Trade bodies call on PCCs to act on shoplifting action plan

PCCs are being urged to act on retail crime in their local areas as the theft index reaches a record high

The Stop Shop Theft campaign was launched by the ACS, British Independent Retail Association (BIRA), British Retail Consortium (BRC), and the Union of Shop and Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW).

It urges Police and Crime Commissioners (PCCs) to act in three key areas to help businesses report crime, including committing to the Retail Crime Action Plan, tell businesses that they should report theft, and sharing a single point of contact for the area.

The theft action plan was launched in October.

The campaign was created in the wake of the ACS’ Voice for Local Shops Survey revealed that its theft index reached a record high in November 2023.

ACS chief executive James Lowman said: “These shocking figures show that shop theft is still getting worse for independent retailers across the UK, despite millions being invested in crime prevention and detection measures.

“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.

“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.”

More than 1,200 retailers were surveyed for the theft index, and revealed that 38% of shop owners 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 the ACS has been tracking shop theft since 2012. The previous record was set in May of this year. 

 Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the BRC, said: “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.”

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