Visible Security – A Deterrent To The Rise In Shoplifting

Employees with over 20 years’ experience in retail are saying issues of shoplifting have increased markedly in the last two years and are now as bad as ever. This has been highlighted by figures released relating to shoplifting in West Yorkshire, which show that retail workers in the UK are at high risk of aggressive intimidation even before businesses count the cost of shoplifting on their profits, with specialist retail security solutions identified as the best way to tackle it. And now, England is looking to follow the lead of Scotland in applying specific legislation to protect retail workers against the threat of violence and intimidation.  

A survey carried out by the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed a 24% rise in cases of shoplifting in West Yorkshire in 2023, rising from 18,000 cases the year before to 22,000. This follows figures released by the Co-op group in 2021 relating to its stores in Scotland. Back then, Public Affairs Director Paul Gerrard announced there had been a 450% rise in violent incidents involving Co-op store staff in recent years, and this rise had been particularly pronounced since the start of the COVID pandemic.  

Across the group’s 350 stores in Scotland, at least one person was physically attacked every day in 2021, while ten colleagues were verbally threatened or abused every day. Many businesses questioned in the ONS survey in West Yorkshire also reported an increase in violence and intimidation when shoplifters were confronted. Unsurprisingly this resulted in distress and sometimes injuries for workers not trained to deal with these types of incidents, and certainly not suitably compensated to deal with violence in terms of the average retail salary. 

Organised shoplifting on the rise  

While the UK Government is reviewing plans to make assaulting retail workers a specific criminal offence in England, to mirror the Protection of Workers Bill issued in Scotland in 2021, which made the assault, abuse or threatening of retail staff a specific offence, businesses are making their own plans to tackle the rising crisis. Retail stores in West Yorkshire have reported staff being pushed and spat at, and shoplifters becoming aggressive and intimidatory when confronted. Shoplifters are often repeat offenders, and businesses have also reported that shoplifters are more organised; their offences now far removed from a previous perception of opportunist theft and petty crimes and more in line with the work of organised gangs.  

Police are working with business in England, Scotland and the rest of the UK to catch, convict and deter shoplifters, but are advising that effective crime prevention and security measures need to be prioritised. Ultimately, retail workers are not trained to deal with these issues, nor should they be expected to, and the fundamental duty of an employer is to provide a safe and comfortable workplace, so retail businesses need to consider suitable security solutions.  

Specialist retail security solutions in Scotland  

Retail security in Scotland provides a visible deterrent to reduce incidents of shoplifting, but first and foremost protects retail workers and the business itself. At Apardion, our comprehensive retail security can include: 

With a visible presence permanently stationed in a retail setting, it is proven to reduce incidents of shoplifting, but also offers employees suitable comfort and protection, enabling them to fully concentrate on their key duties. Our CCTV technology also acts to gather evidence of crimes where they do occur, but with sufficient signage and notification, can also deter crimes before they happen.  

We can offer flexible solutions to suit the risk levels and the nature of the operations at your business, with the priority of protecting your staff and your business. So contact Apardion today for specialist retail security solutions anywhere in Scotland, and we can carry out a comprehensive risk assessment in order to design appropriate security controls. We can then match you with fast and responsive 24/7 security solutions to deter the rising threat of shoplifters.    

Implementing security measures to tackle shoplifting in retail.
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