|Local retailers improve ties with police since last summer's riots|
|Written by Richard Siddle|
|Monday, 06 August 2012 10:27|
Retailers and local businesses have reported they have much closer ties with the police and community support officers a year on from last summer's riots that broke out in major cities across the UK.
A report from the Association of Convenience Stores found that half of all retailers have worked closer with the police since the riots and 66% had better contact with their local community officers. Its study also found:
* 39% of retailers feel their community is safer than a year ago
* 42% of retailers feel their community is more united
* 53% are confident the police will be better able to respond to civil unrest than a year ago.
But there are also many retailers who "don't know" whether their community is safer (39%) or more united (44%) and 22% think their community is less safe and 14% more divided.
The survey also revealed retailers are more engaged in structured community activity than ever before. Up to 70% of retailers are involved in some kind of community initiative such as collecting money for charity, supporting community events, sponsorship for local sports teams or community meetings or projects.
ACS chief executive James Lowman said: "A year ago retailers shared fear and miscomprehension about the violence inflicted on shops in cities across the country. Very quickly they were heartened by the way communities came together to repair damage and rebuild the community spirit that could have been destroyed.
"What these insights tell us is that a year on more retailers feel safer and believe their communities are more united. This suggests that it is the aftermath, rather than the riots themselves, that has had the more telling impact on local shop owners.
"It is also heartening to see that retailers are more engaged with local police and community support officers and that more retailers than ever before are engaged in structured community events."