Retailers in England and Wales continue to face increasing levels of shop crime according to newly-released stats.
The Office for National Statistic’s (ONS) annual crime figures show a 14% rise in reported crime and a 10% increase in shop thefts, bringing the annual total to 383,178 thefts.
Reductions in frontline police officers and police funding were blamed by trade groups including the ACS and NFRN.
ACS CEO James Lowman warned: “With police forces increasingly looking to redirect resources to other crimes, retailers could be dissuaded from reporting thefts committed against their business.”
NFRN president Linda Sood said: “These increases come at a time when high-ranking police personnel have openly stated that they will not investigate instances of shoplifting, criminal damages, thefts and other offences they consider ‘minor crimes’.
Last year, deputy assistant commissioner Mark Simmons said it is not practical for the police to spend time on low-value theft, and Nottinghamshire police and crime commissioner Paddy Tipping said: “If people report shoplifting will the police come? Probably not.”
Retailers have noticed the impact of police cuts. Harj Gill from Windmill Select & Save in Birmingham said convenience stores can be seen as an easy target.
Gaurave Sood from Neelam Convenience & Post Office in Greater London agreed. “Street crimes are at an all-time high here as police presence is nil. Police bases are being closed down and the number of police officers is dwindling or being deployed elsewhere,” he told Retail Express.
Despite the ONS evidence of crime increases, the Prime Minister refused to accept any link between police funding and crime. "The independent Office for National Statistics is clear that overall, traditional crime is continuing to fall,” said a spokesperson representing Theresa May.