisations including councils and the NHS, that are using accredited lone worker systems. Not only do these provide protection for employees, giving them an easy means by which to get help, using accredited systems means all incidents must be verified so that only genuine emergencies are passed to the police.
With the typical cost of sending a police response being in the region of £150, in the past year alone it’s estimated that use of these systems has nationally lead to £60m worth of savings. Of course this is only the start, but the potential for savings is set to increase as the adoption of lone worker technology grows.
Compliance Manager for Police Crime Prevention Initiatives, Ken Meanwell, commented that this is playing a vital role in the reduction in false call outs, helping to enable correct allocation of police resources.
Although it’s early days, this is certainly encouraging and any means by which forces can save such significant amounts must surely be welcomed.