The report comes as the Government faces criticism from other political parties over a recorded 9 per cent rise in violent crime in the final quarter of last year, revealed by the British Crime Survey yesterday. Labour has pledged to introduce a bill to combat violent crime specifically, if re-elected. The Conservatives have pledged to put more police on the beat, reduce paperwork and introduce tougher sentences.
However, 21 per cent of retailers in AXA's survey said a greater police presence would not make a difference to crime in their stores. The preferred response was tougher sentences to deter criminals, with 42 per cent calling for longer custodial sentences.
British Retail Consortium director-general Kevin Hawkins welcomed the results and called for the Government and police to do more to protect retailers from crime.
He said: 'Last year, retailers doubled their expenditure on crime prevention methods and, most worryingly, our own evidence shows that violence against staff rose substantially. Retailers face enormous challenges that have a devastating impact on staff well-being and business viability.'