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National Retail Crime Steering Group

Violence and Abuse against Shop Workers

National Retail Crime Steering Group

Violence and Abuse against Shop Workers

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Section 1

Best Practice Examples

Case Study 1: Brighton prolific offender banned from stores with a Criminal Behaviour Order 

A prolific Brighton shoplifter had their access to Brighton city centre severely restricted after being found guilty for 23 counts of shoplifting. 

The offender repeatedly targeted businesses around North Street and St James’s Street over the course of several months. 

They have now been issued with a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO), which imposes conditions aimed at preventing further offending. 

The order forbids the offender from entering specific streets in Brighton and specifically The White Company retail store on that same road, as well as the Co-op on a neighbouring street. 

In addition to the CBO, the offender was also given a 12-week suspended prison sentence. 

How did this happen? 

  • The prolific offender was identified by a dedicated team working under the banner of Operation Apprentice, incorporating Sussex Police, Brighton and Hove’s Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) and Business Improvement District (BID) ambassadors. 

  • Operation Apprentice is the police response to business crime and anti-social behaviour in Brighton and Hove, through which officers work closely with the business community to identify areas and individuals of concern and work together to share information, gather intelligence, and take positive action. 

  • Sussex police work closely with their partners in the business community, through the Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP), to identify prolific offenders and bring them to justice. 

  • With the help of several businesses in the city, they were able to provide sufficient evidence to the court to obtain a Criminal Behaviour Order. Including information on the number of incidents and a victim impact statement highlighting detail on the level of harm, distress and harassment the offender had caused the businesses and their staff.

CBOs are an important tool in limiting offending and any failure to comply will see the prolific offender face more serious consequences.

Case Study 2: CBO issued to tackle prolific offender in Crawley town centre 

A prolific shoplifter operating in Crawley town centre and the local shopping parades across the business improvement district was committing three to five offences per day. The offender became increasingly aggressive towards shop workers over time. 

The business crime reduction partnership, Crawley Gatwick Business Watch, intervened by pulling together data about the offender. The BCRP worked with key retail chains to enrol them onto the DISC network allowing retailers to enter reports on the offender with information about the type and frequency of incidents taking place. As a result, the BCRP were able to identify that the offender was targeting certain businesses. 

The BCRP highlighted the offender to all interested parties, including neighbouring businesses, and delivered a focus on the offender via their Shop Watch meetings, briefing to neighbourhood policing teams and regular alerts on the DISC system. 

Using this information, the BCRP presented a package of evidence to the local Sussex Police neighbourhood policing team. 

Working with Sussex Police, the BCRP collated a number of offences together into one case to present to court. Due to the number of offences presented and use of a business Impact statement taken as additional evidence from the BCRP and the local retailer, the offender was given a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO). 

Since issuing the CBO the offender has not re-offended in the area. There has been a notable decrease in shoplifting offences where the individual used to operate. 

The BCRP has been able to use this success to highlight the benefits of the scheme to retailers who have joined since.

Case Study 3: Business Improvement District (BID) involvement in the process of obtaining a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) against a prolific offender 

A persistent prolific offender committed multiple shop thefts and exhibited anti-social behaviour in and around local stores in Southampton. The offender was repeatedly threatening and verbally aggressive towards shop staff when challenged. The local Business Crime Reduction Partnership recorded 36 incidents on their reporting system over a period of two years.

The businesses affected reported incidents to the BCRP. The BCRP manager provided a statement to the local police on behalf of the businesses affected, including a detailed breakdown of the offending taking place. 

Working with the businesses, the BCRP assisted the police with collating the relevant evidence for a CBO, this included up-to-date records of incidents covering when and where they took place and detail on the impact the threatening behaviour had on the business and individual victims. As a result, the offender received a CBO with conditions to not enter the city centre for a specified period. 

Unfortunately, the offender breached the CBO numerous times and received 14 weeks custody for one theft and 4 breaches. However, following this conviction, the offender has not committed shop theft or ASB in the local area. 

The persistent attention of Southampton BCRP members and their work to increase awareness of CBOs had been successful as a deterrent for committing shop theft within the local area, with a noticeable change in offending behaviour as a result.

Case Study 4: Exclusion Notice Scheme to ban prolific offenders from businesses 

Safer Stratford Business Crime Reduction Partnership (BCRP) ran an exclusion notice scheme to ban known prolific offenders from all premises within the BCRP because of their detrimental impact on the businesses and local community.

This Exclusion Notice scheme issued civil bans to those causing regular disruption, withdrawing tacit permission to enter any business premises that is a member of the BCRP for a period of 12 months. 

This meant any breaches of the civil ban, when reported to the BCRP, could be used as evidence for local police to escalate for consideration of other interventions. 

The BCRP promoted the exclusion scheme to security officers and business staff in the local area to raise awareness and highlight the importance of reporting these incidents. 

The scheme was successful in banning a prolific offender known for multiple incidents of theft from shop within the area. In addition, as a result of detailed intelligence collected from the business community, a civil injunction* was issued after the individual was arrested for theft. This included prohibitions to prevent and deter the individual from committing further offences. 

*Further information about Civil Injunctions can be found here (page 31)

Case Study 5: Northampton ASB intelligence sharing app for tackling ASB and low-level crime 

Northampton Town Centre BID formed a partnership with Northampton Business Crime Partnership (NBCP) to launch a crime and ASB intelligence sharing app. Funded by the BID, Northampton Town Anti-Social Behaviour Reporting Scheme (NTARS) is designed to enable town centre businesses to collate and share intelligence on anti-social behaviour and low level crime. 

The system directly feeds into West Northamptonshire Council’s ASB Case management team and into the crime reduction partnership. The information is used by the council’s ASB Case Officer and has a cross-flow of information and intelligence with Northamptonshire Police. 

NTARS runs both on a computer and via an app which make it easily accessible to members of the scheme. 

Businesses who sign up to the scheme will have the ability to directly report Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB), including rough sleepers, beggars and street drinking, as well as ‘low level’ offences such as environmental criminal damage, graffiti and fly-tipping. 

The scheme includes: 

  • The collation of business crime intelligence of ASB issues by the Council’s ASB Case Manager, for action and can lead to identification of prolific offenders and issuing of Community Protection Warnings (CPW), Community Protection Notices (CPN) & Criminal Behaviour Orders (CBO). If the terms of these include all or part of the BID area, ASB offenders may be banned from all or part of the town centre.


  • The system creates viewable ‘galleries’ of ASB offenders and shares information on ASB and low-level offenders with businesses. This includes the conditions around CPW’s, CPN’s and CBO’s.

  • Public Realm Reporting also enables public realm issues such as graffiti, damage to street furniture, fly-tipping to be auto-forwarded to the person responsible in the local authority.

  • NTARS has data protection act compliant Instant Messenger that allows members to send and receive messages and push notifications with each other. Issues can then be addressed on an individual basis and criminal orders applied when sufficient crime intelligence is collected.

  • Businesses are given full training on how to use NTARS to allow them to report actionable Intelligence into the system. This includes static images or CCTV stills.


For further information please refer to the Northampton BID website.