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Retailers demand urgent action on shoplifting surge

Retailers have called on the Government to take action over rising rates of shoplifting and assaults on store staff. In a letter organised by the British… View Article

GENERAL MERCHANDISE NEWS

Retailers demand urgent action on shoplifting surge

Retailers have called on the Government to take action over rising rates of shoplifting and assaults on store staff.

In a letter organised by the British Retail Consortium to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, 88 retailers have urged the government to create a standalone offence of assaulting or abusing a retail worker and have pushed for tougher sentences for offenders.

They have also asked for greater prioritisation of retail crime by police forces across the UK.

The move comes after a 2023 BRC Crime Survey showed that incidents of violence and abuse towards retail staff almost doubled on pre-pandemic levels to 867 incidents every day in 2021/22. It also put the scale of retail theft at £953 million, despite retailers spending over £700 million on crime prevention.

Furthermore, a separate BRC survey of members in 2023 found that levels of shoplifting in ten major cities had risen by an average of 27%.

Helen Dickinson, BRC chief executive, said: “It is vital that action is taken before the scourge of retail crime gets any worse. We are seeing organised gangs threatening staff with weapons and emptying stores. We are seeing violence against colleagues who are doing their job and asking for age-verification. We are seeing a torrent of abuse aimed at hardworking shop staff. It’s simply unacceptable – no one should have to go to work fearing for their safety.

“It’s time the Government put their words into action. We need to see a standalone offence for assaulting or abusing a retail worker – as exists in Scotland. We need Government to stand with the millions of retail workers who kept us safe and fed during the pandemic – and support them, as those workers supported us.”

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