Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Eleven people charged with assaulting retail workers plus 40 charged with 114 shop theft offences

RETAIL workers go to work to help their customers, not to be assaulted, says Essex Police business crime sergeant Christian Denning.

“No-one goes to work expecting to be assaulted but, nationally, we are seeing a rise in assaults on shop staff,” says Sergeant Denning.

In the past fortnight, Essex Police officers have secured 14 assault charges against 11 people arrested on suspicion of assaulting retail workers.

“We don’t tolerate any type of assault and, through our Open For Business, Closed For Crime campaign, we encourage retailers to report assaults and anti-social behaviour to us, as well as thefts, so we can take action,” says Sergeant Denning.

“We will work hard to obtain charges where we have the evidence to build a case.

“And our specialist business crime officers provide retail chains and individual stores with specific crime prevention advice to help keep their staff safe and their premises secure.

“Staff should feel safe when they are at work and customers should feel safe when they are shopping.

“You can report any crime or anti-social behaviour online at by ringing our non-emergency number 101. If you want to report in confidence, contact Crimestoppers. Of course, if it’s a crime in progress, always ring 999.”

Of the 58 people arrested on suspicion of shop theft in Essex between 1 & 14 April 2024, 40 people have been charged with a total of 114 counts of shop theft. And, of those, 11 have additionally been charged with a total of 14 assaults on shop staff.

In the past fortnight, 15 people were arrested in the Colchester district; 12 in Chelmsford; and nine in Southend. Eight arrests were made in Thurrock; six in Harlow; five in Basildon; and three in the Tendring district.

Since 1 January, our officers have made a total of 454 arrests for shop theft across the county.

Our business crime officers review every arrest for shop theft and identify opportunities to apply to the courts for criminal behaviour orders to be imposed on prolific offenders, banning them from stores they target persistently.

One person was cautioned for shop theft in the past fortnight and two issued with community resolutions. Cases involving 10 others are still being investigated and five arrests resulted in no further action.

How the Essex Police Business Crime Team can help your business

The force’s business crime officers specialise in supporting businesses, retail chains and independent shops.

They can help you to identify risks in your work place and have developed a comprehensive guide to business crime prevention which identifies steps business-owners can take to protect themselves and their properties. 

They can also provide your business with specific crime prevention, fraud and cyber-crime advice.

For more information, visit our Business Crime Team pages at


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