Retail Theft up 33%
Theft from shops increased by a third last year and incidents of violence and abuse against shop staff doubled, research from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has revealed.
The BRC’s 2009 Retail Crime Survey found that there were 498,405 thefts from shops – almost one every minute, creating a total cost to retail businesses of £1.1billion. This represents a 10% increase on 2008.
However, according to the BRC, the true figure could be far higher as two-thirds of crimes against retailers are never reported.
“Many shop owners do not have confidence in the police and are not bothering to report crimes.”
said BRC director general, Stephen Robertson.
“It’s shocking that a shop theft happens almost every minute, 24 hours a day. The increase in retail crime during the recession can’t be justified as a move from ‘greed’ to ‘need’. The police and criminal justice system must take retail theft more seriously.”
“There’s been some progress but, with a fifth of retailers saying they don’t report crime because they have no confidence in the police and two-thirds of shop thefts going unreported, it’s not enough.”
A BRC spokesman added:
“There needs to be more effective engagement between police and local shops, as well as policing plans that include small retailers’ own experiences of business crime. Tougher sentencing and more consistent use of fixed penalty notices between police forces is also needed to deter thieves.”
“The improved economic conditions may reduce retail crime but, in the meantime, shop owners need to take precautionary steps to protect themselves. They should place high value items out of sight or away from doors, display ‘intention to prosecute shoplifters’ signs and install CCTV.”
Responding to the criticism, an Association of Chief Police Officers’ spokesman, Assistant Chief Constable Allyn Thomas, said that national police forces were committed to tackling retail crime and had been working with the Home Office over the past year to combat the problem.
“We have run a series of seminars with retailers to look at how best communities can work better together with police on this issue and are currently working on proposals to improve working relationships,” he said.