Retail in Crisis
A coalition of 86 prominent retail leaders has issued an urgent call to Home Secretary Suella Braverman, demanding immediate action to combat the alarming surge in criminal activities within the retail sector.
The retail industry is grappling with a concerning escalation in organized criminal activities, with armed gangs increasingly threatening the safety of store employees and brazenly raiding retail establishments.
Among the signatories are distinguished figures from the retail world, including the chief executives of retail giants such as Tesco, Sainsbury's, Aldi, Primark, and Matalan, as well as numerous other well-known brands.
The letter underscores disturbing statistics:
- In the fiscal year 2021-22, there were a staggering 867 reported incidents of violence and abuse directed at shop workers, nearly double the number recorded just two years prior.
- A comprehensive crime survey, commissioned by the British Retail Consortium, unveiled that shoplifting alone costs the industry a staggering £953 million annually.
- Further compounding the issue, a separate BRC survey of its members revealed a disconcerting 27 percent increase in shoplifting incidents across ten major cities.
A BRC spokesperson emphasized the urgency, saying, "This collective call sends a clear message to Parliament: 73% of serious crimes reported to one major retailer had no response, and 44% of retailers rated police responses as 'poor' or 'very poor.'"
Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the BRC, emphasized the gravity of the situation, stating, "Organized gangs have now escalated to threatening our staff with weapons and brazenly emptying our stores. Our shop workers should never have to face the fear for their safety when going to work."
Chief Constable Amanda Blake-man, from the National Police Chiefs' Council, strongly commits to combat retail crime, emphasizing its harmful impact. She pledges to apprehend offenders and aid retailers in preventing shoplifting and assaults on staff, with a zero-tolerance stance on violent offenses.
A Home Office spokesperson firmly condemns threats or assaults on shop workers, enforcing a zero-tolerance stance, with new legislation for stricter penalties.