Official figures from Britain’s police forces show that the UK’s betting shops have among the lowest level of crime of all high street retailers.
Statistics compiled by the Association of British Bookmakers (ABB) reveal that this puts the betting industry on a par with fast food outlets and with far fewer incidents of crime than food stores, clothes shops or pubs.
The figures have been released to coincide with the launch of the revised ‘Safe Bet Alliance’ (SBA) which sets out a series of guidelines for high street betting shops to prevent and reduce crimes.
The SBA bought together the high street betting shop operators with the Metropolitan Police, Institute of Conflict Management, Community Union and Crimestoppers.
Sarah Simpson, MBE, Chair of the Safe Bet Alliance, said:
“Generally, betting shops offer customers and staff a safe and secure place to enjoy their leisure time or work. As with any other retail business, bookmakers can and do suffer from crime, including robberies and work-related violence.
The Safe Bet Alliance was formed in 2010 to tackle collectively these sorts of crimes – both as an industry and with law enforcement and other partners, including the Metropolitan Police, Community Union (representing staff), Crimestoppers, local government and the Institute of Conflict Management.
Since its formation, the Alliance has achieved some real successes – the number of robberies for example fell in London by 60% in two years, and won the prestigious Home Office Tilley Award. The SBA has now, as you will have seen, also been endorsed by the Association of Chief Police Officers.”
Paul Darling QC, Chairman of the ABB, said:
“The Safe Bet Alliance has proven to be a success, dramatically reducing crime rates and keeping staff and customers safe. Their safety is our number one concern and I am glad to see the crime figures show how effective the measures have been and continue to be. It is also good that other retail sectors are looking at the SBA to develop their own industry-wide measures.”
John Park, Assistant General Secretary, Strategy and Policy for Community Union, said:
“Community is pleased to be given an opportunity to play a constructive role in the development of theses safety guidelines for betting shops.
These figures show that when industry and trade unions are prepared to work together in partnership that workplace safety improves significantly. We know that many betting shop workers are still concerned about their safety at work and that is why the ongoing work of the Safe Bet Alliance is central to sustaining and enhancing safety in the industry.
The SBA was recently endorsed by the Association of Chief Police Officers who said: “The Safe Bet Alliance has proved to be not only an effective tool for reducing violent crime, but also a clear example of best practice for partnership working. The collaboration of police, bookmakers and other key stakeholders has led to an initiative that has stood the test of time.”
The figures compiled from Freedom of Information requests to UK police forces show the number of incidents of crime reported by the following retails sectors between 1st January 2013 and 31st December 2013. Over half of the forces responded with the information.
Fast food outlets – 2, 163
Betting Shops – 2,269
Clothes shops – 6,226
Pubs – 18, 989
Convenience/food stores – 59,431