Lifting the Laws on Shoplifting…
When the UK government effectively decriminalised shoplifting, it was only a matter of time before the statistics caught up with them.
Unfortunately, now that the UK no longer recognises shoplifting as a criminal offence – left instead for retailers to protect, enforce and bring civil law suits – the statistics do not appear on public record in the same way.
It’s a shrewd move for both the Government and the Police forces across the UK: Official crime figures reduce, Police resource does not get ‘wasted’ on petty theft and the retailers are left to protect their own stores. Sound sensible?
The problem is that this idea is ludicrous.
Similar to the figures related to drug crimes, it is a false picture painted by shrewd politicians and Police chiefs, keen to convince us that their policies are working – They’re not!
It is a widely agreed theory that if you stamp out petty crime, you see reductions all the way up the chain. At a time when retailers are seeing profit margins at an all time squeeze, less Police on the streets and the increasing costs of security, it is encouraging news for people traffickers, drug cartels and sophisticated criminal gangs.
A lot of the work our surveillance and investigations teams carry out is with retailers, identifying how/when/who is committing the crime and looking for trends – historically a Police role.
The trends and subsequent investigations, more often than not, lead to an organised criminal gang. Stealing from retailers is easy money and it supports their other activities. It is carried out in a sophisticated manner, using a network of people from a range of backgrounds. When you delve a little deeper, you find that the money they are collecting from their ‘runners’ is mixed with the money they’re making from card fraud, drugs and trafficking.
If retailers are forced to continue protecting themselves, there will be a serious knock on effect across other areas of crime let alone the ability for retailers to continue trading.
This shows that 6% of the total £600m is a result of staff theft etc so is there spin around covert surveillance, embedding individuals within the organisation etc?
Retail crime cost British businesses more than £600m last year – an 18% year-on-year increase. Released by the British Retail Consortium the figures defy a wider trend of falling crime and the attention of an increasingly sophisticated network of surveillance cameras and other security technologies deployed by retailers.