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Ensuring a sustainable and prosperous convenience industry in Scotland

Convenience stores in Scotland continue to bear the brunt of retail crime. That is the clear message from the Scottish Grocers Federation as it launched its Retail Crime Report 2020. The report – based on a survey of five hundred stores -  is launched today (6th February) at the Federation’s annual retail crime conference. One hundred per cent of respondents had experienced shoplifting in the previous twelve months, with a massive ninety eight per cent experiencing shoplifting on a daily basis! This is entirely consistent with findings from previous SGF reports and shows that shoplifting is now essentially a pandemic which neither Police Scotland nor the judicial system are dealing with anywhere near adequately.

The crime report also shows that requests for identification in relation to age restricted products and a refusal of sale continue to be the man triggers for abuse and assault towards staff in-store. This comes at a time when the Scottish Parliament is considering new legislation which aims to give shop workers additional legal protection, particularly in relation to carrying out mandatory activities around age verification.

SGF chief executive Dr Pete Cheema OBE said,

“our new report  - which is now backed up by five years’ worth of evidence – shows that shoplifting is now essentially out of control and the authorities have simply lost their grip on it. Overall this is contributing to a very stressful working environment for staff. There is an ever-growing list of legislation which has to be enforced and policed by staff in-store and this must be taking its toll on health and wellbeing. The Protection of Workers Bill currently before the Scottish Parliament is a step in the right direction and we urge MSPs to support it.“

Cheema also pointed out that neither the Scottish government nor Police Scotland collect any data on retail crime, something he described as a “shocking and unacceptable situation” which has undoubtedly contributed to a lack of effective action on this major problem.

The Scottish Parliament Economy Committee is currently taking evidence on the Protection of Workers Bill. SGF has been invited to appear before the Committee and give evidence directly on the 3rd March. The Scottish government is currently consulting on proposals for the mandatory age restriction of energy drinks.

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