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Cost of shop theft hits new high

All organisations face security risks, which can vary depending on the sector in which the company operates.

In the retail industry, one of the primary concerns for many businesses is theft, something that has become increasingly problematic in recent years, the latest data has revealed.

The 2014-15 Retail Crime Survey from the British Retail Consortium (BRC) revealed that the cost of theft to the industry increased by two per cent from the previous year to £613 million, the highest figure on record.

Furthermore, the average value of goods stolen rose by over a third, reaching another unprecedented high of £325 per incident.

One of the few positive trends highlighted in the report was a second consecutive yearly decline in the total number of offences.

In 2014-15, retailers in the BRC's sample reported 750,144 thefts, which marked a fall of two per cent compared with the previous year.

Highlighting the high value of items stolen alongside a fall in the total number of offences, industry experts have suggested that criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated and stealing valuable goods to order.

This is one of the reasons why many retailers could benefit from conducting an audit of their security arrangements and making sure that their business is getting all the protection it needs.

One of the most effective deterrents against shop theft is manned guarding, which provides a visible security presence and could make criminals think twice before targeting your premises.

Expert consultancy can also help you develop a clear understanding of your company's unique security risks and requirements.

Other findings from the BRC survey showed the rising human cost of retail crime, with the number of offences involving violence or abuse increasing by 28 per cent to 41 of every 1,000 incidents recorded, compared to 32 a year earlier.

Helen Dickinson, chief executive of the retail industry group, said: "These figures demonstrate the growing cost of crime against retailers - both human and financial.

"At a time when retailers have been cutting the cost of food and clothing to reduce the average price of our weekly shopping baskets, a small number of criminals are using ever-more sophisticated techniques to seize luxury items and to target retail employees with abuse and violence in their place of work.

"The report makes a series of recommendations which the BRC has pledged to work with law enforcement agencies to implement."

One proposal is for retailers to be consulted when crime-fighting priorities are agreed, either at a national or a local level.

Ms Dickinson also stressed that the BRC is committed to working alongside retailers and law enforcement agencies to "cut crime and reduce the human and financial impact of the actions of a shrinking number of criminals".

The Office for National Statistics recently released data showing a six per cent rise in police-recorded crime during the year to September 2015, with shop theft increasing to its highest level since the National Crime Recording Standard was introduced in 2003.

Posted by Andrew Miller

Image courtesy of ThinkStock

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