• The overall cost of crime, taking into account both losses and crime prevention
    costs for retail, has risen year on year and now stands at £2.5 billion, up from £2.2 billion
    last year.
  • This includes crime prevention spending of £1.2 billion and losses to crime of
    £1.3 billion, of which customer theft makes up £935 million.
  • Violence and abuse against staff is up at 455 incidentsa day, this includes 114 incidents of violence each day.
  • The overall figure last year was 424 incidents a day - with the increase mainly attributable
    to an increase in abuse.
  • Violence and abuse against staff continues to lead the way as the single most important issue for retailers with nearly nine in ten placing it in the top three issues
  • This was followed by customer theft nominated by eight in ten as a top three issue.
  • Prosecutions remain stubbornly low. Only 6% (6 in 100) of incidents of violence and abuse ended in prosecution and only 3% were dealt with as aggravated.

    Views of the police response to retail crime overall have improved, with 40% now ranking it as fair or good, up from 30% last year and 20% the year before. Nonetheless,
    this is well below the 76% positive response received in 2013-14.
  • Just under 40% of retailers regard cyber attacks as a top three issue. Since 2017 nobody has reported a decrease in attacks and over the last year 54% reported an increase.
  • Over 10% of the budget for crime prevention (£160 million) was spent on cyber security.

    The BRC response

    Co-chaired the National Retail Steering Group with the Home Office to produce action focused proposals on the need to report all crime; support victims;
    communicate with the public; and share data;
  • Produced an animation for shop workers with the Suzy Lamplugh Trust on how to de-escalate
    a potentially violent situation;
  • Produced a cyber-security toolkit with the NCSC targeted to non-experts who need to take
    responsibility on Boards or as managers for tackling cyber criminals;
  • Secured an Inquiry into violence and abuse of retail staff by the Home Affairs Select Committee;
  • Worked with the ICO to strengthen data security;
  • Responded to the Call for Evidence on abuse and violence and Sentencing Guidelines;

    We have called for
  • Legislation for a separate offence for a crime of violence or abuse against a shopworker in England as in Scotland – to improve the prosecution and reporting of such crimes especially when shopworkers are enforcing the law e.g. age restricted sales checks
  • A better understanding of the use of shoplifting by organised crime and drug and alcohol addicts – with an appropriate response both on actual incidents and on the causes
  • MPs to turn their pledges to fight retail crime into legislative action
  • Improved Guidelines on Sentencing for crimes of violence and abuse from the Sentencing Council
  • Retail crime to form a key plank in Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) Strategies