The Retailer Spring_09.05_FA


NEWS FROM THE BRC The £1.9 billion cost of Retail Crime

James Martin Policy Adviser – Crime, Security, Risk British Retail Consortium

Retail crime, particularly violence, remains a pressing issue for the industry, but is one that we at the BRC are at the forefront of meeting. Each year, the BRC publishes its Retail Crime Survey , a core part of howwe provide value to our members. It is a significant piece of work and drives the narrative in Parliament and the media. This year’s survey published inMarch, analyses the experiences of businesses turning over £103 billion, roughly a third of the industry. It was carried prominently on BBC and ITN TVNews, in the national and trade press, and was even mentioned with approval by Nicola SturgeonMSP in the Scottish Parliament. Together, this helps us raise the priority of retail crime and press for the authorities to provide an adequate response to the problems we, as an industry, face. Violence against employees is one of the most pressing issues; yet again we have seen an increase in the overall number of incidents. The scale of the problem is huge - every day 115 employees are attacked in their place of work. Our members are clear that the incidents are becoming more severe, with weapons, particularly knives, posing a more significant threat than before. There are a number of highly worrying causes.

In the very different area of cyber-crime, virtually all our members are seeing ever greater volumes of cyber-crime. Beyond those headline trends, we see hackers, sometimes nation states with an eye on profit or economic disruption, become more sophisticated, tailoring their attacks precisely to their intended victims. This is no easy combination to master, but our members continue to invest heavily in world-class cyber-security to protect their systems and data. Nonetheless, the total cost of all crime has again increased, to around £900 million. Together with the £1billion spent on prevention, crime now accounts for around £1.9 billion in losses to the industry. At a time when retail is undergoing a dramatic reinvention, with technology changing the way we shop, businesses can ill-afford to be burdened by these huge crime-related costs.

Total Spend on Crime Prevention





There are three key triggers which are most concerning: 1 intentional use of violence to assist with theft; 2








And the consequences of retail crime stretch even beyond the vast costs that retailers incur. Criminal activity in our local stores can both encourage and fund even more significant crimes elsewhere in the economy. The industry response is becoming more ambitious in scope and nature. The ‘Shop Safe Alliance’, due to launch shortly, will see retailers combine their resources and expertise to tackle not only the symptoms of crime but to work with the communities they serve to tackle many of the deep-seated social causes of crime. And this is just one way in which retail is showing itself as a force for wider good. We are making headway but should not kid ourselves that it’s an easy road. Resources for policing are tight, and there are dozens of deserving demands for them. Our work in Parliament is directly responsible for the Home Office’s recent Call for Evidence, and we are working to bring our members and the wider industry together behind a single stretching ‘ask’ of Government. The more our members work with us, the louder our voice will be. In that, and dozens of smaller ways, we will continue to deliver direct value for our members and, much more importantly, a safer environment and secure industry for all of our colleagues who work in retail and make it the dynamic industry it is.

as a response to -age-related sales challenges (including when required by law); and 3 by intoxicated (drugs and/ or alcohol) criminals.

These are not victimless crimes. They impact on the skilled passionate, determined individuals who make the industry such a vibrant place to work; their families and loved ones; the communities to which they contribute so much; and those who rely on the public services retail indirectly supports.

32 | spring 2019 | the retailer

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