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The financial and emotional damage of shoplifting to independent retailers is finally being recognised by the Government.
The latest report from Labour MP David Lammy, and think-tank The Policy Exchange, highlighted how a ‘low level’ crime like shoplifting, isn’t low level to small businesses at all and there is “no such thing as victimless crime” instead there is an “epidemic”. But at the ACS crime seminar, last week, retailers voiced their concerns that the police are still not taking the issue seriously, leaving many to give up, stop reporting the offences and instead create their own deterrence.
Reporter Sarah Parsons spoke to independent retailers who feel they have to face the threat of shoplifting alone and how they try to stamp out the crime.
Amit Patel, Belvedere News and Wine, London
“Our shoplifting is mainly alcohol, chocolate and soft drinks, but both adults and children are caught stealing from us. Over the course of a year I can’t imagine the value of products shoplifted. The police do try encourage us to report every theft even for just £1, but is it worth my or their while? It’s really not, because by the time they come out take a report, we’ve both lost a lot of time and nothing materialises, because they can’t do anything. To be honest, if every crime was reported the local crime stats would go up and so would my insurance.”
Susan Connolly, Spar, North Tidworth
“The only time shoplifting has been taken seriously by our local police was when we got the local media involved and it was part of a wider series of crimes. I feel like the police are only interested in crimes when it’s something juicy. They were amazingly helpful when we had a robbery but we had over thousand pounds stolen from us, over the weekend, they haven’t got back in touch.
“Not in a million years do politicians understand the importance of shoplifting on smaller retailers. They don’t think that just £2 stolen a day amounts to huge amount over a year and even affects if we can employ staff.”
Raj Nayi, Broadfield Newsagent, Crawley
“Over £15,000 a year is taken from my shop and it’s not just by children but my regular customers as well. Adults come in, all suited and booted, but their pockets are full of mints or they have a magazine hidden in a newspaper – I just feel terrible knowing they are stealing from me.
“We were part of a local scheme to have a radio so we can communicate directly to the police, but they weren’t coming out, instead they said ‘you have insurance,’ but it’s not about that. It’s about trying to get the police to educate them, because big crimes can stem from simple shoplifting.”
Click to see retailer tips on tackling shoplifting
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