Crime continues to cost millions

BRC figures reveal a £700m black hole

Woman shoplifting wine
The cost of retail crime climbed 6% in monetary terms according to the BRC

SHOPLIFTERS are costing British stores £700m per year according to the latest crime figures from the British Retail Consortium (BRC)

The BRC’s annual Retail Crime Survey found that the total direct cost of retail crime has climbed 6% on the previous year, with customer theft continuing to be the largest element accounting for over half a billion pounds of the total figure.

Despite the increasing cost of shoplifting, the BRC said it was most alarmed by growth in severe violent incidents against staff, with the rates of violent incidents with an injury increasing to six per 1000 members of staff, double the previous year.

BRC members have reported career criminals intentionally using violence and abuse when challenged over stealing.

The report also noted that the increasingly common need for retail staff to carry out ID checks when selling age-restricted items and refusals of sale appear to be triggering an increase in violence and threats.

Worryingly this new data suggests incidents of violence which lead to injury is a growing problem.

Commenting on the report’s findings, David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium said: “Violent or abusive behaviour towards shop staff in Scotland is wholly and utterly unacceptable.

“Retail workers should be able to work free from fear of violence, intimidation or abuse.

“Worryingly this new data suggests incidents of violence which lead to injury is a growing problem despite retailers investing considerable time and resources in protecting and training their colleagues.

“Many of these more severe incidents and crimes are thought to be linked to purchases of government-licenced and age-restricted products or shoplifting. This is a serious issue and we want to see perpetrators dealt with firmly.”

Publication of the BRC’s annual Retail Crime Survey coincided with the release of new ONS figures on Criminal Proceedings in Scotland for 2016-17.

The ONS found shoplifting convictions declining for the second consecutive year, down 5% on 2015-16.

Crimes of dishonesty, which is mainly shoplifting and theft, represented close to one third of all convictions in Scotland for 2016-17.