Retailers are failing to report thefts from their stores due to a lack of faith in the justice system.
According to a Convenience Store poll, just 20% of retailers report every incident of theft that occurs in their stores.
Shop theft cost the convenience sector £44m last year and was also the most common form of crime suffered by retailers, the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) Crime Report 2014 recently revealed.
Leon Graves of Hope Farm Service Station in Great Sutton, Cheshire, said he didn’t report every incident because he had no confidence that police would act.
“We’ve handed in CCTV of school children stealing to our local police force and they didn’t take any action,” he said.
Saki Ghafoor, who runs two Nisa stores in Northumberland and Tyne & Wear, says he reports all shop theft committed by adults, but leaves parents to deal with thefts by children. “We always report shoplifters, with the exception of kids where we call the parents,” he said. “It’s the prolific shoplifters who go from store to store filling their bags who worry us and who need to be reported.”
Not all retailers feel this way, though. One Stop retailer Sunder Sandher makes a point of reporting every crime and getting as many details over to the police as soon as possible.
ACS chief executive James Lowman called for a collaborative approach to shop crime. “Shop theft is a serious issue for convenience store retailers, with our research suggesting that more than 70% of retailers have experienced some form of theft in their business over the past year.
”It is clear from Convenience Store’s research that retailers do not feel that reporting these crimes leads to an appropriate resolution, and are suffering the cost of theft on their business. The most effective responses that we see to theft are based on getting together with other businesses, PCSOs and the police to look at local solutions.”
“When you report to the police they will tell you they will not take action. Why would you waste your time reporting again?”
Paddy Paddison, Woodside Store, Hooe, Devon
“Waste of time. Caught someone the other week stealing a can of beer so we barred them. Police weren’t interested when we had £650 stolen from the post office, so it’s not likely they would be for a can of beer.”
David Heritage, Barns Green Village Store, West Sussex
Crime around the country
The Crime Survey for England and Wales for the year ending June 2014 shows shoplifting accounted for 9% of all police recorded crime.
The volume of shoplifting was the highest since the introduction of the National Crime Recording Standards in 2002/03.
Of the 43 territorial police force areas in England and Wales, 32 reported an increase in shoplifting over the year. Durham saw the highest with a 20% increase, with Derbyshire (19%) and North Wales (17%) also seeing a growth. The Metropolitan Police Service reported just a 2% increase.