28 January, 2020:
On Friday it happened in Glen Waverley, Melbourne. Details of weekend incidents will soon emerge and this week it will be somewhere else. Violent robberies of convenience stores occur with frightening regularity, traumatising victims and hurting small businesses, and the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has strongly urged Governments to act.
AACS CEO Jeff Rogut said the industry has had enough and that the time for zero-tolerance has well and truly arrived.
“Our Association has represented the interests of convenience stores for the past 30 years and while the level of engagement we have with politicians and law enforcement has never been stronger, there are issues on which we must continue to maintain pressure,” Mr Rogut said.
“Crime is a major one as incidents like armed robbery, petrol theft and the spread of illegal cigarettes are unacceptable. To date, our representations to ministers on the issue of crime has fallen on deaf ears.
“No-one in the course of their work should be subject to any kind of traumatic, violent experience. The AACS calls for a stronger legislative response to more appropriately punish thieves to the full extent of the law,” Mr Rogut said.
Last year the AACS lent its support to Victoria Police calls for a stronger legislative response to more appropriately punish violent thieves which commit crimes against retailers. The North West Metro Commander of Victoria Police announced plans to lobby government to try and create a new ‘aggravated shop steal’ offence in a move endorsed by the AACS.
“It undermines the good work of police to investigate and apprehend criminals only for the judicial system to apply lenient punishments that merely encourage them to re-offend,” Mr Rogut said.
“It is imperative that police, the courts and the legislature are on the same page when it comes to crime. Violent criminals forfeit their right to live among the rest of us. They should pay the highest possible price for the physical, emotional, psychological and financial harm they inflict on victims.”
Violent robberies against convenience stores typically target cigarettes given the enormous excise on tobacco products which drives prices so high.
In response, the AACS has called for a moratorium on more excise increases given the direct link between price rises, the incidence of robberies targeting legal tobacco, and the spread of illicit tobacco products in the community.
Chief Executive Officer
Australasian Association of Convenience Stores
Ph: +61 467 873 789