Violence forces retailers to shut up shop

Independent
retailers are bearing the brunt of violent crime and the stress is forcing many
to leave the industry for good.

New
figures published today show that nearly half of all independent shopkeepers
have been attacked – double the number recorded last year – and four out of 10
attacks were serious enough to warrant medical treatment.

A
frightening array of weapons including guns, knives, iron bars and CS gas were
used in a quarter of the recorded incidents and more than a third of the
retailers attacked have since left their job.

David
Daniels, trade relations manager at the National Federation of Retail
Newsagents, feels the new figures highlight the extent of the problem.

 "We have been campaigning to Government
for a long time now to try to get more security and protection for retailers
and their staff. At the moment crime against retailers does not look like it is
getting any better," he said.

Most
of the assaults took place during an attempted theft and the survey of 727
stores conducted by Independent Retail News magazine shows that many retailers
suffer more than once.

The
worst-hit areas are the North West, the North East and the East Midlands. At
the same time conviction rates have dropped and many in the industry believe
that small, local stores are seen as a soft target and are given little
protection.

"Certainly
much more can be done in terms of tougher sentencing and I think retailers
should be given more protection, and perhaps tax breaks for security equipment.
There needs to be more liaison with the crime detection services as these
retailers need protection," added Daniels.

By
Ross Wigham

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