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Shop theft reaches 10-year peak

Published: 22 January 2015
The impact of theft on UK retailers has reached its highest level in a decade.
Shop theft reaches 10-year peak
According to this year's British Retail Consortium (BRC) Retail Crime Survey, there were an estimated 3m offences against UK retailers in 2013-14, and although the volume of shop theft offences fell by 4%, the average value of each incident increased from £177 to £241 - up 36%.

That helped push the direct cost of retail crime up to £603m.

The vast majority of respondents to the survey also reported suffering increasing levels of fraud, most of which is now committed online. Fraud increased by 12% in 2013-2014 and accounts for 37% of the total cost of retail crime.

Retailers warned that they expect fraud to be the single most significant danger to their business over the next two years, believing that cyber attacks pose a critical threat.

These trends are thought to be, in part, a consequence of retailers being targeted by more organised, sophisticated criminals. The BRC has recommended that dedicated strategies to tackle business crime need to be developed by police around the country, in close partnership with businesses.

A fundamental part of this approach is ensuring that data on business crime is properly collected and analysed by police, so that it can be used to inform operational activity.

"Criminal activity against UK retailers continues to have wide-ranging consequences for businesses, employees and the vast majority of honest shoppers," commented BRC director general Helen Dickinson.

"It is clear that retailers are facing an increasingly sophisticated criminal. Despite an average investment of £2m per business in crime and loss prevention, retailers need help and support to respond to the threat. Police and Crime Commissioners should follow the lead set by the Mayor of London and work with retailers to develop dedicated business crime strategies to help tackle this growing problem."

The survey also shows that there were 32 incidents of violence and abuse per 1,000 employees over the period.


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