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Issue:- 20 January 2010

Usdaw welcomes fall in shop crime and increased investment by retailers in crime prevention

THE shopworkers union Usdaw has welcomed the overall fall in shop crime and the increased investment by retailers in crime prevention recorded by the British Retail Consortium's (BRC's) annual survey of retail crime.

The BRC reports an 11% reduction in the number of criminal offences in the retail sector in 2010, with reported incidents of violence, threats and abuse against shop staff down by 50% and incidents of shoplifting down by 10.6%.

However, despite the fall in recorded incidents and a year on year downward trend, the BRC says there is still a massive problem of under-reporting of offences in the sector. Only 12% of incidents of shoplifting were reported to the Police and the BRC believe that shopworkers increasingly regard violence and abuse as 'part of the job', letting many incidents go unreported.

According to the survey, retailers spent over £210 million on crime prevention measures last year, a 10% increase on 2009. While this investment appears to have reduced the number of incidents, the BRC estimates that the annual cost of retail crime remains at £1.1 billion.

John Hannett, Usdaw General Secretary said:- "Usdaw works closely with employers to improve workplace safety and we welcome the increased investment retailers are making to protect their staff and property. The downward trend in the number of recorded incidents in the survey is also very encouraging.  However, Usdaw agree with the BRC that there remains a significant problem of under-reporting which is driven by the myth that shop crime is 'victimless' and the belief shared by many shopworkers that little if any effective action will be taken against perpetrators. Shop crime is not victimless, our own annual survey showed that last year more than a million shopworkers were abused, threatened or assaulted at work.  While shoplifting is a major flashpoint for violence, our members suffer most abuse and threats when asking for proof of age ID from customers buying age-restricted products such as alcohol. Many customers simply don't know or won't accept that shopworkers have to ask for ID to avoid fines, criminal prosecution and even losing their jobs.  Usdaw is lobbying government to improve the regulation of age-restricted products and we will continue to work closely with the BRC, Police and other agencies to reduce all incidents of shop crime, to create safer workplaces and to ensure offenders are brought to justice."

Helping Culture Thrive

LIVERPOOL City Council is laying the foundations for an even stronger cultural community.  Working in partnership with Merseyside ACME and Liverpool Vision, free business advice is on offer to cultural organisations across the city to give them the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.

The Creative Growth Initiative will be led by business expert David Parrish, a creative, cultural and digital sector specialist, who will pass on invaluable advice and guidance on how to make organisations self-sufficient in these tough economic times.

Enterprises are offered a confidential business review and will then be given help on areas which could benefit them – from marketing and business plans right though to fundraising strategies and hints on how to become more entrepreneurial.

This project forms part of Culture Liverpool’s Fit for the Future programme which focuses on bringing together organisations and their expertise to develop the city’s cultural strategy.

The city council’s cabinet member for Culture and Tourism, Councillor Wendy Simon, said:- “We want to do everything we can to give cultural organisations the tools to survive.  It’s important for them not just to rely on short-term funding but to become self-sufficient and sustainable in their own right. I encourage as many organisations as possible to make the most of the free expertise on offer which really could help their business to bloom.  Every organisation needs to prepare to weather the economic storm, and we want to help them to do this as we know how important culture is to this city.”

David Parrish said:- "I am looking forward to helping Liverpool's cultural organisations find new opportunities to develop in challenging times. My own background is in management in the cultural industries so I'm ideally placed to provide professional support which fits with the ethos of the sector.  I am delighted to be able to offer my experience and expertise to Liverpool's cultural enterprises through this partnership project."

Any organisation who would like to be part of the Creative Growth Initiative can find out more by visiting or by calling Merseyside ACME on:- 0151 600 2900.  Kevin McManus from Merseyside ACME, said:- “We have always worked well with cultural organisations as well as businesses in the creative and digital sector. It makes perfect sense to work with the city council and offer specialist advice to cultural organisations.”  As part of the Fit for the Future programme, Culture Liverpool already works with other organisations which offer support to the cultural sector including Arts in Business, All about Audiences, Business in the Arts NW and the Liverpool Charity and Voluntary Service.

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