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Retail

UK Retail Crime A 'Crisis That Demands Action', Says BRC

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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UK Retail Crime A 'Crisis That Demands Action', Says BRC

The number of incidents of violence and abuse towards UK retail workers rose to 1,300 per day in 2022/23, from almost 870 per day the previous year, new data from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) has found.

Describing retail crime as a 'crisis that demands action', the BRC's latest crime survey noted that the cost of theft doubled to £1.8 billion (€2.1 billion) in 2022/23, with more than 45,000 crime-related incidents per day taking place.

Police Response

Worryingly, two fifths of retailers state that the police response to said crimes is either 'poor' or 'very poor', the survey also found, with the BRC urging for the UK government to introduce a standalone offence of assaulting, threatening, or abusing a retail worker.

Such a measure has already been in place in Scotland since 2021.

According to the BRC, the increase in crime-related incidents comes despite a significant amount – £1.2 billion (€1.4 billion) – being invested in measures such as CCTV, increased security personnel, and body cameras, up from £772 million (€901.1 million) a year earlier.

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Violence And Abuse

“Despite retailers investing huge sums in crime prevention, violence and abuse against retail workers is climbing," Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC commented. "With over 1,300 incidents every day, government can no longer ignore the plight of ordinary, hardworking retail colleagues. Teenagers taking on their first job, carers looking for part-time work, parents working around childcare.

"Criminals are being given a free pass to steal goods and to abuse and assault retail colleagues. No one should have to go to work fearing for their safety."

Echoing her comments, Katy Bourne, Sussex police and crime commissioner and APCC lead for business crime, noted that the level of retail crime outlined in the BRC's report "reveal an unprecedented level of selfish lawlessness".

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