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Co-op Warns of spiralling store crime by criminal gangs

Retail giant Co-op has recently released data that sheds light on a worrying surge in retail crime, shoplifting, and anti-social behavior. The figures show a shocking… View Article

GROCERY NEWS UK

Co-op Warns of spiralling store crime by criminal gangs

Retail giant Co-op has recently released data that sheds light on a worrying surge in retail crime, shoplifting, and anti-social behavior.

The figures show a shocking 35% year-on-year increase in incidents during the first half of 2023, totaling nearly 1,000 occurrences daily. Co-op warns that if not addressed urgently, this level of out-of-control crime could lead to some communities becoming “no-go” areas for local stores.

One of the major concerns highlighted in the report is that many police forces appear to be neglecting retail crime, with an average of 71% of serious retail offenses receiving no response from law enforcement. This has allowed repeat and prolific offenders, drug and alcohol addicts, and organised gangs to act with impunity, earning them the tag of “freedom to loot” from Co-op.

The impact of such rampant crime goes beyond financial losses, with violence, abuse, and anti-social behavior directed towards front-line store workers witnessing a worrying increase. Assaults against store employees have risen by almost one-third (30%), while incidents of anti-social behavior and verbal abuse have increased by a fifth (20%).

Co-op is calling on all police forces and crime commissioners to prioritise targeting repeat offenders and local criminal organisations to restore safety and security in affected cities. The company has invested over £200 million in enhancing security measures, implementing various strategies such as CCTV surveillance, body-worn cameras, and GPS-tracked security cases.

The convenience retailer successfully campaigned for stricter sentencing laws to protect retail workers from violent incidents through its Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities campaign, leading to the introduction of new legislation in Scotland and England & Wales.

While Co-op acknowledges positive results in certain areas where cooperation between law enforcement and retailers has been effective, it emphasises the need for unified efforts to combat retail crime. The company remains committed to safeguarding its employees, customers, and communities, believing that coordinated actions and stricter policing can create safer environments for everyone.

As retail crime continues to impact communities across the UK, it is essential for authorities, businesses, and the public to unite and address the issue head-on to ensure a safer retail landscape.

 

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