Pharmacies hit by violent crime, as police record over 1k incidents in 2021
Police forces in England, Wales and Northern Ireland received at least 1,240 reports of violent crime committed in pharmacies in 2021, C+D can exclusively reveal.
A total of 32 of the 45 UK police authorities revealed the extent and severity of crimes that pharmacists and pharmacy staff witnessed across the UK in 2021, providing data in response to C+D’s freedom of information (FOI) requests.
At least 1,240* reports of violent crimes – which includes violence against a person, public order offences, arson and criminal damage – at premises registered as a ‘pharmacy’ or ‘chemist’ were received by the 32 police forces that provided data to C+D.
What counts as an offence under the Public Order Act 1986?
Under Public Order Act 1986, public order offences include rioting, affray, drunk and disorderly behaviour, inciting racial or religious hatred or assaulting emergency workers.
Source: Crown Prosecution Service
Police in Scotland did not provide data to C+D, claiming that extracting the relevant data and information about crime in pharmacies “would cost well in excess" of the current cost threshold of FOI requests to police authorities.
How does the number of violent crime reports compare with 2019 and 2020?
Last year, C+D sent FOI requests to all 45 police forces across the UK. Of these, 34 responded with data revealing that they had received a total of 19,263* reports of any crime that had taken place within pharmacies in 2019 and 2020.
However, just 31 police forces went into detail to describe the different crimes pharmacy teams had witnessed during those two years.
In 2019, there were 784 incidents of violent crime, according to the data received by C+D, while this went up to 819 in 2020.
Violent crime accounted for almost a fifth of all crime in pharmacy in 2021
While there was a reduction in the number of overall incidents of crime in pharmacies reported to police authorities between 2019 and 2021, violent crimes accounted for a higher percentage of incidents reported in 2021.
A total of 10,780 incidents of crime were recorded in 2019, according to the data shared with C+D, while 8,483 were reported in 2020.
There were 7,363 crimes in pharmacies reported in 2021, taking the total number of reported incidents over the last three years to 26,626.
Violent crime accounted for 16.8% of all crime reported in 2021.
*The total number of reports received by police forces in 2019 and 2020 has been updated since we published our first “crimes in pharmacies” story in January, to take into consideration additional data from police forces that had not responded to C+D in time for publication.
The findings presented in this article are the results of a wider C+D investigation into crimes in pharmacies and are the starting point of our campaign #NoExcuseForAbuse. Sign up to our newsletter and follow us on our social media channels to stay up to date with the latest findings.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, Pharmacist Support has provided a list of resources to turn to for support.
*This article is based on data made available to C+D at the time of going to press
Have you/your team been the victim of crime while at work? Did this involve violence and/or harassment? Share your experiences on the C+D Community or email [email protected] if you wish to remain anonymous