ACS' 2023 Crime Report estimates that there were over 1.1m incidents of theft reported last year. The most commonly stolen items as reported by retailers are meat, alcohol and confectionery – typically high value items that can then be sold on by those with a drug or alcohol addiction, or part of wider organised crime groups.
Findings from the 2023 Crime Report show that the theft index* has reached new record levels. The record was previously broken last quarter after standing for over 10 years.
Key findings from the report include:
- 63% of shop theft is committed by repeat offenders
- 79% of retailers believe that the cost of living crisis has led to an increase in theft
- 87% of colleagues working in convenience stores have experienced verbal abuse over the last year
- Retailers estimate that just 16% of crimes against their business are reported to the police
- £228m was invested by convenience retailers in crime prevention measures over the last year
ACS has called on police forces and the Government to do more to take retail crime seriously and support local businesses. The five-point plan includes:
- Introduce a ‘Most Wanted’ list of shop thieves in each police force area, where prolific offenders can be banned from retail areas or referred to rehabilitation programmes.
- Review the impact of new legislation that makes attacking a public facing worker (including shop staff) an aggravated offence.
- Invest in rehabilitation programmes for offenders to break the cycle of offending and ineffective punishment.
- Encourage local forces to use the tools available to them to deal with anti-social behaviour, such as the Community Trigger and Community Remedy powers.
- Incentivise investment in crime prevention measures.
*The theft index is calculated by subtracting the percentage of retailers that say that theft in their business has decreased over the last year from the percentage that say it has increased over the last year.