U.K. Shops See Rise in Shoplifting

The Association of Convenience Stores calls on the government and police for more assistance in stopping the thefts.
March 21, 2018

LONDON – Shoplifting has been rising in the United Kingdom, according to the Association of Convenience Stores’ (ACS) 2018 Crime Report. The significant uptick in theft has been increasingly linked to aggressive behavior toward retailers and staff.

Last year, an estimated 950,000 incidents of theft happened in shops, up sharply from 575,000 in 2016. In total, there have been more than 13,400 incidents of violence reported over the last year. “Retailers and their staff are facing violence and abuse on a regular basis for enforcing the law, whether it be through challenging shop thieves, refusing the sale of age restricted products like tobacco and alcohol, or refusing to serve people that are intoxicated,” said James Lowman, CEO of the association. “Retailers need a consistent response from the police to ensure that when a crime is committed against a retailer it is taken seriously by the police and the courts.”

In the convenience sector, the total cost of crimes reached £193 million, which equates to a 7 pence “crime tax” on every transaction in stores. Total cost of burglaries at convenience stores reached £20 million, while the total cost of fraud (counterfeit notes, credit/debit card fraud, etc.) over the last year hit £24 million.

ACS worked with the Home Office on a short animation film to assist retailers and their staff prevent and manage abuse from customer, as well as how to react during an incident. “The figures in our crime report provide an important insight into what retailers face when dealing with crime, but we expect the true impact to be much larger as a lack of faith in the consistency of police response has led to many incidents going unreported,” Lowman said.