Stop Shop Theft

A coalition of business groups have joined forces to call on Police and Crime Commissioners to act on retail crime in their local areas, after new figures show record thefts against convenience retailers.

The Stop Shop Theft campaign, launched today by retail groups including the Association of Convenience Stores (ACS), the British Retail Consortium (BRC) and the British Independent Retail Association, is urging Police and Crime Commissioners to act in three key areas to help businesses report crime and get the support needed at a local level:

  • Commit to delivering the Retail Crime Action Plan in their areas
  • Tell businesses how they should report incidents of theft
  • Share the single point of contact for businesses in their force area

The campaign comes as new figures from the Association of Convenience Stores’ Voice of Local Shops Survey of over 1,200 retailers reveal that its ‘Theft Index’ reached a new record high in November 2023. 38% of independent retailers reported that levels of theft in their businesses have increased over the last year, compared to just 8% of retailers who said that theft had decreased. This marks the highest net result, or theft index (+30) in the survey’s history, which has been tracking shop theft since 2012. The previous record was set in May of this year.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said the situation is getting worse for retailers despite massive investment. “Prolific offenders are stealing on a regular basis without fear of being caught because they know that the police are unlikely to be able to attend.”

Chief executive of the BRC Helen Dickinson added: “Shoplifting is not a victimless crime - it costs retailers, and ultimately customers, almost £1 billion a year, money that would be better used to reduce prices for everyone. More importantly, it is a major trigger for the abuse and assault of retail workers, of which there are over 850 incidents a day. Retailers are working hard, trying to tackle this issue, spending hundreds of millions on security staff, CCTV, security tags, and other anti-crime measures. We need the police to urgently give retail crime greater prioritisation.”

The National Police Chiefs Council recently published a Retail Crime Action Plan, setting out guidelines for the police on the following areas. These include:

  • Prioritising attendance at the scene of crimes where violence has been used
  • The use of facial recognition technology to check CCTV evidence against the Police National Database
  • Identifying ‘hot spot’ locations where additional patrols would be beneficial
  • Dealing with organised crime through the creation of a new dedicated intelligence team

Lowman added: “We need to see forces implementing the measures outlined in the recently published Retail Crime Action Plan, and we will continue to urge all Police and Crime Commissioners to do more to prioritise shop theft and other retail crime in their local plans.”

The Stop Shop Theft campaign website is available here.