BRC calls for new approach to retail crime
There has been an alarming spike in violence against retail staff causing injury, according to the British Retail Consortium’s (BRC) annual Retail Crime Survey. This shows that the number of incidents happened at twice the rate of the last survey, the previous record. Career criminals are intentionally using violence and abuse when challenged over stealing. The increasingly common requirements to age-check and refuse sales are also adding to the problem.
There have been noticeable improvements in some areas, such as fraud, where the cost to retailers has fallen by nearly £30 million, as a result of their significant investment in prevention. Despite that spending, the total direct financial cost of retail crime has climbed to £700 million, up 6% from the previous year. ‘Customer theft’ remains the largest element, now over half a billion pounds per year, a 15% increase on the previous results.
“Retail directly employs nearly one in every ten workers in the UK, and millions more indirectly. Retail already faces its own challenges, with margins shrinking, and against that backdrop the pressures that retail crime exerts are having a stronger impact,” says Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive at the BRC. “That is why we are working to build a new model for co-operation around tackling retail crime, and encourage decision-makers throughout the country to apply the priority these issues deserve. In particular, the figures on violence present a deeply concerning picture. Attacks on retail workers are intolerable, and our members are completely clear that keeping their staff safe and providing an environment in which they can work free of fear from threats and violence, is their first priority."
"Retailers are doing everything possible to ensure that staff members and customers are safe and protected. But they are now spending record amounts on crime prevention, which is a drag on the economic viability of shops and not infinitely sustainable. A new approach is required. Working with our key partners, we at the BRC are seeking to deliver an agreed strategy to halt violence and abuse in its tracks.”