There is a significant increase in retailers seeking loss prevention solutions as shoplifting in the UK spirals out of control with organised retail crime being a major factor.
Checkpoint Systems, a global leader in advanced electronic article surveillance (EAS) systems and RFID-based inventory management, attributes the crisis to a “perfect storm” of rising living costs driven by inflation, supply chain challenges, and some retailers’ slow adoption of loss prevention technology.
Latest police shoplifting data in its Crime Data Report has revealed a total of 190,904 incidents in the first half of 2023, a 34 per cent increase on the same period in 2022 and the equivalent of 525 thefts per day.
Figures show the number of crimes has escalated in every region, with Northumbria Police reporting the biggest increase of 63 per cent from 4,595 in 2022 to 7,490 in 2023. The City of London Police follows with a 35 per cent rise from 283 in 2022 to 328 in 2023. Of all incidents reported from January to June 2023, 51 per cent resulted in the police being unable to identify a suspect, demonstrating the challenges retailers face in tackling the shoplifting pandemic. Additionally, police were unable to prosecute 12 per cent of suspects.
The latest statistics follow a raft of major UK retailers reporting increased theft in their stores. According to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests by The Telegraph, the Big 4 grocers, Sainsbury’s and Tesco, accounted for two-fifths (40 per cent) of overall cases. An analyst at Shopfloor Insights said that the situation is “definitely getting worse”, adding that shopworkers have reported organised theft levels being “off the charts”.
Mike French, Business Unit Director of Checkpoint Systems UK, said, “In the last few years, we’ve seen a significant increase in retailers seeking loss prevention solutions, however, it’s abundantly clear that the UK needs to take a more comprehensive approach to safeguarding businesses’ bottom lines and ensuring business continuity.
“The latest police data underscores the vital importance of proactive loss prevention measures, and the need for retailers across all sectors to enhance their security efforts further. As we partner with more and more major retailers across the globe, we remain focused on tackling this issue and supporting the sector against all types of shrink and creating safer shopping environments.”