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The Prime Minister visits Boots store as government announces new measures to tackle retail crime

10 April 2024
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The Prime Minister Rishi Sunak today visited a Boots in Horsham, West Sussex, to speak to team members about the initiatives introduced in the store to help disrupt and deter retail crime.

The visit took place as the government announced new measures to tackle retail crime, which includes making the assault of a retail worker a standalone criminal offence and tougher punishments for serial or abusive shoplifters.

In Horsham, the Prime Minister was joined by Jo Shiner, Sussex Police Chief Constable. They were welcomed by Seb James, Senior Vice President, President and Managing Director of Boots UK & ROI, and Anthony Hemmerdinger, Retail and Supply Chain Director at Boots UK.

The Prime Minister spoke to team members about their experience of retail crime and the initiatives that Boots had introduced to disrupt and deter criminal activity in stores and protect team members.

Led by Store Manager Anne Green and Area Manager Purvi Shukla, the Prime Minister was shown how team members in the store use their body cams to de-escalate incidents of violence and aggression and how they connect to the Boots CCTV Monitoring Centre in Nottingham to access remote support.

Seb James, Managing Director, Boots UK & Ireland, said: “We welcome the measures announced by the government today.

“Intimidation and abuse of retail workers is unacceptable, so legislation to strengthen shopworker protection sends a powerful signal and deterrent and we look forward to working with the Home Office, Police, and local community partners to put these plans into action.

“At Boots, we also continue to invest in our own capability to disrupt and deter criminal activity and protect our team members, including in our CCTV monitoring centre and body worn video cameras.”

Boots state-of-the-art CCTV monitoring centre in Nottingham is plugged in centrally to over 1,000 stores with a team of security experts on hand reviewing footage live throughout the day. Boots security experts can make announcements over store tanoys from the centre, which can effectively de-escalate incidents. It deploys body worn video cameras for team members in over 350 stores and continues to roll them out further.

Boots also actively engages with the government, policing teams and other retailers to develop and implement collaborative strategies tackle retail crime.

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Boots is the UK’s leading health and beauty retailer with over 52,000 team members and 2,100 stores, ranging from local community pharmacies to large destination health and beauty stores.*

Boots serves its customers and patients for life as the leading provider of healthcare on the high street and the UK’s number one beauty destination. It offers an unrivalled depth and breadth of products, which incorporates its extensive own brand range and innovative portfolio of brands, including No7, the UK’s No1 skincare brand, Soap & Glory, Liz Earle Beauty and Sleek MakeUP.

2024 marks Boots’ 175th anniversary year. Founder John Boot opened a herbalist store in Nottingham in 1849 to offer an affordable alternative to traditional medicines. His son Jesse expanded the business to become a modern retailer and the biggest chemist in Britain. Throughout its history, Boots has listened, learned and innovated, and it continues to challenge itself to improve its products and services every day.

Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance, which is a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail.  More company information is available on boots-uk.com.

*Figures accurate as of 30 November 2023