Shop crime cost businesses £1.1bn last year according to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) latest Retail Crime Survey, a 10% increase on the previous year’s figure.
Retail theft rose by a third in 2009 with an incident occurring almost every minute while violence and abuse against shop workers doubled compared to the previous year.
According to the survey there were 22,000 incidents of physical or verbal abuse against retail staff over the 12-month period, rising by 58% and 37% compared to 2008 respectively.
The report also revealed that two-thirds of thefts were not reported by retailers because they have no confidence in the police to apprehend the offenders. Respondents also said that they often don’t report incidents of verbal abuse or violence to the police.
BRC director general Stephen Robertson said that retailers and staff shouldn’t just accept violence and verbal abuse as “part of the job” and that they should be reporting every crime that occurs.
Association of Convenience Stores (ACS) chief executive James Lowman called upon government and police to take the findings seriously: “The figures should sharpen the minds of Ministers and Policing leaders on the problem. Retail crime has to be taken seriously, and we have to see better use of police resources to catch and deter shop thieves; and a more effective use of sentencing to act as a deterrent for those caught.”